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News Wrap: Coalition Proposes Defense Bill Amendments on Syrian Aid, NSA

July 23, 2013 at 12:00 AM EDT
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KWAME HOLMAN: In Washington, House tea party conservatives and liberal Democrats pushed to bar funding for any arms for Syria’s rebels unless Congress approves. It’s one of several proposed amendments to a defense spending bill now under debate. The same coalition also wants to rescind the National Security Agency’s power for blanket collection of data and restrict the agency’s phone surveillance program. A final vote on the legislation is expected late this evening.

In Egypt, fresh street clashes killed at least nine people near the main campus of Cairo University. The latest violence between supporters and opponents of ousted leader Mohammed Morsi broke out before dawn at the site of a Muslim Brotherhood sit-in. Police said hundreds of Morsi supporters battled with local residents. The confrontations left smashed glass and a dozen charred cars. More than 30 people were wounded.

Al-Qaida claimed responsibility today for the recent raids on two high-security prisons near Baghdad. Iraqi officials say about 500 inmates escaped, including some top al-Qaida militants. Today, the areas around the prisons were locked down as police searched for escapees.

A suicide bombing in Eastern Afghanistan today killed three NATO soldiers and their interpreter. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in Wardak province. The nationalities of the service members were not immediately released.

Pope Francis rested and held private meetings during his first full day in Brazil, after an event-filled arrival yesterday. Last evening, throngs of people surrounded the pope’s car when he made a wrong turn, straight into Rio de Janeiro traffic. The pontiff greeted supporters through the car window as bodyguards pushed back the crowd. Vatican officials insisted there were no concerns for the pope’s safety.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said today he’s repaid more than $124,000 in loans he and his family received from a major political donor. In a statement, McDonnell maintained the loans broke no laws, but he apologized for embarrassing the state of Virginia. Federal and state authorities are looking into thousands of dollars in gifts given to the governor’s family since 2010.

New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner apologized today for sending explicit photos and texts to a woman he met online. The gossip site The Dirty posted their correspondence online Monday. The newly revealed incidents took place more than a year after Weiner resigned from Congress in 2011 for similarly lewd behavior involving half-a-dozen women. Weiner said he plans to remain in the mayoral race.

In economic news, stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average posted a new closing high, gaining 22 points to close above 15,567. The Nasdaq fell 21 points to close at 3,579.

Former boxing champion Emile Griffith died today in New York after suffering from dementia. Griffith was the first boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands to become world champion. He was inducted into the sport’s hall of fame in 1990. But he’s perhaps best known for the 1962 title match in which he knocked out Benny Paret, who went into a coma and died. Emile Griffith was 75 years old.

Those are some of the day’s major stories.