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July 1, 2013

Egyptian military issues ultimatum to Morsi

Egyptian military issues ultimatum to Morsi

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Today the Egyptian military issued an ultimatum to Mohammed Morsi that gives him 48 hours, until Wednesday, to meet the demands of the hundreds of thousands of people protesting his presidency, by announcing a snap election, resigning, and allowing a provisional government to take over, or they will force a political transition.

Cquote1.svg For an institution of state to come and stage a coup against the president, this will not happen. Any force that goes against the constitution is a call for sabotage and anarchy. Cquote2.svg

—Yasser Hamza, member of the Freedom and Justice Party

The military said the protests were an “unprecedented” demonstration of the people’s will.

The ultimatum was issued by an unnamed official on Egyptian state television hours after the Muslim Brotherhood‘s headquarters in Cairo was taken over. Accompanied by an image of the Egyptian Defense Minister General Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi, the ultimatum read, “If the demands of the people are not met by the expiry of this deadline, the Armed Forces will announce a road-map for the future, and procedures that the Armed Forces will oversee with the participation of all political and national streams, including the youths, who were and still are the real force that ignited their glorious revolution, and without the exclusion of any party”, after which the television channel played patriotic music.

The military also said it would “not be a party in politics or rule,” and would enforce what the people wanted.

Mohammed Morsi at a press conference in June 2012.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

The Muslim Brotherhood has denounced the ultimatum. Yasser Hamza, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, said, “For an institution of state to come and stage a coup against the president, this will not happen. Any force that goes against the constitution is a call for sabotage and anarchy.”

The ultimatum was due to the hundreds of thousands of people that protested in Egyptian cities including Alexandria, {Cairo, Port Said, and Suez yesterday, the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration, and today, demanding Morsi resign. Some estimate the turnout was tens of thousands, some hundreds of thousands, and a military source estimated the number at almost fourteen million. In Cairo, the protesters were massed at Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace. At least sixteen people died and 780 were injured in the protests, according to Egyptian Health Ministry spokesman Yehya Moussa.

Stones and petrol bombs were thrown at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been fortified with sandbags. Morsi was a leading member of the Brotherhood. The protesters say the Brotherhood fired on the protesters, killing five. Today the headquarters was overrun and looted.

Late Sunday, the National Salvation Front released a statement telling protesters to “maintain their peaceful [rallies] in all the squares and streets and villages and hamlets of the country… until the last of this dictatorial regime falls” and stated that this has “confirmed the downfall of the regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood”. The National Salvation Front, a secular, liberal organization, has endorsed a petition calling for a snap election, started by the grassroots movement Rebel.

Cquote1.svg maintain their peaceful [rallies] in all the squares and streets and villages and hamlets of the country… until the last of this dictatorial regime falls Cquote2.svg

National Salvation Front in “Revolution Statement 1”

Protesters argue Morsi since taking power has failed to address political deadlock, economic crises, and personal safety problems. Many are angry at the Muslim Brotherhood, which they claim hijacked the Egyptian revolution, seizing authoritarian control and imposing Islamic law.

The BBC reported some protesters showed anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment, noting one flag with a picture of Morsi in a Star of David.

A presidential spokesman, Ihab Fahmi, said people must “unite and listen to the sound of wisdom […] Political diversity necessitates on all parties to abide by the democratic process”. Another spokesman, Omar Amer, said “[Morsi] announced to all of Egypt’s people he made mistakes and that he is in the process of fixing these mistakes […] I want to confirm one truth, if there is a total lack of response to this initiative, no listening to it, no interest in it from any side, what do you think the presidency can do?”. Morsi has said he was validly elected, and denied instigating religious authority clauses in the new Egyptian constitution.


