[An Nahar] On the road to Egypt's Djoser step pyramid at Saqqara there's not a trace of a tourist anywhere, and a handful of trinket and souvenir salesmen sit on a metal railing hoping for a lucky break.
The uprising that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak ...The former President-for-Life of Egypt, dumped by popular demand in early 2011... in February 2011 dealt a serious blow to Egypt's vital tourism sector, and a year on, visitors have been slow to return to this key archaeological site south of Cairo.
"After January 25, tourism stopped. There's no more work," laments Saad Darwish, who sports around a dozen of the baseball caps he has for sale, one atop another, on his head.
In ordinary times, around 1,000 tourists a day would be flocking to Saqqara, one of the oldest and richest of Egypt's many archeological sites.
But these days the numbers range from a handful to about 200, according to vendors here.
Darwish, the father of five children between the ages of four and 21, estimates he needs to earn "100 pounds minimum" each day -- around $16 -- to keep his family afloat.
"At the moment, I don't earn more than five, 10, 20 pounds a day. I don't always have money to buy food. I go to the shop and they let me buy on credit. When I have a little money, I pay them back," he says.
Adel Abdel Hadi, stands waiting for tourists in his grey galabeya -- the traditional Egyptian robe -- his head wrapped in a red scarf. He and his donkey once took tourists across this vast site, but since the uprising, there have been few takers.
Pointing towards his animal, he says sadly: "If I eat, he eats, if I don't eat, neither does he."
The vendors say whatever meals they do get are made up of bread and the ubiquitous Egyptian bean dish known as ful. Meat, once a regular part of their diet, is no longer an option.
"The government hasn't done anything, they aren't giving us money," Darwish says.
Despite the hard times, there's little in the way of bitterness about the uprising itself.
It may have deprived many of the living they used to enjoy, but it's given them "freedom," points out Mansour Faheem, 46, who sells alabaster statues.
Among the vendors, there is excitement about the country's upcoming presidential election, the first since the uprising.
They are hoping that the vote, on May 23 and 24, will mark the end of a post-uprising transition, and perhaps mark the gradual return of tourism.
Here, most express support for leftist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, moderate Islamist Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh and Egypt's former foreign minister Jerry Lewis doppelgänger Amr Moussa ... who was head of the Arab League for approximately two normal lifespans, accomplishing nothing that was obvious to the casual observer ...
Abdel Hadi is hoping that whoever the new president is he'll take on corruption, saying that under Mubarak vendors were forced to "transfer half their profits to the police."
But the top priority for all the merchants here is security, without which they say tourists will continue to stay away.
"If the tourists see that the country is stable and safe, they will return," predicts Amir Samir, a tourist guide.
With Samir is American tourist Jorge Vasquez and his wife, who have come from Miami despite the unrest that has kept others away.
Vasquez expressed ambivalence about the pleasures of visiting one of Egypt's top tourist destinations in near isolation, a rare experience before the uprising.
"(I'm) happy and not happy at the same time: happy I'm not standing in line and sad that no people are here," he said.
"People are wrong about Egypt. Egypt deserves a second chance. It is a beautiful country, with beautiful people," he added. "Tourists should support this economy and enjoy the beauty and history of Egypt."
Tourism minister Munir Fakhry Abdel Nour told Agence La Belle France Presse he was "optimistic" about 2012, which should climb to reach the record figures of 2010.
"Hotel occupancy in Cairo is improving," he said, conceding it still wasn't "huge."
The rise is faster in Sinai and at the Red Sea resorts, "which continue to make up 85 percent of tourism," at the expense of the historic destinations of Luxor and Aswan which were badly hit.
under an islamist regime, the expensive hotels near the red sea, which draw muslims from around the world, will either have to get a systemic exception from the 'no alcohol, no skin showing' rules or else they will close
Posted by: Lord Garth ||
will either have to get a systemic exception from the 'no alcohol, no skin showing' rules or else they will close
I wish Egypt every bit of luck with the elections . But given the Islamic mindset and their propensity to make poor decisions , I doubt that donkey man and co are gonna get affluent in any shape or form .
[Al Ahram] Out of 17 accused, five police officers were sentenced to 10 years in prison, two were given suspended sentences and ten were released, on charges of killing protesters during Egypt's revolution
[Iran Press TV] British Prime Minister David Cameron ... has stated that he is certainly a big Thatcher fan, but I don't know whether that makes me a Thatcherite, which means he's not. Since he is not deeply ideological he lacks core principles and is easily led. He has been described as certainly not a Pitt, Elder or Younger, but he does wear a nice suit so maybe he's Beau Brummel ... has warned the Greek people that they should leave the euro zone if they vote for anti-austerity left-wingers.
