Compliments of SENATOR RICK SCOTT
Tuesday, April 13, 2021WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senators Rick Scott, Dan Sullivan and Marco Rubio introduced the Careful Resumption Under Improved Safety Enhancements (CRUISE) Act, which would revoke the CDC’s current No Sail Order on cruises and require the CDC to provide COVID-19 mitigation guidance for cruise lines to resume safe domestic operations. Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar is leading this legislation in the House of Representatives.
In March, Senator Scott sent a letter to Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID Response Coordinator, urging the Biden Administration to immediately issue clear guidance for the resumption of operations for the cruise industry. The CDC still has not responded to his letter or provided the cruise line industry with a timeline of when they can begin sailing, which is urgently needed. Senator Scott also introduced the Set Sail Safely Act last year, which would establish a Maritime Task Force, in coordination with a Private Sector Advisory Committee, to address the health, safety, security, and logistical changes needed to allow for cruise lines and ports to resume operations.
Senator Rick Scott said, “Florida is a tourism state with thousands of jobs relying on the success of our ports, cruise lines and maritime industries. While many sectors of the economy have been safely operating for months under CDC guidelines, Floridians, and those across the nation that rely on the cruise industry for work, continue to wait for updated guidance from the CDC. The CDC's refusal to properly address this shutdown is wrong and it’s time to get the cruise lines open safely. Our bill, the CRUISE Act, says we’re not waiting on the CDC any longer. Cruises can and should resume, and we’re going to do everything we can to bring back our cruise industry safely.”
Senator Dan Sullivan said, “Unlike the airlines, rail, and other modes of transportation—and all other sectors of the hospitality industry for that matter—the cruise lines have been denied clear direction from the CDC on how to resume operations. As a result, potential cruises this summer, when the President said the country will be able to return to normal with more and more Americans getting vaccinated, have been left adrift. The foot-dragging, mixed messages, and unresponsiveness of CDC leaders is totally unacceptable and ultimately endangering the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the hundreds of small businesses across Alaska that rely on the tourism sector. My legislation with Senators Scott and Rubio will accomplish what letters, meetings, and repeated phone calls have not—directing the CDC to finally codify timely guidance and a plan for cruise ships to safely and responsibly welcome passengers again this summer.”
Senator Marco Rubio said, “The benefits of cruise operations are integral to the economies of Florida’s port cities. Floridians and many other Americans who are employed by ports, cruise operators, or work in hospitality jobs near cruise terminals face an uncertain future because of the CDC’s unresponsiveness to requests for guidance by stakeholder groups. I am proud to join Senators Sullivan and Scott in introducing legislation that would require the CDC to provide guidance to safely resume operations this summer, and allow Florida’s economy to recover even further.”
Congresswoman María Elvira Salazar said, “Welcoming over 5 million passengers and $9 billion dollars directly into our economy each year, Miami is the Cruise Capital of the World and it is time to start sailing again. I am proud to join my Senate colleagues and lead this fight in the House so that our ships can return to sea, our longshoremen can return to port, and Americans can start cruising again. This legislation will fix the CDC’s arbitrary guidelines and give clarity and fairness to the industry that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout Miami’s entire tourism economy.”
Jerry Kaye, Owner, Lucite Creations in Miami, Florida said, “The industry has been sailing safely in other parts of the world already, and it is past time we restart cruising in this country. People are flying, traveling and beginning to resume their lives, and as business owners who have been impacted by this pause in cruising, all we are asking for is the opportunity to get back to work. I am grateful for Senator Scott’s leadership, we couldn’t be more excited about the possibility of a bill that would allow cruising to resume as soon as July, which means we could get back to a full schedule, and I can actually hire my employees back full time.”
Omar Otero, Founder and Owner, VOK Protective Services Inc. in Miami, Florida said, "As a business owner, I’ve been dependent on the cruise industry for my livelihood for 20 years, and this pause has been devastating. What many people don’t see behind the scenes is that cruising has a significant impact on many small businesses, and employs hundreds of thousands of people in America. Resuming cruising is critical to my business and would allow me to work again and support my family. I’m ecstatic to support Senator Scott’s legislation which could restart cruise operations this summer.”
Jeannette Pineiro, President, Cruiseport Destinations in Miami, Florida said, “The uncertainty we've been living with the last year is probably the most devastating mentally for a business owner. I have former employees that are still unemployed. They want to get back to work, and there has been nothing I could do. The cruise industry needs to be treated on par with other sectors of the travel industry, and this legislation would provide a plan to safely resume cruise operations. I commend Senator Scott for this legislation that if passed, would give business owners, like myself, a timeline and a date that we can work toward. I couldn’t be more overjoyed as a business owner, because we finally have hope on the horizon.”
The CRUISE Act:
My Journey part 2...
Sitting modestly before the vast Saqqara Necropolis is the Imhotep Museum, housing archaeological artifacts pertaining to the history of Ancient Egypt. Opened in 2006, it was named after the royal architect Imhotep, who was credited for building the first monumental structure out of stone, being the stepped Pyramid of Djoser.
