Culture – Daily News Egypt Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Thu, 25 May 2017 15:55:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Star Wars turns 40, but the Galactic Empire is far from over Thu, 25 May 2017 11:33:00 +0000 The post Star Wars turns 40, but the Galactic Empire is far from over appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” On May 25, 1977, these words flashed onto the movie screen for the first time. And that was more than just the beginning of a space saga.There is a war in outer space. The über-evil Emperor is spreading fear throughout the galaxy with a super weapon. But a Rebel Alliance has formed to fight back.

We can all sing along with John Williams’ film music and imitate Darth Vader’s raspy voice or Chewbacca’s wordless grunt – even those of us who may never have seen a single Star Wars film. When George Lucas began work on the Star Wars screenplays in 1973, he never could have dreamed of having such a huge impact on popular culture – although he certainly was out to revolutionize Hollywood.

Off to a rough start

But it was a long, hard path until the first film was finally finished. The production company was concerned about the millions of dollars it had put into the project. Most of the actors were young and relatively unknown. Bigger names like Alex Guinness and Peter Cushing just had small parts.

The filming conditions were – in part – catastrophic and involved burning heat in the deserts of Tunisia, sweating actors, and an increasingly irritated Lucas about to have a nervous breakdown. What’s more, the visual effects team was light years behind schedule – even though Lucas had founded a new company just to handle that task.

The planned release date for December 1976 was postponed until the following May. For the production company, 20th Century Fox, this was the worst possible time to release a film – and no one thought it would be a success.

The beginning of a revolution

But all those worries were quickly forgotten on the day after May 25, 1977. The world premiere was celebrated by viewers, critics and the entire film team alike. The $11 million in production costs suddenly seemed like peanuts; the box office hit brought in a whopping $503 million, making it the most financially successful film of all time.

The next Star Wars episodes followed in 1980 (“The Empire Strikes Back”) and in 1983 (“Return of the Jedi”). The three films told the story of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo. That was all, we thought at least.

But George Lucas simply couldn’t let go. In 1999, he launched a new Star Wars trilogy that told the story of what had happened prior to his first three films. There had been peace in the galaxy until the evil Supreme Chancellor Valorum took power and the young Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. Audiences were mesmerized by the installation of prequel movies.

A never-ending story

Even that was not enough. In 2012, Disney bought the rights to the Star Wars saga for $4 billion and released the seventh film at the end of 2015. The story picks up where the original trilogy left off, proving to be a recipe of success: Old Star Wars fans joined back in and young new fans were equally won over.

All seven Star War films have raked in more than $6 billion, but that’s nothing compared to the merchandise revenue. More than $20 billion in Legos, t-shirts and other fan paraphernalia have been sold over the years – and there is no end in sight.

This year, part eight – “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – is scheduled to hit cinemas on December 15. “Star Wars: Episode IX,” is slated for May 24, 2019.

Whatever happens after that is written in the stars.

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Happy Father’s Day in Germany to all fathers Thu, 25 May 2017 10:56:00 +0000 The post Happy Father’s Day in Germany to all fathers appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

On the 40th day after Easter – Ascension Day in the Christian world – Germany also marks Father’s Day. It has been celebrated as such in the German-speaking world for more than a century.Germans may have a reputation for doing things a little differently, and the day on which they celebrate Father’s Day is no exception to this rule.

For over 100 years, Father’s Day in Germany has been celebrated on Ascension Day, which is the 40th Day after Easter Sunday and therefore always falls on a Thursday. It therefore almost always falls into the month of May.

The day is also a public holiday in Germany, which means that not only fathers but men of all family statuses use the day to celebrate themselves in a myriad of ways. Have a look at the picture gallery to get an idea of what a typical German Father’s Day can be like.

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Inauguration of “Hymn and Azan” exhibition at Museum of Islamic Art with 35 antiques Wed, 24 May 2017 16:49:48 +0000 The post Inauguration of “Hymn and Azan” exhibition at Museum of Islamic Art with 35 antiques appeared first on Daily News Egypt.


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YouTube channel provides cinema lovers with critical reviews Wed, 24 May 2017 10:00:17 +0000 The open environment of YouTube doesn't create that fierce competition that requires someone to lose for another one to win, says Mahdy

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Over the past decade, YouTube has been one of the most popular social media networks that has given young people an opportunity to introduce their talents, hobbies, and ideas to local and international communities. Although reviewing movies comes on top of the list of genres that are frequently presented online, only a few YouTubers managed to think outside the box and provide new creative ideas that guaranteed the sustainability of their programmes. Mahmoud Mahdy is a good example of this.

On his successful YouTube channel “Film Gamed”, which provides critical reviews of the latest Arabic and foreign movies, he has managed to gain the attention of more than 112,000 subscribers, mainly from Egypt and the Arab world.

In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Mahdy revealed some secrets about his beginnings, the current role of his channel in promoting independent cinema, and his preparations for his new programme during Ramadan.

How did the idea of launching your “Film Gamed” YouTube channel start?

Watching films and analysing movies have always been my hobbies, although I studied computer science and information systems, which is a completely different field. However, I’ve never forgotten my passion for movies, which motivated me to start a project about something I love.

I started to write about movies in blogs and Facebook posts; however, this was never enough, as I always wanted to take a step forward. Thus, I decided to start a YouTube channel that doesn’t provide any academic criticism. The analysis is usually based on my own opinion and perspective about the movies. However, I always try to improve myself by searching for some cinematic idioms and terminology when I face cases that need certain artistic or technical definitions, or by reading local and international critics to make my own point of view. The channel started in 2013 as a first trial, but I started posting videos on a more regular basis in 2014.

Do you believe that “Film Gamed” has provided higher credibility to your analytical reviews than posting on social media?

Definitely! When you publish your stories in the form of text, there is always a chance for argument and rejection. However, I always believe that YouTube takes more authority from its visual elements, as people tend to believe what they see more than what they read. However, I can say that this concept has changed recently, as people started to have more of a tendency to attack YouTubers and digital creators as their numbers are increasing rapidly, regardless of the quality of the content they provide. I am lucky that I started my channel before YouTube became a mainstream trend.

Usually, how do you arrange and schedule the movies that you will provide critical reviews about for each episode?

Unfortunately, I usually don’t have long-term plans. It is much easier to provide a weekly plan, as it always depends on important movies. I pay more attention to Arabic movies that would appeal to a larger number of viewers than American movies that have a wide audience. Sometimes, when I get confused on deciding which movies have the widest popularity and deserve to be reviewed, I resort to opinion polls on the Facebook page and ask people to vote. I am always responsible for producing each episode from scratch, as I am the one who writes the script and is responsible for all other tasks, such as filming, editing, publishing, and measuring social media interaction.

Recently, a big number of competing YouTube channels have appeared and achieved some success. What distinguishes “Film Gamed” and guarantees its popularity? 

I always claim that the open environment of YouTube doesn’t create that fierce competition that requires someone to lose for another one to win. This competition is more logical in television and other forms of traditional media. In order to avoid boredom, I started to search for the international formats that people employ in such channels, and thus, I started producing some new sections, such as Oscar reviews, top 10s, trailers reactions, etc., and I believe such variation is the secret behind our channel’s sustainability.

Recently, you started to use the popularity of your channel to support the short film and independent movie festivals. Do you believe such a step helps in raising people’s awareness about the value of such noncommercial movies?

Each digital creator must be honest with himself to know when exactly he moves from the “spreading and popularity” stage to “becoming an influencer” in the society he works in. I was surprised that I was invited to attend some new festivals, such as MasrDot Bokra Festival, and Zawya Cairo Cinema Days, and moderated the open discussions with the audience after screenings. That was an indicator that “Film Gamed” started to influence more of an audience, and I am so happy with this and I tried to promote them. I was surprised by the huge numbers of attendees that I found, and I was glad that many of them heard about the festivals from my channel and were satisfied with the new kinds of movies they watched. I really consider this a big success and a mutual benefit for the festivals’ organisers, the filmmakers, and the audience themselves.

Are you able to make a living out of your YouTube channel? Is it profitable?

Actually, my goal is to make it more profitable. You cannot consider me an accurate measure for this, because I am old and I have a big family that has a lot of expenses, and that is why I cannot give up on my part-time job in the fields of digital marketing. However, I can say that working in such a field can be a good source of living for an 18-year-old young person for example.

What are your preparations for reviewing the TV dramas during Ramadan? And do you have any anticipation for a certain series?

Yes! During Ramadan, I will provide an online programme called “Ramadan w Ashyaa”, which will analyze four TV series that will be chosen through a public opinion poll that was posted on the Facebook page a few days ago. The votes point to three dominating dramas, including “Kafr Delhab” by Youssef Al Sherif, “Khalsana Beshyaka” by Hesham Maged and Sheko, and “Al Hosan Al Aswad” by Ahmed Al Sakka. I will choose the fourth series, but I am still confused as to whether to watch “Wahet Al Ghoroob” or “Haza Al Masaa”.

This year, I want to produce a big number of short episodes that won’t exceed ten minutes. I am currently trying to build a new location for shooting the new episodes, and some people on social media volunteered to help me with that. One of them is Morees Micheal, a composer, who is currently working on the music tracks that will be presented in the new episodes, and Waleed Moghazy, who volunteered to work on the programme’s graphic items. I promise to provide something completely different from “Film Gamed”, and I hope that people will like it.

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Where are Europe’s best bathing sites? Tue, 23 May 2017 14:34:00 +0000 The post Where are Europe’s best bathing sites? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Austria, Cyprus, Greece, Luxembourg and Malta offer the cleanest bathing waters in Europe, the European Union’s environment watchdog said Tuesday.The findings were based on tests of water quality in more than 21,000 beach, river and lake sites across Europe during 2016, including non-EU members Switzerland and Albania.

The top five countries scored “excellent” ratings for at least 95 per cent of their bathing waters, said the European Commission and the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency (EEA).

