18 - 24 November 1999
Issue No. 456
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
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Crackdown continuesEIGHT suspected members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood were arrested on Saturday in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya.
The move appears to be part of a security crackdown on the banned group. Last month, 17 suspected members were remanded in custody for a 15-day period, which was later extended for two more weeks. Also, 20 leading figures have been referred to the military prosecutor's office prior to a trial by a military tribunal.
The eight Minya suspects were accused of trying to revive the group's activities. According to security sources, leaflets and publications promoting the Brotherhood's views were seized at their homes. The eight were remanded in custody for 15 days.
Train tragedyNINE people died and 10 were injured in an accident that took place on Saturday close to the municipality of Toukh in the governorate of Qalyubiya. A pickup truck overturned along the railway tracks running parallel to the Cairo-Alexandria Delta highway. Three passengers managed to wriggle out of the truck but the driver remained trapped.
Inhabitants of the nearby village of Kafr Al-Gamal rushed to the rescue. As they struggled to pull the driver out, two vehicles carrying workers from a cement company stopped to lend a hand. Together with the villagers, they managed to set the driver free, but before the rescuers could leave the tracks, they, the driver and the truck were overrun by an express train coming from Alexandria.
It is believed that the train's driver failed to see those on the tracks due to early morning fog. The train did not stop following the tragedy but continued its journey to Cairo. An investigation is underway.
Poetic license?FAROUK GWEIDA, poet and writer, urged Prime Minister Atef Ebeid on the pages of Al-Ahram on Sunday to order an investigation into a theft that allegedly took place in the geography department of Cairo University's faculty of arts. Gweida claimed that the hard disks of computers in the geography department, containing information that touches on national security, had been stolen.
"It is a catastrophe," he wrote, because these disks contain "national secrets" as well as maps showing where petroleum and other natural resources are located. The theft, Gweida said, took place on 6 October and was being investigated by the university management but he insisted that a higher official intervention was necessary. He expressed the belief that the theft was committed by someone well aware of the value of the information he was stealing.
El-Sayed El-Husseini, dean of the faculty of arts, told Al-Ahram Weekly that there had indeed been a burglary at the computer laboratory of the geography department but what was stolen was not secret information, but ordinary software programmes.
"The computers and the programmes had been bought by the university to facilitate the research work of staff. The stolen programmes contained no data. They were used to upgrade the staff's technical skills in computer use. I believe that whoever stole them did so to sell them on the market."
El-Husseini said that Gweida's claim was a "figment of the imagination that had no basis in reality". It is "ridiculous" to suggest that the geography department would have "national secrets" in its possession, he said.