Islamist Mohammed Morsi wins Egypt’s 1st free presidential vote, faces struggle with military
CAIRO (AP) -- Islamist Mohammed Morsi was declared the winner Sunday in Egypt’s first free presidential election in history, closing the tumultuous first phase of a democratic transition and opening a new struggle with the still-dominant military rulers who recently stripped the presidency of most of its powers.
In Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising that ousted autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, joyous supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood wept and kneeled on the ground in prayer when they heard the announcement on live television. They danced, set off fireworks and released doves in the air with Morsi’s picture attached in celebrations not seen in the square since Mubarak was forced out on Feb. 11, 2011.
Many are looking now to see whether Morsi will try to take on the military and wrestle back the powers they took from his office just one week ago. Thousands vowed to remain in Tahrir to demand that the ruling generals reverse their decision.
In his first televised speech, the 60-year old U.S.-trained engineer called on Egyptians to unite and tried to reassure minority Christians, who mostly backed Morsi’s rival Ahmed Shafiq because they feared Islamic rule.
He said he carries "a message of peace" to the world and pledged to preserve Egypt’s international accords, a
He paid tribute to nearly 900 protesters killed in last year’s uprising, saying without the "blood of the martyrs," he would not have made it to the presidency.
In a non-confrontational speech, he did not mention the last-minute power grab by the ruling military that stripped the president of most of his major powers.
NATO will discuss downing of Turkish plane by Syria; Turkey considers retaliation
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- NATO will hold emergency talks on Tuesday to discuss Syria’s downing of a Turkish jet fighter, but the alliance is not expected to take military action, even if it confirms Turkey’s claim that the unarmed plane was attacked in international airspace.
The incident has further raised regional tensions over the conflict in Syria, where some 40 people were reported killed Sunday in new clashes between rebels and government troops.
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sharply criticized Syria for downing the Turkish plane, which Turkey’s Foreign Ministry called an "open and grave violation of international law" that would justify retaliation.
"The United States condemns this brazen and unacceptable act in the strongest possible terms," Clinton said in Washington. "It is yet another reflection of the Syrian authorities’ callous disregard for international norms, human life, and peace and security."
Clinton said Washington will maintain close contact with Turkish officials as they determine their response, including via the U.N. Security Council. "We will work with Turkey and other partners to hold the Assad regime accountable," she said.
Fires spread to Colo. tourist areas near Pikes Peak, Rocky Mountain park, disrupt vacations
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Wildfires moved in on some of Colorado’s most popular summer tourist destinations over the weekend, demolishing nearly two dozen homes near Rocky Mountain National Park and emptying hotels and campgrounds at the base of Pikes Peak.
A wildfire near Colorado Springs erupted and grew out of control to more than 3 square miles early Sunday, prompting the evacuation of more than 11,000 residents and an unknown number of tourists. On Saturday, a blaze destroyed 21 structures near the mountain community of Estes Park, where many visitors stay while visiting the park.
All of this came just a week before the Fourth of July, a key time for family vacations to national parks and other destinations. A statewide ban on open campfires and private fireworks has been in place for more than a week.
With Colorado midway through its worst wildfire season in a decade, travelers have seen some of their favorite sites closed to the public, obscured by smoke and haze.
"We’re used to flooding and tornadoes, nothing like this," said Amanda Rice of Rock Falls, Ill., who evacuated a Manitou Springs hotel late Saturday with her husband, four children and dog. Some travelers were awoken with evacuation orders. Rice, scared when she saw flames, took her family to the evacuation center before she was told to go.
Forecasters say Debby is more likely to hit eastern Gulf Coast
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Parts of Florida and Alabama were under a tropical storm warning Sunday as Debby churned off the Gulf Coast, leaving wary residents to closely watch a storm system already inundating some areas with rain.
Underscoring the storm’s unpredictable nature, forecasters discontinued a tropical storm warning for Louisiana after forecast models indicated Debby was less likely to make a westward turn than initially predicted. Coastal Alabama and parts of Florida, including the Panhandle, remained under tropical storm warnings.
Debby already had dumped heavy rain on parts of Florida and spawned some isolated tornadoes, causing some damage to homes and knocking down power lines. High winds forced the closure of an interstate bridge that spans Tampa Bay and links St. Petersburg with areas to the southeast.
Storm tracks are difficult to predict days in advance. But as of late Sunday the latest forecast map shows the center of the storm 100 miles (165 km) south-southwest of Apalachicola, Fla., and likely to meander northward for several days before making landfall.
Chris Landsea, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center, said forecasters rely on computer models which were contradictory until Sunday.
In city of leaks, Supreme Court is good at keeping secrets like upcoming health care decision
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It’s the biggest secret in a city known for not keeping them.
The nine Supreme Court justices and more than three dozen other people have kept quiet for more than two months about how the high court is going to rule on the constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
This is information that could move markets, turn economies and greatly affect this fall’s national elections, including the presidential contest between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But unlike the Congress and the executive branch, which seem to leak information willy-nilly, the Supreme Court, from the chief justice down to the lowliest clerk, appears to truly value silence when it comes to upcoming court opinions, big and small.
No one talks, and that’s the way they like it.
Contrast this with the rest of the government, which couldn’t keep secret President Barack Obama’s direct role in supervising an unprecedented U.S. cyberattack on Iran’s nuclear facilities or the existence of a double agent inside al-Qaida’s Yemen branch who tipped the U.S. to a new design for a bomb to put on a jetliner.
Revelers celebrate gay community as parades, colorful marches fill up sidewalks across the U.S.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The sidewalks of downtown San Francisco are crowded with colorful revelers as the city marks its 42nd year celebrating the lesbian, gay and transgender community.
The city already has hosted a weekend of events, including a march in the city’s Dolores Park and the so-called "Pink Saturday" street party. But the biggest one is Sunday’s annual gay pride parade.
Organizers say more than 200 floats, vehicles and marching bands are taking part. The city’s mayor, Ed Lee, also will address the crowd at the city’s Civic Center.
Organizers say San Francisco’s events are the largest LGBT gathering in the nation.
Thousands of attendees are also celebrating in Chicago and New York City, where parade-goers are toasting the state’s anniversary of its same-sex marriage law.
In settlement with N.Y., hedge fund manager to pay back $405M that clients lost in Madoff scheme
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A settlement announced Sunday will bring $405 million to victims of Bernard Madoff’s historic investment scam, the state attorney general said.
The clients of hedge fund manager J. Ezra Merkin will receive $405 million, and New York state will get $5 million to cover the cost of the settlement worked out by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. The victims include New York Law School, Bard College, Harlem Children’s Zone, Homes for the Homeless and the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.
Schneiderman called the agreement "a victory for justice and accountability."
"Many New Yorkers entrusted their investments to Mr. Merkin, who then steered the money to Madoff while receiving millions of dollars in management and incentive fees," Schneiderman said. "By holding Mr. Merkin accountable, this settlement will help bring justice for the people and institutions that lost millions of dollars."
Merkin’s attorney, Andrew J. Levander, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.
’Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek hospitalized with mild heart attack
NEW YORK (AP) -- "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek is in a Los Angeles hospital recovering from a mild heart attack.
Sony Television spokeswoman Paula Askanas said Sunday that Trebek was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Saturday. She says the 71-year-old Trebek is expected to fully recover and be back giving answers when "Jeopardy!" resumes production on a new season in July.
While he was in the hospital on Saturday, "Jeopardy!" won a Daytime Emmy award for best game show.
Trebek has been hosting "Jeopardy!" for 28 years.