In Cyprus and Malta, where the tourism industry is key, 99 per cent of all bathing waters scored the highest quality level. That was only topped by Luxembourg that had a 100-per-cent record for its 11 reported bathing waters.

Meanwhile, over 85 per cent of the 30 countries surveyed achieved excellent status for bathing waters – a slight increase on 2015. About 1.5 per cent of bathing waters – a total of 316 – were rated as having poor water quality, posing a risk of illness such as diarrhoea, but fewer than the 383 sites reported in 2015.

The samples are tested for two types of bacteria, Escherichia coli – or E coli – and intestinal enterococci. Pollution from sewage or waste from livestock were the main sources of poor water quality. Floods or heavy rains can result in more pollution being washed into rivers, lakes and seas, the report said.

is/at (dpa)

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British James Bond actor Roger Moore dies, aged 89 Tue, 23 May 2017 14:03:00 +0000 The post British James Bond actor Roger Moore dies, aged 89 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Best known for playing James Bond, British actor Roger Moore enjoyed a long career in both TV and film. He was also a dedicated philanthropist. Moore has passed away in Switzerland following a battle with cancer.Sir Roger Moore’s three children announced Tuesday on Twitter that their father had died following a short battle with cancer. He was 89.

In the announcement, they not only emphasized his work in television and film but also his commitment to UNICEF, “which he considered to be his greatest achievement.”

Roger Moore portrayed the fearless secret agent James Bond – whom he fondly referred to as “Jimmy Bond” – seven times between 1973 and 1985. He debuted his part as “007” in “Live and Let Die” at the age of 45 and continued to shape the adventurous role over the next 12 years.

“I’m not that cold-blooded killer type. Which is why I play it mostly for laughs,” Moore once said.

At a ceremony for his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2007, Moore commented, “Sadly, I had to retire from the Bond films. The girls were getting younger and I was just getting too old.”

He was 57 when he made his final Bond film, “A View to Kill,” in 1985. He was succeeded by Timothy Dalton.

Roger Moore’s start in TV

While James Bond may be his most famous role, Moore was already a household name when he took the part. After moving from the UK to the US in 1953, he made a name for himself in TV shows like “Ivanhoe,” loosely adapted from Sir Walter Scott’s 1819 novel, and “Maverick” – a part his fellow Bond actor Sean Connery had turned down.

Moore was catapulted to global fame in the 1960s as the clever hero Simon Templar in the British television series “The Saint,” which ran from 1962 to 1969. He also played alongside Tony Curtis in the 1970s series “The Persuaders.”

Other notable films of recent years include “The Quest” (1996), directed by Jean-Claude Van Damme, “Spice World” (1997), a quirky comedy about the British girl band Spice Girls, and the romantic comedy “Boat Trip” (2002).

Life of luxury – and philanthropy

Considered one of the last of the old guard of actors, Moore lived a life of luxury, maintaining houses in Switzerland and Monaco. Nevertheless, he was passionate about philanthropy as well.

In 1991, he became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and worked to raise funds for under-privileged children. His work with UNICEF earned him his knighthood in 2003.

Roger Moore was married four times and had two sons and a daughter. A private funeral will be held for Moore in Monaco, in accordance with his wishes.

kbm/ss (dpa, AFP)

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How concert venues keep fans safe Tue, 23 May 2017 13:13:00 +0000 The post How concert venues keep fans safe appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

How safe do you feel going to a concert at a major venue? After Manchester, some people are likely to think twice. DW spoke with the head of Germany’s largest concert and sports venue to get a safety report.In the wake of the terror attack on the Manchester Arena, security at large-scale venues is once again an issues of concern. The Lanxess Arena in Cologne is the largest multipurpose venue in Germany and can hold nearly 20,000 spectators. It regularly hosts major sport events, concerts and other shows, welcoming some 1.4 million visitors per year. Lanxess director Stefan Löcher told DW how his venue approaches safety.

DW: Mr. Löcher, how does the latent danger of a terror attack on venues like the Bataclan in Paris or now the Manchester Arena make you feel personally?

Stefan Löcher: I am totally shocked, since Ariana Grande draws a huge fan base of teenagers. That makes the whole thing even more tragic. Ariana Grande has also performed in our venue. Unfortunately, it’s the case in this world that these things will happen. This time, an arena was the target – and that is very depressing.

As the head of Germany’s largest multipurpose arena, how have you been sleeping these days?

It varies. But the threat of terror is not the only reason. There are many challenges associated with a multipurpose arena. The safety of the guests has always been an important issue, but terror has become a bigger concern over the past two to three years.

After the attack on the Bataclan in Paris in November 2015, you told DW in an interview that it’s impossible to prevent an attack with 100-percent certainty. Is that still the case?

That is still the case, but we work very closely and consistently with the police in order to estimate the danger.

How has the Lanxess Arena’s security strategy changed since the terror attacks in Paris?

What we’ve done is added turnstiles to the entrances so that the flow of guests can be better kept under control. First we do pat-downs, but we don’t do thorough pat-downs on every single person at every concert – I don’t think any other venue in Germany does either. We do random checks which become more thorough according to the threat level – and we do have concerts where we pat down 100 percent of the guests as well.

What we always do is bag checks 100 percent of the time. We have also banned bags that are larger than the size of a notebook. Bags that are allowed in are checked.

That’s the main thing that has changed in the past few years. Of course we have also upped our security in the backstage area – not only to protect the artists but also because there are many doors and entrance possibilities back there. Security there has also been boosted in order to prevent unauthorized entry.

You just hosted a major event in the Lanxess Area – the Ice Hockey World Championship. Which security measures were taken during the event?

During major events like the Ice Hockey World Championship, we had more police on site, both in the arena and around it. What we have also done on occasion, according to the threat situation, was to bring in bomb tracking dogs. It’s about speed. Booking the dogs has the advantage that they are already on site if a dangerous object is later found. We did that during the Ice Hockey World Cup.

How do you protect the area around the arena?

That’s where 100-percent safety cannot be ensured. How far should the radius beyond an arena extend? Theoretically, it would have to stretch for up to a kilometer because after a concert with 18,000 visitors you have crowds of people everywhere – at the tram stations, on the ramps that lead away from the arena. That cannot be 100-percent protected.

Are there general standards for venues in Germany? And do you discuss security issues with other venues?

Yes, we hold very regular discussions. And that has resulted in the measures I mentioned becoming standard in practically all arenas. Some arenas have become pioneers in using metal detectors. That is the next level, which we are currently reviewing, in order to make things even safer.

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Three Egyptian films take over Arab Cinema Centre’s Critic Awards Tue, 23 May 2017 11:00:29 +0000 Mohammed Diab wins Best Director for “Clash”, “In the Last Days of the City” wins Best Film, and Heba Ali wins Best Actress for role in “Withered Green”

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The Arab Cinema Centre revealed the winners of the Annual Critics Awards, which is held at the same time as the 70th Cannes Film Festival.

The Best Director award went to Mohammed Diab for his film “Eshtebak” (Clash), which also got the Best Screenplay award, while the Best Actress award was awarded to Heba Ali for her role in “Akhdar Yabes” (Withered Green). As for the Best Actor award, it went to Majd Mastoura for his role in “Hedi”.

The Best Film award went to Mohamed El-Said’s “Akher Ayam El-Madina” (In the Last Days of the City).

“The Arab Cinema Centre, through the Annual Critics Awards, continues to support and promote Arab cinema on the Arab and international levels. This initiative is part of the methods we employ to achieve that goal, and more initiatives will be launched to help disseminate Arab cinema and establish its presence,” said Alaa Karkouti, co-founder of the Arab Cinema Centre.

The Critic Awards initiative in this year’s round brings together 24 juries from among the most distinguished Arab and foreign critics from 15 countries around the world.

“What the awards have achieved from the interaction between the critics to the crystallisation of their views is represented in the nominated and winning films and is in itself a worthy goal,” said Ahmed Shawky, the Critic Award’s manager, adding that “if we add to it the role of the prizes in supporting Arab cinema and promoting its best films, the first edition of the Critics Awards will largely succeed in achieving the goals for which the initiative was launched.”

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New mummification jars found in Luxor Tue, 23 May 2017 10:00:52 +0000 The vessels contain mummification materials, including 4 metres of linen sheets, shawls, and rolls of wide bandages

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A long year of discoveries seems to be far from reaching an end, as 56 jars filled with embalming materials for mummification were found at Deir el-Bahari in Luxor by a Spanish-Egyptian archaeological mission from the University of Alcala.

The jars belong to Ipi, vizier and overseer of Thebes and member of the elite during the reign of Amenemhat I of the early Twelfth Dynasty. The team found the vessels while they were working on a project of studying archaeological lands and the epigraphy of tombs of Henenu, Ipi, and Harhotep, all belonging to that dynasty.  The team also studied the conservation of these monuments and others located at Thebes.

“The identification of these materials is of great importance for understanding the mummification techniques used in the early Middle Kingdom and the assessment of the kinds of items, tools, and substances involved in the process of embalming,” said Mahmoud Afifi, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector.

The jars have seen the light in a cleaning process by the team to the tomb of “Ipi”, where they found the jars in an additional chamber northeast of the tomb’s corner.

Nonetheless, the team was not the first to discover the jars. According to a press release by the Ministry of Antiquities, they were first found by American Egyptologist Herbert Winlock between 1921 and 1922 in a room located in the courtyard and left there until the Spanish-Egyptian mission this year rediscovered them.

“The deposit of the mummification materials used for Ipi include inscriptions, various shrouds, and 4 metres of linen sheets, shawls, and rolls of wide bandages, in addition to further types of cloths, rags, and pieces of slender wrappings destined to cover fingers, toes, and other parts of the vizier’s corpse,” said Antonio Morales, head of the Spanish mission.

He added that the discovery also included around 300 sacks with natron salt, oils, sand, and other substances, as well as jar stoppers and a scraper. Among the most outstanding pieces of the collection are Nile clay and marl jars, some with potmarks and hieratic writing.