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January 25, 2012

One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

One year on: Egyptians mark anniversary of protests that toppled Mubarak

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

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Across Egypt hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets for the day, marking exactly one year since the outbreak of protests leading to 83-year-old longstanding ruler Hosni Mubarak’s downfall. The country’s decades-long emergency rule was partially lifted this week; meanwhile, a possible economic meltdown looms and a newly-elected parliament held their first meeting on Monday.

Protestors in Tahrir Square during the revolution.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

Protestors in Tahrir Square today.
Image: Gigi Ibrahim.

Despite the new parliament, military rule introduced following Mubarak’s fall last spring remains. Echoing the demands from a year ago, some protesters are demanding the military relinquish power; there are doubts an elected civilian leader will be permitted to replace the army.

The brief unity against Mubarak has since fragmented, with Secularists and Islamists marking the revolution’s anniversary splitting to opposing sides of Cairo’s famed Tahrir Square and chanting at each other. Initial demonstrations last year were mainly from young secularists; now, Islamic parties hold most of the new parliament’s seats — the country’s first democratic one in six decades.

Salafis hold 25% of the seats and 47% are held by the Muslim Brotherhood, which brought supporters to Cairo for the anniversary. Tahrir Square alone contained tens of thousands of people, some witnesses putting the crowd at 150,000 strong. It’s the largest number on the streets since the revolution.

Military rulers planned celebrations including pyrotechnics, commemorative coins, and air displays. The Supreme Council of Armed Forces took power after last year’s February 11 resignation of Mubarak.

Alaa al-Aswani, a pro-democracy activist writing in al-Masry al-Youm, said: “We must take to the streets on Wednesday, not to celebrate a revolution which has not achieved its goals, but to demonstrate peacefully our determination to achieve the objectives of the revolution,” — to “live in dignity, bring about justice, try the killers of the martyrs and achieve a minimum social justice”

Alexandria in the north and the eastern port city of Suez also saw large gatherings. It was bitter fighting in Suez led to the first of the revolution’s 850 casualties in ousting Mubarak. “We didn’t come out to celebrate. We came out to protest against the military council and to tell it to leave power immediately and hand over power to civilians,” said protestor Mohamed Ismail.

“Martyrs, sleep and rest. We will complete the struggle,” chanted crowds in Alexandria, a reference to the 850 ‘martyrs of the revolution’. No convictions are in yet although Mubarak is on trial. Photos of the dead were displayed in Tahrir Square. Young Tahrir chanters went with “Down with military rule” and “Revolution until victory, revolution in all of Egypt’s streets”.

If the protestors demanding the military leave power get their way, the Islamists celebrating election victory face a variety of challenges. For now, Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi — whose career featured twenty years as defence minister under Mubarak — rules the nation and promises to cede power following presidential elections this year.

Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, pictured whilst he was still Mubarak’s defence minister, is now ruling the country.
Image: Helene C. Stikke, US DoD.

The economy is troubled and unemployment is up since Mubarak left. With tourism and foreign investment greatly lower than usual, budget and payment deficits are up — with the Central Bank eating into its reserves in a bid to keep the Egyptian pound from losing too much value.

Last week the nation sought US$3.2 billion from the International Monetary Fund. The IMF insists upon funding also being secured from other donors, and strong support from Egypt’s leaders. IMF estimates say the money could be handed over in a few months — whereas Egypt wanted it in a matter of weeks.

The country has managed to bolster trade with the United States and Jordan. Amr Abul Ata, Egyptian ambassador to the fellow Middle-East state, told The Jordan Times in an interview for the anniversary that trade between the nations increased in 2011, and he expects another increase this year. This despite insurgent attacks reducing Egyptian gas production — alongside electricity the main export to Jordan. Jordan exports foodstuffs to Egypt and has just signed a deal increasing the prices it pays for gas. 2011 trade between the countries was worth US$1 billion.

The anniversary also saw a new trade deal with the US, signed by foreign trade and industry minister Mahmoud Eisa and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk. President Barack Obama promises work to improve U.S. investment in, and trade with, nations changing political systems after the Arab Spring. Details remain to be agreed, but various proposals include US assistance for Egyptian small and medium enterprises. Both nations intend subjecting plans to ministerial scrutiny.

