Egypt gears up for 'Golden Parade' of pharaohs

News Network
April 3, 2021

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Cairo, Apr 3: The mummified remains of 22 Egyptian pharaohs, including the most powerful ancient queen, are to be paraded through the streets of Cairo Saturday, in a procession to a new resting place.

Under the watchful eyes of security forces, the mummies will be moved seven kilometres (four miles) across the capital from the iconic Egyptian Museum, where most have resided undisturbed for over a century, to the new National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.

Dubbed the Pharaohs' Golden Parade, the 18 kings and four queens will travel in order, oldest first, each aboard a separate float decorated in ancient Egyptian style.

The interior ministry said both pedestrians and vehicles would be barred from Tahrir Square, site of the current museum, and other sections of the parade route, ahead of the 6:00 pm (1600 GMT) start.

"The whole world will be watching," said Egyptian archaeologist and former antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, who will commentate as the event unfolds live on state television.

"This is an important 40 minutes in the life of the city of Cairo."

Seqenenre Tao II, "the Brave", who reigned over southern Egypt some 1,600 years before Christ, will be on the first chariot, while Ramses IX, who reigned in the 12th century BC, will be at the rear.

Ramses II and Queen Hatshepsut, the most powerful female pharaoh, will also make the journey.

Emblazoned with the name of their allotted sovereign, the gold-coloured carriages will be fitted with shock absorbers for the trip, to ensure none of the precious cargos are accidentally disturbed.

Discovered near Luxor from 1881 onwards, most of the mummies have lain in the Egyptian Museum since the early 1900s.

Fascinating new details of the pharaohs' lives are still emerging.

A recent high-tech study of Seqenenre Tao II, involving CT scans and 3D images of his hands and long-studied skull fractures, indicated that he was likely killed in a post-battle execution ceremony.

For their procession through Cairo's streets, the mummies will be in special containers filled with nitrogen, under conditions similar to their regular display cases.

The mummies will be showcased individually at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, in an environment redolent of underground tombs.

They will be signposted by a brief biography and, in some cases, copies of CT scans.

Upon arrival, they will occupy "slightly upgraded cases," said Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo.

"The temperature and humidity control will be even better than it was in the old museum," added Ikram, a mummification specialist.

The mummies' re-housing "marks the end of much work to improve their conservation and exhibition," said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay.

"This raises emotions that go much further than the mere relocation of a collection -- we will see the history of Egyptian civilisation unfold before our eyes," she added.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation was completed in 2010, and Hawass said he had planned to open it in 2012. But the process was delayed by the Arab Spring revolution of 2011 and subsequent turmoil.

The new museum opened its doors to limited exhibits from 2017 and will open fully on Sunday, before the mummies go on display to the general public from April 18.

In the coming months, the country is due to inaugurate another new showcase, the Grand Egyptian Museum, near the Giza pyramids.

It too will house pharaonic collections, including the celebrated treasure of Tutankhamun.

Discovered in 1922, the tomb of the young ruler, who took the throne briefly in the 14th century BC, contained treasures including gold and ivory.

A so-called "curse of the pharaoh" emerged in the wake of Tutankhamun's unearthing in 1922-23.

A key funder of the dig, Lord Carnarvon, died of blood poisoning months after the tomb was opened, while an early visitor likewise died abruptly in 1923.

With the planned parade coming only days after several disasters struck Egypt, some have inevitably speculated on social media about a new curse provoked by the latest move.

Recent days have seen a deadly rail collision and a building collapse in Cairo, while global headlines were dominated by the struggle to refloat the giant container ship MV Ever Given which blocked the Suez Canal for almost a week.

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April 8,2021

Kasarsgod, Apr 8: BJP Kerala Unit President K Surendran has alleged that there has been widespread irregularities in the collection of postal votes of the recently held Assembly election in the state.

Speaking to the media here on Thursday, Mr Surendran said many postal votes were collected in open cover without sealing them. This is in contravention of norms and opens up possibilities for manipulations.

He said neither the candidates nor their agents were informed the count of postal ballots under each constituency nor there is a total and clear count of postal votes.

It is the duty and responsibility of the Election Commission to ensure safety and transparency of postal votes, Mr Surendran said.

There are more chances for manipulation of special postal votes introduced for the 80-plus and others this time. Most of the officials who collected this belonged to the Left unions and had resorted to malpractice, he alleged.

