TIME People

Tutankhamun Had a Clubfoot and His Parents Were Probably Siblings

EGYPT-ARCHAEOLOGY-MUSEUM
A picture taken on Sept. 30, 2013, shows a statue of the 18th Dynasty King Tutankhamun displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo Mahmoud Khaled—AFP/Getty Images

A "virtual autopsy" conducted on the Egyptian king reveals that he had several genetic disorders

Tutankhamun was afflicted with severe genetic disorders, most likely because of inbreeding, according to an upcoming documentary on the legendary pharaoh.

The Egyptian king, who ruled from 1332 B.C. to 1323 B.C., is believed to have died at age 19 after medical complications following a leg fracture in a chariot accident. However, a recently conducted “virtual autopsy” revealed that he had a clubfoot that would have made riding a chariot close to impossible, according to the Independent.

“It was important to look at his ability to ride on a chariot and we concluded it would not be possible for him, especially with his partially clubbed foot, as he was unable to stand unaided,” said Professor Albert Zink, head of Italy’s Institute for Mummies and Icemen. However, Zink made it clear that a lot of research has yet to be done.

A simultaneously conducted genetic analysis of Tutankhamun’s family also revealed that his parents might have been brother and sister, resulting in genetic impairments that, Zink says, may have weakened him and contributed to his death. There were 130 walking sticks discovered in his tomb.

The new research is part of a BBC documentary called Tutankhamun: The Truth Uncovered, which will air on Oct. 26.

Read next: Facebook Reveals How Common It Is For Siblings to Have The Same First Initial

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 14

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Fix the system, don’t fight individual diseases: Why Ebola may change how aid dollars are spent on healthcare in Africa.

By Lesley Wroughton at Reuters

2. Plan for a global body to regulate the great promise of genetics — balancing unfettered innovation with sensible rules to prevent abuse.

By Jamie F. Metzl in Foreign Affairs

3. Because it increases disease and exacerbates resource scarcity, the Pentagon sees climate change as a threat multiplier.

By Laura Barron-Lopez in the Hill

4. The U.S. should call out Egypt’s rising authoritarian leadership and the plight of repressed people there.

By the Editorial Board of the Washington Post

5. Successful community collaborations build civic confidence for increasingly audacious projects that can improve lives.

By Monique Miles in the Collective Impact Forum blog

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Egypt

U.N. Agency Investigating Claims of Damage to Ancient Pyramid

Building materials gather dust at the foot of the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt on Sept. 16, 2014.
Building materials gather dust at the foot of the Djoser Pyramid in Saqqara, Egypt, on Sept. 16, 2014 Samuel McNeil—AP

Egyptian media has reported the 4,600 year-old structure has been damaged during an ongoing restoration project

The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is requesting more information from Egyptian authorities on the restoration of the Djoser Pyramid, after Egyptian media reported that the 4,600-year-old pyramid’s facade had been damaged.

Agency officials told Agence France-Presse that the UNESCO World Heritage Centre “sent a letter to the Ministry of Antiquities requesting a detailed technical report on the work.”

The country’s Minister of Antiquities called the claim of damage “baseless,” according to AFP.

[AFP]

TIME Egypt

After the Revolution: Sitting Down With Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi

Abdul Fattah al-Sisi
President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt in New York City on Sept. 23, 2014 Peter Hapak for TIME

In one of his first interviews with the U.S. press, Egypt's President pushes for a wider war on terror in the Middle East

A shorter version of this interview appeared in the Oct. 6 edition of TIME magazine:

Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi won an election in May — but the former army chief has been essentially in charge of the country since ousting Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi, last summer. Al-Sisi remains mostly popular at home, where he is pushing reforms to jump-start Egypt’s moribund economy. But he’s been criticized for his crackdowns on Morsi’s Islamist supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood and on journalists and free speech in Egypt.

In one of his first interviews in the U.S., al-Sisi spoke with TIME on Sept. 23 about the America’s war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Egypt’s economy and the influence of Islam in his life.

On U.S. action against ISIS: Imagine what would happen if you leave it without action. We still need more effort — it should not be limited to Iraq and ISIS. This is a threat not just to the Middle East but to the whole world … I want to be clear with you that this ideology constitutes a problem. There’s a fine line between extremism and killing. If we hadn’t saved Egypt, there would have been a major problem created. The U.S. did not pay attention to that.

On ousting Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood: You dealt with the developments in Egypt as a movement by the military. But the military was not thinking of making a coup. It was the Egyptian people who demanded that change of identity … A country like Egypt caught in a vicious cycle of extremism would be a threat to the whole world. The U.S. would have felt the need to destroy Egypt.

