|Al-Ahram Weekly On-line
21 - 27 December 2000
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875||Current issue | Previous issue | Site map|
Export infrastructureON MONDAY President Hosni Mubarak chaired a ministerial meeting to review progress of the ambitious export-oriented Gulf of Suez industrial project.
After two hours of talks, Mubarak decided that additional discussions were necessary, and scheduled another meeting soon after the Eid holidays. Mubarak's directives in this week's meeting included a reduction of the land allotted for the industrial zone from 91 to 51 square kilometres.
The Gulf of Suez project will be administered by an independent body to be established by a presidential decree, and will include representatives of various ministries and economic bodies.
Mubarak compared growth rates in a number of industrial zones, such as the 10th of Ramadan, the 6th of October and East of Port Said, with others located in China, the Philippines and Thailand.
The president also reviewed a new legislation regulating development at the Gulf of Suez zone as well as plans for expanding and upgrading airports across the country.
Honouring womenMRS SUZANNE Mubarak has announced the establishment of a political office in the National Council for Women (NCW) with a mandate to support female winners in the recent parliamentary elections and promote coordination between them.
Speaking at an Iftar event she hosted at the Air Force House on Sunday to honour newly-elected female parliamentary members, as well as former female members, female Shura Council members and NCW members, Mrs Mubarak expressed her hope that more women would be elected to the People's Assembly in the future.
In an open discussion after the meal, Mrs Mubarak said the NCW has begun studying the problems that women faced in the recent elections in order that they can be overcome in the future. However, the fact that there were 112 female nominees is in itself a reflection of women's growing awareness and conviction of the importance of participation in the political arena, Mrs Mubarak commented.
She also pointed to the advancement of women's rights' during the year, crowned by Egypt's hosting of the November Arab Women's Summit. These great leaps forward, she added, make the year 2000 truly the Year of the Egyptian Woman.
Her guests included Zakaria Azmi, presidential chief of staff; spouses of heads of both the Shura Council and the People's Assembly; Amal Osman, deputy speaker; Amina El-Guindi, social insurance minister; Nadia Makram Ebeid, minister of state for the environment; and Mervat Tellawi, secretary-general of the NCW.
Airing the printed pressIN WHAT is described as yet another step along the path of developing the press and media in the Arab world, the Al-Ahram organisation is considering the acquisition of a television channel and radio network. The plan was announced last week by Ibrahim Nafie, board chairman of Al-Ahram, in an interview with the Egyptian Satellite Channel's programme Nogum Sahebat Al-Galala (Stars of Journalism).
Information Minister Safwat El-Sherif has stated emphatically that there will be "no selling of any of the Egyptian television ground channels," adding that "only the renting of new satellite channels on NileSat 1 and 2 is available."
Ancient trialsHIGH profile court cases are able to capture the attention of the public. The Americans provide the best fodder for an international audience. You must remember the excruciating deliberations from the OJ Simpson trial and the vote recounts for the presidency. Nevine El-Aref reports, however, that Egypt has also been since its earliest times the scene of sensational legal disputes.
Recent findings at Saqqara have shed better light on one of the most famous Pharaonic legal deliberations to have caught the attention of Egyptologists.
Archaeologists at Saqqara were brushing dust off Ptah-Mess' tomb, excavated last year, when they discovered reliefs narrating what could be the story of the longest court case heard during the Pharaonic period.
Gaballa Ali Gaballa, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), said that the narration not only yielded information on ancient Egyptian civil law but also depicted the details of a family's struggle for a piece of land -- a legal dispute that lasted almost one hundred years.
The drama unfolded when King Ahmose I offered land, which now proves to be the site of Ptah-Mess's tomb, to an individual called Nehsi, in return for his military service. After Nehsi's death, his children inherited the land, one of whom was assigned to oversee it.
The agreement was valid for 300 years, until the Horemheb era, when Nehsi's granddaughter inherited the land and the struggle for control began.
The dispute was taken to court, on one occasion by the granddaughter, on another by the grandson, until Ptah-Mess finally presented witnesses attesting to the fact that he, as Nehsi's grandson, had the legal right to oversee and so own the land.
Faced with such evidence, the court finally ruled in Ptah-Mess's favour.
Back on topSUEZ Canal revenues increased this year compared to 1999-2000 figures by a staggering LE107 million, making the canal once again a major earner of foreign currency, reports Amira Ibrahim from Ismailia. In statements to the press, Rear Admiral Ahmed Fadel, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority, highlighted that in past years the canal had seen hard times as a result of the economic crises in South-East Asia and a global recession. Between 1996 and 1999, canal revenues decreased from LE1,836 billion to LE1,812 billion.
In 2001 the Suez Canal will undergo major development. For example, the Euro currency will replace both French and German currencies in the canal's currency basket. Also, recent expansion work will come to fruition in February, allowing super tankers with a 62 foot draft to cross the canal. This development makes the canal capable of dealing with 96 per cent of the international fleet movement.
Regarding the political role of the waterway, Fadel denied that the US navy had stopped using the canal after the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen last October.
"The Egyptian leadership has been working to prevent an armed conflict from erupting in the region, but we are not actually involved in a conflict or confrontation of any kind," Fadel stated.
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