3 - 9 August 2000
Issue No. 493
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Features Travel Living Sports Profile People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons
Labour's 9 deadly sinsTHE SUPREME Administrative Court is expected to start proceedings soon to determine the fate of the Islamist-oriented Labour party. The Political Parties Committee, a government-controlled body in charge of licensing political parties, had asked the Court last week to dissolve the party and liquidate its financial assets.
According to the law governing political parties, the Supreme Administrative Court has one month, from the start of proceedings, to reach a decision. The law also stipulates that in cases related to licensing or dissolving political parties, the court must include among its members five public figures, nominated by the minister of justice.
The Political Parties Committee recommended the party's dissolution after the Socialist Prosecutor-General levelled against party leaders nine accusations which carry up to 15 years imprisonment.
The Committee's action was criticised last Thursday in a joint statement signed by leaders of the principal opposition parties. The statement described the action against the Labour party as an obstacle in the way of democratic reform.
Family appealSTATE security prosecutors ordered last week that Saadeddin Ibrahim, a sociology professor at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and head of the Ibn Khaldun Centre for Developmental Studies, be kept in custody for a third period of 15 days, reports Mariz Tadros. Ibrahim was arrested on 30 June, along with 13 associates, and incarcerated without formal charges being brought against him.
At a news conference called by Ibrahim's wife, Barbara, and his children, Amir and Randa, at their home on Saturday, Amir Ibrahim said that the family will appeal to President Hosni Mubarak to intervene in the case to obtain the release of his father.
Barbara Ibrahim said that there is no legal justification for the continued detention of her husband. She urged that her husband be released while the investigation continues or goes to court. "We are eager to have him sent to court where the truth will be revealed," she said.
A statement issued by Ibrahim was read out at the conference. He said that he was not taken into custody "for giving away secrets, tarnishing Egypt's image, or accepting foreign funding." The real reasons, according to Ibrahim, include Ibn Khaldun's plans to monitor the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The United States reacted to the prosecutors' order to keep Ibrahim in custody by urging the Egyptian government to release him immediately. In addition to his Egyptian nationality, Ibrahim carries an American passport. State Department Spokesman Philip Reeker told a news briefing that the US consular office in Cairo continues to monitor his treatment and condition in prison closely. "We've raised our grave concerns at the continued detention without charges. We have raised these concerns at every level of the Egyptian government," he said.
Don't touchPROSECUTOR-General Maher Abdel-Wahed has completed a four-week-long investigation of what has become known as the case of the "radio-active object," reports Amira Howeidy. The owner of a welding company and seven employees were referred to trial before a criminal court on charges of manslaughter, in connection with the death of Hassan Fadl Hassan and his nine-year-old son after they were exposed to the object. If found guilty, the eight suspects could face life imprisonment.
Investigations also revealed that there are 10 other welding companies in Egypt that use radio-active tools and import radio-active objects freely, without the authority of a license.
A report by prosecution officials urged the government to reconsider the regulations governing the import of radio-active objects and impose strict control on all companies that use radio-active tools.
But the government is yet to take action, despite calls by the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA) that it should be the sole body responsible for monitoring the use of radio-active objects. The calls followed the death of Hassan and his son last month in the village of Mit Halfa, 30 kilometres north of Cairo. Hassan, a farmer, had found a radio-active object in his agricultural field. Thinking that it was a precious metal, he took it home.
It was determined later that one of the accused workers was repairing a natural gas pipe in Mit Halfa, using equipment that included the deadly radio-active object. This object was lost in the course of the repair job until it was found by Hassan.
Hassan and his son died and other family members were seriously affected by the radiation.
A date for the trial of the eight defendants has yet to be announced.
All came tumbling downELEVEN people were waiting under the new awning of the Ibrahimiya tram station in Alexandria when they sighted the awaited vehicle chugging down the tracks. Their anticipation, however, was cut short as soon as the tram entered the vicinity of the station because the cement awning fell over their heads. An 18- year-old man died and 10 other persons were injured and taken to the hospital. Eight were said to have suffered serious injuries.
No sooner had the Governor of Alexandria ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the mishap than the awning of another station, Janaclis, also fell, wounding a tram worker.
Ironically, the tram stations have been rebuilt recently by a private company and handed over to the Alexandria Governorate in June as part of the high-profile governorate plans to beautify Alexandria.
The sturdy old stations that served faithfully for tens of years may be remembered with great nostalgia.
The butler didn't do itDESPITE the 3,000 years that separate us from the sudden death of King Tutankhamun at a young age, the reasons for his death remain a source of controversy among specialists. The debate was revived last week when Polish and German researchers announced that the cause of death was the king's obesity and not a blow on the back of his head as is popularly believed.
The claim was shot down by Zahi Hawass, director-general of the Giza Plateau, who confidently asserted that the boy-king was murdered as a result of a conspiracy by Haremhab, head of his army forces, and Aye, his vizier, with the latter ascending the throne after his death.
Hawass explained that after the death of King Akhnaten, his two sons, Tut and Semnekhkare, quarrelled over succession to the throne. High officials and members of Akhnaten's family were divided in two parties: one led by Nefertiti, Akhnaten's wife, who wanted Tut to ascend the throne, and the other by Aye and Haremhab. According to Hawass, Nefertiti proved more powerful and helped Tut take the throne by killing his brother. The other group killed Tut in revenge.
So maybe it was not Tut's penchant for rich foods that got him, but rather his circle of rather dubious retinue and a hunger for power that was fed by the most ruthless tactics. What we know for sure is that the mystery of the boy-king lives on.
A stab in the heartHE TRIED to tell her that he no longer loved her, that their engagement was over, but she could not face up to reality. She badgered him, and we all know how men react to nagging: they either succumb or bail out big time.
He finally agreed to meet her and designated the local cemetery as the place of their rendez-vous, telling her he wanted to spend a few tender moments with her away from living eyes. She should have suspected that a cemetery is not exactly a romantic venue for amorous pursuits and that something was definitely wrong.
But she went off to meet her fiancé and found him waiting for her, accompanied by a friend of his. He pounced on her, stabbing her six times in the chest. His friend cut her throat.
The two were sentenced last Sunday to life imprisonment.
Moral of the story: if he wants to break up, well, good riddance.
Compiled by Fatemah Farag