We have been fighting terrorism in the Sinai [Peninsula] for a year and four months. If the Muslim Brotherhood had been in office for another year, Sinai would have become something like Tora Bora [in Afghanistan]. It would have been civil war in Egypt. Egyptians wouldn’t have stood still, [and] on the other side, the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were ready to fight.

On Egypt’s domestic challenges: Egypt has not faced problems of this scale for over 40 years. [We have] striking poverty, unemployment, idleness of the young people. This is fertile soil for problems. Our population growth is 2.6 million people a year. In 10 years time, we expect to have 30 million people more. This is a reason for the revolution in Egypt. They want change and to move forward to a brighter future. Unfortunately, Morsi did not deal with the magnitude of the problems. The government alone in Egypt won’t be able to tackle all of the problems, [but] Egypt cannot afford to fail. Two revolutions is more than enough.

On the future of the Muslim Brotherhood: Our first elections were free and fair. The result of that free choice was the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood was accepted. But I say that in any election to be held [in the future] the Muslim Brotherhood will not be fortunate to have a share.

On the risks of foreign jihadists in the battle against terrorism: Watch out for your citizens who join jihad. When they come back to their communities, they will pursue the same practices. This is why we can’t just limit the effort to the military. The actions taken over the past year are not enough to terminate this … No one country is immune to this ideology. The foreign fighters will come back to your country. I’m afraid it will be disastrous.

On the role of Islam in his life: I simply represent moderate Islam. I’m concerned about the challenges of poverty and ignorance in the Muslim world. I can’t be against Islam — I consider myself a devout Muslim — but the reality poses a challenge.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 10

1. Could a Saudi Arabia-Iran alliance be the key to stopping ISIS?

By Lina Khatib at the Carnegie Middle East Center

2. Microsoft may buy Minecraft for $2 billion. Why? Because the game provides creativity, community, and a unique learning experience.

By Robin Sloan in Medium

3. Apple Pay – the least glamorous of yesterday’s announcements – could upend and vastly expand the mobile payment world.

By Maggie McGrath in Forbes

4. With extraordinary social media use and Internet access, Egypt may yet have a chance at saving itself.

By Enas Rizk at the Elcano Royal Institute

5. The Department of Education is making a smart investment by giving states with strong parental involvement in education an edge in a new grant competition.

By Lauren Camera in Education Week

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Egypt

Here’s How to Explore the Pyramids From Your Own Home

New images added to Google Street View include 360-degree views of Egypt

On Tuesday morning, Google unveiled Street View Egypt in Google Maps, the latest step in the tech giant’s quest to image and map the seven wonders of the world. This new collection includes 360-degree views of the Great Pyramids of Giza, the necropolis of Saqqara, the Citadel of Qaitbay, the Cairo Citadel, the Hanging Church and the ancient city of Abu Mena.

A Street View operations team member wearing a Trekker in Saqqara, Egypt. Google

Google Street View began in 2007 and has since covered more than 7.2 million unique miles across more than 59 countries, gathering tens of millions of images that cover iconic landmarks and monuments, including the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, the Galapagos Islands, Everest Base Camp, the Grand Canyon and the Colosseum. Images are collected using 75-megapixel 360-degree panoramic cameras mounted on Street View Cars, or in the case of Street View Egypt and other hard-to-reach locations, “Trekkers” — backpack-like mounts worn by team members as they walk, hike and climb through a given location.

“We have two kinds of collections,” Google Maps Street View program manager Amita Khattri tells TIME. “We do countries that we have already collected imagery for — we sometimes go ahead and refresh the imagery — and then there are newer countries where we outreach and start on the new image collection.”

The Street View team faced exceptional challenges over the 10 days they spent using the Trekker in Egypt, carrying the heavy rigs through the desert during the height of summer where the heat tested the limits of both the cameras and the team members carrying them.

“It was a unique experience for us as well, because the equipment really got tested in the heat,” Khattri says. The captured scenes collected by the Trekkers were then stitched together into panoramas so that the result is seamless. This process, which also includes blurring of faces and license plates, can take anywhere from a month to several months, depending on the area being captured and the conditions under which the images were made.

TIME Egypt

Toppled Egyptian President Morsi Charged With Leaking State Secrets

Mohammed Morsi
Egypt's ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi sits in a defendant cage in the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, May 8, 2014. Tarek el-Gabbas—AP

The move is part of the government crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood

Prosecutors in Egypt Saturday charged former President Mohamed Morsi and nine others with endangering national security by leaking state secrets to Qatar and its affiliated news agency, Al Jazeera.

Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who came to power in elections following the ouster of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, was toppled in a military coup in July 2013 led by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who later went on to become president. Al-Sisi’s rule has been marked by an extremely harsh crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters.

A statement from the prosecutor’s office said an investigation of Morsi “exposed humiliating facts and the extent of the largest conspiracy and treason carried out by the terrorist Brotherhood organization against the nation through a network of spies,” Reuters reports. Under the al-Sisi government, the Muslim Brotherhood is considered an illegal terrorist organization, though the once-powerful group officially disavowed violence decades ago.

The charges allege that Morsi aides helped leak documents revealing vital Egyptian military intelligence as well as foreign and domestic policy matters.

Under Al-Sisi’s rule, Egypt has also suppressed the activities of Al Jazeera, closing its offices in Cairo and jailing three of its journalists on terms of up to ten years for allegedly aiding a “terrorist group.” Al Jazeera continues to demand the release of its journalists.

[Reuters]

TIME Egypt

Egypt’s Orphans Struggle Long After Childhood Ends

The problem with Egypt's orphanages goes way beyond isolated cases of abuse, and extends to how society as a whole views "children of sin"

Nahla El-Nemr knew the moment was coming but that still didn’t make it any easier.

As a fourth-year student at an Egyptian institute for training social workers, El-Nemr’s studies required her to spend several months training in a large Cairo orphanage. When her group of 15 students arrived at the facility, El-Nemr’s fellow classmates were shocked to discover that she knew everyone there. The 30-year-old was forced to come clean about her background. “I told them, ‘By the way guys, this isn’t just an orphanage. It’s my home,’” she says.

That was a significant confession to make, in a country where growing up an orphan makes you — in El-Nemr’s words — a “street child, unclean, child of sin, a beggar.” It’s also one of the reasons she’s joined a growing movement of activists dedicated not just to improving the conditions for Egypt’s 12,000 orphans, but also to overturning the social stigma that can leave orphans like El-Nemr restricted to the margins of society throughout their adult lives.

The plight of Egypt’s orphans was recently forced onto the national radar by a disturbing video showing a man purported to be the director of a small orphanage in Giza repeatedly beating and kicking several terrified young children in his care. The video — allegedly filmed and posted by the director’s estranged wife — prompted the closure of the Dar Mecca al-Mokarama Orphanage and the arrest of the director as well as a wave of national debate about the issue.

egypt orphanage
Click the image to see the video on egyptianstreets.com website, showing abuse at the Dar Mecca al-Mokarama Orphanage

These activists are quick to point out that not all Egyptian orphanages are bad or abusive, but they say physical, emotional and even sexual abuse is far more common than publicly reported. “If you want to search for good orphanages and successful models, you will definitely find them,” says Yasmine El-Hagry, an administrator with the children’s-rights NGO Wataneya. “But that video is not news to us. We know there are lots of violations.”

The roots of the problem are numerous, but the lack of proper training for caregivers and personnel inside Egyptian orphanages is cited as a key factor by both government officials and independent children’s-rights activists. In Egypt’s extremely class-conscious society, the job of children’s caregiver is regarded as low-class, with meager pay and minimal respect. “The job of a social worker or a caregiver is not an attractive job in this country,” Ghada Wali, the newly installed Minister of Social Solidarity, says. “You can not have people who are undertrained and underpaid and expect them to do a good job.”

Not only are workers typically inexperienced and poorly compensated, but there also aren’t enough of them to go round. The country has more than 450 orphanages, the vast majority run by private NGOs under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Solidarity. Many of these facilities are operating at less than 50% capacity, Wali says.

This surplus of orphanages is motivated partially by religious beliefs. According to Islamic tradition, to feed, clothe and shelter an orphan is a powerful source of sawab — a sort of celestial extra credit. But many wealthy donors in Egypt would rather open their own facility and put their name on it than donate to an existing orphanage. Unfortunately, some fail to consider what comes next. “The problem here is that people feel that if they open an orphanage and provide an orphan with a roof, food and a bed then they’ve done their job. To me that’s maybe 20% of the job,” says Flavia Shaw-Jackson, founder of the NGO FACE, which runs its own network of local orphanages.

Wali, who was appointed five months ago, says one of her first acts as minister was to suspend the issuing of new orphanage licenses and initiate a review of her ministry’s inspection standards and protocols.