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Crossing borders musically: Dresdner Sinfoniker will not be silenced Mon, 22 May 2017 14:44:00 +0000 The post Crossing borders musically: Dresdner Sinfoniker will not be silenced appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Citing security concerns and environmental issues, US authorities have banned a concert along the US-Mexican border. The musical director of the project says this only fuels his ambition to stand up against nationalism.It was intended as a peaceful cross-boundary creative protest against US President Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall on the US-Mexican border. US authorities, however, have now decided to ban the planned performance of the Dresdner Sinfoniker orchestra on the US side of the border, limiting the ensemble to playing its music on the Mexican side in the border town of Tijuana. Musical director Markus Rindt says he won’t let this turn of events get to him and hopes that the concert will nevertheless be noticed throughout the world.

DW: Did you expect the Trump administration to put a spoke in your wheel?

Markus Rindt: To be honest, I was hoping that the US was still liberal enough to allow a peaceful musical event designed to build bridges over walls to happen. But apparently, it isn’t anymore. We feel disappointed about this decision and want to extend an invitation to all musicians, who would have joined us on the US side, to come over to Mexico to start something great there right at the US’ wall.

The official reasons for cancelling your event cite security concerns and bird protection. Do you find this line of reasoning comprehensible?

I’m a great supporter of the environment and of animal protection, but what I don’t understand is that just one week before our planned concert, there’s another big event taking place on the US side of the wall – one which apparently isn’t affected by bird protection. That’s why it’s obvious that this is just an excuse. The same is true for their security concerns: in our initial application to perform at Friendship Park, we had intended to feature a children’s choir from San Diego to sing along across the wall. The authorities already cited security concerns back then – with a children’s choir. Unbelievable, isn’t it? So then we decided to change the location and applied to get permission for a performance on the beach, right where the wall divides the shoreline. Then they said that on the US side, performers would have to remain at least 40 yards away from the security fence. This was presented as a compromise solution, but now the authorities have decided to refuse the performance on the US side of the border altogether. These are all just excuses; they’re simply afraid of the political repercussions.

Do the Mexican authorities have any concerns or are they welcoming you with open arms?

Surprisingly, there’s hardly any bureaucracy to put up with there at all, which can sometimes be an issue in Mexico. We feel that we’ve been received cordially. The city of Tijuana is amazing in the way it supports us. They’re providing us with technical support and security; they’re closing off roads. On June 3, there’s a whole festival happening along the wall, so the contribution of the Dresdner Sinfoniker is just a small part of that, but still we received so many inquiries from artists and performers that we had to extend the time window of our event to five hours, starting at 11am Pacific Time. And we’ll make sure that the wall itself joins in as well: several percussionists from Mexico and the US will join with musicians from the Dresdner Sinfoniker to perform a piece by Harald Thiemann, transforming the metal wall itself into a percussion instrument.

So your approach after all that has happened is a certain attitude of “now more than ever”?

Exactly. We move forward. There is no going into reverse anymore. We want to reach as many people as possible and encourage them to join us on June 3, regardless of wherever they may live along this (3,144- kilometer/1,953-mile) long wall. We implore them to start little flash mobs or come up with other artistic ideas along the border, like singing a song, making music or painting the wall in order to send a signal against this growing sense of nationalism and this immurement of the world. The can film their creative ideas with their smartphones or a camera and share across social media channels using the hashtag #teardownthiswall, so people across the world can see on June 3 what incredible things happened on this day.

You mentioned artistic freedom in the US earlier. It would appear that artistic freedom isn’t as limitless as was thought before. Do you think that there will be a great emphasis on the symbolic importance of the concert now?

Well, I didn’t expect the US authorities to ban it. This is an artistic installation; it is not first and foremost a political demonstration. Of course it deals with politics, but it is a peaceful concert. It’s important to highlight that artists can apparently no longer freely express themselves in the US. And if this is something that is already failing at this stage, what will it lead to later on? I hope that many people will join us especially now that the US authorities have canceled our show on their side, in order to make sure we get noticed and send a signal around the world.

Is “Tear down this Wall” a concert event against all walls that exist in the world?

Absolutely. That’s what we aim to address and what I always repeat: This project is meant to oppose walls around the world, which have been spreading like wildfire. This includes the borders of Europe: just take a look at the daily suffering of refugees in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea or the desperate people in Syria right at the border with Turkey. These people desperately need our help. But it’s also an initiative against walls in people’s heads. We all see how in many countries nationalism is on the rise. We want to set an artistic example against this. This concert could happen in other countries of the world as well. The list of such opportunities is, unfortunately, quite long.

Hornist Markus Rindt is the musical director of the Dresdner Sinfoniker, which he co-founded in 1997 along with composer and director Sven Helbig. Born in Magdeburg in 1967, Rindt studied music in the former communist German Federal Republic. He escaped to West Germany during the Cold War and has been advocating artistic ways to tear down walls ever since. The Dresdener Sinfoniker has become one of the most renowned orchestras to perform contemporary works, always trying to bring nations together through music.

Interview: Suzanne Cords

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Martin Luther lives on – in the art world Mon, 22 May 2017 14:04:00 +0000 The post Martin Luther lives on – in the art world appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

In contrast to three national Martin Luther exhibitions in Germany, a new international show in a former jail in Wittenberg entitled “Luther and the Avantgarde” triggers controversy with works by 66 artists.At the starting point in the courtyard, viewers are challenged by a bright orange fist pugnaciously stretched into the sky. The massive patinated sculpture is the realization of Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s view of Martin Luther as a fighter, reformer and world-shaker. He’s one of 66 international artists who have contributed to this impressive exhibition in the summer of the Protestant Refomation’s 500th anniversary.

Luther’s presence

The exhibition’s title, “Luther and the Avantgarde,” is a strong statement for the reformer’s immense presence in our present world and the art world. Whereas the other three national Luther exhibitions focusing on theological, political and historical themes explored the past, “Luther and the Avantgarde” connects the past with the present as well as with the future. The show’s organizers, Susanne Kleine of the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, and Kay Heymer of the Düsseldorf-based Museum Kunstpalast, did not aim to portray Luther in his historical context – for example, by adding some local color of the university town of Wittenberg to the show, the location where Luther lived and wrote his famous 95 theses that triggered significant changes all over the world. No, this show is dominated by modern artists, such as Ai Weiwei, Christian Boltanski, Alexander Kluge, Markus Lüpertz and Jonathan Meese, who all address the way in which Martin Luther changed the world.

Snowden, Manning and Luther

Achim Mohné also tackled that question, wondering who Luther would be like if he lived nowadays. His answer to this question is found in 672 square flagstones on the floor (see top picture). If you run across them you can only perceive gray and black shades. But the further you move away, the more clearly discernible a face emerges from the spot. It’s the face of Edward Snowden. From the perspective of a bird or a drone, Snowden’s face appears like an iconographic portrait in the 672 flagstones which represent 672 pixels. Mohné said that in his view, a whistleblower is a “regulator of democracy” – a statement he made on the day when it became known that Chelsea Manning would be pardoned. She received a very harsh jail sentence in Afghanistan for passing on confidential military documents.

An odd location

According to Mohné, both Snowden and Manning are – like Luther – uncompromising critics of a political system and, like him, had to pay a high price for their criticism. What they all also share, in his view, is that they used technologies that were new at the time, in order to carry out their subversive activities. In Luther’s case, it was book printing, and the case of Snowden and Manning, it was the Internet. Mohné positioned his Snowden portrait on the lawn between Wittenberg’s jail and the court. There could hardly have been a stronger form of commentary.

However, the organizers didn’t really have much of a choice about the location of the exhibition itself. Instead, they saw themselves forced to opt for the former Wittenberg jail that had just barely been renovated. A more suitable location was simply not available in the small town, located roughly one hour’s drive from Berlin.

It turned out to be a good choice after all. The paltry and humid prison cells that were transformed into artist berths have enabled the artists to feel removed from reality. Didn’t Martin Luther feel just as lonely and locked in within his monk cell? Existential questions arise in such quarters. Chinese artist Jia, for instance, has depicted them by means of Chinese characters moving across the staircase like a ribbon.

The power and the powerlessness of language

Yet the characters are dead and void of meaning as they were banned from use in daily life during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Thus, part of culture and identity were wiped out. The power and powerlessness of language – Luther has sharpened our perception for that. But language is also a ritual. Jörg Herold’s work “Wittenberger Tor zum Paradies” (“Wittenberg Gate to Paradise”) has turned that idea into a physical and mystical experience. The avowed atheist spent two weeks in “his” cell and, inspired by the Islamic teaching of the 99 names of Allah, inscribed them into the cell’s walls.

Again and again, the works by the 66 artists convey the sense that Martin Luther’s ministry stood for freedom of conscience and tolerance. Markus Lüpertz was inspired by this idea in different way than Jörg Herold. In his view, Luther was a hero. His rainbow-colored sculpture of the “zealot” reveals an unfractured look at the impact of the reformer. Yet another artist, Jonathan Meese, proclaims his own 95 theses on bright posters and in videos. “Kunst ist immer Chefsache” – “Art is always a priority,” it reads. In Meese’s view, art and religion don’t match together; in fact, they are even enemies because religion, by nature, cannot tolerate freedom. Not surprisingly, therefore, Meese accuses Luther of being a “blind follower” without a future.

Artistic coming-out

Young German-Russian painter Yury Kharchenko keeps his distance to Luther, and that, in his view, is due to his own Jewish heritage. In this way, he touches upon one of Luther’s darkest sides, namely his anti-Semitism. In Kharchenko’s view, it has a connection with the later anti-Semitism of the National Socialists. “Wie lange noch meine Identität verstecken?” (“How long should I hide my identity?”) Kharchenko wrote on a double-portrait of him and Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year old Polish-Jewish boy who assassinated German diplomat Ernst vom Rath on November 7, 1938, in Paris.

