Tarek Atia's web log

Find out how the world media sees Egypt...



The details emerge
The Egyptian delegation going to Zurich to present the 2010 World Cup bid to FIFA is named. It is headed by Parliamentary speaker Fathi Surour and also includes actor Omar Sharif, reports the BBC. 

One of the members is quoted as saying that "The file is 3,700 pages long and weighs 34 kilograms,... Fifa officials will find answers to all their questions in this file. I am sure it will be more than satisfactory for them."

No new expeditions
South is off limits as the Supreme Council for Archaeology wants foreign missions to concentrate on the Delta

In memoriam...
Hoda Abdel-Nasser launches on 33rd anniversary of  her father's death

New mufti!
Ali Gomaa -- the "modern sheikh" (as described in an interview a few years ago in Nisf El-Donya magazine) ha been appointed Egypy's new mufti...

Repentant militant released
Karam Zohdi -- the Sadat assassination mastermind who has made high profile renunciations of violence -- was released from jail...

Web posted by Tarek Atia Tuesday, September 30, 2003 3:00 CAIRO



NDP in the news
The National Democratic Party's (NDP -- Egypt's ruling party) first annual conference is all over the foreign press.

An AP pre-conference report says people are skeptical about the ruling party's claims about introducing more democratization to the country, and that many think the conference is just a way to boost presidential son Gamal Mubarak's profile. 

Ahram Strategic Studies Center head Abdel-Moneim Said, meanwhile, is quoted as urging the president to follow through on the economic reform plans begun in the 90s. "He said capitalism is bound to create a middle class that also would push for political reform," AP reports. This is certainly a highly debatable point, however, since it is unclear whether those with money would ever consider dropping their "pro-wasta (connections)" attitude, an attitude that is in many ways the true antithesis of democracy.

At the same time, AFP does a story generalizing that more Egyptians are falling from middle to lower class because of rising prices and dwindling incomes. The report says dependence on cheaper Chinese goods has been the net result of this worrying trend.

AFP also provides excerpts from Gamal's speech to the NDP congress.

Meanwhile... the boldest prediction yet on this matter comes from Refaat al-Said, a political analyst quoted in the New York Times: "This is a step-by-step elevation of Gamal to power... I believe Gamal will be president in one or two years."

And in the US...
Foreign Minister Maher waxes poetic about Saddam and Arafat during a meeting with a top political think tank.

Web posted by Tarek Atia Sunday, September 28, 2003 14:00 CAIRO



An ode to Heikal
Lebanon's Daily Star recounts the high and low points of esteemed journalist Mohamed Hassanein Heikal's life, as he turns 80 and considers retiring

Important decision
Children with foreign fathers and Egyptian mothers may now "seek" Egyptian citizenship. Each case will be examined to see if it meets the proper conditions, which have not really been spelled out by the media as of yet. It seems the catalyst for the decision was lobbying by the National Council of Women.

How to fly
Kites used to survey ancient sites near military area, says this National Geographic report

Where's the beef?
In-depth article on beef imports from

Web posted by Tarek Atia Thursday, September 25, 2003 14:00 CAIRO



Censorship can be scarier
That's the conclusion to be drawn from this AP article on censorship in Egypt picked up by MSNBC.

Population explosion
That's the root of problems like the current bread shortage, Mubarak says.

The carnage continues
A tragic crash kills eight schoolgirls and seriously injures 12 more.

Arrested in Italy
Investigated for terror ties, the Egyptian fishermen immigrants say they did nothing wrong.

Egyptian Yahoo millionaire wants to be the Amazon of Egypt

Web posted by Tarek Atia Tuesday, September 23, 2003 5:00 CAIRO



Money talks
Of the many articles that have appeared in the last few days about the Euromoney conference on Arab investment that just took place in Cairo, the one highlighting Minister Youssef Boutros Ghali's statements about Egypt boosting its export production, might be the most interesting. It appears in Business Day.

