Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

North Africa

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

North Africa

Article excerpt

Bibliotheca Alexandrina Opens

The Associated Press reported Oct. 16 on a gathering of presidents and royalty in Alexandria, Egypt, to inaugurate the new Bibliotheca Alexandrina-a modern version of the ancient library famed for the freedom of thought and expression it represented. Among the guests of Egyptian President and First Lady Hosni and Suzanne Mubarak were French President Jacques Chirac, Queen Sofia of Spain, Queen Rania of Jordan, Greek President Costis Stephanopoulos, and 300 others. First Lady Suzanne Mubarak is a major advocate of the project, which, thanks to a parliamentary guarantee of independence to the library administration, will help foster freedom of ideas in the region.

The new library, a $230 million project, has a capacity for 4 million books and currently houses around 240,000, in addition to a digital archive of 10 billion Web pages. It is built on what archeologists believe is the site of the ancient Bibliotheca, which was founded around 295 B.C. by Ptolemy I Soter, successor of Alexander the Great. Achievements of the original Bibliotheca included a Greek translation of the Old Testament, the editing of Homer's works, and the discovery that the sun is indeed the center of our galaxy.

Qaddafi Hosts Beauty Pageant

The Scottish news outlet Scotsman.com reported Nov. 4 that a British woman has won Libya's first-ever beauty pageant, conducted at the invitation of the country's leader, Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi. Briton Lucy Layton competed against 22 other women from around the world for the title of "Miss Net World," in which the votes for the winner are cast by millions of people across the Internet. …

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