The painting has a lot of significance for Yury Kharchenko’s life – it could almost be seen as an artistic coming-out. As Kharchenko’s family was originally named Grynszpan, it is quite likely that the painter and the assassin belong to the same Jewish family.

Stephan Balkenhol’s work “Nackter Mann” (‘Naked Man’), presented in a jail cell a few doors down, expresses the same vulnerability as Kharchenko’s painting. Balkenhol has carved his work into a cedar trunk, featuring a fragile man lacking any protection.

According to Balkenhol, Luther’s battle against images and rituals has driven us all out of the communion of saints – the Protestant version of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. It’s an experience that continues to connect us all until today: Man stands naked before himself and the world.

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The photographer behind Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic photo Mon, 22 May 2017 12:28:00 +0000 The post The photographer behind Marilyn Monroe’s most iconic photo appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

We’ve all seen Marilyn Monroe in a white dress standing over a subway ventilation. The iconic image is Sam Shaw’s most famous, but certainly not his most moving. His work is now on show in Germany.A young blond woman in a white dress standing over a ventilation grate in the New York subway, the air pushing up the dress – and the photographer snaps the picture. That’s the story behind Sam Shaw’s most famous picture, but it’s certainly not his most moving image.

It was the famous ventilation grate picture in the 1950s that made photographer Sam Shaw better known to a larger audience – and made Marilyn Monroe even more famous. The picture has been reprinted millions of times, making it one of the best known in the world.

Shaw staged the photograph himself as a PR gimmick to promote the film “The Seven-Year Itch,” directed by Billy Wilder, in which Monroe starred.

“Interestingly, you don’t see this image set precisely in this way in the film,” said Christiane Vogt, director of the Ludwig Gallery at Schloss Oberhausen, which just opened a retrospective of photographer Sam Shaw’s work, “Finding the Unexpected.”

“There is a scene [in the film] showing her legs, and one showing her torso, but not one showing Marilyn Monroe’s entire body,” she noted.

Marilyn Monroe was Shaw’s driver

Shaw had been friends with Monroe for quite a while before the picture was even taken. In fact, before Marilyn had her own breakthrough as an actress, she was actually photographer Shaw’s driver, since he did not have a driver’s license, curator Nina Dunkmann pointed out.

Yet the retrospective is not reduced to showing photographs only of movie star Marilyn Monroe. The 230 black-and-white images from six decades show a host of other people – from starlets to everyday actors.

“Our concept focused on one space being dedicated to Marilyn Monroe; that was clear from the start,” said Vogt. “But the show actually opens with Sophia Loren. We wanted to show photos that weren’t necessarily so famous, and Loren was the perfect motif,” she said.

Dunkmann stressed the stamina with which Shaw worked – taking a great deal of time for his pictures. “He did so with Sophia Loren – depicting her as a goddess and an erotic symbol,” she said. “He draws the viewer’s gaze across her body and up to her face.”

“Shaw almost always manages to tell stories with just one picture,” she pointed out.

Access to film stars, a passion for the less famous

The show in Oberhausen portrays many pictures of film stars, from Marlon Brando in a tight t-shirt and a profile of John Wayne, to Dennis Hopper and Paul Newman and John Cassevetes with their families. Shaw had access to actors – up-close and unadorned.

He was, for instance, close friends with Anthony Quinn, whom he took numerous photos of during the filming of “Alexis Sorbas” on Crete. One picture shows Quinn playing chess during a recording break. Yet Shaw also used the time as a still photographer on the film set to create a photo essay for “Life” magazine about island life in the 1950s. It showcased farmers’ faces creased from working out in the sun.

“These photo stories for “Life” and “Time,” which were often published in color, secured a good income for Shaw, in addition to his work as a still photographer on film sets in Hollywood,” said Vogt.

These photo essays on social issues were close to the photographer’s heart. He began creating them in the 1940s and the pictures are so expressive, that the viewer immediately recognizes which mood Shaw wanted to capture. They are glimpses of real life, showing the hardships of poor people in society and the travails of people working in dangerous jobs in a lively way.

Shaw depicts an American soldier saying goodbye to his family on a farm, young women at work in an armor factory in the US, worn-out African-American women in dilapidated living conditions, and workers around oil rigs. He also captured photos of sporting events, accidents and everyday violence.

Racism and the marginalized

Shaw likewise created photo essays about racism in the US South and of demonstrations against the Vietnam War. “He always placed people at the center, but also expressed criticism, such as in the pictures he took of the election campaign of a racist politician in the South,” said Dunkmann.

One picture shows a corpulent policeman protecting a politician at an appearance before a crowd of people.

Shaw dedicated whole series to African-American culture and was interested in the marginalized people of society. He brought home such pictures from his travels through Europe – series of Roma women in Spain and images from poor neighborhoods in Rome and Paris. Paris was, after all, a city Shaw loved – one he once dubbed the most picturesque in the world.

Shaw’s own glimpse of the world can be viewed at Schloss Oberhausen through September 17, 2017.

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Music raises disease awareness at AIDS gala Sun, 21 May 2017 15:17:00 +0000 The post Music raises disease awareness at AIDS gala appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

A high profile politician, a witty TV host, and nine soloists making waves on the international opera scene: the AIDS gala in Bonn used high art to deliver a serious message on the future of AIDS prevention.Annalisa Stroppa’s coloraturas were spellbinding from the beginning. The Italian mezzo-soprano sang with precision, yet so fast that it was nearly hard to follow. Would she make it through the aria “Una voce oco fa” from Rossini’s “Barber of Seville?” She did. In contrast, the warm sound of American soprano, Janai Brugger, seemed to emanate from the depths of her soul.

Alexander Tsymbalyuk, a baritone of diabolical power, performed two arias from Arrigo Boito’s opera “Mephistopheles.” Born in Odessa, Ukraine, he displayed a radiance to equal that of his Georgian baritonal colleague, George Gagnidze, who gave a rendition of arias from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and Umberto Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier.” French mezzo, Virginie Verrez, and the Australian soprano, Siobhan Stagg – one delicate and refined, the other ardent – displayed two extremes in the art of singing.

Glimpse into the future of the art

Saturday evening (20.05.2017) in the Bonn Opera offered a selection of in-demand voices, without the listener having to travel to Venice, London, Berlin or New York. And that after three cancelations on short notice and two last-minute personnel changes. The organizers at the German AIDS Foundation must have been concerned. But American tenor, Joshua Guerrero, and Croatian soprano, Marigona Qerkezi, stepped into the roles set for other soloists with poise and proficiency, almost as though each had only needed to flip a switch to pull up arias by Verdi or Donizetti.

The strongest bravos were for the star of the evening, Attala Ayan of Brazil. Choosing highly-nuanced timbres in his interpretation of the aria “Che gelida manina” from Gioacomo Puccini’s opera “La Boheme,” he took vocal brilliance about as far as it can go without exhausting his reserves. We’ll be hearing more from this tenor, who is only in his early 30s.

False modesty of a non-classical music fan

The evening’s host was German TV personality Oliver Welke. He described Helmut Andreas and Arndt Hartwig – the initiators of the Bonn Opera Gala – as having “good instincts” when they asked Christian Lindner last year to be the patron of the event. The head of the FDP is currently in the spotlight after Germany’s liberal party triumphed in last week’s election in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Welke didn’t try to disguise the fact that he was out of his element as the host of an evening at the opera, pointing to his snap research on Google and amusingly showing where the boundaries to such knowledge acquisition lie. It brought to mind the previous year’s host, Bettina Böttinger – another well-known personality on German television – who also quipped about her lack of knowledge about serious music. Yet such an approach may be suitable for this audience, most of whom don’t normally attend performances of classical music. But for a future event, perhaps the organizers will be able to find a host who doesn’t treat classical music as a specialty item, which reinforces the prejudice that you have to know a lot to get something out of it.

So much more to be done

With all the levity, Hendrik Streeck, Head of the HIV Research Institute at the Essen University Clinic, reminded the audience of the seriousness of the cause. “Consider that last week alone, more people died of AIDS than have ever fallen sick with ebola,” he said, “and you’ll know that we can’t wait for public policy to take over.” Streeck coordinates the efforts of HIV vaccine researchers in Germany and his position is co-funded by the German AIDS Foundation.

Its chairperson, Elisabeth Pott, called a report by UNAIDS which suggested that the disease could be conquered by the year 2030 “a major misunderstanding. It only means that among the people who are infected then, only those who cannot be treated early on will grow ill with AIDS. And currently only half of the people infected worldwide are getting treatment – no more than that.”

Considering the current global issue of there being 60 million refugees and displaced persons, the enormous task of treating and preventing AIDS becomes clear. “One shouldn’t fall for the notion that nothing more needs to be done,” added Pott.

Peter Limbourg, director general of the opera gala’s media partner DW, also referenced the worldwide dimension of the crisis that has disappeared from the headlines but nevertheless rages on. The broadcaster’s efforts, said Limbourg, can partially correct that: “The illness affects millions of people, for example in Africa. These people belong to our target audience, so we find it imperative to publicize the issue.”

The evening was rounded out by tastefully unobtrusive video projections and acrobatics. The bottom line: following last year’s yield, after expenses, of 205,000 euros ($230,000), Helmut Andreas Hartwig estimated this year’s results at 225,000 euros.

The recording of the gala can be heard for two weeks as audio on demand on the DW music program Concert Hour beginning on June 2 ( Video excerpts are broadcast on Euromaxx on May 24 and on Sarah’s Music on May 25.

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Pottery workshops demolished in Fayoum’s Tunis Village Sun, 21 May 2017 10:00:58 +0000 Anger is taking over the citizens because of the random demolishing of people’s properties, says Mohamed Abla 

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Families of Tunis Village closed their handmade shops to protest the random demolishing of their workshops applied by security forces in order to build a police station, according to a Facebook post by prominent Egyptian artist Mohamed Abla, who owns the Middle East’s only caricature museum, which is located in the village.

