Owners distraught as historic Nile houseboats removed


Owners of the Nile's famous houseboats in the heart of Egypt's capital are having their homes demolished and towed away as authorities impound what they say are unlicensed dwellings. The boats, many of them elegant two-story structures with verandas, have been moored for decades along the tree-lined banks of the Nile between the island of Zamalek and Giza, just west of central Cairo. They have featured in films and literature, such as Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz's novel Adrift on the Nile. Last week, owners of about 30 houseboats were served with notices saying that their boats would be impounded. Egypt's water and irrigation ministry said on Tuesday that 15 had been removed, with the rest to be dealt with over the next few days. -- Reuters