Wednesday October 18, 2017

Archaeologist Zahi Hawass tests New scanner on the Great Pyramid of Giza to unravel hidden secrets

British Egyptologist Nicolas Reeves, feels that secret burial chambers could be hidden behind the walls of King Tutankhamun's tomb

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Great pyramid of Giza. Source: Wikipedia
  • Archaeologist Zahi Hawass and his team is testing a new scanner on the Great Pyramid of Giza
  • The new scanner uses subatomic particles known as muons to examine structures
  • Thermal scan in 2015, identified a major anomaly in the pyramid- three adjacent stones at its base which registered higher temperatures than others

CAIRO, EGYPT- Famous archaeologist Zahi Hawass accompanied by a team is testing a new scanner on the Great Pyramid of Giza on Thursday, June 2. The former antiquities minister and his team are hoping that use of modern technology might help in finding secrets buried beneath the stone.

The new scanner uses subatomic particles known as muons to examine structures; currently it is scanning the 4,500 year-old burial structure. It was set up at the site last year in 2015 and will complete its data collection in this month of June.

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“It’s running right now, and if it manages to detect one of the three chambers we already know exist inside, then we will continue the scans,” Hawass said. He has been appointed by the Antiquities Ministry to head the team that will review the scan results.

Thermal scan at the end of last year identified a major anomaly in the pyramid- three adjacent stones at its base which registered higher temperatures than others.

Former Antiquity Minister and Famous Archaeologist Zahi Hawass. Source : Wikipedia
Former Antiquity Minister and Famous Archaeologist Zahi Hawass. Source : Wikipedia

Hawass has in the past downplayed the usefulness of scans on ancient sites, saying that they have never found anything important. He has clashed publicly with British Egyptologist Nicolas Reeves, whose theory that secret burial chambers could be hidden behind the walls of King Tutankhamun’s tomb was both prompted and reinforced by scanning.

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For more than a decade Hawass was a celebrity starring in TV documentaries, eventually ruling the Antiquities Ministry like a pharaoh. He was dismissed from the post after Egypt’s 2011 uprising that toppled long time autocrat Hosni Mubarak and faced corruption charges, of which he was later cleared.

Following his new appointment, Hawass in his statement criticized scanning technologies and said they could be useful if directed by the right hands — such as his.

“You need Egyptologists to oversee all this, otherwise mistakes can be made,” he said. “I hope these scans will help us obtain accurate information,” he said, adding that he believed another burial chamber remains undiscovered inside.

-prepared by Bhaskar Raghavendran (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: bhaskar_ragha

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Mummies’ DNA Reveals Egyptians Relatives From The East

It was found that the genetic ties of the mummies were from the Middle East and Greece

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Egyptian Mummies
Egyptian mummy casket egyptian art. Pixabay
  • Ancient DNA study of 90 Egyptian mummies revealed the hook-up history of the Egypt with the foreigners from the east
  • Verena Schuenemann was able to finally get the clean DNA samples by working on samples from teeth and bone
  • The revelation did not come as a surprise to the scientists as they found the genetic ties of the mummies to the Middle East and Greece

June 26, 2017: The mummies of the Egypt and THE Egyptian art always fascinated us. The way bodies are preserved in the Egyptian mummy caskets and the mummification process has always interested the scientists in particular.

When the ancient DNA of 90 Egyptian mummies was studied, it revealed the hook-up history of the Egyptians with the foreigners from the east.

The first DNA sample from the mummies was yielded in 1985 but the samples were highly contaminated and scientists could not find a way to get clean DNA samples, free of modern contamination.

Verena Schuenemann and her colleagues from the University of Tübingen in Germany were able to finally get the clean DNA samples from three mummies by using the latest technology on human genetic testing by working on the samples extracted from teeth and bones rather than using the soft tissue. The origin of the mummies was found to be from 1388 BC to 426 AD.

The revelation did not come as a surprise to the scientists as they found the genetic ties of the mummies to the Middle East and Greece since Egypt was a centre of trade and travel back in time.

Prepared by Sumit Balodi of NewsGram. Twitter: @sumit_balodi

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Islamic Terrorism: 4 countries list Qatar-linked Terrorists and Organisations

The list was drawn up in the light of the shared commitment of the four countries to the fight against terrorism and its funding sources

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Qatar and terrorism
4 countries list Qatar linked terrorism organisations and individuals, Wikimedia
  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have listed individuals and institutions that have financed terrorist organisations and received support from Qatar
  • The list was drawn up in the light of the shared commitment of the four countries to the fight against terrorism and its funding sources
  • Qatar announced it is fighting terrorism while financing, supporting and harbouring various terrorist organisations

Riyadh, June 9, 2017: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain designated on Friday 59 individuals and 12 institutions that have financed terrorist organisations and received support from Qatar.

