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 Words in the News
  BBC News Correspondent Caroline Hawley reports from Cairo on the project of the millennium. Toshka, as it's known, aims to create a vast new habitable area for Egypt's expanding population.
  AudioListen to the report in full

18th January 2001

Turning the desert green

 AudioListen to the first part of the report
   President Mubarak has described Toshka as the project of the Millennium, and it's an undertaking of Pharaonic scale. Giant posters depict the Egyptian leader standing in lush green fields, and Toshka has even had a brand of cigarette named after it.

The official in charge of the scheme, Dia al-Qoosy, says barren desert will be made economically productive, providing jobs, creating exports and relieving the pressure on Egypt's cities by enticing people away from the overcrowded banks of the Nile.

Pharaonic scale: this compares the size of the project to the size of the pyramids and temples that were built in ancient Egypt.

lush green fields: fields that have very healthy grass or plants growing

barren desert: soil of such poor quality that plants cannot grow on it

relieving the pressure
:lowering the number of people who live in the City so making life easier for those who remain.

NEWS 2  AudioListen to the second part of the report
   Water -- the project's key ingredient -- will come from the massive artificial lake created by the Aswan High Dam. A giant pumping-station is due to be opened in Toshka late next year and the government and private investors are already experimenting with what crops might be grown there.

But as officials celebrate the fourth anniversary of the project with a concert and ministerial visits, critics are concerned it'll prove a colossal waste of money. Some say the whole concept of trying to populate and cultivate a remote area of baking desert is flawed. There are concerns, too, that Toshka's environmental impact hasn't been properly thought through.

key ingredient: the most important part of the situation.

experimenting with what crops might be grown there: a scientific test to discover what plants such as wheat and potatoes can be grown.

concerned: worried about the issue.

the whole concept: all the different parts of the idea.

baking desert: a large and very hot area of land where there is very little water.

environmental impact: the effects on the surrounding area, in which people and animals live.

thought through: people have not considered all the implications of what might happen.

  Read about the background in BBC News Online

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