The lose method of collecting such votes had helped the officials to manipulate the system, he added.

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News Network
April 1,2021

Bengaluru, Mar 1: As the state geared up to vaccinate everyone above 45 years of age from Thursday, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar appealed to the eligible people to make use of this protective cover against coronavirus.

Cautioning people not to underestimate the danger posed by Covid, Yediyurappa tweeted, "Our protective cover is the vaccine against corona. Everyone over the age of 45 can get the vaccine today. Go to your nearest vaccination centre and get the vaccine. Together we can defeat coronavirus."

Health Minister Sudhakar too tweeted, "As we begin vaccinating all citizens aged above 45 years from today, 5,500 vaccination sites will be operational across the state including 650 private and 4,850 government facilities."

According to him, 1.5 lakh doses of vaccine is supplied to Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the civic body, which is distributed to about 600 sites across the state capital.

The Health Department said in a statement that Covid-19 vaccination will continue at all the primary health centres, community health centres, Taluk hospitals, district hospitals, medical colleges and private hospitals as already being done.

It added that Karnataka has in stock 13.5 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 1.5 lakh doses of Covaxin vaccine and it has been supplied to all the cold chain points across the districts as per their requirement.

The government of India has assured the state that additional vaccine doses will be supplied regularly in the coming days as per daily coverage, the department added.

The vaccination drive covering everyone above 45 years of age started at a time when there is an alarming rise in cases in Karnataka.

The state reported 4,225 fresh cases including 26 deaths on a single day on Wednesday.

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News Network
March 31,2021

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India has slipped 28 places to rank 140th among 156 countries in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report 2021, becoming the third-worst performer in South Asia.

According to the report, India has closed 62.5 per cent of its gender gap till date.

The country had ranked 112th among 153 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020.

Noting that the decline also took place on the economic participation and opportunity subindex, albeit to a lesser extent, the report said India's gender gap on this dimension widened by 3 per cent this year, leading to a 32.6 per cent gap closed till date.

Most of the decline occurred on the political empowerment subindex, where India regressed 13.5 percentage points, with a significant decline in the number of women ministers (from 23.1 per cent in 2019 to 9.1 per cent in 2021).

"Among the drivers of this decline is a decrease in women's labour force participation rate, which fell from 24.8 per cent to 22.3 per cent. In addition, the share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2 per cent. The share of women in senior and managerial positions also remains low: only 14.6 per cent of these positions are held by women and there are only 8.9 per cent firms with female top managers," the report said.

Further, the estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men's, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator, it said.

Discrimination against women is also reflected in the health and survival subindex statistics. With 93.7 per cent of this gap closed to date, India ranks among the bottom five countries in this subindex.

Wide gaps in sex ratio at birth are due to the high incidence of gender-based sex-selective practices. In addition, more than one in four women has faced intimate violence in her lifetime, the report said.

"Conversely, 96.2 per cent of the educational attainment subindex gender gap has been closed, with parity achieved in primary, secondary and tertiary education. Yet, gender gaps persist in terms of literacy: one third of women are illiterate (34.2 per cent) compared to 17.6 per cent of men," it added.

Among India's neighbours, Bangladesh ranked 65, Nepal 106, Pakistan 153, Afghanistan 156, Bhutan 130 and Sri Lanka 116.

Among regions, South Asia is the second-lowest performer on the index, with 62.3 per cent of its overall gender gap closed.

"Within the region, a wide gulf separates the best-performing country, Bangladesh, which has closed 71.9 per cent of its gender gap so far, from Afghanistan, which has only closed 44.4 per cent of its gap.

"India is the third-worst performer in the region, having closed 62.5 per cent of its gap. Because of its large population, India's performance has a substantial impact on the region's overall performance," the report said.

In South Asia, only Pakistan and Afghanistan ranked below India.

The report stated that India, home to 0.65 billion women, has widened its gender gap from almost 66.8 per cent one year ago to 62.5 per cent this year.

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the income of an average woman is below 16 per cent of that of an average man, while in India it is 20.7 per cent, it said.

As the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be felt, the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years, the report noted.

Now in its 15th year, the report benchmarks the evolution of gender-based gaps in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. It also examines the drivers of gender gaps and outlines the policies and practices needed for a gender-inclusive recovery.

For the 12th time, Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world. The top 10 most gender-equal countries include Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Rwanda, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland.

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