Egypt's interim president praises protests and army in first comments after being sworn-in
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's interim president has praised the mass protests demanding the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, saying they united Egyptians.
President Adly Mansour made the remarks at his swearing-in ceremony Thursday at the Supreme Constitutional Court. Mansour, who was the court's chief justice, replaces Morsi, the Islamist leader who was overthrown by the military on Wednesday after just one year in office.
According to military decree, Mansour will serve as Egypt's interim leader until a new president is elected. A date for that vote has yet to be set.
Morsi is under house arrest at an undisclosed location.
AP Analysis: In the fall of Morsi in Egypt, a wider blow to Islamists
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt was the centerpiece of the Islamist movement's vault to power in the Arab world's sweeping wave of uprisings. Winning election after election here, the Islamists vowed to prove they could govern effectively and implement their vision of political Islam, all while embracing the rules of democracy.
Mohammed Morsi was their pillar: the veteran of the Muslim Brotherhood, the region's oldest and most prestigious political Islamist group, who became Egypt's first freely elected president.
That is what makes his ouster after barely a year in office, with a gigantic cross-section of Egypt's population demanding he go, such a devastating blow to Islamists on multiple levels, not only in Egypt but across a tumultuous region.
Morsi, his Brotherhood and their harder-line allies say they played by the rules of democracy, only to be forced out by opponents who could not play it as well as them at the ballot box and so turned to the military for help. The lesson that the Islamists' extreme fringe may draw: Democracy, which many of them viewed as "kufr" or heresy to begin with, is rigged and violence is the only way to bring their dream of an Islamic state.
But to the millions of Egyptians who marched in the street against Morsi, the Islamists failed at democracy: They overreached.
Syria's Assad says opponents failed to oust regime as opposition meets to elect new leaders
BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's President Bashar Assad claimed in an interview published Thursday that his opponents have "used up all their tools" and failed to overthrow his regime. The remarks came as Western-backed Syrian opposition figures gathered in Turkey for talks on electing a new leadership.
In comments to the state-run Al-Thawra newspaper, Assad rejected the idea that what has been happening in Syria since more than two years is a revolution. Instead, he insisted it is a conspiracy by Western and some Arab states to destabilize his country.
In the same interview, Assad praised this week's massive protests by Egyptians against their Islamists leader and said the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi meant the end of "political Islam."
In Syria, more than 93,000 people have been killed since the crisis erupted in March 2011. The conflict began as peaceful protests against Assad's rule, then turned into civil war after some opposition supporters took up arms to fight a brutal government crackdown on dissent. Millions of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes.
Throughout the crisis, Assad has insisted that his government is not faced with a popular rebellion, but a Western-backed conspiracy against Syria, accusing the rebels fighting to topple his regime of being terrorists, Islamic extremists and mercenaries of the oil-rich Arab Gulf states that are allies of the United States.
Bolivia's Morales arrives home after plane dispute that infuriated Latin America
LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Bolivian President Evo Morales called the rerouting of his plane over suspicions that National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden was aboard a provocation to Latin America and urged European countries to "free themselves" from the United States.
His presidential plane arrived home in Bolivia's capital late Wednesday night following an unplanned 14-hour layover in Vienna. His government said France, Spain and Portugal all refused to let it through their airspace, forcing it to land in Austria. He had been flying home from a summit in Russia.
Bolivian government officials have repeatedly said they believe that Washington was behind the incident.
"It is an open provocation to the continent, not only to the president; they use the agent of North American imperialism to scare us and intimidate us," Morales said to about 100 supporters gathered at the La Paz airport to greet him.
Morales, a leftist, has long been a fierce critic of U.S. policy toward Latin America and had suggested while in Russia that he was be willing to consider giving Snowden asylum in Bolivia.
Statue of Liberty reopens after Sandy; tribute for lost Arizona firefighters this 4th of July
NEW YORK (AP) — The Statue of Liberty, closed since the destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy, will reopen to the public this Fourth of July, as Americans across the country mark the holiday with fireworks and barbecues.
The U.S. Parks Department was expecting a large crowd for the holiday and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Liberty Island with federal officials and New York's mayor. The first boats were scheduled to leave from Manhattan and New Jersey at 8:30 a.m. and the first visitors would ascend at 9 a.m. Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are still underway, but much of the work has been completed since Sandy swamped most of the national landmark's 12-acre site.
The statue was spared in the fall storm, but Lady Liberty's little island took a serious beating. Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris.
Visitors to Lady Liberty will go through security on lower Manhattan, after city officials criticized an earlier plan to screen them at neighboring Ellis Island, which endured far worse damage to its infrastructure and won't be open to the public anytime soon. The damage to both islands was put at $59 million.
New Yorkers will also be treated to the annual fireworks display over the Hudson River with performances by Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift, and the Nathan's Original hot dog eating contest on Brooklyn's Coney Island. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut is seeking his seventh straight title — a world record. Last year he downed 68 hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes. But the Cyclone roller coaster and other attractions at the famed amusement park were closed going into the holiday after a 275-foot-tall observation tower swayed in the wind.
