Top public figures in Egypt defend convicted library chief

Ismail Serrag Eddin, founding director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, is shown in this still image from a video posted on his Facebook account. (Facebook video)
Updated 11 August 2017

Top public figures in Egypt defend convicted library chief

CAIRO: Scores of Egyptian former ministers, state officials and diplomats on Wednesday rallied in defense of the former head of the Library of Alexandria who was sentenced earlier this month to three years in prison on charges of squandering public funds.
Over 150 signatories expressed support for Ismail Serrag Eddin, founding director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, in a joint statement, saying that they value his work for the library.
It’s unclear what — beyond a public show of support — the statement seeks to accomplish.
Among the signatories was former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa and Africa’s nominee for UNESCO, Moushira Khattab.
Eddin was accused by library employees of wasting 20 million Egyptian pounds, about $1.12 million, by paying hefty salaries to top advisers and privately traveling abroad at the library’s expense.


Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

Updated 20 October 2020

Iran breaks its record for most new coronavirus cases in one day

  • Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks
TEHRAN: Iran on Tuesday reported its highest single-day toll of new coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic with more than 5,000 new infections, as the country struggles to cope with a surge in transmission.
Iran’s health ministry also reported that 322 people had died from the virus, pushing the death toll over 31,000. The new infection count on Tuesday eclipsed the previous high of 4,830 last week, shining a light on the nation’s floundering efforts to combat the virus.
Iran, which emerged early on as an epicenter of the virus, has seen its worst wave of deaths from the illness in recent weeks. Monday’s death toll shattered its previous single-day record, prompting state news outlets to declare it a “black day.”
Hospitals in the hard-hit capital of Tehran are overflowing. Last week, health officials announced that the city had run out of intensive care beds for virus patients.
The increase comes after Iranians packed cafes and restaurants at vacation spots during recent national holidays, and after schools reopened for in-person instruction last month.
The government has resisted a total lockdown because it does not want to further weaken an economy already devastated by unprecedented US sanctions. The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions on Iran after withdrawing in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear accord with world powers.
With the death toll skyrocketing, authorities are now starting to impose more restrictions. The government closed museums, libraries, beauty salons, schools and universities in Tehran earlier this month, and imposed a mask mandate outdoors.