Egypt’s most astonishing, breathtaking handmade pottery and home accessories come from Fayoum governorate’s small village of Tunis, southwest of Cairo. The charming scent of the village doesn’t only come from the greenery that dominates the place, but also from the fact that all its citizens have been carving beauty for a living over the past 35 years without any governmental support.

According to a local journalist who spoke to Daily News Egypt on condition of anonymity, several factories and workshops in which people were taught pottery were razed by forces from the Ministry of Interior; however, no residency areas were removed.

Locals told the journalist that they were previously informed by the government’s urge to legalise the conditions and they approved; however, no further actions were taken.

According to his post, Abla stated that “anger is taking over the citizens because of the random demolishing of people’s properties,” adding that for the past 35 years, the village had no unemployment whatsoever. The citizens didn’t receive any sort of governmental care or support, and they have failed to legalise their properties for 10 years now;yet that never stopped them from paying the government its rights, including electricity and taxes.

“How do you [the government] aim to support tourism and develop small societies while you wreck people’s efforts! People are boiling out of anger!” he added.

All of the workshops, exhibitions, and museums in the village were shut down as an act of refusing the decision that citizens considered a form of “invasion” to the peaceful atmosphere in which residents live.

Amgad Amer, an expert on local development affairs, stated that from the government’s point of view, the factory’s owners are considered occupying the lands owned by the state.

As Amer explained to Daily News Egypt,the razing decision is supposedly put to demolish all of the “vacant buildings” in order to use the land.

However, he saw no reason for removing the already used factories and workshops.

In similar cases, the government usually offered residents the ability to legalise their properties from which they make a living, he said.

The village has 250 families, all of whom inherited the work of pottery from their ancestors. Their pottery attracts tourists from all over the world, especially with the workshops in which people are taught pottery.

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Berlin 24/7: The end of theater? No way! Sun, 21 May 2017 08:49:00 +0000 The post Berlin 24/7: The end of theater? No way! appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Iconic Berlin theater directors Peymann and Castorf leave – and predict the end of theater. Nonsense, says DW’s Gero Schliess, who looks forward to Chris Dercon’s first season at the helm of the Volksbühne theater.”Rascals, would you live forever?”

Frederick the Great’s rage was notorious, even though he had formally been thought a reluctant soldier. Nowadays, Berlin’s eternal theater directors Frank Castorf and Claus Peymannmonarch would undoubtedly have become a target of the monarch’s anger – as he was also known as an avid patron of the arts.

Peymann and Castorf

After all, the 18th-century Prussian king and head of all Berlin theaters at the time basically leads the list of Frank Castorf’s und Claus Peymann’s predecessors. Berlin’s current wan mayor, Michael Müller, for his part, shows little of the luster and style of centuries past.

Müller and his predecessor, Klaus Wowereit, should have looked to the royal smart mouth for inspiration. I’m sure Old Fritz would have known how to deal with the two reigning directors and would have swiftly curtailed their dynastic claims to eternal employment. As the king put it, “the people from the opera are such scoundrels.” Whether opera or the theater, we know what he means.

Instead, we have for months witnessed acts of unstoppable self-aggrandizement. The name of the play: “Me, my theater and the evil world” and it’s showing at two traditional Berlin theaters: Claus Peymann’s Berliner Ensemble and Frank Castorf’s Volksbühne theater. Both are doing it with a devil-may-care attitude.

Peymann claims, for instance, that the Berliner Ensemble is being “annihilated.” Well, perhaps not just the ensemble, but the egos of our elderly directors are in danger. The idea that they might suffer from a Methuselah complex – a general overestimation of one’s capabilities in old age – would never cross our minds.

Death blow for the Volksbühne

But, let’s admit it, both have surprisingly good instincts. Ever since Castorf’s successor, Belgian curator Chris Dercon, announced his plans for the Volksbühne theater, we have understood that the veteran directors’ nightmares are coming true. This is the death blow for the Volksbühne, or better yet, for the Volksbühne as we know it. The traditional theater on Rosa Luxemburg Square was financed by workers who paid into the Association Free Volksbühne, and was a leftist theater, a very leftist theater always out to change the world, no holds barred, with renowned directors including Herbert Fritsch, Rene Pollesch and actors like Martin Wuttke.

Dercon wants to change the world, too. But he doesn’t need actors or directors. Hey, weren’t they always overrated in the theater anyway?

Open-heart surgery

Now, there are constant installations, performances, and things digitalized. The Volksbühne has become the new playground for Berlin’s culture start-up community. And if they are not drilling and researching, they are dancing. Of course, Chris Dercon is right to say that dance is oh so political. So there is a lot of dance, a lot of experimenting, also at the spectacular new venue, Hangar 5 at the city’s former Tempelhof airport.

Yes, it is open-heart surgery at the Volksbühne. The outcome is uncertain. Some ideas sound simply crazy.

But I don’t care about the good old days. Sure, Castorf’s theater work was sassy. It was grand and influential. The Stadttheater as we know it today, with all its branches and art forms – Castorf once invented that. But for a while now, the Great Inquisitor has only been preaching to his supporters, for people who already believe his holy words. In the end, much was the same as always, like the weekly Schnitzel lunch at the Volksbühne cafeteria.

Castorf always called for change and revolution in his productions. After heading the theater for 25 years, how about not bedeviling the theater’s desire for change at the top as an affront to the ruler?

With all due respect, however, Castorf that was yesterday. Today’s motto is: The Volksbühne is dead! Long live the Volksbühne!

There is one consolation for traditionalists: the man who runs the cafeteria won’t be leaving.

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Sumptuous weddings: Pippa Middleton joins the club of celebrities and royals Fri, 19 May 2017 12:18:00 +0000 The post Sumptuous weddings: Pippa Middleton joins the club of celebrities and royals appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister, Pippa Middleton, is getting married. The media buzz is huge: It’s not a simple wedding with a few guests, but THE wedding of the year. Here are other glamorous brides to inspire her.Members of high society are beside themselves with joy and anticipation ahead of the wedding of Pippa Middleton, the younger sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. That more or less makes Pippa a member of the British Royal Family.

On Saturday, May 20, Pippa will exchange vows with her fiancee, businessman and hedge fund manager James Matthews, who went to Eton College with Princes William and Harry.

Luxury nuptials

Pippa has her heart set on a luxury wedding with all the bells and whistles. Daily, new details of the wedding leak out: It is rumored to cost 400,000 euros ($446,000) and 300 guests have been invited, from TV starlets to blue-blooded aristocrats.

A huge glass palace flown in from Belgium has been set up on the Middleton family’s grounds. The wedding guests will ride from church to the party location in Bentleys while Pippa is expected to ride in an open carriage like her sister the princess did at her wedding.

As usual, the dress is the best-kept secret, rumored to be a creation by a hip British designer. Names including Ralph & Russo, Marchesa and Victoria Beckham are being bandied about..

Is a mega wedding a guarantee for “happily ever after”? Click through the picture gallery of celebrity weddings above to find out!

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King Tutankhamun’s funerary bed to be transferred to Grand Egyptian Museum Thu, 18 May 2017 12:00:20 +0000 The team packed materials that are free of acidity and units dampening vibrations during the bed’s transportation, says head of first aid restoration at the Grand Egyptian Museum The Grand Egyptian Museum is preparing to host King Tutankhamun’s funerary bed in its halls. Earlier on Wednesday, a team of Grand Museum workers went to the …

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The team packed materials that are free of acidity and units dampening vibrations during the bed’s transportation, says head of first aid restoration at the Grand Egyptian Museum

The Grand Egyptian Museum is preparing to host King Tutankhamun’s funerary bed in its halls. Earlier on Wednesday, a team of Grand Museum workers went to the Egyptian Museum in order to pack the bed in a step towards its transportation to its permanent location at the new Grand Egyptian Museum.

“The team packed one of the king’s three golden funerary beds, which is made of wood gilded with golden sheets and decorated with the head of goddess Sekhmet,” Tarek Tawfik, the Grand Egyptian Musuem’s general supervisor, said in a statement published on the Ministry of Antiquities’ official Facebook page.

Before packing, the bed was subjected to scientific documentation and first aid restoration in order to guarantee its safe transportation, according to the statement.

The packing process lasted for around eight hours. The process was conducted in collaboration with a Japanese scientific team.

“The team packed materials that are free of acidity and include units to dampen vibrations during the bed’s transportation,” said Eissa Zidan, head of the first aid restoration at the Grand Egyptian Museum. He asserted that devices measuring heat and vibration intensity would be used on the bed during transportation.

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“Clash” keeps its success chain in de Cinéma Vues d’Afrique Thu, 18 May 2017 11:00:48 +0000 Director Mohamed Diab’s feature film Clash won the Best Feature Film Award at the 33rd Festival International de Cinéma Vues d’Afrique in Montreal, where it was competing in the Fictions Internationales Section. Earlier this month, the film won the main award of the Cinepolitica International Film Festival in Romania, which is dedicated to films with …

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Director Mohamed Diab’s feature film Clash won the Best Feature Film Award at the 33rd Festival International de Cinéma Vues d’Afrique in Montreal, where it was competing in the Fictions Internationales Section.

Earlier this month, the film won the main award of the Cinepolitica International Film Festival in Romania, which is dedicated to films with predominantly political themes, whether features, shorts, fictions, or documentary films. During the awards ceremony, the festival’s board announced Clash as the winner of its greatest award, which also includes a monetary prize of €1,500 granted to the film’s director by the Romanian Cultural Institute.

The film was awarded the Suvarna Chakoram Award, as well as the audience prize (Rajatha Chakoram) last year.

This comes after it received another 10 awards from different international film festivals, including the Critics Prize at the 16th Mediterranean Film Festival of Brussels and the Golden Pram Award at the Zagreb International Film Festival in Croatia.

