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Egypt sues Christie’s auction house over sale of King Tut sculpture

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Egypt has asked Interpol to help track down a 3,000-year-old sculpture of Tutankhamun after Christie’s auctioned it despite the country’s objections.

It has also hired a British law firm to sue the auction house, said Egypt’s committee for antiquities repatriation.

The London-based company sold the brown quartzite head depicting the famous boy pharaoh for more than £4.7m last week.

The committee expressed its “deep dissatisfaction with the unprofessional behaviour” at the sale of Egyptian antiquities without title deeds and proof of the legality of their exit from Egypt.

Laetitia Delaloye, head of antiquities of Christie's, poses for a photograph with an Egyptian brown quartzite head of Tutankhamen prior to its sale at Christie's auction house in London on Thursday

Christie’s denies any wrongdoing over the sale

Christie’s has denied any wrongdoing.

In a statement to Sky News, it said: “While ancient objects by their nature cannot be traced over millennia, Christie’s clearly carried out extensive due diligence verifying the provenance and legal title, establishing all required facts of recent ownership.

“We recognise historic objects can give rise to complex discussions about the past; our role today is to continue to provide a transparent, legitimate marketplace upholding the highest standards for the transfer of objects from one generation of collectors to the next.

“Christie’s would not and do not sell any work where there isn’t clear title of ownership and a thorough understanding of modern provenance.”

The Egyptian committee also criticised British authorities for not supporting its claim to the sculpture.

Egypt’s general prosecutor has also asked Interpol to trace any Egypt antiquities sold in other countries and hold them until their title deeds are verified.

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Saudi foreign minister says his country will defend itself against Iranian threats | World News

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The Saudi minister for foreign affairs has told Sky News his country will do whatever it takes to defend itself against Iran.

In an exclusive interview with Sky News, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir also confirmed that Saudi Arabia is consulting with the UK about military support.

“We have a responsibility to defined our country and to ensure that no harm comes to our country and our peoples,” the minister said.



Visiting the bombed Saudi oil plant

Inside Saudi’s attacked oil plants

“And so we will do whatever it takes to prevent our country from sustaining damages. Preparing for war? War is always the last option.”

His words came as the Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Maj-Gen Hossein Salami told Iranian state media: “Our readiness to respond to any aggression is definitive. We will never allow a war to enter our land. We will pursue any aggressor. We will continue until the full destruction of any aggressor.”

In response, Mr al-Jubeir said: “We will do whatever it takes to protect our nation. Period.

“Iran has engaged in aggressive behaviour for 40 years. They have destroyed Lebanon through Hezbollah, they have sent militia to destroy Syria, they have militias in Iraq, militias in Yemen and provide them with ballistic missiles and drones.

“They have set up cells in various countries Kuwait, Bahrain, SA to cause terrorist attacks.”

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US Defence Secretary Mark Esper confirmed that Donald Trump has authorised the deployment of US forces to the region but he stressed they were there in a defensive nature.

“The president has approved the deployment of US forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defence,” he said.

“We will also work to accelerate the delivery of military equipment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to enhance their ability to defend themselves.”

While the UK has not confirmed any increased military presence in the region, Mr al-Jubeir said consultations were taking place. He is due in London after this week’s UN General Assembly in New York.

“The UK also been one of our staunchest allies when it comes to security. We are in consultations with the UK in this area,” he told Sky News.

“The UK has agreed to provide naval assets in order to help with maritime security. The gulf countries, the US, the UK, I believe Australia are now providing assets to protect maritime security and the flow of energy.”

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US has imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank after drone attacks in Saudi Arabia, says Trump | US News

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President Donald Trump says the US has imposed sanctions on Iran’s central bank following last weekend’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities.

Speaking in the Oval Office on Friday during a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the US leader said: “We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank.”

He did not give any other details about the sanctions.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that the bank was Tehran’s last source of funds.

When Mr Trump was asked about the possibility of a military response on Iran, he said that a military strike was always a possibility and that the US was prepared.

More follows…

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Evacuation Of Nigerians Has Discouraged Tourists, Others To South Africa, Says Air Peace Boss

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Chairman of Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema, has said that the evacuation of Nigerians from South Africa had led to a drastic reduction of tourists and air travellers to that country.

Onyema made the statement in Lagos on Wednesday evening while speaking with journalists during the arrival of the second batch of Nigerians evacuated from the former apartheid nation in the wake of latest xenophobic attacks on African migrants.

In total, 315 Nigerians returned from South Africa aboard Air Peace, bringing the total number of returnees to 493 out of over 600, who expressed their desire to return home following the latest xenophobic attacks.

The first batch had landed in the country last Wednesday with 178 returning with the Air Peace aircraft that airlifted them from South Africa.

Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, was on the ground to receive the returnees including a representative of the Lagos State Government.

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