Saturday, January 25, 2014

Published:

Egypt's third anniversary of 2011 uprising marred by division, violence as 29 people killed

CAIRO (AP) -- The anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising brought a violent display of the country's furious divisions Saturday, as giant crowds danced at government-backed rallies and security forces crushed demonstrations by rival Islamists and some secular activists.

Clashes nationwide killed at least 29 protesters, health officials said. The starkly contrasting scenes reflect the three years of turmoil Egypt has faced since the Jan. 25, 2011 revolution began and ultimately toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, replacing him with a transitional military council.

Last summer's millions-strong demonstrations against Mubarak's elected successor, Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, led to a military coup removing him. And as Egypt looks forward to presidential elections later this year, many celebrating Saturday in the famed Tahrir Square demanded army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi run for president.

"El-Sissi saved the nation. It was up in the air like this helicopter and he carried it to safety," said Mervat Khalifa, 62, sitting on the sidewalk and waving to a helicopter overhead.

Military helicopters showered crowds in Tahrir with small flags and gift coupons to buy refrigerators, heaters, blankets and home appliances. State-backed rallies also showcased prancing horses and traditional music for ecstatic crowds.

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Police say they disabled crude attempts at explosive devices found in gunman's bag at Md. mall

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) -- A man carrying a shotgun opened fire at a busy shopping mall in suburban Baltimore on Saturday, killing two employees of a skate shop and then himself as panicked shoppers ran for cover, police said. Five others were injured.

Police were still trying to determine the motive of the gunman who killed a man and a woman, both in their 20s, at a skate shop called Zumiez on the upper level of the Mall in Columbia.

Witnesses described hearing gunshots and screams as shoppers ducked into nearby stores and hid behind locked doors. Many found cover in stockrooms and barricaded themselves until the arrival of police, who searched store to store. By late afternoon, the mall had been cleared of shoppers and employees.

Howard County Police Chief William J. McMahon said at a news conference that authorities had difficulty identifying the gunman because of concerns he was carrying explosives and were proceeding with an "abundance of caution." By late Saturday, police said they had tentatively identified the gunman but declined to release his name while they followed up on leads.

"We do not know yet what caused the shooting incident," he said. "We do not have a motive."

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Protesters in Ukraine's capital attack conference hall with police inside

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- New violence erupted in Ukraine's capital during the night as a large crowd attacked a government exposition and conference hall where police were stationed inside.

Early Sunday, demonstrators were throwing firebombs into the Ukrainian House building and setting off fireworks, and police responded with tear gas. Although the crowd created a corridor at the building's entrance apparently for police to leave, none were seen coming out.

The outburst underlined a growing inclination for radical actions in the protest movement that has gripped Kiev for two months. The building under attack is about 250 meters (yards) down the street from Independence Square, where mostly peaceful demonstrations have been held around the clock since early December and where protesters have set up an extensive tent camp.

Clashes with police broke out a week ago in the wake of new, harsh anti-protest laws.

More-moderate opposition figures, including heavyweight boxing champion Vitali Klitschko, have tried appealing to stop the clashes, but have been booed, and one time Klitschko was sprayed with a fire-extinguisher.

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Syrian antagonists, at table for 1st time, in 'half-steps' of peace talks

GENEVA (AP) -- In painstakingly choreographed encounters, Syria's government and opposition faced each other for the first time Saturday, buffered by a U.N. mediator hoping to guide them to a resolution of the country's devastating civil war.

The antagonists sat at the same table for nearly three hours, but didn't address each other directly -- and by design avoided the contentious issue of who will lead the country. They entered through separate doors and, outside the walls of the United Nations, had little but criticism for each other.

No tangible progress was reported, but the mere fact the meeting was held represented what the mediator called a "half-step" toward peace. Unresolved was the fate of Homs, a city at the core of the uprising against President Bashar Assad that has been under siege for 20 months.

The mediator, Lakhdar Brahimi, said the peace conference would continue Sunday, focusing on humanitarian aid -- the one topic the Syrian government and the opposition could agree to discuss. Brahimi said if parallel negotiations succeeded within Syria, Homs could see an aid delivery by Monday.

"We haven't achieved much, but we are continuing," Brahimi said after about three hours spent seated midway between the two sides. "The situation is very difficult and very, very complicated, and we are moving not in steps, but half-steps."

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Texas hospital: No announcement on order to end life support for pregnant, brain-dead woman

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Executives from a Texas hospital conferred with the county district attorney's office Saturday to determine their next step, after a judge ordered the hospital to remove a pregnant, brain-dead woman from life support.

Officials from John Peter Smith Hospital and the Tarrant County district attorney's office, which is representing the county-owned hospital, met to discuss Judge R. H. Wallace Jr.'s order regarding Marlise Munoz, hospital spokeswoman J.R. Labbe said. She declined to say whether a possible appeal was being discussed, but said an announcement wouldn't come Saturday.