Moreover, it received four awards at the Carthage Film Festival in its 27th round, namely the Bronze Tanit (the second prize in the Official Feature Film Competition), Best Photography, Best Editing, and the African University Award for Cinematic Criticism for Best Feature Film (Nagiba El-Hamrony Award).

The film also received three awards at the Valladolid International Film Festival, including Best New Director (Mohamed Diab), Best Director of Photography (Ahmed Gabr), and the Sociograph Award, which is voted for by the audience.

The film additionally took part in the BFI London Film Festival in its 60th round. Moreover, it received the Grand Prix award at the Festival du Film Arabe de Fameck/Val de Fensch in France.

Clash tells the story of a group of people belonging to different social classes and sharing different ideologies, who find themselves inside a police van after being arrested at protests that hit Egypt’s streets during the 30 June uprising.

The plot features clashes between the diverse group of people, made up of different-minded people, including Muslim Brotherhood supporters and opponents, while they are stuck in a small vehicle on one of the hottest days of the summer.

The film is co-written by Diab’s brothers, Khaled and Mohammed, and co-produced by Arab and European companies.

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“Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim” participates at Cannes Junior Screenings Thu, 18 May 2017 10:00:41 +0000 Following the traces “Clash” left at last year’s Cannes Awards, “Ali, Me’za, w Ibrahim” (Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim) is the only Egyptian film competing at Cannes Junior Screenings, along with seven other international films. The section’s jury members are the students of the French Gérard Philipe School in Cannes. The students are aged 13 …

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Following the traces “Clash” left at last year’s Cannes Awards, “Ali, Me’za, w Ibrahim” (Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim) is the only Egyptian film competing at Cannes Junior Screenings, along with seven other international films.

The section’s jury members are the students of the French Gérard Philipe School in Cannes. The students are aged 13 to 15, and the competition focuses on presenting films that re-introduce the civilisation of the production country of each film in a new way.

The film tells the story of Ali, who was born and raised in a rough neighbourhood, before he travels across Cairo with Ibrahim based on the recommendation of a psychic after interpreting the voices he hears in his head. Their journey turns into a voyage of friendship and self-discovery.

“Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim” stars Ali Sobhi and Ahmed Magdy, alongside Salwa Mohamed Aly and Nahed El Sebaie.

The film’s world premiere took place last December at the Dubai International Film Festival, in which the film competed within the Muhr Feature competition; actor Ali Sobhi was awarded the Best Actor Award for his role.

Directed by Sherif El Bendary, “Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim” is written by Ahmed Amer, based on Ibrahim El Batout’s story, and is produced by Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic, Hossam Elouan’s Transit Films, and the French film production company Arizona Productions, with the participation of Egypt, France, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

The film also took part in the Mons International Love Film Festival in Belgium, besides its participation in the 19th Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris (January 12-16). The film won various prizes in the development and post-production phases, including three during its participation in the Final Cut Workshop at the Venice International Film Festival.

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Aisha Fahmy’s palace opens after 15 years of restoration Thu, 18 May 2017 09:00:26 +0000 The restoration process included turning the basement into one huge hall for exhibiting art pieces.

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After 15 years of closing its doors, Princess Aisha Fahmy’s palace is finally opened Wednesday night after renovations. Minister of Culture Helmy El-Namnam opened the gates of the mansion, which is dubbed Mogamaa Al-Fonoon (Arts Complex), for the public to witness its restoration.

For Zamalek’s loyal attendees, it wouldn’t be too hard to miss the mesmerising Nile-view mansion, located in one of the main streets of the elite neighbourhood. Aisha Fahmy’s palace is one of the masterpieces that dates to King Farouk’s era. The timeworn palace holds among its walls the glory of Egypt’s royal elegance, mixed with cheerful, bright colours that women passionately apply to their houses.

The renovation process has been going on for years now, and in its last stage, it was under the direct supervision of the Culture Development Fund. “The restoration process included turning the basement into one huge hall for exhibiting art pieces. The hall is 1,000 square metres in size, and it can host hundreds of art pieces,” said Ali El-Halawany, the Ministry of Culture’s media officer.

The renewal process also encompassed the mansion’s silk portraits, which are rare, and most of them are in the palace. Built over 2,700 square metres, the dwelling includes 30 rooms, of which one is the Japanese room. This room is decorated with Japanese letters written in golden silk with rare Buddha statues.

Built in 1907 by the design of Italian architect Antonio Lasciac for Princess Aisha Fahmy, whose father was the head of the army during the reign of King Fouad I, the mansion is considered one of that era’s masterpieces.

After her death, the mansion was owned by the Ministry of Culture in 1958 to be used as the minister’s office.

The opening also witnessed an exhibition titled “From the treasures of our museums” in the basement hall of the mansion. “The exhibition is a festival organised by all Egyptian museums, by contributing their art belongings for both international and Egyptian fine artists,” said Khaled Soror, head of the Fine Arts sector.

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Yale constitutional scholar: Trump’s justification of firing Comey looks like obstruction of justice Wed, 17 May 2017 16:23:00 +0000 The post Yale constitutional scholar: Trump’s justification of firing Comey looks like obstruction of justice appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Does the Trump-Comey saga make a case for the impeachment of the president? DW asked Yale legal scholar Jack Balkin to weigh in. He also explains that as Donald Trump’s legal advisor he would resort to drastic measures.DW: Does the firing of FBI director James Comey (who led the FBI investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump, his associates and Russia), the explanations provided for this by the administration, or the reported Comey memo which allegedly states that Trump asked Comey to end the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn provide any grounds for legal proceedings against President Trump?

Jack Balkin: The president of the United States, while he is in office, can be sued in a civil proceeding, but he can’t be indicted criminally. So the only remedy available against a sitting president would be impeachment. After Trump fired Comey, many people thought that he had made out a own case for obstruction of justice against himself because the federal statutes say it is a crime to purposefully interfere with an ongoing investigative proceeding. And it looks like this is exactly what he did.

At first his subordinates gave a justification for it that was completely unrelated to interfering with an ongoing proceeding, but then, in an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, Trump basically said that they had all been lying, and that the reason he did it was to wind up the Russia investigation because he thought the Russia investigation was a big fake. And then everyone said “it looks like he is not a very good lawyer because he is just making the case against himself,” but there was always some question whether or not it could be interpreted in an innocent way.

And then comes the revelation of this memo – that was written contemporaneously with a dinner – in which Trump is alleged to have asked Comey to stop the investigation of Michael Flynn on the grounds that Michael Flynn is a good fellow and he really does not deserve to have an investigation against him. At that point what Trump said in his justification for firing Comey looks increasingly like obstruction of justice. You have a high federal official, in this case the president, who is saying to the head of the FBI, which is the nation’s chief investigative authority, ‘I know that you are investigating one of my subordinates who had to resign in disgrace, please stop the investigation.’ And because the president has the power to fire the FBI director, that looks like he was trying to influence the FBI director to do what he wanted to do.

So you think there is a case for obstruction of justice?

If this were a criminal case you would have to prove bad intent, the attempt to deliberately obstruct and impede the investigation. But you can’t bring a criminal investigation against a sitting US president under American law, and instead you have to proceed by impeachment. So the question then is whether the House of Representatives would then regard this as being a high crime or a misdemeanor. A high crime or misdemeanor, which is the constitutional provision, is a technical term and converts what one would ordinarily be a question of crime into a question of political crime.

Essentially, it’s a judgment call by the House of Representatives, and they can be guided by the niceties of American criminal law. But they don’t have to be entirely restricted by how courts have parsed particular criminal statutes. So disgrace of office, undermining the United States of America, disobeying the oath of office – all of these things could amount to a high crime or misdemeanor depending on what the House of Representatives thought; and then of course the Senate would actually have to pass on whether there is guilt or innocence. So the House is a kind of indictor and the Senate the judge.

In both the last two cases where there has been an impeachment crisis in America -, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton -, on the list of impeachable offenses produced by the House of Representatives there has been a claim of obstruction of justice.

According to the US constitution Congress is tasked with oversight over the Executive Branch. Has Congress been doing its job so far?

No. One of the major problems with way in which the party system in the US has developed is that the parties in the US have increasingly become like parliamentary parties. That means they are relatively coherent ideologically and they basically work together. That means a Republican Party will not investigate a Republican president and the Democrats won’t investigate a Democratic president. Now that we have the presidency and both houses of Congress controlled by Republicans you are not going to get any serious investigation – except that we have an amazing situation in which the president keeps making the case that he has committed a crime. At some point it will be politically impossible not to open an investigation.

But one of the puzzles of American politics today is that Americans seem to be getting two different sets of news and two different sets of facts – first, from the mainstream press, and second, from a relatively self-contained conservative media which basically reports what it wants to report. And so if you listen to mainstream media you see the president essentially making the case against himself for impeachment every day. If you listen to the self-contained conservative media it’s much harder to discern that that’s what’s actually happening. And since the people who are in office – in the Republican Party – are elected by people who listen almost exclusively to the self-contained conservative media, they have much less incentive to actually do something, because they fear they will be punished by their constituents if they were to betray or abandon the president of the United States.

If you were the president’s legal adviser what would you tell him?

If I were the president’s legal adviser I would place a sock in his mouth and then tape around the sock and then I would put his fingers in mittens and tape around the mittens so that he could never tweet again. I would keep him in a locked chamber and I would have an official representative make all of his public statements for him. I am barely exaggerating when I say this. The man is his own worst enemy.

Jack Balkin is professor of constitutional law and the first amendment at Yale University. He is also publisher of the legal blog Balkinization.

This interview was conducted by Michael Knigge.

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Over 100 years of travel photography Wed, 17 May 2017 13:20:00 +0000 The post Over 100 years of travel photography appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Travel selfies or holiday snaps on Facebook – traveling seems to inspire photography. An exhibition in Berlin shows holiday impressions from well-known photographers. Here is a small sample of what to expect.The exhibition “Faraway Focus – Photographers Go Traveling (1880-2015)” offers a stroll through the history of travel photography. As a genre, travel photography emerged around the same time as mass tourism in the late 19th century, when it reinforced expectations of foreign destinations as being exotic.

