27 June 2010
A recent oil spill off the Red Sea coast of Hurghada has had environmentalists up in arms demanding tighter regulation of offshore oil platforms. The spill was caused by leakage from an offshore oil platform north of Hurghada and has showed up on tourist beach resorts, and has polluted protected areas threatening to damage marine life in the area.
Hurghada draws millions of tourists who come to dive or snorkle all year round. Authorities protective of the lucrative tourism industry were eager to resolve the matter quickly. Red Sea governor Magdi Qubeisi said that nearly 80 per cent of an oil slick has been cleared. The oil companies causing the spill have said they will pay damages, but it is the environmental damage that is causing the utmost concern.
Suez Canal revenue
The revenue from the Suez Canal rose to USD395 million in May, a 15 per cent gain over the same month in 2009, the head of the Suez Canal Authority Ahmed Fadel has said. The gains are the highest since November 2009, when canal revenues were USD365.5 million, Mr Fadel said. At the time, international trade was hard hit by the global economic meltdown. The canal is one of Egypt’s chief sources of foreign currency revenue; the others include Egyptian worker remittances from abroad, and tourism.
The embassies of the 27 European Union member states, jointly with European-Egyptian workforce organisations, have last weekend held a cultural and touristic event under the title “European Street” at the Antoniadis Gardens in Alexandria. Musicians and artists from the two shores of the Mediterranean celebrated the start of summer, granting Alexandrians the opportunity to experience various cultures from across Europe and the Mediterranean region. They were able to sample traditional food and drinks from all around Europe, participate in a first joint performance of hip-hop artists from France, Germany, Turkey and Egypt, and watch together live World Cup football. They also learned about the various opportunities offered by institutions in Egypt ranging from international mobility to cultural and learning experiences.
Foxes and chameleons
At Cairo International Airport, security officials recently stopped a 36-year-old Egyptian traveller and asked him to open his suspiciously large suitcase. Inside, they found a squirming mass of eight live foxes and 50 chameleons confined in small plastic cages. The animals were confiscated and turned over to the Giza zoo. According to airport officials, the man said he planned to sell the animals in Thailand, use the money to buy cell phone parts and a computer that he would resell upon returning to Egypt. Though he was released by police, the man elected to stay in Egypt saying he did not want to be separated from his animals. Transporting live reptiles out of the country is illegal in Egypt.
Airport officials often confiscate live animals being smuggled out of Cairo, often for destinations in the Gulf. In 2007, police stopped a man carrying a large numbers of reptiles, including baby crocodiles, chameleons and a cobra, he said were for use at a Saudi university. In another case that year, a Saudi was discovered with 700 snakes in his carry on luggage. He told authorities they were popular as pets in his country.