Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo

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A guide from the Ministry of Antiquities inspects a discovery from Egypt's antiquities authorities at the Giza plateau, the site of the three ancient pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt February 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
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Mostafa Wazir, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, inspects a discovery from Egypt's antiquities authorities at the Giza plateau, the site of the three ancient pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt February 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
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The discovery of an Old Kingdom tomb from Egypt's antiquities authorities is seen at the Giza plateau, the site of the three ancient pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt February 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
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A man walks near a discovery from Egypt's antiquities authorities at the Giza plateau, the site of the three ancient pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt February 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 03 February 2018
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Egypt says 4,400-year-old tomb discovered outside Cairo

CAIRO: Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near the country’s famed pyramids at the Giza plateau just outside of Cairo, the Antiquities Ministry said Saturday, the latest discovery that authorities hope will help revive the country’s staggering tourism sector.
The tomb was found in a wider area of Giza’s western necropolis, which is known to be home to tombs from the Old Kingdom.
It likely belonged to a woman known as Hetpet, who archaeologists believe was close to ancient Egyptian royals of the 5th Dynasty.
The tomb, unveiled to the media on Saturday, is made of mud brick and includes wall paintings in good condition depicting Hetpet observing different hunting and fishing scenes.
Other scenes also depict a monkey — in pharaonic times, monkeys were commonly kept as domestic animals — picking fruit. Similar scenes have been found in other tombs belonging to the later 12th dynasty, according to the ministry’s statement. Another scene shows a monkey dancing before an orchestra.
According to the ministry, the archaeological mission behind the discovery started excavation work last October. Archaeologists have been making discoveries near the site since the 19th century, and Mostafa Al-Waziri, who led the mission, believes there is still more to be found.
“This is a very promising area. We expect to find more,” Al-Waziri told reporters at the site. “We have removed between 250-300 cubic meters of layers of earth to find the tomb.”
“What we see above the earth’s surface in Egypt doesn’t exceed 40 percent of what the core holds,” he added.
Al-Waziri believes Hetpet had another tomb in Giza’s western necropolis and said that excavation work is underway to find that one too.
Hetpet is a previously known figure in Egyptian antiquity though her mummy has not been discovered yet. Fragments of artefacts belonging to Hetpet were found in the same area back in 1909, and were moved to a museum in Berlin at the time, Antiquities Minister Khaled Al-Anani said Saturday, speaking at the site to reporters and Western diplomats.
Despite all the discoveries already made about ancient Egypt, experts say they hope to find much more — in part thanks to modern technology — treasures still buried under the vast desert.
The area of the latest discovery is close to a new museum under construction that will house some of Egypt’s most unique and precious artifacts, including many belonging to the famed boy King Tutankhamun.
The first phase of Grand Egyptian museum is expected to be opened later this year while the grand opening is planned for 2022.
In January, Egypt placed the ancient statue of one of its most famous pharaohs, Ramses II at the museum’s atrium, which will include 43 massive statues.
Throughout 2017, the Antiquities Ministry made a string of discoveries across Egypt — including some in the southern city Luxor known for its spectacular temples and tombs spanning different dynasties of ancient Egyptian history.
Egypt hopes the inauguration of the new museum, along with the recent discoveries, will help spur a vital tourism industry that has been reeling from the political turmoil that engulfed the country following the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and the authorities’ struggles to rein in an insurgency by Islamic militants.


UK race to succeed Theresa May heats up with focus on Brexit

Updated 7 min 43 sec ago
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UK race to succeed Theresa May heats up with focus on Brexit

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday he is seeking to replace May
  • The best-known contestant for the Conservative leadership post is former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

LONDON: The race to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May is heating up, the field of Conservative contenders is quickly growing and the focus is squarely on how to handle Brexit.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said Saturday he is seeking to replace May, joining several others who have announced they will run to become the Conservative party’s next leader, and by default, Britain’s new prime minister.
May announced Friday she plans to step down as Conservative Party leader on June 7 and remain as a caretaker prime minister while the party chooses a new leader in a contest that officially kicks off the following week.
She plans to remain as party leader through US President Donald Trump’s upcoming state visit and the 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations on June 6.
Her successor will have to try to complete Brexit — a task that May failed to deliver during her three years in office. While she succeeded in striking a divorce deal with the European Union, the plan was defeated three times in Parliament by British lawmakers from across the political spectrum.
The EU extended Britain’s departure date to Oct. 31 but there still is no consensus among British lawmakers about how or even if the country should leave the bloc.
Even before a new leader is chosen, the Conservative Party is expected to fare poorly when the results of the European Parliament election in Britain are announced Sunday night.
The best-known contestant for the Conservative leadership post is former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has said he will take Britain out of the EU on Oct. 31 even if no deal has been reached with EU leaders.
Johnson’s willingness to back a no-deal Brexit is already causing some ripples.
Another Conservative contender, International Development Secretary Rory Stewart, said Saturday that he could not serve in a Cabinet under Johnson if Johnson wins. Stewart says he could not work for a leader who is comfortable with the idea of a no-deal Brexit.
Stewart complained that Johnson said in a private meeting several weeks ago that he would not push for a no-deal departure but appears to have changed course completely.
Many economists and business leaders have warned that a no-deal departure would have a drastically negative impact on Britain’s economy and also hurt its European neighbors.
The field is likely to grow to about a dozen candidates, with a winner expected to be chosen by mid or late July. Senior Conservatives including Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and former House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom are among those considering a leadership run.
The Conservative Party chooses its leaders in a two-step process. First there’s a series of votes among the party’s legislators to establish two top contenders, then those names are submitted to a nationwide vote by about 120,000 party members.
The winner becomes party leader and prime minister, although the opposition Labour Party is warning of an immediate challenge to the new leader with an eye toward forcing an early general election.
John McDonnell, Labour’s economic spokesman, told the BBC on Saturday the party would push a no-confidence vote against the new prime minister right away.
“We believe any incoming prime minister in these circumstances should go to the country anyway and seek a mandate,” McDonnell said.
An earlier Labour Party attempt to force an early election failed in January when May’s government survived a no-confidence vote.
The UK’s next general election is set for 2022 unless there is a government collapse.