Only since the 1920s has travel inspired photographers to respond artistically to cultural, political and social conditions in other countries.

The exhibition presents over 180 works by 17 photographers and reflects the history of 20th-century art photography. The different approaches illustrate changes in visual idiom and perceptions from early travel photography down to our globalized world.

The exhibition in the Berlinerische Galerie – Museum of Modern Art opens on May 19 and will run through September 11, 2017.

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Chris Dercon says he’s not staging plays for the fan club Wed, 17 May 2017 12:05:00 +0000 The post Chris Dercon says he’s not staging plays for the fan club appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Berlin Volksbühne’s new theater director starts off his first season with a dance performance and Samuel Beckett. Chris Dercon told DW how he wants to experiment on stage and how he’s working hard to be accepted.Chris Dercon, the new director of Berlin’s Volksbühne, has finally revealed his plans for his first season with the theater, impatiently awaited by theater-lovers in particular because in the heated discussion over the theater’s future. Dercon had previously refused to even hint at a possible program, putting details off for the scheduled press conference this week.

Announced Tuesday, the program lists 16 premieres in the first half of the season – 13 of which are original productions. The season starts with a dance performance by choreographer Boris Charmatz and Musee de la Danse on September 10 in a new venue: Hangar 5 of Berlin’s former Tempelhof airport. Three one-act plays by British playwright Samuel Beckett and works by Berlin-based British-German artist Tino Sehgal kick off the season at the original Volksbühne venue.

Fear of misuse

Many in Berlin’s theater scene were indignant when the Berlin senate announced in April 2015 that Frank Castorf would be leaving the Volksbühne after 25 years at the helm – to be succeeded by Chris Dercon, a Belgian art historian. Castorf wrote theater history while Dercon, until recently the head of the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London, is a museum expert who has never managed a theater.

Critics feared the traditional leftist-leaning theater on Berlin’s Rosa Luxemburg Square could be degraded to a mere venue for events, and that the ensemble might be broken up. In the following interview with Deutsche Welle, Chris Dercon speaks about his plans for his first season and how he aims to win the hearts of Berliners and Volksbühne actors alike.

DW: People know the Volksbühne as a highly political, leftist theater. What is your vision for the future of a “new” Volksbühne?

Chris Dercon: I envision the Volksbühne as a public, permeable space that offers room for the various types of art within the performing arts spectrum.

Volksbühne always stood for freedom of the arts. Now, however, we must take a fresh look at the role of theater. I believe the performing arts are better suited than other art forms to dealing with our times – a time when reality trumps the theater, just take a look at the US president. Art as such is highly political, and so, by the way, is dance. But it is not about offering what is familiar, just so the fan club can agree. We want to surprise people with a new kind of interaction between the art forms.

You are opening your first season on Tempelhof Field with a dance performance by Boris Charmatz. Hangar 5 will be turned into one gigantic stage under the motto “All of Berlin is dancing.” Where did you get the idea?

Tempelhof is important to us because we want to offer artists a space that is not a stage to develop new projects and new forms of presentation. Many theater-makers today no longer want to work with the standard differentiation between the stage and the auditorium, just like choreographer Boris Charmatz. There is Mohammad Al Attar, a Syrian writer who works with female Syrian refugees for his version of the Iphigenia, they are actually being casted and trained at the moment. And we have Kate Tempest, a famous rapper and dramatist who can show us where theater could be headed.

So you think the Volksbühne must be open to other art forms?

Volksbühne has always said it survives on a patchwork of minorities. In Berlin, you will find a certain separation, which we want to change with new cooperations. We want to let the different art forms interact. That aspect has been important to me all my life, in the museum, too. But it is only now that I am in the theater that I can give it a lasting shape. For instance, a dancer speaks, a film-maker is responsible for lighting the stage. Or one could try to combine Beckett plays with works by Tino Sehgal.

One-act plays by Samuel Beckett will open the season at the Volksbühne’s main venue. Why Beckett?

Because Beckett is about language, because he makes us think about how we communicate: tweets, retweets, posts. Is there a difference between so-called feelings and facts, or between facts and fake news? Samuel Beckett’s command of language and how he presents it anew over and over again are a prologue to understanding the evolution of how we speak today.

For the internet, you developed the “Volksbühne Fullscreen” platform, a new digital stage. Is it a kind of experimental field?

Volksbühne Berlin stands for different venues. And yes, it’s true, one should be on the internet. We wanted to create a dynamic website, not just one offering more service, but a place where we can try things out and turn theatrical narratives into digital culture.

That is exciting at a time when filmmakers like Alejandro Inaaritu move in virtual reality. I think it’s time that theater experiments in the digital space – not to reconcile theater with digital culture, but to experiment and find something new.

At your press conference, little was said about an actors’ ensemble and a repertory. You lack both, but you would like to have them. That also comes as a result of your dispute with your predecessor.

We approached Frank Castorf and resident Volksbühne directors Rene Pollesch, Herbert Fritsch and Christoph Marthaler for plays for a repertory in the interest of securing a future for the Volksbühne. Their clear answer was “no.” We have to create a new repertory and a new ensemble.

You have often been accused of wanting to break up the ensemble and only book artists for temporary projects. Is that true?

That is absolutely not the case. I would like to work with a family, a permanent troupe. But first, we have to create it.

Here in Berlin, you’ve faced quite some opposition.The staff wrote an open letter, and even today, there’s some opposition in the theater itself. How do you plan to win over the Berliners and your co-workers?

We had a very positive personnel meeting this morning. We have an incredible amount of explaining to do. In that regard, I wasn’t as successful in the past. You have to continue to try to find a better way to explain something. And now, that is coming up with positive results.

Don’t you worry that you might be thwarted?

No, not in my own theater, but perhaps by politicians.

You are referring to Berlin’s new Culture Senator Klaus Lederer, who initially questioned your contract. You don’t have a lot of friends in Berlin, how then can you be successful?

Well, I’m still here. And I’m working at it and I am used to working with strong headwinds: in Munich, in Rotterdam. Not because I seek to provoke or seek conflicts, but perhaps because I am an outsider and I use my freedom.

Wouild you like to see Faust again before it is discontinued, the last play staged by your predecessor Frank Castor?

No, because it is about me. (Eds.: In his Faust production, Castorf focuses on colonialization and takeovers, which is just what many people have said they think of when they see Chris Dercon as head of the Volksbühne theater.)

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In Video: Arabian Horses Festival in Cairo Tue, 16 May 2017 16:12:24 +0000 The post In Video: Arabian Horses Festival in Cairo appeared first on Daily News Egypt.


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What to expect at the Cannes Film Festival Tue, 16 May 2017 14:23:00 +0000 The post What to expect at the Cannes Film Festival appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Nicole Kidman’s red carpet stroll won’t be the only highlight in Cannes. Nineteen films are competing for the world’s most prestigious film award, the Golden Palm, including a German movie and indie films from the US.Impressive film posters and huge billboards usually draw attention to the latest Hollywood blockbusters at the Cannes Film Festival. But this year, it’s a different story. Major US film studios that tend to use Cannes as an advertising platform for their massively expensive productions are hard to find.

Not even one single movie produced by a major US film company is in the competition for the sought-after Palme d’Or.

US indie films compete for Golden Palm

That, however, doesn’t mean that US directors are totally absent from the competition. With Sofia Coppola and Todd Haynes, two of the most interesting US filmmakers will be participating. Three additional US productions are also present – “Good Time” by Joshua and Ben Safdie, “The Meyerowitz Stories” by Noah Baumbach, and “You Were Never Really Here” by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay.

They will compete against films from Asia and Europe, with host country France dominating the scene as usual – this time, with eight productions and co-productions.

Germany is making a particularly strong showing in 2017. After having been largely ignored by its neighboring country for years, last year’s triumph of Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” may well be responsible for the change in attitude towards Germany. In 2017, German director Fatih Akin was invited for his film “In the Fade.”

Those who think broadly in terms of national categories may also count Munich-born Michael Haneke. The latest film by the Austrian citizen, “Happy End,” is a German-French-Austrian co-production.

Cannes goes around the world

Some exciting films have also been contributed by Russia, Hungary and Greece, while Asia is represented by movies from Japan and South Korea.

But over the next week and a half, Cannes offers more than just a selection of world-renowned directors vying for prestigious trophies. The list of stars parading on the red carpet is likely to be equally impressive, and the paparazzi as numerous as ever. At least in this regard, Hollywood will be heavily represented.

Eagerly expected among the stars is Nicole Kidman, who performed in several films shown at Cannes. Hollywood star Jessica Chastain is a member of the international jury, along with Will Smith. In addition, Julianne Moore and Jake Gyllenhaal are expected to make appearances, as is Kristen Stewart. She has chosen her roles well – starring in “The Twilight Saga,” for example – and achieved her international breakthrough over the last few years.

Cannes celebrates 70th anniversary

The Cannes Film Festival took place for the first time in 1946. In the post-war era back then, one of the objectives was to create a counterbalance to the Venice Film Festival, which had been discredited due to its alleged ties to Italian fascism. Cannes was intended as a celebration of culture and film – a goal that wasn’t easy to achieve as the event could not take place twice due to a lack of money.

There was still a long way to go. It took until the 1950s for Cannes to establish itself as the world’s most important film festival. What contributed to this development may have been the special appeal of southern France and its mild climate that drew many of the world’s most outstanding directors.

Back to the classics

Many productions that are now seen as classics once celebrated their premiere there, and many of them were awarded a Golden Palm – among them “The Third Man” and “La Dolce Vita,” as well as later masterpieces like “Padre Padrone,” “Taxi Driver” and “Yol.” German directors belonging to this exclusive club are Volker Schlöndorff (“Tin Drum”) and Wim Wenders (“Paris, Texas”).

