Egypt Bars Officials from Travel Over Art Theft: Report

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CAIRO (REUTERS).- Egypt’s general prosecutor has blocked nine Culture Ministry officials from travel as part of an inquiry into the theft of a Van Gogh painting worth an estimated $55 million, a state-owned newspaper said on Monday. The painting, known as “Poppy Flower” according to an Arabic statement, was stolen on Saturday from Cairo’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum, home to one of the Middle East’s finest collections of 19th- and 20th-century art. Fine arts specialist Ezz el-Din Naguib, speaking in a programme on state television, said the painting had also been stolen in the late 1970s but was recovered 10 years later. An early investigation at the museum showed “flagrant shortcomings” in security with only 7 of 43 security cameras functioning