Both the hospital and family agree that Marlise Munoz meets the criteria to be considered brain-dead -- which means she is dead both medically and under Texas law -- and that her fetus could not be born alive this early in pregnancy. But the hospital says it's obligated to protect the fetus, while Munoz's husband, Erick Munoz, says his wife wouldn't have wanted to be kept in this condition. His attorneys have said medical records show the fetus is "distinctly abnormal."

Wallace sided with Erick Munoz on Friday and gave the Fort Worth hospital until 5 p.m. Monday to take Marlise Munoz off life support. She was 14 weeks pregnant with their second child when her husband found her unconscious Nov. 26, possibly due to a blood clot.

The judge's ruling could give Erick Munoz a long-awaited chance to bury his wife and move forward to care for their son and his relatives. It would also mean the fetus would never be born.

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Total of 32 believed dead in Quebec retirement home fire; 10 bodies found in slow search

L'ISLE-VERTE, Quebec (AP) -- Crews on Saturday recovered just two more bodies on the third day of an excruciating search through the charred remains of a Quebec retirement home, now covered in ice as thick as two feet. A total of 32 people are believed to have been killed in the massive fire, but just 10 bodies have been found.

The cause of Thursday's blaze in the small town of L'Isle-Verte remains under investigation. There were media reports that the fire began in the room of a resident who was smoking a cigarette, but police said that was just one possibility among many.

"It could be a cigarette, it could be a small heater, it could be an electrical problem," Police Lt. Michel Brunet said at a news conference. "We have to be sure at 100 percent."

"We're going to take the time we need," he added.

Frigid temperatures continued to hamper the search. Quebec Police Lt. Guy Lapointe said the ice in certain places was as thick as 60 centimeters (two feet).

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Arizona Republicans approve resolution censuring Sen. McCain for 'liberal' voting record

PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Republican Party formally censured Sen. John McCain on Saturday, citing a voting record they say is insufficiently conservative.

The resolution to censure McCain was approved by a voice-vote during a meeting of state committee members in Tempe, state party spokesman Tim Sifert said. It needed signatures from at least 20 percent of state committee members to reach the floor for debate.

Sifert said no further action was expected.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers declined to comment on the censure. But former three-term Sen. Jon Kyl told The Arizona Republic (http://bit.ly/1mIyKyyhttp://bit.ly/1mIyKyy ) that the move was "wacky."

"I've gone to dozens of these meetings and every now and then some wacky resolution gets passed," Kyl told the newspaper on Saturday. "But most people realize it does not represent the majority of the vast numbers of Republicans."

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'Oh God, oh God': Firecracker explodes in moving Jeep in Spokane, blows driver's hand off

SEATTLE (AP) -- An explosion from a firecracker inside a moving Jeep blew off the driver's hand early Saturday and scattered debris over half a block in Spokane, prompting initial fears over the man's intent, police and neighbors said.

Witnesses saw a flash of light from inside the vehicle, a red Jeep with a gray top, as it drove down a residential street, police said.

Donald Wilkes, 61, said the blast rattled his house and woke up everyone inside. He initially thought someone had crashed into his parked truck, and when he ran outside, he found the street filled with smoke and the Jeep stopped just against his 6-foot-tall cedar fence.

"I looked around for something that got hit, but there was nothing," Wilkes said. "My son reached in to pull the keys out of the ignition and make sure he didn't go anywhere, and that's when we saw his hand was missing. It blew it right off at his wrist -- they found part of it half a block away."

Wilkes' son, 30-year-old Nicholas, and another neighbor applied a tourniquet to the man's left arm. The man was stocky, estimated at about 28 to 30 years old, and coherent. But he wouldn't answer questions about what he had been doing, Wilkes said.

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Suspected trespasser arrested at Selena Gomez's home in Southern California

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles police have arrested a 19-year-old man on suspicion of trespassing at the home of singer-actress Selena Gomez.

Officer Rosario Herrera says a family member called 911 Saturday morning after seeing an intruder on the property in the San Fernando Valley's Tarzana area.

She says Juan Daniel Garcia, of El Mirage, Ariz., was booked on suspicion of trespassing. Police don't know if he has a lawyer yet and a telephone number for him couldn't be located.

Herrera says it's unclear if Gomez was home at the time.

An email message seeking comment from her publicists was not immediately returned.

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Woods shoots 79 to match his worst round on American soil and miss cut at Torrey Pines

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Tiger Woods made his 2014 debut in a most dubious fashion -- his first trip to Torrey Pines without sticking around until Sunday.

Woods went seven straight holes making bogey or worse and wound up with a 7-over 79 in the Farmers Insurance Open to match his worst score on American soil. For the first time in his career, he missed a 54-hole cut that is in effect when more than 78 players make it to the weekend.

Woods had to rally just to break 80.

After another poor chip on the par-3 eighth hole (his 17th of the third round), he chipped in to save par. On the par-5 ninth hole, he flubbed another chip to about 8 feet and made that for par and a 79.

Asked to stop for a comment at least with CBS Sports, Woods said, "No, I'm done." He signed a dozen autographs, climbed into a van and was driven away.