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Switzerland returns ancient Egyptian stele stolen in 990
The Egyptian Embassy in Switzerland has repatriated an ancient stele (upright stone slab bearing a commemorative inscription,) which was stolen from a temple 30 years ago, the antiquities ministry said in a Thursday statement.
The artifact was stolen in 1990 from an ancient Egyptian temple located in Behbeit El Hagar archaeological site, 8 kilometers west of Egypt’s Delta governorate of Mansoura. The Swiss authorities handed over the artifact to the Egyptian embassy in Berne on Thursday.
The black granite stele measures 1.06 X 0.96 meters and shows Goddess Isis standing holding the Ankh, the so called Key of Life. It dates back to the 30th Dynasty (around 350 B.C.)
“During an inventory control in the Geneva free economic zone at the end of 2014, the federal customs identified… a granite engraving of unknown origin and alerted Geneva police, who opened a criminal case,” Geneva’s public prosecutor was quoted by AFP on Monday.
Investigators compared photographs taken by French archeologist Christine Favard Meeks at the site in the 1970s to more recent ones which “established without any doubt that the granite engraving was stolen from” Behbeit El Hagar.
Egypt’s political turmoil has led to a security lapse at archaeological sites and storerooms and museums nationwide, leaving Egypt’s treasures vulnerable to looting. The Egyptian museum and Malawi museum are among the sites that have been affected.
During the past four years, Egypt has recovered over 1,600 artifacts and is currently working on other cases in many European countries, Ministry of Antiquities Museums Sector former head Ahmed Sharaf previously told The Cairo Post.
“It is impossible to provide an accurate number of the artifacts that have been stolen since the January 25 Revolution,” he added.
Wheat reserves sufficient for 6 months: minister
Egypt’s strategic wheat reserves are enough for the coming six months, the supply ministry said in a news conference on Wednesday.
A tender will be put to purchase over 200, 000 tons of wheat within two weeks, he added.
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail on Thursday has called for stepping up campaigns to monitor markets to make sure that the basic commodities are available at affordable prices.
Archaeology team uplifts paddles of Pharaoh Khufu’s 4,400 year old solar boat
The Egyptian-Japanese archaeological mission tasked with restoring the 4,400 year old second solar boat of Pharaoh Khufu started lifting the boat’s paddles from the pit nearby the Great Pyramid, the antiquities ministry announced in a statement Thursday.
This comes after preliminary restoration in situ and documentation via 3D scans has been carried out for the paddles, which were in a bad state of preservation due to humidity and other climatic elements, Sakuji Yoshimura, head of the mission said.
The boat has twelve paddles of about 8 meter long each; five of them were used for rowing from each side with four of these five paddles made in the shape of a bayonet that were used by the unseen sailors to protect the boat in its journey to the other word according to the ancient Egyptian methodology, Eissa Zidan, director-general of the boat restoration project said.
This is besides two paddles that were used to correct the path of the boat the same way the rudder functions, he added.
Zidan explains that presently a collection of 727 wooden beams have been removed from the pit; 698 of the beams have been preliminarily restored in situ, and 469 of them have been transported to the Grand Egyptian Museum for further restoration ahead of future display.
King Khufu’s second solar boat, which dates back to 2,400 B.C., is scheduled to be on display in a separate section at the GEM, slated to open in 2018.
Solar boats in ancient Egypt were usually made of cedar wood brought from Lebanon, tour guide Magdy Abdel Mohsen told The Cairo Post in June.
“They were either used to transport the corpse of the Pharaoh from the east bank to the west bank of the River Nile, where the body was mummified and buried or, according to the ancient Egyptian afterlife belief, served as means to transport the pharaoh to eternity,” said Mohsen.
Egypt launches tourism promotion campaign in Italy
Egypt’s tourism bureau in Rome in collaboration with the Egyptian Academy of Art will launch a tourism promotion campaign in Italy that aims to increase number of Italian tourists visiting Egypt, state news agency MENA reported Thursday.
Head of the Tourism Promotion Authority Hisham al Demeiriy has traveled to Italy Thursday to launch the campaign “to capitalize on the successful visit by Tourism Minister Yehia Rashed in October.”
Several tour operators and tourism companies and representatives from the tourism unions in Italy along with a number of Italian news agencies will attend the event.
Demeiry underlined the importance of the Italian market, saying Italy has been a top source of tourists for Egypt.
He also said that he is confident that the new campaign will attain positive results which contribute to reviving tourism to Egypt.
Alexandria, El-Dekheila ports still close due to bad weather
Alexandria Port Authority decided on Thursday to continue closing the inlets of Alexandria and El-Dekheila Ports due to bad weather. High speed of wind and rise of sea waves, Egyptian state-owned news agency MENA reported.
Alexandria governorate, Sewer Authority in Alexandria, and all executive bodies have braced for the bad weather and possibility of rainfalls.
Big blaze sweeps through stationery store
A big blaze swept through a big stationery store in Cairo’s Fagala district since Wednesday evening, causing damages estimated at 5 million EGP, Youm7 reported.
The fire was caused by an electrical short circuit, according to the owner Samir Abdel-Fatah Badr who was at the store. No injures cases were reported.
Doctors’ Syndicate denies undersecretary resignation reports over ‘syringe reuse’ remarks
The Syndicate of the Doctors denied media report claiming the syndicate undersecretary Mona Mina has resigned over remarks of “using one Syringe twice,” Youm7 reported on Thursday.
Mina posted on her Facebook page that the rumors about the syringe aim to drag the public away from the crisis of shortage in medicine and medical supplies in the hospitals nationwide.
In a phone call with Sadal al Balad private satellite channel on Wednesday, Mina clarified she received a message from a doctor at a government hospital in Upper Egypt’s governorate of Asyut saying doctors were instructed to “reuse syringes more than once for the same patient due to shortages in medical supplies.”