The Saqqara Necropolis is a vast, ancient burial ground with many pyramids and mastabas within its boundaries. Mastabas were rectangular, flat-roofed tombs, made out of mudbricks. They were used by eminent Egyptians, such as Mereruka in the Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom. Mereruka was a vizier, a high ranking and powerful official, and son-in-law to King Teti, the 1st pharaoh of the sixth dynasty. The Mastaba of Mereruka is the largest of all non-
royal tombs in Saqqara. Elaborately decorated with vibrant reliefs and a lifelike statue, the tomb was hidden from view until archaeologist Jacques de Morgan discovered and excavated it in 1892. The mastaba is also the burial ground for his wife (daughter of King Teti) and their son. The mastaba has a complex floorplan consisting of 33 chambers of which 21 are dedicated to Mereruka himself and the rest to his wife and son.
Beside Mereruka's mastaba is the Pyramid of Teti. Once a smooth-sided pyramid, it now resembles more of a hill, largely due to poor preservation. However, the interior chambers and corridors are very well preserved. It is unknown how long Teti reigned but it is estimated at 12 years. Teti had several wives and up to 13 children (3 sons and 10 daughters). It is thought that he was murdered by his bodyguards in order to make way for Userkare's reign. It is debated whether Userkare was possibly a son of Teti and whether he was a legitimate heir. Regardless of circumstances, his reign was short-lived, less than 5 years, when he was succeeded by Teti's son Pepi I.
Teti's predecessor was Unas, the last pharaoh of the 5th dynasty. His smooth- sided pyramid built in the 24th century BC was the smallest of the Old Kingdom. What made it significant though was the discovery of Pyramid Texts which were funerary texts carved into walls of burial chambers to help a pharaoh's spirit to be preserved in the afterlife. Unas' pyramid was the first inscription of such texts and at that time was reserved for pharaohs only. The Pyramid Texts were the predecessors to Coffin Texts when the spells were written on coffins and the Book of the Dead which were spells written on papyrus.
Egyptologists weren't able to agree on Unas' reign so it is guesstimated at between 15-30 years. It seems that Unas died without a male heir, as his only son predeceased him. As such it brought the end of the 5th Dynasty.
Diagonally across from the Pyramid of Unas is the Pyramid of Userkaf, the founder of the 5th Dynasty. He reigned for about seven years in the early 25th century BC. He had one daughter and one son, Sahure, who succeeded him. Little is known about his activities other than ascending the worship of Ra, deity of the sun. Ra was believed to rule the sky, the earth and the underworld. He was the god of the sun, order, kings and the sky. Pharaohs were closely aligned to Ra, referring to themselves as "Sons of Ra". Pyramids, obelisks and sun temples were specially aligned to honour Ra.
Userkaf's pyramid was very roughly put together. The core was built with small, roughly-hewn limestone blocks which likely saved a lot on labour but also produced an inferior quality pyramid. However, the outer layer was of fine limestone giving it a grand impression. Sadly as stone robbers removed the outer limestone, the loosely built core was exposed and crumbled leaving a pile of rubble in the shape of a hill. It was customary for pharaohs to build burials for their wives nearby and Userkaf had built a smaller pyramid to the southwest corner of his own using the same construction material and style. Unsurprisingly, the Queen's pyramid is in rubbles too and her pyramid was stripped to such an extent that her burial chamber became exposed to the elements.
And this brings me to the final pyramid. Between the smaller pyramids of Unas and Userkaf stands the Pyramid of Djoser. It is a stepped pyramid built by the royal architect Imhotep and the oldest stone structure of its size in the world. Built in the 27th century BC, this six-tier, four-sided structure dominates the Saqqara landscape. The pyramid once covered in polished white limestone was originally 205ft (62.5m) tall with a base of 358x397ft (109x121m). Beneath the pyramid is a 6km labyrinth of tunnelled chambers and galleries that meets with a central shaft, providing the king with space for his and his family's burials and the storage of goods and offerings. Once completed it stood out from the large mastabas that were constructed out of mudbricks.
Djoser's pyramid is the only stepped-pyramid that was fully completed and continues to exist. A pyramid typically requires 20 years to complete. Djoser, one of the principal leaders of the 3rd Dynasty, ruled for between 19-28 years, as such he saw the completion of his pyramid. Djoser's successor Sekhemkhet planned to outdo the building of his own pyramid by making it taller with a bigger base but unfortunately he died within 9 years of his reign and the pyramid remained unfinished. After Sekhemkhet's there was one more stepped-pyramid just south of Giza but it is not confirmed whether it was finished or if it just eroded over time as it is a ruined structure now.
The Saqqara Necropolis has many more minor pyramids, mastabas and funerary complexes that are known of but there's nothing more exciting than when new discoveries are made. A recent discovery (late 2020) of 100 intact wooden coffins, brightly covered with hieroglyphs and well-preserved mummies inside has been found in the Saqqara.