Those government inspections aren’t insufficient, according to El-Hagry and other children’s-rights activists, so much as they are aimed at the wrong thing. The inspectors, they say, tend to focus almost exclusively on the bureaucratic aspects of running a facility — is the paperwork in order, is the kitchen well maintained and is the flow of donations sufficient? — and not the human aspects. “Whether or not the children are trembling and look frightened or the general psychological well-being of the children — that isn’t really considered,” El-Hagry says.

The most widespread problem afflicting Egyptian orphans isn’t necessarily direct abuse, but simple emotional neglect. While their basic physical needs may be met, many live with a minimum of human warmth. “I’ve seen babies lying day and night in cots with the windows closed — no touch or tenderness or sources of stimulation. You see children with no life in their eyes,” says Shaw-Jackson.

But it doesn’t end at childhood. Egyptian orphans often find it nearly impossible to fully integrate into mainstream society outside the orphanage walls. Egypt’s close-knit family-centric culture is simultaneously extremely sympathetic to orphans and extremely suspicious of them. Western-style adoption is illegal, however a modified foster-care system known as kefala does exist. But children taken in under the kefala system are forbidden by law from inheritance or taking the family’s last name, and there remains a limited appetite among Egyptians for taking orphans into their homes.

That’s because being an orphan in Egypt is akin to being in a lower caste of people. Orphans are widely labeled as “children of sin” and assumed to be the illegitimate and abandoned products of extramarital sex. This label follows them throughout life, making it difficult for orphans to attend public schools or universities and nearly impossible for them to marry a nonorphan.

El-Hagry, from the Wataneya NGO, says many orphans feel compelled to “live in the closet” whenever they attempt to integrate into mainstream society. Until two years ago when the law was changed, national ID cards would immediately signify the owner as an orphan to a police officer, potential employer or landlord who knew what to look for.

El-Nemr, the adult orphan who now works as a volunteer coordinator for Wataneya, recalls years of hiding her orphan status from classmates and co-workers. As a teenager, she resisted the wishes of her orphanage director, who tended to send all of the girls to the local nursing institute. But El-Nemr insisted on attending a public high school and pursuing a secondary education. When told by the director that such ambitions were beyond her reach, El-Nemr personally submitted her papers to the local high school and was accepted.

In school, only a tiny circle of her friends and a few teachers knew she was an orphan. “If all of my classmates knew, it would have been a nightmare,” she says. “But I was smart and that helped protect me. Some of my sisters [a term she uses for all of her fellow orphans from the same facility] did the same thing because of my example and they had a very bad time.”

In college she maintained the same closeted existence until she was involuntarily outed by the training semester in her home orphanage. When she and a fellow orphan decided to move out and get their own apartment, she found herself having to lie to the landlord — saying her parents lived overseas. When she took a job at a prominent publishing house, she was enraged when one of her close friends accidentally revealed her orphan status to her co-workers. Luckily, she says, her employers only found out after she had been working there for six months. If it had been known from the start that she was an orphan, El-Nemr said she either wouldn’t have been hired or would have been forced to quit.

“I feel like people think we’re abnormal,” she says. “At best they start feeling sorry for me and I don’t want that. That’s actually worse than the ones that treat me bad because I’m an orphan. I don’t want or need their pity.”

TIME Israel

Hopes for a Cease-Fire Rise as the Gaza War Drags On

A Palestinian walks on the rubble of a mosque that was partially damaged by an airstrike on Aug. 25, 2014 in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian walks on the rubble of a mosque that was partially damaged by an air strike in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Aug. 25, 2014 Roberto Schmidt—AFP/Getty Images

The Gaza war has reached its eighth week, and people on both sides keep dying. But there are reports of a potential truce

Israeli and Palestinian media outlets were abuzz with reports Monday that the various factions involved in the Israel-Hamas conflict were close to agreeing on a cease-fire deal following renewed efforts by Egypt and Saudi Arabia to help negotiate a truce. Either way, the possibility of reaching a cease-fire with a longer shelf life seemed to increase the likelihood of the sides reaching a cease-fire that would also be the prelude to a return to peace talks.

Khaled al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad official attending the Cairo talks, was the source of reports that on the possible cease-fire. But a senior Hamas official, Izzat al-Rishq, said the sides had yet to agree on a cease-fire in Gaza, according to Israeli daily Haaretz, while another Lebanon-based Hamas official, Osama Hamdan, would only confirm in a Hamas radio interview that “efforts are under way to stop the Israeli aggression.” Late Sunday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on Israel and Palestinian factions to agree to a cease-fire without a time limit attached and to return to the peace negotiations.

