"Archaeologists and officials meeting in Cairo on Wednesday deployed the deterioration of the country's ancient sites, which they attributed both to government agencies and to private individuals. The assault, they said, runs from illegal construction activities to farming. Zahi Hawass, director general of the Supreme Council for Antiquities, said that there were 6,000 such cases in 2003 but gave no more recent figures . . . . Hawass said that part of the problem is that the current law does not allow the antiquities council to intervene in matters involving buildings under the aegis of the ministry for religious endowments, or waqf. However, he said that a bill drafted by the ministry of culture would amend the current law, adding stiffer penalties of up to life in prison for offenses and allowing sites less than 100 years old to be protected. The conference of local experts is due to end on Thursday."
For the full story see the above page on the Middle East Times website.