The U.S. hailed “several historic milestones in its transition to democracy” within a matter of days of Egypt’s revolution. This despite U.S.-Egypt ties being close during Mubarak’s rule.

US$1 billion in grants has been received already from Qatar and Saudi Arabia but army rulers refused to take loans from Gulf nations despite offers-in-principle coming from nations including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. Foreign aid has trickled in; no money at all has been sent from G8 nations, despite the G8 Deauville Partnership earmarking US$20 billion for Arab Spring nations.

A total of US$7 billion was promised from the Gulf. The United Kingdom pledged to split £110 million between Egypt and Arab Spring initiator Tunisia. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development says G8 money should start arriving in June, when the presidential election is scheduled.

The African Development Bank approved US$1.5 billion in loans whilst Mubarak still held power but, despite discussions since last March, no further funding has been agreed. The IMF offered a cheap loan six months ago, but was turned away. Foreign investment last year fell from US$6 billion to $375 million.

Rights, justice and public order remain contentious issues. Tantawi lifted the state of emergency on Tuesday, a day before the revolution’s anniversary, but left it in place to deal with the exception of ‘thuggery’. “This is not a real cancellation of the state of emergency,” said Islamist Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan. “The proper law designates the ending of the state of emergency completely or enforcing it completely, nothing in between.”

One year after the protests that led to his loss of power, Hosni Mubarak faces death if convicted of killing those protesting against him.
Image: 2008 World Economic Forum.

The same day, Amnesty International released a report on its efforts to establish basic human rights and end the death penalty in the country. Despite sending a ten-point manifesto to all 54 political parties, only the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (of the Egyptian Bloc liberals) and the left-wing Popular Socialist Alliance Party signed up. Measures included religious freedom, help to the impoverished, and rights for women. Elections did see a handful of women win seats in the new parliament.

The largest parliamentary group is the Freedom and Justice Party of the Muslim Brotherhood, who Amnesty say did not respond. Oral assurances on all but female rights and abolition of the death penalty were given by Al-Nour, the Salafist runners-up in the elections, but no written declaration or signature.

“We challenge the new parliament to use the opportunity of drafting the new constitution to guarantee all of these rights for all people in Egypt. The cornerstone must be non-discrimination and gender equality,” said Amnesty, noting that the first seven points were less contentious amongst the twelve responding parties. There was general agreement for free speech, free assembly, fair trials, investigating Mubarak’s 30-year rule for atrocities, and lifting the state of emergency. A more mixed response was given to ensuring no discrimination against LGBT individuals, whilst two parties claimed reports of Coptic Christian persecution are exaggerated.

Mubarak himself is a prominent contender for the death penalty, currently on trial for the killings of protesters. The five-man prosecution team are also seeking death for six senior police officers and the chief of security in the same case. Corruption offences are also being tried, with Gamal Mubarak and Alaa Mubarak accused alongside their father Hosni.

The prosecution case has been hampered by changes in witness testimony and there are complaints of Interior Ministry obstruction in producing evidence. Tantawi has testified in a closed hearing that Mubarak never ordered protesters shot.

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Hisham Talaat Moustafa, an ex-MP and real estate billionaire, is another death penalty candidate. He, alongside Ahmed Sukkari, was initially sentenced to death for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Lebanese pop star Suzanne Tamim. A new trial was granted on procedural grounds and he is now serving a fifteen-year term for paying Sukkari US$2 million to slit 30-year-old’s Tamim’s throat in Dubai. Her assassin was caught when police followed him back to his hotel and found a shirt stained with her blood; he was in custody within two hours of the murder.

The court of appeals is now set to hear another trial for both men after the convictions were once more ruled unsound.

