11 July 2010
Referred to court
Egypt’s prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud has referred the two plainclothes policemen charged with illegal arrest and brutality in the death of 26-year-old Khaled Said of Alexandria on 6 June to court. In a case that drew attention of governments and human rights activists, witnesses said the two policemen dragged Said out of an internet cafe and beat him to death. Two State autopsies, however, insisted Said died of suffocation after swallowing a packet of drugs. Lawyers say the charges: “unlawful arrest, torture and excessive use of force” carry a sentence of 15 years.
A new tax on tobacco products which took effect on the first day of this month has raised cigarette prices by as much as 40 per cent. A 100 per cent duty has been added to tobacco used in shisha (water pipes). It is hoped that the new tax would curb smoking and help fund health and social service programmes. World Health Organisation figures show the number of smokers in Egypt has grown more than twice as fast as the population over the past 30 years. Health Ministry officials say the new tax is expected to generate some USD345 million in additional revenue.
Egypt was awarded the prestigious title of Offshoring Destination of the Year at the 2010 European Outsourcing Association (EOA) Awards held in Brussels on 29 June, beating rivals Philippines, Colombia and Sri Lanka to the accolade. Dr Hazem Abdelazim, CEO of Egypt##s Information Technology Industry Development Agency received the award on behalf of Egypt during a glittering ceremony held at the Chateau Du Lac in Brussels. Martyn Hart, EOA Chairman said: “Egypt stood out for its multilingual capabilities and developments made to its infrastructure.”
Shareholders of the Egyptian Co. for Mobile Services (Mobinil) have agreed to acquire the assets of Internet service provider LinkdotNet from Orascom Telecom Holding SAE. The acquisition is part of an agreement that settled a legal dispute between Orascom and France Telecom SA, the two biggest shareholders of the Cairo-based Mobinil. LinkdotNet competes in offering Internet services in Egypt with TE Data of Telecom Egypt, which controls more than 60 per cent of the broadband market in the country.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) has announced the excavation of an unfinished tunnel inside the tomb of the Pharaoh Seti I (1314-1304BC) in Luxor’s West Bank. The 174-metre-long tunnel stretches away from the main tomb descending two staircases before abruptly ending. SCA secretary-general Zahi Hawass said that the unfinished tunnel may have been an attempt by the pharaoh to build a secret tomb-within-a-tomb before he died. Archaeologists found figurines, pottery shards and written instructions from the architect to the workmen in the tunnel. The tunnel was first discovered in 1960, but only now has the whole length been excavated.
An evening of Egyptian music and song was recently held in Brussels by the Egyptian embassy there. A European and Arab audience enjoyed the magnificent melodies of the most prominent Egyptian composers and singers of the 20th century, including Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, al-Asabgi, Baligh Hamdi, Umm Kolthoum, Asmahan and Nagah Sallam. The grand finale saw the Egyptians in the audience warmly join in the beloved song Ya ahla Ism fil-Wogoud ya Masr (Egypt, the best name that ever existed)