Egyptian prosecutors have charged the two policemen Maher Hassan and Hassan Sobhi with murdering Nasr Gadallah, 37, in August last year by throwing him off a balcony in Cairo. Forensic examination confirmed Gadallah had died of the impact, but offered no opinion as to whether he was pushed or jumped. Gadallah’s case is one of a number of high profile cases of suspected police abuse that gained wide-spread attention after a video circulated on the Internet last year showed a man being sodomised with a stick in a Cairo police station. Following the incident two policemen were sentenced to three years in prison.
Last week Egypt took part in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The conference discussed money transactions via mobile phones, investment and partnership opportunities between governments and companies, 3G technologies and pricing strategies. The GSM Association (GSMA), a global trade association representing more than 700 GSM mobile phone operators in 218 countries, organised the conference.
Egypt Day in NYSE
The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) earlier this month hosted the first Egypt Day, with Investment Minister Mahmoud Mohieeddin attending. The event was organised by Beltone Financial, the fastest growing investment bank in the Middle East and North Africa region with assets-under-management of $5 billion. A host of Egyptian businessmen attended.
The fifth international creativity forum for theatrical groups was held earlier this month by the Arts Centre of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and the Swedish Institute of Alexandria. Participants hailed from 24 European and Mediterranean countries; 16 plays were performed and 14 training workshops were held. A special training programme was conducted for school theatre directors, and sessions on cultural diversity and freedom of expression in theatre were held. Through its first publishing programme, the Creativity Forum will publish six plays from Austria, Holland, Poland, Scotland, Slovenia, and Tunisia, translated from and into Arabic.
Valley of the whales
The Valley of the Whales in Fayoum some 100km southwest Cairo was placed on UNESCO’s world natural heritage list, which includes 259 locations worldwide, last July. A ceremony was held on site last weekend, with Mrs Suzanne Mubarak presiding, to inaugurate the site as an open museum. The valley, which is home to some 400 whale fossils dating back to more than 40 million years, was last year declared a national park.
A delegation from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) has left to New York City to examine antiquities believed to be stolen from a Cairo University storehouse in 1987. US Army helicopter pilot Edward George Johnson, 44, was arrested earlier this month in Alabama on charges of selling some 80 pieces of stolen antiquities. The US Department of Homeland Security informed the SCA, suggesting that Egyptians and Americans had helped the pilot smuggle the pieces into the US. SCA secretary-general Zahi Hawwas said a picture of the US pilot will be shown to Huriya Abdel-Baqi, a Cairo University storekeeper who, after 370 artefacts dating to 3,000 BC and earlier were found missing from the storehouse in 1987, became the prime suspect. Johnson was stationed in Egypt in 2002 and sold the antiquities to a Texas art dealer in 2003, alleging his grandfather had acquired the antiquities when he worked in Egypt in the 1930s and 1940s.