Another far flung piece -- in -- highlights the minister's criticism of Daimler Chyrsler for not being supportive about the fact that Egypt had begun selling its locally assembled Mercedes to China -- since that was cutting into the parent company's market.

This is interesting
Egypt is making a concerted effort to attract seniors to spend their winters here, as this World Leisure News article points out.

Angling for history
A Sports Minister's sound bite -- "You dive or sail in the morning and watch the World Cup in the afternoon" -- figures prominently in this BBC piece that basically promotes Egypt's bid to host the 2010 World Cup

Monakabas dealing drugs
AFP echoes an Akhbar story on the veiled Assuit bango dealers

Tall tale?
Egyptian border patrol allow couple in because they're related to a soccer star, the British tabloid The Mirror claims

Strange days
Egyptian diplomat in Yemen gets tangled up in a botched kidnapping.

Web posted by Tarek Atia Sunday, September 21, 2003 4:00 CAIRO



A day of politics
The US vetoes the Arafat resolution in the UN, and Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa weigh in with their reactions in this Washington Post piece.

In a Sharq Al-Awsat interview picked up by the agencies, Maher has advice for both sides. He tells the Palestinian resistance to stop killing innocent women and children, and Israel to stop consistently breaking international laws.

A strong card
Salama Ahmed Salama's astute reaction to the Arafat expulsion brouhaha makes the Bahraini press.

A slightly better job
AP does a eulogy for Sadat's peace efforts on Camp David's 25th anniversary... 

Meanwhile, former US President Jimmy Carter, one of the architects of that treaty, says that current US president George W Bush would need at least 13 days of concentration on this issue alone to forge a similar deal between Israel and the Palestinians. 

Meanwhile... Arab News tries to figure out why the Israeli diplomatic mission in Cairo is so huge. This editorial says there's some snooping going on.

Web posted by Tarek Atia Thursday, September 18, 2003 4:00 CAIRO



Globalization at work at work
Egypt soccer league sponsorship is part of mobile giant Vodafone's global plan, this article makes clear.

Politics and opera
A charming story about a Tennessee college student's recent visit to Egypt as part of a Model Arab League tour...

Museum upgrade
AP makes an intriguing comparison between traditional human guides and the new digital guides at the Egyptian museum in Tahrir

See's dispatch on the museum's centenary

Anniversaries come and go
Reuters does a superficial analysis of Camp David 25 years later...

Web posted by Tarek Atia Tuesday, September 16, 2003 3:00 CAIRO


Revoking the curse
Egypt's top archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, waxes poetic about the  "pharaoh's curse". Also called the "mummy's curse", this was allegedly a way the ancient Egyptians used to prevent people from digging up tombs. You dig up the tomb, you die

Hawass has always dismissed these curses as myths. This week, he's gotten massive world press after announcing that the Supreme Council of Archeology will be conducting tests on tombs to see if the "pharaoh's curse" really exists...

He still thinks it doesn't. Now, however, he wants to prove it scientifically, to show that any accidents that did happen in the past may have been caused by other factors, like diseases that develop from human mummies...

Sharif won't quit
International superstar Omar Sharif keeps getting quoted in the world press -- this time about the possibility of winning an Oscar, the Sodom and Gomorrah he saw in the Hollywood in the 60s, and much more...

''Monumental error''
That's what President Hosni Mubarak says kicking out Arafat would be.

Tour news
AP and CNN do Farafra.

Web posted by Tarek Atia Saturday, September 13, 2003 19:00 CAIRO



Migrant tales
Egyptian immigrant to New Zealand makes headlines for not being able to find a job for 3 years. He has 500 rejection letters in a folder. So now he's going to try his luck in Australia...

Meanwhile, here's another sad story about an Egyptian immigrant to the States who may soon be leaving his wife and kids behind...

Meanwhile.. Egyptian sailors try to slip ashore illegally...

