Monday,18 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1228, (8 - 14 January 2015)
Monday,18 December, 2017
Issue 1228, (8 - 14 January 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Newsreel

Al-Ahram Weekly

Ports closed

THREE of Egypt’s Red Sea ports have temporarily closed as a result of weather conditions, including high winds and waves, in the Gulf of Suez, a spokesperson from the Red Sea Ports Authority said. Conditions on Tuesday are part of a cold spell that has plagued the country over the past several days. Rainfall had already started on the country’s northern coast on Tuesday, with moderate rainfall expected later in the day in the Nile Delta provinces, meteorologists said.

“The unstable weather on Tuesday has seen stiff winds in western parts of Upper Egypt, whipping up sand and dust and obscuring vision on roads,” said Wahid Saudi, spokesperson for the Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA). Meteorologists at the EMA say the wintry conditions will hold their grip through Friday, with temperatures peaking on Wednesday and Thursday, with an average low of 5 Celsius (41 Fahrenheit). Rainfall is expected in the capital Cairo early on Wednesday, where the high is likely to fall two degrees to 11 C (52 F).

Cairo’s temperatures were forecast at a high of 13 C (55 F) and a low of 7 C (45 F) on Tuesday. The Mediterranean city of Alexandria should see a high of 12 and a low of eight, while southern cities are likely to see warmer temperatures with average highs of 16-17 C.

 

Scattered terrors

UNIDENTIFIED gunmen shot and killed two Egyptian policemen guarding a church in southern Egypt on Tuesday. The incident took place one day before Egypt’s Coptic Christian community celebrates Christmas. Security sources said the two men were shot dead by masked assailants while standing guard outside the central Virgin Mary Church in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya.

The death of the two policemen heightens fears over possible violence on Coptic Christmas. The Interior Ministry announced that it tightened measures to secure churches countrywide.

In the same context, at least one policeman was killed in an explosion on Tuesday near a police station in Haram, Giza. Hany Fatouh, who was an explosives expert, was killed while attempting to dismantle a device suspected to be a bomb near the Talbeya police station in a densely populated working-class area.

The police were notified of a suspect object at a petrol station near Talbeya Police Station. Fatouh arrived to examine the object, which blew up as he attempted to dismantle it. Fatouh was transferred to hospital where he soon died. Officials have been checking the site for other explosives.

Bombings and drive-by shootings have become more frequent in Egypt since the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and the subsequent insurgency based in Sinai. On Monday, two Egyptian policemen were injured in a mortar attack in Al-Arish. The mortar struck the entrance of an apartment block in the North Sinai region a day after an army sergeant was killed attempting to defuse an IED in Sheikh Zuweid.

 

Antiquities sale stopped

THE ANTIQUITIES Ministry said Sunday that it suspended the sale of ten ancient Egyptian artefacts that were listed at an Australian auction house. The artefacts, spanning several periods of ancient Egyptian history, were spotted on the website of the auction house a few weeks ago, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh Al-Damaty said.

“As soon as the artefacts were monitored, the ministry’s Restored Artefacts Department (RAD), in cooperation with the Egyptian Embassy in Australia, initiated the required legal procedures to retrieve the artefacts after their authenticity was confirmed by experts,” said Aly Ahmed, head of the RAD. Experts had been sceptical about some of the artefacts’ authenticity, he explained, and diplomatic efforts with the Australian government and the auction house were pursued to verify and retrieve the objects.

“The Australian authorities responded and seized the artifacts and will send them back to Egypt during the next few weeks,” Ahmed said, confirming that the artefacts are the outcome of illegal digging activities that occurred in several archaeological sites across the country in the aftermath of the 25 January revolution and conditions of security breakdown.

“We can monitor what is being sold in public but we cannot monitor what is being sold in secret. There is no record of how many artefacts have gone missing. Many were obtained by illegal digging, and there is no way to know that they even exist.”

During the past four years, Egypt has recovered over 1,600 missing artefacts and is currently working on legal cases in many European countries, he said.

 

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