EGYPT – Statue of Amenhotep III, King Tut’s grandfather, found

other King Amenhotep III statues, Luxor

LUXOR | A large statue of King Amenhotep III, the grandfather of the boy-pharaoh Tutankhamun, who ruled nearly 3,400 years ago, has been unearthed in Egypt.

The Supreme Council of Antiquities says the latest find was made at the king’s funerary temple in the southern city of Luxor.

The 44 feet tall statue is made of colored quartzite. It is composed of several large pieces that once put together will depict the king as standing.

The latest find comes after several other relics of the king were unearthed last year in his mortuary [burial] temple on the west bank of the Nile River in Luxor.

Amenhotep III, who ruled Egypt between 1390 and 1352BC, is the father of Akhenaten, the “heretic pharaoh” considered a precursor of monotheism because he tried to impose the exclusive worship of Aten.


MEXICO – Top presidential contender can’t name books

MEXICO CITY | Mexico’s leading presidential contender floundered in confusion for about four minutes when the audience at a book fair asked him to name three books that had influenced him. He was able to correctly name only one he has read “parts of”: the Bible.

Enrique Pena Nieto

Former Mexico State Gov. Enrique Pena Nieto holds a comfortable lead in opinion polls for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election.  The floundering by Pena Nieto, a strikingly handsome man married to a television actress, fed into the images critics have tried to spin around him: telegenic but hollow.

“I have read a number of books, starting with novels, that I particularly liked. I’d have a hard time recalling the titles of the books,” Pena Nieto said during a question-and-answer session at the weekend book fair in the western city of Guadalajara.

Pena Nieto said that as an adolescent, he had been influenced by the Bible, and had read “parts of” it.

He then rambled, tossing out confused title names, asking for help in recalling authors and sometimes mismatching the two. …

“The truth is that when I read books, the titles don’t really sink in,” he said after several minutes.

Pena Nieto is the leading hope of the former ruling [socialist/centrist] Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, to return to the presidency it held for 71 years without interruption before losing the 2000 elections to conservative Vicente Fox.


TUNISIA – Protesters fear influence of Islamist political party

TUNIS | Thousands of people rallied in central Tunis on Thursday to express fears of extremism under an Islamist party that swept to power in October polls.

About 2,000 to 3,000 students, teachers, miners and other protesters gathered outside Bardo Palace, where Tunisian lawmakers met to draft a new constitution.

Muslim women wearing niqab

The protest was partly a response to ongoing demonstrations at a university outside the capital, where Islamists disrupted classes by demanding the school end mixed-sex classes and require female students to wear the full-face veil, or niqab.

Islamist parties have been winning elections since the toppling of dictators in the Arab Spring uprisings, including in Tunisia where Ennahda won the biggest bloc of votes Oct. 23 to dominate the 217-member assembly.

Longtime Tunisian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his staunchly secular regime were ousted in a popular uprising in January.

(The news briefs above are from wire reports and staff reports posted at on Dec. 1, on Dec. 5 and on Dec. 1)


1. For each of the 3 countries, give the following information:
a) location/the countries that share its borders
b) the religious breakdown of the population
c) the type of government
d) the chief of state (and head of government if different) [If monarch or dictator, since what date has he/she ruled? – include name of heir apparent for monarch] e) the population

[Find the answers at the CIA World FactBook website. For each country, answers can be found under the “Geography” “People” and “Government” headings.  Go to for a list of continents.]

2. For EGYPT:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) List at least 3 facts you know about the pharaohs of Egypt.

3. For MEXICO:
a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) Would you be concerned if the candidate you supported for U.S. president was unable to list three books that had influenced him/her?  Explain your answer.

a) list the who, what, where and when of the news item
b) The protesters had gathered partly in response to Islamist disruption of university classes.  What were the Islamists demanding?



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