PLUS People-smuggling gun battle takes place in Sinai.

Would Mubarak visit Israel?
Only if it would help, he tells an Italian paper.

Meanwhile, Mubarak -- in Italy -- says Egypt doesn't fully trust Arafat, but it would be wrong to dismiss him altogether, like the US and Israel have done.

Web posted by Tarek Atia Thursday, September 11, 2003 12:00 CAIRO



World must speak up, Egypt says
''We condemn Israel's actions against civilians. Destroying homes and killing people with aircraft in streets crowded with civilians is a crime,'' Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said of Saturday's attack on Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Change of heart?
Has Arab League said okay to Iraqi seat in Cairo?

Meanwhile... Reuters reports that "Security guards thwarted an attempt by two Libyan youths to assault Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal Monday at his hotel in Cairo."

Court in session
Egyptian people smuggler on trial

Web posted by Tarek Atia Tuesday, September 9, 2003 11:00 CAIRO



BBC double whammy
A tiger mash and rumors of veil banning on TV.

Web posted by Tarek Atia Sunday, September 7, 2003 11:00 CAIRO


Reefs in trouble?
A new report, published in last week's Science magazine, deals with 14 major tropical reef systems, including some in the Pacific, Atlantic, the Red Sea and off Australia.

It concludes that "reefs will not survive without immediate protection from human exploitation" across wide swaths of ocean.

I guess that's what they call tourism's double edged sword...

Greater capability?
The Washington Times carries a UPI wire report about Egypt's vague new SAM military technology

"I'm happy that I'm not going to jail"
Egyptian international soccer star gets suspension, community service hours, for roughing up his Danish girlfriend

Chahine gets thoughtful about his new film, which -- strangely enough -- deals with both post-911 US as well as the US Chahine visited and fell in love with in the 1940s

Web posted by Tarek Atia Friday, September 5, 2003 11:00 CAIRO



Too risky
Egyptian government says no to request for security labor in Iraq....

Religion and politics
"More important than the government implementing sharia (Islamic law), people themselves should follow the requirements of sharia in their everyday lives," Sabir said...

Part of a thoughtful Reuters look at religion and politics

No holds barred
A Guardian columnist takes aim at the idea of suing all Jews for stealing ancient Egyptian treasures

Education in flux
A major Boston Globe expose on Egyptian education. This one pulls out all the stops... education is becoming more religious... grades are finessed to ensure a high passing rate.. etc.

One interesting note is that there are very few field trips in a country rich in antiquities... how true..

The award for bluntest statement of the year goes to Lila Soueif, a lecturer at Cairo University, who tells the paper that "The core problem is that the system is flawed completely, from beginning to end." 

Meanwhile... Lebanon's Daily Star deals with Thanawiyya amma suicides

Web posted by Tarek Atia Wednesday, September 3, 2003 1:00 CAIRO



Sharif's comeback?
Superstar Omar Sharif is in Venice these days -- receiving a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival, and promoting his new film, "Monsieur Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Quran".

The film opened to critical acclaim; its subject matter -- a profound friendship between an older Muslim shopkeeper and a young Jewish teenager in 1960s Paris -- may raise eyebrows back home.

Sharif, meanwhile, has his mind on other things. He laments never having been in love in the "most beautiful city in the world."

Must see
New antiquities museum for Alex.

A harbor underground
Interesting discoveries in the south.

Meanwhile... There's lots of evidence against the recent headline grabbing claims of a mummy being Nefertiti. This Reuters piece picked up by MSNBC presents most of it.

Raw politics
Update: Now the Al-Azhar cleric who issued the fatwa against the Iraqi Governing Council is going to be investigated, according to AFP. (see "Confusing Fatwa", below)

El-Hakim was critical of US in last interview -- a final hour interview in Al-Ahram is picked up by the majors.

Web posted by Tarek Atia Monday, September 1, 2003 4:00 CAIRO












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