News Wrap: Dueling Political Rallies in Cairo
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KWAME HOLMAN: A heat wave baked a large swathe of the Western U.S. today. Temperatures hovered in the triple digits from parts of Idaho down to Arizona. Readings are expected to approach 130 degrees in Death Valley, Calif. Airlines are monitoring the heat because it’s close to the limit for safe operation of some planes. And fire crews are on alert in case wildfires ignite. Forecasters expect the scorching temperatures to last through the weekend.
Dueling political rallies were held in Cairo, Egypt, today after Friday prayers. The gatherings were ahead of massive demonstrations planned for Sunday to call for President Mohammed Morsi’s resignation. Thousands of Morsi’s supporters waved flags and banners outside a mosque in the capital city. But in Tahrir Square, opponents demanded he leave office immediately.
MAGDY SAYED, Opposition Protester: We are here today because President Mohammed Morsi is a killer. We are here to bring back the rights of our country, because President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have destroyed the country.
GAMAL AHMED, Mohammed Morsi Supporter: We are sending the opposition the message that the president possesses legitimacy and that no one could make him step down. He reached this position through democratic elections and that is the only way he is going to leave.
KWAME HOLMAN: In the coastal city of Alexandria, clashes broke out between government supporters and opponents. Two people were killed in the violence. Egyptian officials said one of them was an American citizen.
It was widely reported a retired four-star general is at the center of a Justice Department leak investigation. Retired Marine Gen. James Cartwright reportedly has been told he’s a target in a probe involving a 2010 secret cyber-attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities orchestrated by the U.S. and Israel. Cartwright was in charge of the cyber operation and details of it appeared in The New York Times last year.
The U.S. Senate went into recess last night without passing a bill to stop student loan interest rates from doubling beginning Monday. Last summer, lawmakers delayed the increase for a year as they searched for a bipartisan solution. But time ran out. Rates on government-backed Stafford loans will jump to 6.8 percent from 3.4 percent. Congress still could lower rates retroactively when it returns.
Police in Boston searched the home of professional football player Aaron Hernandez this morning, in connection with a double homicide last year. Earlier this week, Hernandez was arrested and charged in a separate murder that occurred earlier this month, the shooting of his friend semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez pleaded not guilty. The New England Patriots have since cut the 23-year old from the team. His contract was worth $40 million dollars.
Stocks on Wall Street ended the day on a down note, after a turbulent month of trading. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 114 points to close at 14,909. The Nasdaq edged up one point to close at 3,403. For the week, the Dow gained nearly one percent; the Nasdaq rose more than a percent.
Those are some of the day’s major stories — now back to Jeff.