UPDATE – Egypt’s local news digest Nov. 5: Egypt bans coop with Toledo Museum of Art over sale of artifacts
An Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment, ate period, early 26th dynasty, 664-610BC. Property from the Toledo Museum of Art, sold to benefit the acquisitions fund. Price realised: $162,500. Courtesy Christie's images Ltd. 2016

CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top local news stories on Nov. 5 here:


Egypt bans coop with Toledo Museum of Art over sale of artifacts

Egypt’s antiquities ministry announced it had banned cooperation with the Toledo Museum of Art over its controversial decision to auction off a collection of ancient Egyptian artifact last month.

“The indecent move represents a blatant violation to the International Council of Museum’s (ICOM) code of conduct,” the ministry said in a statement released on its facebook page.

In order to benefit its acquisitions fund, the Toledo Museum of Art announced in early October its plan to put on sale at the U.S. Christies auction hall a set of 68 artifacts from its collection from Egypt, Rome, Greece and Cyprus.

The collection included a 2,600 year old ancient Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment, which sold for $162,500, more than four times its high estimate. The objects were sold late October for $12 million.

Only two objects remained unsold and, according to a spokesperson at Christie’s, two objects were directly purchased by US institutions.

Shaaban Abdel Gawad, the general supervisor of the Egyptian antiquities repatriation department, said that the process to stop the sales and recover the artifacts through diplomatic means continues.

In response to the international criticism, the museum published an open letter on their website stating: “Quality has always been the outstanding attribute of our collection, and the objects being sold are not of the quality of our permanent display collection; have been on display rarely; have not been sought out by scholars; or have not been published in recent decades. In short, these objects were not working to fulfill our mission.

Egypt’s ancient sites have been targeted for thousands of years but the upheavals and the security lapse following the 2011 revolution have helped looters and tomb robbers target museums and several archaeological sites for treasures to sell on the black market.

In July 2014 the Northampton Borough Council (NBC) sold the statue of the Egyptian royal scribe Sekhemka, by auction at Christie’s in London to help fund an extension to the town’s museum. The statue was sold to an anonymous buyer for £15.76 million ($20 million.)


Egypt’s PM directs governors to control local transport tariffs following fuel price hike

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail directed governors across the country to closely monitor and control local transport tariffs following the recent hike in fuel prices, Youm7 reported Saturday.

The increase in local transport tariffs must not exceed 10 to 15 percent after the fuel price hike, the prime minister told governors via a video conference on Sunday.

As part of the government’s plan to reduce its total subsidy bill in the new budget by 14 percent, the Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum on Thursday announced a price hike for fuel products that will come into effect as of Friday.

For their parts, several governors said they met with bodies concerned to specify new tariffs that would be applied on all transport vehicles.

The premier also reviewed the availability of fuel and basic commodities in all governorates


Court sets Dec.31 ruling date in retrial of 104 Muslim Brotherhood defendants

Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Saturday has set December 31 as a date to issue its ruling in the re-trial of 104 Muslim Brotherhood defendants on violence related charges following the ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in 203, Youm7 reported.

The defendants face numerous charges, including illegal possession of firearms, joining a terrorist group, assault on citizens, resisting arrest, damaging public and private property, attempted murder and bullying.

The incidents date back to August 2013 when clashes erupted in Bulaq Abul Ela district between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and security forces following the dispersal of Rabaa al Adawya and al Nahda sit-ins.


Egypt opens exhibition of 22 artifacts found in the Ramesseum

Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anani inaugurated an one-month exhibition of 22 artifacts, which were discovered by a French archeological mission in the Ramesseum, at Luxor Museum on Friday evening, Youm7 reported.

The minister and other accompanying officials honored the French mission members who worked for 25 years at the temple in Luxor city.


Saudi Arabia deports 51 Egyptians back home on Saturday

A total of 51 Egyptian nationals arrived in the Cairo International Airport on Saturday after being deported back from the Saudi Arabia over violating the Saudi residency rules, Youm7 reported an official at the airport.

Three of the deportees, who returned ob board of Saudi flight #335 from Jeddah, were fugitives from justice and they are now being investigated, the official added.

Some were also deported because of difference between the Egyptian expatriates and the Saudi sponsors; some deportees arrived in Egypt with travel documents issued by the Egyptian consulate in Jeddah, as their passports had been withheld by their Saudi sponsors, the airport’s security chief Fahmi Megahed has previously said.

The Saudi sponsorship system entitles business owners to hold passports of foreign workers for the duration of their employment.

According to a report issued by the Saudi Labor Department in 2014, the number of Egyptians working in the Kingdom was estimated at 968,000 at the end of 2013, representing about 40 percent of the total Arab expatriate workforce.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has repeatedly warned citizens not to overstay their visas in Saudi Arabia or return to the kingdom illegally after deportation.


Egyptian expat burned to death after big fire swept through factory in Lebanon 

An Egyptian expatriate was burned to death after a big fire swept through a wood manufacturing factory in Alfanar district in Lebanon, Youm7 reported Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon Nazeih al-Nagari on Saturday.

The Egyptian embassy is in contact with the Lebanese authorities and the factory director to follow up the latest developments of the incidents.


3 killed, 2 injured in road accident 

Three people were killed and two others were injured after a private car overturned along Alexandrian Agriculture road due to dysfunction of driving wheel on Saturday, Youm7 reported.

The victims were transported to a hospital while investigations were issued. Many Egyptians die on the road as thousands of accidents take place every year. Lack of road safety measures in Egypt has been blamed by experts for the fatal crashes; however, officials say human error constitute main reason.

Two years ago, Egypt has embarked on a number of projects including applying maintenance to dilapidated bridges, construct new roads and launching drug-driving tests to truck drivers and school bus drivers.


No increase for medicine price: Minister

Egyptian Ministry of Heath will not raise the prices of medicines after the government has floated the Egyptian pound, Minister Ahmed Emad told Youm7 on Saturday, noting that the Central Bank of Egypt has promised to provide the firms with hard currency needed to buy the medicine substances.

He added that the pharmaceutical firms were getting hard currency from the parallel market to buy the medicine substances as they were getting one dollar for 18 EGP; however, they now get a dollar from banks for 14 EGP.

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