Egyptian Minister Held Over Van Gogh Theft

The Egyptian government's head of fine arts has been remanded in custody pending an investigation into the theft of a Van Gogh painting at the weekend. Muhsin Sha'lan, first under-secretary at the culture ministry, was accused of "negligence", according to the state news agency Mena. Several other officials were believed to have been detained at the same time. The theft of the $50m (£32m) painting from a Cairo museum on Saturday has been blamed on poor security. The work - known as both Poppy Flowers and Vase And Flowers - was cut from its frame at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum during the day on Saturday. Egypt's top prosecutor, Abdel Meguid Mahmud, said none of the alarms at the museum and only seven out of 43 security cameras were working. He added that the broken alarms and cameras had not worked for some time. Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram said nine culture ministry employees had also been barred from travelling as part of the investigation into the disappearance. Government officials were not available for comment. Police are reported to be focusing their hunt for the missing Van Gogh on Egypt's air and sea ports.