Pope Shenouda III sent his condolences to the family of the Egyptian doctor Marwa al-Sherbini who was murdered in a courtroom in Dresden, Germany, by an Islam-hater. For his part, the German Ambassador in Cairo, Bernd Erbel, issued an official declaration expressing deep sorrow at the Sherbini murder. Many people in Egypt and Germany wrote to the German Embassy in Cairo expressing shock and grief at the murder.
Urban inflation in Egypt has slowed to 9.9 per cent in June from 10.2 per cent the previous month, the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics said. With inflation at its lowest in 18 months, the central bank has lowered its overnight deposit rate by half a percentage point in June to 9 percent, the fourth cut this year, and is expected to review its rate decision on 30 July. The impact of the cut was blunted, however, as the majority of banks did not lower their interest to avoid deterioration in returns on deposits for the household sector. A rise in food prices is shortly expected ahead of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan which coincides with August/September this year. Food makes up 47 per cent of the consumer price index in Egypt. Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali said that the Egyptian economy grew by some 4.7 per cent in the fiscal year that ended last June, compared to 7.2 per cent in the previous year, as the global financial crisis hurt revenue from tourism and the Suez Canal.
A spokesman for the Suez Canal Authority announced that revenue from the international waterway dipped 26 per cent to USD384.2 million last June compared to USD471.4 million in June 2008. The number of vessels crossing the canal dropped form 1,819 in June 2008 to 1,401 last June.
Philips Lighting has launched a campaign in Egypt to promote a general switch to energy efficient lighting. The benefits include considerable cost and energy savings, a reduction in load on power stations, and consequent reduced carbon emissions. The campaign highlights the fact that the current switch over rate to energy efficient lighting in Egypt, as throughout the World, is too slow and needs to speed up. At current rates it will take up to 30 years to benefit from today’s energy savings.
A new trove of antiquities has been found under the western wing of the Egyptian Museum, while workers were carrying out renovation works to the museum. This was the second trove to be found in a matter of a few days. Secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Zahi Hawwas explained that it was customary for archaeologists before 1952 to bury in the museum grounds antiquities which they believed to be non-authentic. The newly-found troves thus have to be checked for authenticity, he said. The last one comprised nine pieces including a limestone offering table, stones inscribed with hieroglyphs, and a cobra that dates back to the Ramses Dynasty (1304 – 1192BC).
Lungs of the world
The governor of South Sinai has announced that Sharm al-Sheikh would become the first “green” town in the world, in response to the initiative of “Sharm al-Sheikh: the lungs of the world” put forward by the global conference of the renewable energy recently held in the town. He said the governorate had taken the lead in powering traffic signals with solar power and providing electricity using solar energy.