This year, the festival goes on a journey through its own history by featuring numerous legendary movies.

Almodóvar heads the jury

Still, as always, the main focus of the festival will remain the new productions in the competition. Spanish star director Pedro Almodóvar heads the jury. The lucky winner of the Palme d’Or, as well as other awards, will be handed out on May 28.

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How Hollywood has portrayed conspiracy theories Tue, 16 May 2017 13:43:00 +0000 The post How Hollywood has portrayed conspiracy theories appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

While conspiracy theories under Trump abound, here’s a look at how Hollywood has handled past political scandals in the US – from the real-life Watergate scandal to a surreal FBI plot to overthrow Canada’s government.Comparisons between the current state of US politics and the plots of Hollywood movies and television series are abundant. As Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek might say, reality has become virtual: It is sometimes difficult to tell the two apart nowadays. So people turn to fictionalized events on television to help them better understand the world in which they live.

As controversy brews in United States politics, cultural critics have been looking closely at television series like “The Americans,” a drama about Russian spies living in Washington D.C. at the height of the Cold War and “House of Cards,” a thriller with Kevin Spacey as the US President. Others are turning toward Hollywood’s reconstructions of major political events over the last century to get a better understanding of what’s currently going on in the US executive and legislative branches.

The FBI, according to Hollywood

One of the most prolific filmmakers tackling US political controversies has been Oliver Stone. The director has taken a brutal look at the biggest scandals in politics, making box office hits about former US presidents, with his films “JFK” and “Nixon.” He has also covered the Vietnam War through a film trilogy and has made three documentaries on Cuba’s former dictator, Fidel Castro. While Stone’s films center on exploring the scandals, he does so by looking at the major players behind the scenes – which often means US intelligence agencies like the FBI and CIA.

The intelligence services hold a special place in Hollywood’s imagination – perhaps because so little is known about what exactly the FBI does. In the unusual comedy “Wag the Dog,” a US president, with the help of a media professional, makes up a fake war with Albania to distract from a burgeoning sex scandal. The plot is uncovered by a bumbling FBI agent.

While it’s unclear how close to reality the film’s plot comes – some of its fans drew parallels to US military involvement overseas in the late 1990s at the height of the Clinton impeachment trial – the movie ultimately had audiences questioning the role media plays in beating the war drums.

Tall tales and true stories

That’s a topic originally explored in director Michael Moore’s 1995 comedy “Canadian Bacon,” in which the US president decides to invade Canada. His humorous take on the differences between the two North American countries also looks at the role US intelligence services play in supporting politicians in the country.

Yet not all movies see the spy services as a barrel of laughs. John le Carré made a career out of writing spy thrillers set during the Cold War, a number of which were turned into blockbuster hits, including “Tinker Tailor Soldier.”

“All the President’s Men,” a fact-based drama about how two “Washington Post” reporters broke the Watergate scandal also features an FBI agent – though that’s not made clear in the movie. The true source who fed the reporters material – nicknamed Deep Throat – was unknown at the time the film was made. After his death, he was revealed to be an FBI agent eager to get the word out about wrongdoing.

For more films – based both on reality and fictional – that look at US political scandals and the role of the FBI, click through the picture gallery above.

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In Video: Exhibition commemorates Ibrahim Burkhardt, discoverer of Abu Simbel Temples Tue, 16 May 2017 13:14:55 +0000 The post In Video: Exhibition commemorates Ibrahim Burkhardt, discoverer of Abu Simbel Temples appeared first on Daily News Egypt.


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Exhibition commemorates the life of Ibrahim Burkhardt, the man who discovered Abu Simbel Temples Tue, 16 May 2017 12:00:21 +0000 The exhibition celebrated the discovery’s 200th anniversary that coincides with his demise

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There is an ancient statue that resembles King Ramses II and has the body of a giant lion attacking a human who represents the enemy trying to cross Egypt’s borders. Another statue shows the king strongly holding his sceptre. These are some of the displayed relics at the commemoration exhibition of Sheikh Ibrahim Burkhardt, the man who discovered Abu Simbel Temples.

The halls of the Egyptian museum witnessed the opening of its latest exhibitions “Abu Simbel: 200 years after Sheikh Ibrahim Burkhardt” on Sunday night under the attendance of Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany, Swiss ambassador to Egypt Markus Leitner, and Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly, as well as several countries’ ambassadors.

The exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the greatest discovery in Egyptian history, which coincides with year in which its Swiss discoverer, Johann Ludwig Burkhardt, died.

Organised by the Egyptian Museum and the Embassy of Switzerland with the University of Basel, which helped select the displayed items, the exhibition arrays some of the antiquities that were discovered at the places he visited on his way to Nubia.

“After the great discoveries the country has been witnessing for the past months, this [the exhibitions] means the spread of a good image of the country, which sends the message that there’s so much to see in Egypt and shows that Egypt is all about heritage and culture,” Leitner told Daily News Egypt

“We are very proud to celebrate this important historical and cultural link between Switzerland and Egypt. The exhibition sends a positive message to the Swiss people and encourages tourism to explore Egypt’s special history,” Leitner added. “The exhibition commemorates the history of a Swiss traveller who started it all 200 years ago. I believe this is an important statement we send people that says ‘come to Egypt.'”

Open to the public between 15 May and 20 June, “Abu Simbel: 200 years after Sheikh Ibrahim Burkhardt” allows some of the displayed items to see the light for the first time through this exhibition. This includes two fragments of a wall painting from the rock-cut sanctuary in Wadi Al-Seboua from the period of Amenhotep III.

In their speeches, both El-Anany and Leitner assured that Burkhardt played a remarkable role in documenting the lives of Egyptians as no other foreign traveller managed to do. This was due to his fluent Arabic which allowed him to engage in dialogue with citizens from various social classes and different lifestyles, including merchants, governors, and even peasants.

Burkhart discovered Abu Simbel Temples in 1813 on his trip to Nubia. The temple was buried in deep sand when he found it, and later, after he went back to Cairo, he informed Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni about his discovery. Based on Burkhardt’s description, Belzoni travelled to Abu Simbel, started removing the sand, and entered the temple 200 years ago in 1817. The same year, Burckhardt died in Cairo. He is buried in the Bab El-Nasr cemetery in Cairo.

“He’s buried here [Cairo] and he lived most of his life here, so we thought it’s more appropriate if he is remembered in the Egyptian Museum rather than in the temple itself,” Leitner explained ,“his temple in well preserved until this day, and we invite the masses to come visit it and commemorate his life with us.”

One year before discovering one of Egypt’s most famous touristic spots, Burkhardt rediscovered the ancient city of Petra in Jordan in 1812 on the route he was taking from Syria to Cairo.

The Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burkhardt was born to a wealthy family in Basel. After he completed his studies in Germany, he was hired by an association exploring North Africa, which led him to settle down in 1802 in Aleppo to study Arabic. After he converted to Islam, he was known as Sheikh Ibrahim Ibn Abdallah.

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“Bookabikia”: a creative book-swapping platform Tue, 16 May 2017 11:00:33 +0000 A book is exchanged for points upon its availability in the market, the number of its pages, the quality of the edition

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Aiming to fight the rising prices of textbooks and novels, a group of five young people decided to launch their initiative “Bookabikia” in hopes of encouraging readers to donate books or exchange them with others.

“Bookabikia” is a book-swapping bookstore, but in a very modern way.

“The whole thing started when I realised that I have a huge number of books in my home library that exceed 22,000 LE,” said Amro El Debayky, the marketing manager of Bookabikia.

“I realised that every house may have a fortune that is not exploited by any means. Thus, I started thinking of the possibility of gathering all these books in one place so that other people can make use of them,” he added.

The bookstore was established on 10 February with a small headquarters​ in Abbas Al Akkad, Nasr City, which is one of the most crowded upper middle class neighborhoods in Cairo. Yet, the project covers Cairo and Giza and will be expanded to cover other governorates after Eid El-Fetr feast.

In his opinion, the process can be identified as more of an investment than a donation. “We found out that the idea of donating and exchanging books have been made many times before inside and outside Egypt; therefore, we decided to provide a different service,” he explained.

People are asked to log onto our website, create an account, and identify the books they need to exchange. A representative from the bookstore can take the books from the client at home.

“When we receive the book, we evaluate it according to a number of criteria including its availability in the market, the number of its pages, the quality of the edition, and others. We give the client some points that enable him or her to take other books from our store,” he noted.

In this case, people are not required to exchange their book for a certain book or meet anonymous people to take books from them. “This process is more convenient and safe, especially for female readers who don’t like to share their personal data with people they meet on social media. We guarantee the confidentiality of the clients’ contacts and information and the convenience of the books delivery,” he added.

The project started without any publicity or advertisements. However, the team intends to launch a big advertising campaign after Ramadan to increase this number. “We currently have about 330 clients, who make about 50 actions every month. However, we intend to increase that number after Ramadan as we will ask people to donate their school and university textbooks instead of getting rid of them. This will help many families cut down on educational expenses.

In April 2017, Bookabikia participated in the startup conference of 2017 in Dubai, where the founders were offered a chance to sell the copyrights of their project to some Gulf investors. However, they rejected the offer because they wanted more people in Egypt to make use of the idea first.

From his point of view, El Debayky doesn’t only believe that this project would only encourage more people to read; however, he thinks that such a project would also help solve a big problem of wasted books if it is generalised to many places all over Egypt.

“On the long term, our idea can save the amount of paper that we use for printing literary works and textbooks in Egypt, because we export them from foreign countries, which causes many problems related to hard currency and shipping difficulties. Although we expect to find more competitors in the near future, we have some good plans to improve our idea,” he concluded.

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Success of Saudi Theatre in cairo result of Egyptian culture : Abdo Mon, 15 May 2017 16:17:20 +0000 The post Success of Saudi Theatre in cairo result of Egyptian culture : Abdo appeared first on Daily News Egypt.


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