The step was taken days after several nations severed diplomatic ties with Qatar for allegations that it was supporting terrorist and extremist groups in the region, which Qatar called “unjustified” and “baseless”.

The list was drawn up in the light of the shared commitment of the four countries to the fight against terrorism and its funding sources, Al Arabiya cited a statement posted by the Bahrain News Agency.

The list was also a result of “the continued violation by the authorities in Doha of its signed commitments and agreements that included a pledge not to support or harbour elements or organisations that threatened the security of states”, it said.

The majority of those entities sanctioned were linked to Qatar and were a manifestation of a Qatari government policy of duplicity, the statement read.

ALSO READFour Arab Nations Put Qatar on Terror Finance Watch List, Qatar Says No

“Such attitudes put the national security of the four countries at risk as targets for acts of sabotage and chaos by members of terrorist organisations that Qatar either hosts or supports.”

It criticised Qatar’s “double standard policy”, saying that the country announced it is fighting terrorism while financing, supporting and harbouring various terrorist organisations.

The four countries reaffirmed in the statement their commitment to consolidating all efforts to combat terrorism and to relentlessly pursue the individuals and groups on the list.

Most of the blacklisted individuals in the list are Qataris along with Qatari charitable organisations. A Libyan extremist group and four Bahraini groups were also listed as terrorist cells. (IANS)

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Jews recollect the conquest of 1967 war after completing 50 years

This year, June 5 will mark the 50th anniversary of that war which had a profound effect on many Israeli and Diaspora Jews that is felt till this day

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1967 Israeli Air Attack on Hospital on Mount of Olives Hospital- Jerusalem. Wikimedia

Israel defeated Egypt, Syria and Jordan in a six-day war in 1967 whose 50th anniversary is on June 5, 2017
The victory of Israel was viewed as a miracle by the Jews as well as Christians.
• The war enabled the movement of Jews to the Western bank and empowered the community

Jerusalem, June 4, 2017: Ron Kronish was a student in an American college when Israel defeated Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies during the 1967 Six-Day War.

This year, June 5 will mark the 50th anniversary of the famous War, which had a serious effect on many Israeli and Diaspora Jews, mentioned in a report by National Catholic Reporter.

Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan was seen as a miracle by Jews as well as many Christians.Israel had beaten three larger countries and, for the first time in 2,000 years, Jewish holy sites were under Jewish hands.

The war also saw the capture of the Golan Heights, Gaza and the Sinai, and displaced up to 325,000 Palestinians.

Ron Kronish,70, who is a Reform rabbi dedicated to interreligious peacebuilding, viewed Israel’s victory over its hostile neighbours as “life-changing”.

According to Kronish, young American Jewish activists were largely preoccupied with the Vietnam War and the American civil rights movement until then.

Effects of the war

The war reunited the eastern and western parts of Jerusalem and inspired Jews being persecuted in what was then the Soviet Union to fight for the right to emigrate and freely practice their religion.

Natan Sharansky, a former Soviet refusenik and current chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel recalled, “When the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces broke through the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City, they also punched a hole in the Iron Curtain, inspiring us Soviet Jews to start our struggle for freedom.”

“This struggle, supported by Jews around the world, ultimately brought down the Iron Curtain and enabled a million (Soviet) Jews to come home to Israel,” Sharansky said.

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Sara Yael Hirschhorn, in her new book “City on a Hilltop”, has explored why thousands of North American Jews decided to settle in the West Bank in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. She said that the war was “a watershed moment for American Jewry, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.”

The author has estimated that 15 percent of Jewish settlers who moved to West Bank are American citizens.

She said, “The American Jews viewed the captured territory as the unconquered or newly conquered frontier, and they wanted to be pioneers. They felt that founding a settlement was taking an active role in their realization of Jewish and Zionist aspirations.”

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A senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute and author of “Like Dreamers,” Yossi Klein Halevi, which examines the divergent ideologies that have shaped Israel since the Six-Day War, said the war created two kinds of Israelis.

“There are the ones whose primal memory of May 1967 is the sense of existential fear, aloneness and the world’s abandonment. Then there are the June 1967 Israelis whose primary experience from the war was one of empowerment and who insist that Israel needs to take responsibility for the moral consequences of power.”

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It is evident from the above-mentioned statements, the war, like every other war, showed the fears of life to some while others viewed it as an opportunity for empowerment.

Citizens like Kronish feel that the war has given them a land of their own but it cannot be denied that Israel is still facing long-term threats from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Islamic State group. There are hundreds of thousands of rockets and missiles aimed at Israeli cities.

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram. Twitter: @NikitaTayal6