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Virtual Egypt part 1
Thanks to The Conquer Challenge ....
I was still able to enjoy a touch of Egypt without the heat and sand, since COVID cancelled my scheduled Journey.
Step into history at the crossroads of Africa, Europe and Asia where an ancient civilisation developed and thrived on the banks of the Nile River. Filled with myths and legends, pharaohs and gods, formidable pyramids, mummies and hieroglyphs, this 5,000 year old civilisation is the kingdom of the ancient Egyptians.
The Kingdom of Egypt began around 3,100BC, known as the Early Dynastic Period, with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt. Governed by a royal family the first Pharaoh was Narmer, also referred to as Nemes. Narmer was also the first dynasty (ruling family) out of 30 that followed.
Modern historians have further divided the dynasties into various
Periods/Kingdoms. The three main Kingdoms, considered as the height of civilization (the golden ages) are known as: Old Kingdom (the Age of the Pyramids); Middle Kingdom (reunification of Egypt); and New Kingdom (the peak of power). As each Kingdom collapsed a period of civil unrest, conquests, political strife and instability ensued known as the Intermediate Periods. Each Intermediary Period ended when ruling houses reclaimed their power leading Egypt into a new age of prosperity. By 525BC the great civilisation came to an end and Egypt became part of the Persian Empire. Rule passed to the Greeks in 332BC following Alexander the Great's conquest and by 30BC after the death of Cleopatra, the last reigning pharaoh, it became a province of the Roman Empire.
The ancient cities of Memphis and Thebes were once, at different times, the capital cities of Egypt. Memphis was created by Pharaoh Narmer and served as the capital city during the Early Dynastic and Old Kingdom eras. Following reunification during the Middle Kingdom, the capital city was moved to Thebes where it continued to serve as the capital during the New Kingdom era. Only remnants remain today.
The current capital city of Egypt is Cairo and has a population of 20 million people making it the largest city in Africa and the sixth-largest in the world. Within the city is "Historic Cairo" an area that existed before the city's modern expansion. Declared a UNESCO site in 1979, Historic Cairo has a large collection of historic architecture including the Citadel where this journey begins.
Cairo was founded in the 10th century following the Fatimid Caliphate conquest. The Fatimid's were a dynasty that occupied much of North Africa from the Red Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Of Arab origin and ruling territories across the Mediterranean coast of Africa, the Fatimid's made Egypt the centre of their caliphate.
The Fatimid's were subsequently conquered by Saladin in the 12th century who was the first Sultan of Egypt. Saladin was a Sunni Kurd and the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty, a Kurdish Sunni Muslim dynasty. He was a major force during the Crusaders of Jerusalem's attempts to capture Egypt. Together with his uncle, the General at the time, Saladin seized Cairo and pushed the Crusaders out. Assuming control after his uncle's death, Saladin began a major campaign against the Crusaders which resulted in the launching the Third Crusade by the powerful states of western Christianity. Led by Richard the Lionheart (King of
England), King Phillip of France and Emperor Frederick Barbarossa (Holy Roman Emperor) the Battle of Arsuf against Saladin resulted in a truce followed by a peace treaty that lasted three years. Part of the treaty was safe passage to all Christian and Muslim unarmed pilgrims. Neither Saladin nor Richard were satisfied with the outcome. Both Richard and Saladin respected each other's capabilities as leaders and were known to send each other gifts after the treaty. Saladin was widely regarded as a chivalrous warrior who besides being a shrewd and ruthless leader, he was also looked upon as a "kindly father figure who cared for the poor and sick".
Saladin was primarily responsible for commencing the construction of the Citadel of Cairo in early 12th century which was built upon, altered and adapted across the centuries to suit the rulers needs and regimes of the time. It served as the residence of rulers and seat of Government until the 19th century. The complex was initially divided into two enclosures; one used for military garrisons and the other as the sultan's residence. By the 19th century many of the buildings within the citadel were torn down to make way for an Ottoman- style mosque with two minarets, four small domes and four semi-circular domes around a main dome. It was commissioned by Muhammad Ali, the de facto ruler of Egypt at the time, in memory of his eldest son and constructed in the style that paid homage to his former overlords, the Ottomans.
Across from Muhammad Ali's mosque is a 14th century mosque built by the then ruler, Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad. With a rather austere appearance when compared to its neighbour, the mosque is a rectangular building constructed around an inner court with two minarets and a single dome. The minarets with their bulbous shapes are made entirely out of carved stone and extensively decorated with glazed mosaics.
During the 20th century the citadel was first occupied by the British army, followed by the Egyptian military until the government opened it to the public converting buildings into museums. Today the citadel consists of several mosques (the two main ones and two smaller ones), a military museum, carriage museum, police museum and a palace containing a 1000kg chandelier gifted by Louis-Philippe I of France.
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