News Wrap: Egyptians Protest Constitution Submitted by Islamist-Led Assembly
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HARI SREENIVASAN: By the thousands, Egyptians poured into the streets today to protest against President Mohammed Morsi. They attacked Morsi’s move to assume sweeping new powers and condemned a new constitution that was approved overnight by the president’s Islamist allies.
Opposition leaders joined the vast crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square today, and they vowed their protest would be open-ended.
AMR MOUSSA, former Egyptian presidential candidate (through translator): The message is clear. No one should think that the Egyptian people are not capable. The Egyptian people have moved from the level where they were told what to do to the level of real sovereignty. The Egyptian people have to be heard. They have to consider the opinion of the Egyptian people on any political decision.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The draft constitution drops language on women’s equality and bans any language defaming prophets. It must now be put to a nationwide referendum.
There was word today that Israel has approved construction of 3,000 new homes in Jewish settlements on the West Bank. The Associated Press reported the development one day after the U.N. General Assembly recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state, including Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The Palestinians quickly condemned any new settlement building. Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of defying the whole international community.
In Syria, Internet access and most phone service was blocked for a second day. Opposition activists blamed the regime. Government officials insisted rebels were behind the outage. Meanwhile, fighting continued in and around Damascus, but government troops managed to reopen the road to the city’s airport.
The U.S. soldier accused of espionage in the WikiLeaks document dump has conceded he considered suicide after his arrest. Private 1st Class Bradley Manning was cross-examined today in a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Md. He admitted making a noose out of bed sheets before being sent to the U.S. Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Va. Manning says his treatment there was so harsh, the charges should be dismissed. The military says Manning was a suicide risk, so jailers kept him isolated and took away his clothes.
The holders of half of that record Powerball jackpot of $588 million came forward today in Missouri. A 52-year-old mechanic, Mark Hill, and his wife, Cindy, were introduced in Dearborn, just north of Kansas City. Cindy Hill said she couldn’t believe at first that their ticket was a winner.
CINDY HILL, lottery winner: I didn’t have my glasses, and I was thinking, is that the right numbers, is that the right numbers? And I was shaking. And I called my husband. And I said, I think I’m having a heart attack. And I drove to my mother-in-law’s house to let her verify what I had thought I had seen. And that’s what it was.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The Hills opted for a lump sum payment. After taxes, that comes to $136 million. There’s been no official word on who holds the other winning ticket. It was sold in Arizona, but a surveillance camera at a convenience store in Maryland recorded this man on Thursday checking the numbers and apparently discovering he’s the other winner. He didn’t give his name.
Wall Street had a quiet ending to the week. The Dow Jones industrial average gained three points to close at 13,025. The Nasdaq fell one point to close at 3,010. For the week, the Dow gained just a fraction of a percent; the Nasdaq rose 1.5 percent.
Those are some of the day’s major stories.