A senior Israeli official reached by TIME says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office is declining to comment on the rumors of a possible cease-fire and suggests “exercising caution” in giving credence to the reports. A report on Israel’s Walla! news site suggested that Egypt would make an announcement on a deal late Monday, one that would include a reopening the Rafah crossing between southern Gaza and Egypt and the expansion of Gaza’s fishing zone to 12 nautical miles, two of Hamas’ demands. If the cease-fire is maintained, the report says, Israel will allow more commercial products into Gaza, including construction materials.

Still, Israel and Hamas have very different visions about how the conflict should end — which makes it challenging to reach an agreement satisfactory to all sides. “The dilemma is that Israel is not willing to talk before reaching a cease-fire, while there is still shooting going on, and the Palestinian factions insist that they want achievements in exchange for agreeing to a cease-fire,” says Ghassan Khatib, a veteran Palestinian political analyst and the vice president of Birzeit University in the West Bank.

Adding intrigue about what the week may hold, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview Saturday with the Egypt’s Sada El Balad station that in the coming days he would introduce his own plan for solving the greater Israel-Palestine conflict. Many analysts here have speculated that this will likely be built on the Arab Peace Initiative — also called the Saudi Peace Initiative — first put forward in 2002. In the plan, moderate Arab states would recognize Israel in return for Israel recognizing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Any such plan would, naturally, including a program for rebuilding Gaza, but Israel is concerned that materials like cement and steel will be used refresh Hamas’ military capabilities — including the tunnels that became the focus of the Israel Defense Forces’ recent Gaza invasion.

Abbas said he would be discussing the initiative this week with other top Palestinian officials in Ramallah. “It will be an unconventional solution, but I’m not going to declare war on Israel,” Abbas said in the interview. “I have diplomatic and political solutions.” He suggested that he doesn’t expect Washington to support his initiative but added that “in the end, our Arab brothers will go with us.”

Khatib believes that Abbas’s statement indicates that Saudi involvement would play a key role in a peace deal. “Saudi and international parties are trying to bridge the gap by giving guarantees, meaning that they would set up a mechanism by which a third-party will guarantee freedom of movement to and from Gaza, but check that this cannot be used for the rearming of Gaza.” Egypt, he says, would like to play this role — or at least a pivotal one. The three key European players — France, Germany and Britain — all are offering assistance as well. The three countries are reportedly working on a proposal for a U.N. resolution to end the fighting, according to a report leaked to Haaretz, as part of a plan to return Gaza to Palestinian Authority control under international supervision — the territory has been run by Hamas since June 2007 — end the Israeli embargo on Gaza and resume peace talks.

The alternative, it seems, is continued war. Each side has made it clear other over the past week than they are ready to keep fighting indefinitely. With the conflict between Israel and Hamas already dragging on far longer than expected — it is now heading into its eighth week — politicians on both sides in the conflict have begun to refer to the possibility of war of attrition. That’s a reference to the ongoing fighting following the 1967 Six-Day War, one that continued for another three years, pitting Israel against Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian and even Soviet forces. Netanyahu and his Defense Minister told Israelis on Aug. 24 to expect a protracted war and “if necessary,” a delay of the start of the school year next week, at least for schools that are in the line of fire from Gaza.

In the meantime, both sides have continued their attacks. Israel has carried out 70 air strikes in the Gaza Strip over the past two days, the IDF said in its Twitter feed, while over the same period Israel was targeted by more than 230 rockets and mortars from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant factions in Gaza. On Sunday a 4-year-old Israeli boy was laid to rest after he was killed in a mortar attack from Gaza on Friday, triggering an exodus of Israelis from communities near the Gaza border, which are not protected by the country’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. The boy’s death brought the number of Israelis killed in the ongoing war to 68, including 64 soldiers. That same day a Palestinian mother and her four children were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza. At least 2,120 Gazans have been killed in the conflict, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Barring a lasting cease-fire, both numbers will keep rising.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 25

1. Slavery’s long shadow is inextricably linked to modern income inequality in the south.

By Stephen Mihm in the Boston Globe

2. Superdistricts in the House of Representatives could end the tyranny of incumbency in Congress.

By Katrina vanden Heuvel in the Washington Post

3. Yelp the Police: Georgia teens build an app to rate law enforcement interactions.

By Rebecca Borison in Business Insider

4. The new Egyptian government’s policies of repression and exclusion could push citizens into the arms of extremist groups.

By Michele Dunn and Scott Williamson at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

5. Transforming oil and gas rigs into artificial reefs could save the delicate ecosystems formed around the structures.

By Amber Jackson in Huffington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

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