A military crackdown took place last November, the morning after a major protest, and sparking off days of violence. Egypt was wary of a repeat this week, with police and military massed near Tahrir Square whilst volunteers manned checkpoints into the square itself.

The military has pardoned and released at least 2,000 prisoners jailed following military trials, prominently including a blogger imprisoned for defaming the army and deemed troublesome for supporting Israel. 26-year-old Maikel Nabil was given a three year sentence in April. He has been on hunger strike alleging abuse at the hands of his captors. He wants normalised relations with Israel. Thousands have now left Tora prison in Cairo.

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February 1, 2011

Egypt protests: Army say they will not use force on demonstrators as Mubarak announces cabinet

Egypt protests: Army say they will not use force on demonstrators as Mubarak announces cabinet

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Egypt
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  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
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Egyptian army soldiers monitor protests over the weekend.
Image: Ramy Raoof.

The president of Egypt has suffered a “devastating blow” after the country’s army announced they would not use force against their own people, who continue to protest against the government tonight. The news came hours after six journalists who reported on the protests were released from custody.

Hosni Mubarak yesterday announced a new cabinet, which does not include several figures who protesters largely do not approve of. Analysts have, however, suggested little had changed within the government; many positions, they say, are filled with military figures.

Army will ‘not use force’

Cquote1.svg To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people. Cquote2.svg

Egyptian army statement

In a statement broadcast on state media in Egypt, the army said: “To the great people of Egypt, your armed forces, acknowledging the legitimate rights of the people … have not and will not use force against the Egyptian people.” A BBC correspondent in Cairo said the announcement meant it “now seems increasingly likely that the 30-year rule of Mr Mubarak is drawing to a close.”

“The presence of the army in the streets is for your sake and to ensure your safety and wellbeing. The armed forces will not resort to use of force against our great people,” the statement added. “Your armed forces, who are aware of the legitimacy of your demands and are keen to assume their responsibility in protecting the nation and the citizens, affirms that freedom of expression through peaceful means is guaranteed to everybody.”

Journalists released

Earlier today, six journalists from the independent news network Al-Jazeera were released from custody after being detained by police. The U.S. State Department criticized the arrests; equipment was reportedly confiscated from the journalists.

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Egyptian officials yesterday ordered the satellite channel to stop broadcasting in the country. Al-Jazeera said they were “appalled” by the government’s decision to close its Egyptian offices, which they described as the “latest attack by the Egyptian regime to strike at its freedom to report independently on the unprecedented events in Egypt.”

In a statement, the news agency added: “Al-Jazeera sees this as an act designed to stifle and repress the freedom of reporting by the network and its journalists. In this time of deep turmoil and unrest in Egyptian society it is imperative that voices from all sides be heard; the closing of our bureau by the Egyptian government is aimed at censoring and silencing the voices of the Egyptian people.”

On Friday, Wikinews reported the government had shut off practically all Internet traffic both out of and into the nation, as well as disrupting cellphone usage. A spokesperson for the social networking website Facebook said “limiting Internet access for millions of people is a matter of concern for the global community.”

Protests continue

Protesters in Tahrir Square on Sunday.
Image: Mona.

A reported 50,000 campaigners, who are demanding the long-time leader step down and complaining of poverty, corruption, and oppression, filled Tahrir Square in Cairo today, chanting “We will stay until the coward leaves.” It is thought 100 people have so far died in the demonstrations. Today there have been protests in Suez, Mansoura, Damanhour, and Alexandria.

Speaking to news media in the area, many protesters said the new cabinet did little to quell their anger. “We want a complete change of government, with a civilian authority,” one said. Another added: “This is not a new government. This is the same regime—this is the same bluff. [Mubarak] has been bluffing us for 30 years.”

In Tahrir Square today, protesters played music as strings of barbed wire and army tanks stood nearby. Demonstrators scaled light poles, hanging Egyptian flags and calling for an end to Mubarak’s rule. “One poster featured Mubarak’s face plastered with a Hitler mustache, a sign of the deep resentment toward the 82-year-old leader they blame for widespread poverty, inflation and official indifference and brutality during his 30 years in power,” one journalist in the square reported this evening.



