Prime minister appoints Hawass antiquities minister

Egypt's interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf appointed Zahi Hawass head of the new Ministry of Antiquities Wednesday.

Sharaf commissioned Hawass, the well-known chief of the Supreme Council of Antiquities under the Ministry of Culture, to lead the new ministry during a meeting Wednesday morning.

The prime minister agreed to the demands of antiquities employees who wanted an independent ministry separate from the Culture Ministry, which is now headed by Minister Emad Abu Ghazi.

Hawass has voiced concerns about recent thefts at several archaeological sites by armed gangs who are exploiting the absence of security.

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