TIME Infectious Disease

Egypt Sees Second Bird Flu Death in Two Days

A poultry merchant feeds a pigeon from her mouth in a popular market in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 19 2014.
A poultry merchant feeds a pigeon from her mouth in a popular market in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 19 2014. Khaled Elfiqi—EPA

30-year-old woman had contact with infected birds

Egypt’s health ministry said Tuesday that a woman died from H5N1 bird flu after coming into contact with infected birds, one day after another case proved fatal.

The 30-year-0ld woman was reported in a state newspaper to have died in a hospital in the southern city of Assiut, according to Reuters, just a day after a 19-year-old woman had died in the same city.

Seven cases of the virus, including three deaths, have been identified in Egypt this year. H5N1 doesn’t appear to transmit efficiently between human beings, the World Health Organization says, and Egypt’s cases have largely revolved around rural areas where villages slaughter or keep poultry.

[Reuters]

TIME Demographics

The U.S. Is No Longer the Most Popular Country in the World

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Thumbs up, Germany. Fernando Alonso Herrero—Getty Images/iStockphoto

Everyone wants to be Germany's friend now

Germany knocked the U.S. out of the top spot in an international survey measuring the popularity of countries around the world.

Germany ranked first and the United States second out of 50 countries in the annual Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index, which polled more than 20,000 people across 20 countries. It’s the first time the U.S. hasn’t held first place since 2009.

The study measures global perceptions of countries based on a variety of attributes, including governance, culture and sports. According to a statement from GfK, the German-based market research that runs the study, Germany benefited from a boost in the “sports excellence” category after winning the 2014 World Cup.

The United States was brought down by poor perceptions in Egypt and Russia.

Russia, meanwhile, dropped more in its global perception ranking than any other of the 50 countries.

Read next: “A Little Piece of Freedom”: David Hasselhoff Remembers the Berlin Wall

TIME Egypt

Egyptian Islamists Pledge Allegiance to ISIS

Sinai group is at war with Egyptian government

The Egyptian Islamist groups Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) according to The Guardian.

The report cites a nine-minute recording in which a member of the group says: “In accordance with the teachings of the Prophet, we announce our allegiance to the Caliphate, and call on Muslims everywhere to do the same.”

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, proclaimed himself the leader or caliph of an Islamic state or caliphate earlier this year and asked Muslims to pledge allegiance to him. It is not clear whether the announcement has anything other than symbolic value.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, who have been fighting the Egyptian state for more than three years from their bases in northern Sinai, is among the largest groups to have pledged allegiance to ISIS.

The group have carried out bombings in Egyptian cities as well as fighting an insurgency in the northern part of the Sinai peninsula.

[The Guardian]

TIME politics

Who Remembers the Greatest Woman to Rule the Ancient World?

Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut Michelle McMahon—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Hatshepsut, a woman who was Egypt’s king, serves as a model and cautionary tale for today’s female politicians

This November, nearly 200 women ran for Congress. Most didn’t win. Of the 535 representatives and senators currently serving, only 99 — 18.5 percent — are women. Why are there so few women in positions of power in this modern age?

One way to answer that question is through the story of the greatest woman ever to rule in the ancient world — an Egyptian pharaoh.

In Egypt in the 15th century B.C., women were considered sexual companions and the carriers of men’s seed—not rulers. But Hatshepsut found her way to the throne of the richest and most powerful state in the ancient world. Then, a mere 25 years after her death, ruling elites had her statues smashed into bits.

I wrote my book about Hatshepsut, The Woman Who Would Be King, after the birth of my son. Motherhood made me realize, as I never had before, how trapped women are by our bodies. Hatshepsut must have felt the same kind of entrapment after she gave birth to the child of her half-brother, the king, while still in her early teens. That child was a girl, not the son for whom her people had hoped. But Hatshepsut’s lack of a son laid the foundation for the rest of her strange, charmed life.

Hatshepsut’s husband passed away after only three years of rule, when Hatshepsut was very young, perhaps 16. At the time, the next in line to be king of Egypt was a mere infant—not her own baby, but a baby belonging to one of her husband’s second-class wives.

Hatshepsut had the power to fill this vacuum. Her bloodline was impeccable, back to kings of the earlier 18th Dynasty. She had an education, likely begun in early childhood. Not only was she the highest-ranking royal wife, but also she was Egypt’s most powerful priestess.

Hatshepsut made sure the young king — that infant son of a lesser wife — was educated, brought up in the temple mysteries, and trained in the military arts. But since he was so small, Hatshepsut took charge.

So it was Hatshepsut who gave the vizier — the king’s second-in-command — orders about trading ventures to the land of Punt, who discussed treasury matters with her royal steward, and who put down insurrections in Kerma (in modern-day Sudan). She personally oversaw the collection of the spoils of war, according to a tomb inscription written by her overseer of the treasury.

Then, for reasons that were not recorded, Hatshepsut was given — or decided she needed — more. When the young King Thutmose III was just 8 or 9, Hatshepsut was crowned king alongside him, with the full support of her courtiers, Egypt’s elite families, and its powerful temple priesthoods. Hatshepsut became a king — because ancient Egypt had no word for a female ruler.

She won this prize because she was the most able person for the job. Hatshepsut also built a strong cohort of supporters — men whose continued prosperity depended on her power.

When Thutmose III was approaching his 16th year, she tried another strategy to retain power. In statuary, in reliefs, maybe even in rituals before her elites and populace — she took on the appearance of a man. She bound her breasts; she wore a masculine kilt; she tied on the long beard of kings. She was ostensibly past childbearing years, which meant that she would never bear her own heir to the throne, and her co-king was quickly becoming a man. She had to stay ahead of him.

Historians have given many explanations for Hatshepsut’s power plays — an unreasonable greed and lust for influence being chief among them. But she actually helped Thutmose III’s position by keeping him by her side. Thutmose III accompanied her on campaigns to Kush, presumably participating in the battles, the dispatch of enemies and the taking of spoils. The investment paid off: Thutmose III became the greatest warrior king Egypt had ever seen.

The history of her reign became troublesome as Thutmose III was grooming his chosen son to be next in line. The possibility of another woman taking the throne was a complication he decided to erase. So down went the statues and the first layer of the temple reliefs.

We’ve come a long way since the 15th century B.C., but what’s interesting is how much remains the same.

Kara Cooney is associate professor of Egyptian art and architecture at the University of California at Los Angeles. She wrote this for Zocalo Public Square.

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 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.

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