Syrians stuck around Aleppo as evacuation deal stalls

Militants and members of their families from Madaya and Zabadani board on buses heading to Ramousseh crossing in Aleppo, Syria, on April 14, 2017, as part of the deal between the opposition and the Syrian government. (AFP / George Ourfalian)
Updated 15 April 2017
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Syrians stuck around Aleppo as evacuation deal stalls

BEIRUT, Lebanon: Thousands of Syrians were stuck in and around Aleppo on Saturday as a deal to evacuate two Shiite villages in return for Sunni rebels and their families being allowed to leave two besieged towns near Damascus stalled, a monitor and activists said.
Rebels and civilians who had left Madaya near Damascus on Friday sat outside rows of coaches in government-held Aleppo city, waiting to move onto their final destination of insurgent-held Idlib, pictures sent by a pro-opposition activist showed.
Meanwhile residents and pro-government fighters who had left the two rebel-besieged Shiite villages in Idlib province waited still in insurgent territory on Aleppo’s outskirts to cross into the city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The British-based Observatory said the delay was because rebel fighters from another town included in the deal, Zabadani near Damascus, had not yet been granted safe passage out. (Reporting by John Davison)


Egypt celebrates antiquities museum before new institution takes the limelight

Updated 20 November 2018
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Egypt celebrates antiquities museum before new institution takes the limelight

CAIRO: Bright lights illuminated the Egyptian Museum in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Monday during a celebration that could mark the last time the two-story museum is feted as one of Egypt’s main tourist attractions.
Located in one of Egypt’s most famous squares, the museum has been the country’s principal keeper of antiquities for over a century, but a bigger museum is under construction.
Officials celebrated the 116th anniversary of its founding and insisted it will not become obsolete once the Grand Egyptian Museum opens its doors. Antiquities will be moved to the new museum, which is expected to partially open next year.
“Our ceremony this evening is to tell the world this museum will never die,” said Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anany.
The old museum will be used to display recent discoveries as well as antiquities from store rooms, the minister said.
Housing the world’s biggest collection of pharaonic antiquities has been a challenge for the museum building, which was established in 1902.
Tens of thousands of objects have been sitting in its storerooms and galleries were often said to be too packed.
The Grand Egyptian Museum will be located near the Pyramids and Cairo hopes it will help a tourism industry that has suffered from the turmoil that followed a 2011 uprising.
Highlights of the evening were exhibitions of mummies and the ornamented coffin covers of pharaonic courtier Yuya and his noblewoman wife Thuya.
A 20-meter-long papyrus said to be the longest on display in Egypt was also on show during the ceremony.