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May 14, 2009

Egyptian archaeologists announce discovery of marble statue and 132 new sites

Egyptian archaeologists announce discovery of marble statue and 132 new sites

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Egypt
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  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
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Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s pre-eminent archaeologist, and Secretary General of the The Supreme Council of Antiquities, has announced that a rare statue constructed of white marble whose features resemble Alexander the Great has been discovered in Egypt. Hawass also stated that there are satellite photographs identifying many archeological sites which may also reveal buried monuments.

Stock photo of a bust of Alexander the Great

Calliope Papacosta was leading the Greek archaeological excavation in Alexandria when the white marble statue was found.

“A ribbon around the head of the statue proves that it belongs to an important person for such ribbon was used only be[sic] rulers,” said Hawass, “The 80 cm long, 23 cm wide statue has been discovered eight meters deep under the earth surface.”

Salt Man Head in the Iran Bastan Museum

Farouk Hosni, Egypt’s Culture Minister, is supporting archaeological dig sites and has set into place laws restricting illegal digging in confirmed archaeological sites which may contain historical monuments. The monument photography project, National Authority for Remote Sensing, Space Sciences (NARRS) and Mubarak City for Scientific Research (MuCSAT) combined Satellites technology, aerial photography and ground laser to locate 132 sites which have not yet been excavated.

One of these sites is north of Lake Qarun in the Faiyum area, and another at Habu city. Archaeologists are presently being sent out by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism to areas before construction and building excavations to preserve invaluable archaeological treasures. At the Faiyum site near Cairo artifacts dating to diverse time periods have been found amongst these, an awl for stitching leather, fishing tackle, weapons, jewellery, pottery, coins, sawfish, whale fossils, and a 3150 BC block portraying one of the two leaders named King Scorpion.

Meanwhile, in other archaeological news, Iran’s three salt mummies found in the Chehrabad Salt Mine in 1993 will be moved to a technologically advanced vacuum chamber display case in Zanjan for better preservation. These mummies or Salt Men have been dated as being from the Parthian 237 BCE – 224 CE and Sassanid era, 224 – 651 CE.



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April 19, 2009

Egyptian archaeologist finds artifacts which may lead to Cleopatra\’s tomb

Egyptian archaeologist finds artifacts which may lead to Cleopatra’s tomb

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Egypt
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  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
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Zahi Hawass, Egypt’s pre-eminent archaeologist, revealed the first ancient artifacts which may lead to the discovery of Cleopatra and Marc Antony‘s resting place.

The expedition has found amulets, 22 bronze coins cast with Cleopatra’s image and her name, a royal statue, an alabaster mask resembling Marc Antony, and a statue bust of Cleopatra. “If you look at the face of Mark Antony, many believed he had this cleft on his chin and that’s why I thought this could be Mark Antony,” said Hawass.

“In my opinion, if this tomb is found, it will be one of the most important discoveries of the 21st century because of the love between Cleopatra and Mark Antony, and because of the sad story of their death. This is the perfect place for them to be hidden,” said Hawass.

Recently, outside the temple colourful mummies of nobles were excavated at a neighbouring necropolis. These discoveries have lead the archaeologists to believe that a ruler or person of royalty is interred within the temple itself. It was the practice of the Greco-Roman era to assemble the tombs of persons of status and other high ranking officials near their rulers.

“The discovery of the cemetery this week really convinced me that there is someone important buried inside this temple. No one would be buried outside a temple without a reason. We saw that in the pharaonic days, they were always buried beside pyramids,” explained Hawass.

“She needed a place to be protected in the afterlife. If she had used the other burial site, she would have disappeared forever,” said Kathleen Martinez, a Dominican archaeologist. She feels that “it could be Taposiris Magna because it was the most sacred temple of its time.”

