Nation & World Briefs 11-27-12 Egypt's Morsi stands by edicts giving him sweeping powers

Published:

CAIRO -- Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi struck an uncompromising stand Monday over his seizure of near absolute powers, refusing in a meeting with top judicial authorities to rescind a package of constitutional amendments that placed his edicts above oversight by the courts.

Morsi's supporters, meanwhile, canceled a massive rally planned for Tuesday to compete with a demonstration by his opponents, citing the need to "defuse tension" at a time when anger over the president's moves is mounting, according to a spokesman for the president's Muslim Brotherhood.

The opposition rally was going ahead as scheduled at Cairo's Tahrir square, birthplace of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak's regime nearly two years ago.

The meeting between Morsi and members of the Supreme Judiciary Council was a bid to resolve a four-day crisis that has plunged the country into a new round of turmoil, with clashes between the two sides that have left one protester dead and hundreds wounded.

Morsi, according to a presidential statement, told the judges that while the constitutional declaration he announced Thursday grants him immunity from any oversight, he intended to restrict that to what it described as "sovereignty issues."

Police arrest neighbor: A 6-year-old girl who was at the center of a high-profile child abuse case that sent her father and stepmother to prison was killed last week by a neighbor, Bentonville, Ark., police said Monday evening. Jersey Bridgeman was reported missing the morning of Nov. 20. Minutes after a search for her began, Jersey's body was discovered in an abandoned house two doors from her home. Zachary Holly, 28, who lives next door to where Jersey was staying, is being held in the Benton County Jail on charges of capital murder, kidnapping and residential burglary, police Chief John Simpson said Monday night.

FBI: Reward helped capture fugitive: Jose "Joe" Luis Saenz , a murder suspect on the FBI's most wanted list, gained weight and switched identities to evade authorities for 14 years, but his notoriety and a $100,000 reward finally led to his capture, the agency said Monday. Saenz was arrested in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Thursday on suspicion of four murders and remained jailed in Southern California, the FBI said. The joint operation involved U.S. and Mexican authorities. At a Los Angeles news conference, FBI officials said Saenz, 37, had altered his appearance and lived in a modest apartment over a beauty shop when he was taken into custody.

Sentenced in Fast and Furious gun case: Two men were sentenced Monday for their roles in a gun smuggling ring that was part of the U.S. government's botched Operation Fast and Furious, an investigation that unraveled after illegally purchased weapons turned up at the scene of a fatal Border Patrol agent shooting. Jacob Anthony Montelongo was sentenced in federal court in Phoenix to nearly 31⁄2 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy and dealing guns without a license. Sean Christopher Steward received a nine-year sentence for conspiracy and making false statements to authorities. According to the U.S. Justice Department, Steward and Montelongo were among so-called straw buyers who illegally purchased weapons for traffickers and Mexican drug cartels in a wide-ranging Phoenix-based gun trafficking ring.

Ethics panel investigating N.Y. rep: The House Ethics Committee announced Monday that Rep. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent, is under investigation for possible campaign finance violations, but said it is deferring the inquiry because of a separate Justice Department probe. The New York Republican may have violated campaign finance laws by soliciting and accepting prohibited contributions, actions that may have caused false information to be included in campaign finance reports, the committee said. One focus of the investigation is whether the congressman improperly sought assistance from a foreign national, by soliciting contributions in exchange for offering to use his official position to assist the person in obtaining a green card, according to a committee statement.

Man charged after dynamite joke: A concourse at Miami International Airport was partially evacuated after a man allegedly joked that he had dynamite in his luggage. Miami-Dade police say 63-year-old Alejandro Hurtado, of Guatemala, made the remark Monday when a TACA Airlines ticket agent asked if he was carrying any hazardous materials. Police say that when the agent told him he was calling police, Hurtado said he was only joking. Bomb squad officers responded and searched Hurtado's bag but found no explosives. Concourse J was partially evacuated. Hurtado was taken into custody and charged with falsely reporting a bomb at an airport. Airport officials say the investigation delayed one outgoing Avianca Airlines flight by an hour. Some arriving international arrivals were also delayed because of the evacuation.

Charged with two counts of murder: Byron David Smith, a Minnesota homeowner who shot two unarmed teenagers in the midst of an apparent Thanksgiving Day break-in told authorities he feared they had a weapon, but acknowledged firing "more shots than I needed to" and appeared to take pride in "a good clean finishing shot" for one teen, according to investigators. Smith, 64, was charged Monday with two counts of second-degree murder in a criminal complaint that was chilling for the clinical way investigators said he described the shootings.

GOP blocks sportsmen's bill: A wide-ranging bill to give hunters and fishermen more access to public lands has stalled in the Senate after Republicans said it spends too much money. Republicans supported opening lands for outdoorsmen and many other provisions in the bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, but GOP senators blocked the legislation Monday evening on a mostly party-line vote after Senate Budget Committee's top Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama, objected to spending on conservation programs included in the bill. The sportsmen's bill would increase land access and allow hunters to bring home as trophies 41 polar bears killed in Canada before the government started protecting polar bears as a threatened species. The legislation would also exclude ammunition and tackle from federal environmental laws that regulate lead and protect animal habitat.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.