Egypt opens 2 ancient pyramids near Cairo for first time since 1960s
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt on Saturday opened two of its oldest pyramids, located about 25 miles south of the capital Cairo, to visitors for the first time since 1965.
Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Anany told reporters that tourists were are now allowed to visit the Bent Pyramid and its satellite pyramid in the Dahshur royal necropolis, which is part of the Memphis Necropolis, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Bent Pyramid, which was built during the Old Kingdom of the Pharaoh of Sneferu, in about 2600 B.C., is unique in that it has two internal structures. El-Anany said the Bent Pyramid represents a transitional form of pyramid construction between the Djoser Step Pyramid (2667-2648 B.C.) and the Meidum Pyramid (also about 2600 B.C.)
El-Anany also announced that Egyptian archaeologists have uncovered a collection of stone, clay and wooden sarcophagi, some of them with mummies, in the area. He said archaeologists also found wooden funerary masks along with instruments used for cutting stones, dating to the Late Period (664-332 B.C.).
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said they also uncovered large stone blocks along with limestone and granite fragments indicating the existence of ancient graves in the area.
Egypt has been whipping up publicity for its new historical discoveries in the hopes of reviving a devastated tourism sector still recovering from the turmoil following a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Clashes erupt as Hong Kong protest targets Chinese traders
HONG KONG (AP) — Several thousand people marched in Hong Kong on Saturday against traders from mainland China in what is fast becoming a summer of unrest in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Violent clashes broke out at the end of the march between police and a group of mostly young protesters who say they believe peaceful demonstrations have failed to bring about change.
After issuing a warning, police moved forward to disperse the crowd with pepper spray and batons. In panicky scenes, fleeing protesters scrambled over each other, some falling to the ground. Some had donned protective masks and helmets ahead of the confrontation.
Earlier, walking behind a banner that read “Strictly enforce the law, stop cross-border traders,” the marchers passed by pharmacies and cosmetic shops that are popular with Chinese tourists and traders who bring goods back to sell in the mainland. Many of the stores were shuttered because of the protest.
Major demonstrations in the past month against a proposal to change extradition laws have reawakened other movements in Hong Kong. Thousands marched last weekend against middle-aged mainland women who sing loudly and dance somewhat provocatively in a public park. Some of the women receive tips from older men.
The protests have a common refrain: Hong Kong’s government, led by a non-democratically elected chief executive, is not addressing the people’s concerns.
Amy Chan, a 25-year-old bank employee who joined Saturday’s march, called it a continuing action building on the momentum of the anti-extradition law protests.
“There isn’t an anti-extradition protest every day to keep us going,” she said. “I hope that through today’s action, people in Hong Kong will not forget that there are actually many other social issues waiting to be solved.”
The city’s leader, Carrie Lam, has pledged to do a better job of listening to all sectors of society, but many protesters want her to resign.
Vatican mystery over missing girl deepens as bones are found
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The mystery of the 1983 disappearance of the 15-year-old daughter of a Vatican employee took yet another twist Saturday following excavations this week at a Vatican City cemetery. The Vatican said it had discovered two sets of bones under a stone slab that will be formally opened next week.
The new discovery came after Vatican on Thursday pried open the tombs of two 19th-century German princesses in the cemetery of the Pontifical Teutonic College in hopes of finding the remains of Emanuela Orlandi.
Orlandi’s family had received a tip that she might be buried there. But the tombs turned out to be empty, creating yet another mystery about where the dead princesses were.
The Vatican vowed to keep investigating and noted that any bones in the tombs might have been displaced during structural work carried out on both the college building and a cemetery near St. Peter’s Basilica in the 1800s and in more recent decades.
On Saturday, Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said further searches had centered on the areas adjoining the princesses’ tombs. He said investigators had located two ossuaries, or sets of bones, under a stone slab manhole covering inside the Teutonic college itself.
He said the area was immediately sealed off and would be opened in the presence of forensic experts on July 20.
Gisotti added that the bones were found in two holes carved out of a large stone that was covered by an old pavement stone a few yards behind the princesses’ tombs. That area is now technically inside a building of the Teutonic College, after expansion work on the building encroached onto the cemetery field.
The last recorded structural work done on the building and the cemetery was in the 1960s and 1970s. Orlandi disappeared in 1983.
She vanished after leaving her family’s Vatican City apartment to go to a music lesson in Rome. Her father was a lay employee of the Holy See.
Her case has been one of the enduring mysteries of the Vatican, kept alive by the Italian media and a quest by her brother to find answers. Over the years, her disappearance has been linked to everything from the plot to kill St. John Paul II to the financial scandal of the Vatican bank and Rome’s criminal underworld.