Dr. Roger Vickers team used radar to locate three chambers within the rocky hill atop of which is the Temple of Taposiris Magna dedicated to the goddess Isis. The temple was constructed about 300 BC by Ptolemy II.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) expedition led by Hawass has yet to excavate the burial chambers 40 feet (12 meters) underground where they hope to find a crown or Egyptian hieroglyph {{w|cartouche]]s revealing the names of royalty. The team will employ radar again on April 22.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities expedition consists of Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of the SCA, and Martinez who has extensively researched the life of Cleopatra.

Zahi Hawass
Image: Hajor.

According to Plutarch who studied Roman history, Caesar allowed Marc Antony and Cleopatra to be buried in the same tomb.

Alexandria is located about 30 miles (48 km) from the Temple of Taposiris Magna. The archaeological site is on a hill along the Mediterranean Sea overlooking the summer home of Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt. The archaeologists fear they may have to postpone work for security reasons over the summer months.



Related news

  • “30 brightly coloured mummies discovered in Egyptian necropolis” — Wikinews, April 13, 2009
  • “Egyptian treasures found in ancient tomb” — Wikinews, March 13, 2009

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December 26, 2008

Egyptian teacher who killed child receives prison term

Egyptian teacher who killed child receives prison term

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Friday, December 26, 2008

An Egyptian teacher who kicked a schoolboy to death after he failed to complete his homework has been given a six year prison sentence for manslaughter.

Cquote1.svg Hitting [children] is not banned in schools and my client did not break the law. Cquote2.svg

—Lawyer for Haitham Nabeel Abdelhamid

Islam Amr Badr, the schoolboy, died in a hospital in Alexandria with four broken ribs, according to testimony heard by the court.

Cquote1.svg The minister of education should be the first person to be accused – how can he agree to let such a young man teach children Cquote2.svg

—Amr Badr Ibrahim, father of Islam Amr Badr

In response to these allegations, Haitham Nabeel Abdelhamid, the convicted teacher, stated that he was not intending to hurt the child, he was merely intending to discipline him.

The lawyer for Abdelhamid also defended his client’s actions. He stated that “Hitting [children] is not banned in schools and my client did not break the law.”

The Egyptian government has announced new measures and released statements regarding corporal punishment‘s eradication in response to this case.

Amr Badr Ibrahim, the father of the schoolboy killed, has called for more people than just the teacher to be blamed for the death. “The problem is the teaching and the teachers because they cannot find good teachers,” he claimed. “The minister of education should be the first person to be accused – how can he agree to let such a young man teach children?”



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October 9, 2008

At least twelve killed after building collapses in Alexandria, Egypt

At least twelve killed after building collapses in Alexandria, Egypt

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Egypt
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  • 16 February 2015: Islamic State execute 21 Coptic Christians held in Libya
  • 27 January 2015: Greek singer Demis Roussos dies aged 68
  • 23 December 2014: Egypt opens Rafah border crossing for additional day
  • 16 December 2014: Freighter hits fishing boat in Gulf of Suez; thirteen dead
  • 24 November 2014: Sisi: Egypt willing to send stabilizing forces to future Palestinian State
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At least twelve bodies have been recovered from the rubble of an apartment building in Alexandria, Egypt. Ten people were hospitalized after the four-storey structure, which was illegal, collapsed in at around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday. No survivors have been pulled out since an eleven year old girl was rescued this morning. Search and rescue operations hare scheduled to end tonight.

The 53-year-old building was illegally modified in 1997 with the addition of two extra floors by owner Majdi al-Ishaqi. Two years ago, a court ordered the extra floors to be demolished but this never happened. Another subsequent order for renovations was also ignored. Structural alterations were demanded but never made.

“It was not in keeping with housing regulations. This is the third building to collapse in the district. The municipality cannot be exonerated,” said Saleh Subhi of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood. “The building was already ready to collapse.”

