Mass. hospital cleaning ancient mummy

A 2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy was taken from its coffin in Boston to undergo cleaning and restoration at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The mummy known as Padihershef had been on display at the third oldest general hospital in the United States since it received him as a gift from the city in 1823 as a medical oddity.

An expert trained in restoring ancient artifacts removed the mummy from his coffin and used cotton swabs to clear salt deposits from his face. The salt is a byproduct of the mummification process. His coffin was being repaired and stabilized.

Padihershef was a 40-year-old stonecutter in the necropolis in Thebes, an ancient city on the west bank of the Nile, in what is today’s Luxor.

Liberty screening moved to Manhattan

Security screening for visitors to the Statue of Liberty will be held in lower Manhattan instead of on Ellis Island when the site reopens July 4 after cleanup from Superstorm Sandy.

The National Park Service originally had planned for visitors to board cruise ships in Manhattan or in Liberty State Park, N.J., and stop at Ellis Island for security, but New York officials criticized the plan. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly urged federal authorities to reverse the policy, saying it could leave visitors vulnerable.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced that establishing a temporary screening facility at lower Manhattan’s Battery Park would address security concerns while security procedures are further reviewed.

Hobbits, elves drawing New Zealand visitors

Hobbits, elves and dragons appear to be luring tourists to New Zealand as fans await the second movie in “The Hobbit” trilogy.

Figures released by government agency Tourism New Zealand show that international vacations to New Zealand rose 10 percent from January through April when compared to the same period last year. The agency said a survey indicated that 8.5 percent of visitors cited “The Hobbit” as one reason for coming and that 13 percent took part in some kind of hobbit-themed tourism like visiting a film set.

Warner Bros. announced that “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” the second film, will premiere Dec. 13 in Los Angeles. The trilogy is directed by New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson and shot in his home country.

“The Hobbit” is the prequel to Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.”

Associated Press