Archaeologists discover 2 ancient tombs in Egypt's Luxor

Mustafa Al-Waziri, director general of Luxor’s Antiquities, points at an ancient Egyptian mural found at a newly discovered tomb in Luxor, about 650 km south of Cairo. (AFP)
Updated 09 December 2017
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Archaeologists discover 2 ancient tombs in Egypt's Luxor

LUXOR: Egypt on Saturday announced the discovery of two small ancient tombs in the southern city Luxor dating back some 3,500 years and hoped it will help the country's efforts to revive its ailing tourism sector.
The tombs, located on the west bank of the river Nile in a cemetery for noblemen and top officials, are the latest discovery in the city famed for its temples and tombs spanning different dynasties of ancient Egyptian history.
"It's truly an exceptional day," Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anani said. "The 18th dynasty private tombs were already known. But it's the first time to enter the two tombs."
Al-Anani said the discoveries are part of the ministry's efforts to promote Egypt's vital tourism industry, partially driven by antiquities sightseeing, that was hit hard by extremist attacks and political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.
The ministry said one tomb has a courtyard lined with mud-brick and stonewalls and contains a six-meter burial shaft leading to four side chambers. The artifacts found inside were mostly fragments of wooden coffins. Wall inscriptions and paintings suggest it belongs to the era between the reigns King Amenhotep II and King Thutmose IV, both pharaohs of the 18th dynasty.
The other tomb has five entrances leading to a rectangular hall and contains two burial shafts located in the northern and southern sides of the tomb.
Among the artifacts found inside are funerary cones, painted wooden funerary masks, clay vessels, a collection of some 450 statues and a mummy wrapped in linen who was likely of a top official. A cartouche carved on the ceiling bears the name of King Thutmose I of the early 18th dynasty.
The Antiquities Ministry has made a string of discoveries since the beginning of 2017 in several provinces across Egypt — including the tomb of a royal goldsmith in the same area and belonging to the same dynasty, whose work was dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Amun.


Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

Updated 17 July 2019
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Sudan’s military council, opposition coalition agree political accord

  • The constitutional declaration is expected to be signed on Friday
  • The deal aims to help the political transition in Sudan

KHARTOUM: Sudan’s ruling military council and an opposition alliance signed a political accord on Wednesday as part of a power-sharing deal aimed at leading the country to democracy following three decades of autocratic rule.

The agreement, which ended days of speculation about whether a deal announced earlier this month would hold, was initialed in Khartoum in the presence of African mediators following a night of talks to iron out some details of the agreement.

Sudan’s stability is crucial for the security of a volatile region stretching from the Horn of Africa to Libya that is riven by conflict and power struggles.

The deal is meant to pave the way to a political transition after military leaders ousted former President Omar Al-Bashir in April following weeks of protests against his rule.

At least 128 people were killed during a crackdown that began when security forces dispersed a protest camp outside the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum in June, according to medics linked to the opposition. The Health Ministry had put the death toll at 61.

A political standoff between Sudan’s military rulers and protesters threatened to drag the country of 40 million toward further violence before African mediators managed to bridge the gap between the two sides.

General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the deputy head of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, hailed the agreement as the start of a new partnership between the armed forces, including the paramilitary forces he leads, and the opposition coalition of Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC).

Ibrahim Al-Amin, an FFC leader, said the accord signaled a new era of self-reliance for Sudan’s people.

“We want a stable homeland, because we have suffered a great deal,” Amin said in a speech after the ceremony.

Ethiopian mediator Mahmud Dirir said Sudan, long under international isolation over the policies of Bashir’s Islamist administration, needed to overcome poverty and called for the country to be taken of a US list of states that support terrorism.

The sides are still working on a constitutional declaration, which is expected to be signed on Friday.

Power-sharing deal

Under the power-sharing deal reached earlier this month, the two sides agreed to share power in a sovereign council during a transitional period of just over three years.

They also agreed to form an independent government of technocrats to run the country and to launch a transparent, independent investigation into the violence.

The power-sharing agreement reached earlier this month called for a sovereign council comprised of 11 members — five officers selected by the military council, five civilians chosen by the FFC and another civilian to be agreed upon by both sides.

The constitutional declaration will now decide the duties and responsibilities of the sovereign council.

The military was to head the council during the first 21 months of the transitional period while a civilian would head the council during the remaining 18 months.

But the agreement was thrown into doubt when new disputes surfaced last week over the military council’s demand for immunity for council members against prosecution.

The military council also demanded that the sovereign council would retain ultimate decision-making powers rather than the government.