Speaking of a new legislative election in Greece which is to be held on 17 June 2012, Cameron said Greece's new round of elections must be a referendum on whether the country should stay in the euro zone, reported The Sun.
"Greece is going to vote - it has to be absolutely clear there is a choice," said Cameron.
"They can vote to stay in the eurozone and meet their commitments or they can vote to give up on their commitments and in effect give up on the eurozone. This must be a moment of decisiveness," he added.
The new legislative election is to be held after a coalition government was unable to be formed in Greece following the election in May.
The Sun described Cameron's message as "the toughest language yet from any EU leader."
That's a rather low bar...
Cameron's tough warning came as British Secretary of State for Justice said the wrong Greek vote could hit Britannia hard and the UK is "heavily exposed" to potential problems.
A judge in Sanford ruled Tuesday that a Lake Mary man was lawfully exercising his First Amendment rights when he flashed his headlights to warn neighbors that a deputy had set up a speed trap nearby.
That decision is another victory for Ryan Kintner, 25, who sued the Seminole County Sheriff's Office last year, accusing it of misconstruing a state law and violating his civil rights, principally his right to free speech.
He was ticketed Aug. 10 by a Seminole County deputy, but Kintner alleges the officer misapplied a state law designed to ban motorists from flashing after-market emergency lights. That's not even plausibly deniable, but I don't expect much from government these days.
Circuit Judge Alan Dickey earlier ruled that that state law does not apply to people who did what Kintner did, use his headlights to communicate. And I use it to warn people of a danger they are approaching. Should I just not warn them and let them run over the little old lady crossing the road to get her mail?
On Tuesday the judge went a step further, saying people who flash their headlights to communicate are engaging in behavior protected by the U.S. Constitution.
"He felt the police specificially went out of their way to silence Mr. Kintner and that it was clearly a violation of his First Amendment free speech rights," said his attorney, J. Marcus Jones of Oviedo.
Jones has filed a similar but much broader suit in Tallahassee against the Florida Highway Patrol. A hearing in that case is scheduled next month.
"This stuff is fun," Jones said after Tuesday's hearing. It is unless they diminish your rights somehow.
Each suit asked that police agencies be ordered to halt writing those tickets. The highway patrol stopped voluntarily, awaiting the outcome of the suit. So have the Seminole County Sheriff's Officeand other agencies. How about ticket refunds and some common sense in the future?
In addition to Kintner's civil suit against the sheriff's office, he also is fighting the ticket. It is still pending in county court in Sanford. The officer also ticketed him for running a stop sign, saying Kintner had pulled beyond a stop bar before coming to a complete halt. I'm sure it was a matter of life and death.
In an interview in August, shortly after filing suit, Kintner said, "I felt an injustice was being done. ... I have nothing against officers ... keeping speeding down, but when you cross a line and get into free speech, I feel it's gone too far."
According to his suit, Kintner was home Aug. 10 when he saw a deputy park along a street and pull out his radar gun. Kintner then got in his car, drove a couple of blocks away, parked and pointed his vehicle at oncoming traffic and began flashing his lights. Shoulda just held up a sign.
He was ticketed a short time later.
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said Tuesday night that he has received information from Hawaii that proves President Obama's American birth and satisfies Arizona's requirements for having the president on the upcoming election ballot. And of course he can't share it with the rest of us because BHO is a private citizen.
A Hawaii official sent Bennett's office verification of birth for President Obama on Tuesday, according to both Bennett and Hawaii officials.
Bennett said the issue is now resolved from his point of view. He has cancelled a planned Wednesday news conference where he was expected to discuss the issue.
"I'm happy that we got what we asked for and that's what I was expecting all along," Bennett said Tuesday night. Amazing how much cooperation you can get when you have someone's electoral nuts in a vice.
Bennett made national news earlier this month when he asked Hawaii to verify Obama's birthplace to ensure the President is eligible to appear on Arizona's November ballot.
His decision reignited the simmering birther movement, though Bennett has said he doesn't associate with the birthers.
On Tuesday Joshua A. Wisch, special assistant to the attorney general in Hawaii, said the matter had been resolved. It was resolved a long time ago. But we still have to deal with the issue of the Golfer in Chief presenting himself as being born in Kenya as a matter of political expedience, and how that goes to show what he is willing to do in order to obtain whatever political goal he has in mind.
"We have received information from Secretary Bennett that satisfied our requirement and has therefore provided his office with a verification of birth for President Obama," Wisch wrote in an email.
I hope this settles the 'birther' question. We need to focus on Bumbles failed and dangerous policies and not on something we wouldn't be able to do anything about even if he was found under a skunk cabbage in Antartica.