Obama climate change plan faces political, practical challenges amid industry criticism
BOW, N.H. (AP) — President Barack Obama's push to fight global warming has triggered condemnation from the coal industry across the industrial Midwest, where state and local economies depend on the health of an energy sector facing strict new pollution limits.
But such concerns stretch even to New England, an environmentally focused region that long has felt the effects of drifting emissions from Rust Belt states.
Just ask Gary Long, the president of the Public Service Co. of New Hampshire, the state's largest electric company.
Long says the president's plan to impose limits on carbon dioxide emissions suddenly raises questions about the fate of the state's two coal-fired power plants, electricity rates for millions of customers and the ability to find new energy sources. And he notes that New England has already invested billions of dollars in cleaner energy, agreed to cap its own carbon pollution and crafted plans to import Canadian hydroelectric power.
"New Hampshire's always been ahead of the curve," he says. "Does no good deed go unpunished?"
Ariz. town honoring fallen firefighters with all-day July Fourth celebration
PRESCOTT, Ariz. (AP) — Prescott officials are working to retool the over-the-top celebration that has made this Old West town the place to be on Independence Day in the wake of the deaths over the weekend of 19 hometown firefighters.
One thing is for certain: There will be fireworks.
The booming red and white bursts may remind some of the wildfire, still burning, that claimed all but one of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew on Sunday, but the hilltop community of 40,000 is determined to mourn its dead without compromising its traditions or shying away from overt celebration. The mantra for days has been, "celebration, not grief."
Though much of the southwest remains a tinderbox, fire officials say they will be able to deploy the pyrotechnics safely, pouring water on the detonation area if necessary.
Festivities are expected to last at least 10 hours and include an all-day carnival, live music and a nighttime dance at the town's outdoor rodeo.
Video shows life in special North Korean prison for jailed American
TOKYO (AP) — In his first media interview since his November arrest, an American imprisoned in North Korea has told a pro-Pyongyang media outlet that he wants the U.S. to "try harder" to help him gain amnesty from a sentence of 15 years of hard labor for alleged crimes against the government.
Kenneth Bae told the Tokyo-based Choson Sinbo in a story published Wednesday that he had hoped to be out by Thursday, which is not only Independence Day but his father's 70th birthday. He said he still hopes the U.S. government will help him get released quickly.
Bae, 44, of Lynnwood, Washington, was arrested in the northeastern North Korean region of Rason and was interviewed last week at a North Korean prison where he is serving out his sentence. An American of Korean descent, Bae entered the special economic zone as a tour operator but was convicted in late April of plotting to commit "hostile acts" against the North Korean government.
He was sent in May to what North Korea calls a "special prison." Photos and video of Bae published this week by Choson Sinbo show him with his head shaven and wearing gray overalls bearing the number 103.
Bae said he wakes up at 6 every morning. He then does farm work, planting seeds and weeding, until his labor ends at 6 p.m. He gets Sundays and holidays off, he told the paper during a June 26 interview.
Technology visionary Doug Engelbart, inventor of computer mouse, dies at age of 88
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Doug Engelbart, a visionary who invented the computer mouse and developed other technology that has transformed the way people work, play and communicate, died late Tuesday. He was 88.
His death of acute kidney failure occurred at his home in Atherton, Calif., after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, according to one of his daughters, Diana Engelbart Mangan.
Back in the 1950s and '60s, when mainframes took up entire rooms and were fed data on punch cards, Engelbart already was envisioning a day when computers would empower people to share ideas and solve problems in ways that seemed unfathomable at the time.
Engelbart considered his work to be all about "augmenting human intellect" — a mission that boiled down to making computers more intuitive to use. One of the biggest advances was the mouse, which he developed in the 1960s and patented in 1970. At the time, it was a wooden shell covering two metal wheels: an "X-Y position indicator for a display system."
Engelbart "brought tremendous value to society," said Curtis R. Carlson, the CEO of SRI International, where Engelbart worked when it was still known as the Stanford Research Institute. "We will miss his genius, warmth and charm. Doug's legacy is immense. Anyone in the world who uses a mouse or enjoys the productive benefits of a personal computer is indebted to him."
5 things to know about baseball on July Fourth: Gehrig's speech; Righetti's no-hitter
From a famous speech that has echoed for decades to a crazy slugfest at Coors Field, baseball has had its share of memorable moments on July Fourth. Here's a look back at some of the all-time moments of the day.
1. GEHRIG'S FAREWELL: Delivering one of the most hallowed speeches in sports history, Lou Gehrig spoke between games of a New York Yankees doubleheader with the Washington Senators on July 4, 1939. It came two weeks after he retired, having been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Gehrig played only eight games that season, driving in one run and hitting .143.
The "Luckiest Man" speech has been played countless times.