Two neighbouring apartment blocks were also evacuated, one suffering a partial roof collapse. One survivor, Samih Nazmi, said he and his parents escaped their ground floor dwelling relatively unscathed as the ground floor remained largely intact. He also described a sound akin to that of an exploding gas canister as the building came down.



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October 10, 2007

Wikimania jury chooses Alexandria for 2008 location

Wikimania jury chooses Alexandria for 2008 location

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

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Wikimania 2008
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Wikimania 2008
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  • Wikimania 2008
File:BACC.jpg
External view of the venue, Bibliotheca Alexandriana Convention Center

According to an official mailing list post from Wikimedia Volunteer Coordinator Cary Bass, Wikimania 2008 will be held in Alexandria, Egypt.

The location was chosen because it is “particularly strong in the areas of reflecting the Wikimedia Foundation’s roots in geo-diversity and multi-lingualism”. According to the final tally, Alexandria placed first in the Funding, Location, Organizing Team, Rotation, Cost, and Venue. Alexandria had 3026 points total.

In second place with 2419 points was Atlanta, Georgia, United States. They placed first in Accommodation, Internet Access, Local Laws, Press, and Social Areas.

Finally, Cape Town, South Africa had 2003 points, placing first in Visas only.

The motto selected for Alexandria’s bid is “Let The Knowledge Be Free Everywhere”, Atlanta’s was “A new day for the New South”, and Cape Town’s was “Wikimania 2008. The International Wikimania Conference.”

According to the post, the Jury used 12 different categories including Accommodation, Funding, Internet Access, Press, Organizing Team, and Visas. Each member of the jury had 60 points to assign to the three proposed venues.

The decision has provoked some debate on the selection process, complaints have been raised about honour killings and gay rights within Egypt, with some asserting that the human rights record of the country should have factored more into the decision process. In reaction to this criticism Jimmy Wales has decided his talk at the conference will be entitled “Free knowledge and human rights“.

Karlsruhe, London, and Toronto submitted official bids, but later withdrew at various points throughout the process.



Sources

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April 2, 2006

Greek President attends inauguration of Greek Orthodox Church in Egypt

Greek President attends inauguration of Greek Orthodox Church in Egypt

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Sunday, April 2, 2006

The President of the Hellenic Republic, Carolos Papoulias, attended the inauguration ceremony of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Alexandria, Egypt. The ceremony was blessed by the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew. Also attending, in addition to the Greek President, were two ministers of the Greek government, a former Prime Minister of Greece, many Greek businessmen and the Orthodox bishops of Africa.

The development of the Church of the Annunciation in Alexandria has been financed by the Onassis Foundation. Tomorrow, President Papoulias will meet unofficially in Cairo with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt.

External Sources

Vivian Papastefanou. “Papoulias’ Visit in Egypt” — ERT, April 2, 2006

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March 30, 2005

Egyptians protest against President despite ban

Egyptians protest against President despite ban

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 Hundreds of demonstrators have taken to the streets of cities across Egypt to protest against a possible fifth term of President Hosni Mubarak.

Activists are campaigning to prevent Mubarak from gaining another term after 24 years in power. They are also calling for his son Gamal not to stand in elections in September and also that reforms are made to the country’s constitution.

Hundreds of Kifaya (“Enough”) protesters were met by thousands of riot police in Cairo and were prevented from reaching the parliament buildings. Protests in Alexandria were called off after security forces sealed off all routes in to the area of the planned protest. People later said that the police allowed a pro-Mubarak rally shortly afterwards.

The security chief of Cairo has stated that the police will no longer tolerate such protests. He is quoted by BBC News as saying “If we are getting to the stage of getting used to violating [the rules], then the principle is that legal regulations must be implemented.” Street demonstrations have been illegal since laws were enacted after the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat.

One leader of Kifaya was reported as saying the large deployment of security personnel had turned Cairo into “a military zone”.

Sources


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