Egypt's military-backed rulers step up crackdown on Brotherhood with arrest of top leader

CAIRO (AP) Egypt on Tuesday announced the arrest of the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, dealing a serious blow to the Islamist group at a time when it is struggling to keep up its street protests against the ouster President Mohammed Morsi in the face of a harsh crackdown by authorities.

The Brotherhood's spiritual guide, Mohammed Badie, was arrested in an apartment at the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City, close to the location of the six-week sit-in protest by supporters of Morsi, who also hails from the Islamist group. The encampment was cleared by security forces last Wednesday, along with another protest site in Giza, in a raid that killed hundreds of people.

Badie's arrest is the latest stage in an escalating crackdown by authorities on the Brotherhood in which hundreds have also been arrested. The Brotherhood's near daily protests since Morsi's ouster have somewhat petered out the last two days, with scattered demonstrations in Cairo and elsewhere in the country attracting hundreds, sometimes just dozens.

Morsi himself has been detained in an undisclosed location since the July 3 coup, prompted by days-long protests by millions of Egyptians demonstrating against the president and his rule. He is facing accusations of conspiring with the militant Palestinian Hamas group to escape from prison during the 2011 uprising and complicity in the killing and torture of protesters outside his Cairo palace in December.


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Badie's last public appearance was at the sit-in protest last month, when he delivered a fiery speech from a makeshift stage in which he denounced the July 3 military coup that removed Morsi.

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For US, Mubarak's possible release adds new wrinkle to complicated ties with Egypt

WASHINGTON (AP) For the Obama administration, there's a new wrinkle that could further complicate ties with post-coup Egypt: the possible release of the country's jailed former leader, Hosni Mubarak.

For nearly three decades, the U.S. propped up Mubarak and the Egyptian military with financial and military support. In exchange, Egypt helped protect U.S. interests in the region, including a peace treaty with Israel.

But that long and tangled relationship is now casting a shadow over the Obama administration as it grapples for a coherent Egypt policy following the ouster of Mubarak's democratically elected successor, Mohammed Morsi. The U.S. has refused to call Morsi's ouster a coup a step that would require President Barack Obama to suspend $1.3 billion in annual military aid.

Amid the tumult of Morsi's ouster, Egyptian judicial officials announced Monday that Mubarak could be released from jail later this week. The White House refused to take a position on the status of its former partner, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on a legal matter.

"President Mubarak is part of an ongoing Egyptian legal process right now," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. "And because that is a process that is internal to Egypt, it's not something that I'm in a position to comment on from here."

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Former Pakistani leader Musharraf charged with 2007 assassination of ex-PM Bhutto

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) A Pakistani court on Tuesday indicted former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf on murder charges in connection with the 2007 assassination of iconic Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, deepening the fall of a once-powerful figure who returned to the country this year to make a political comeback.

The decision by a court in Rawalpindi marks the first time Musharraf, or any former army chief in Pakistan, has been charged with a crime.

Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup and stepped down from office in disgrace nearly a decade later, now faces a litany of legal problems that have in many ways broken taboos on the inviolability of the once-sacrosanct military in Pakistani society. He is currently under house arrest in connection with one of the cases against him.

The retired general has been charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and facilitation for murder, said prosecutor Chaudry Muhammed Azhar. He did not specify what exactly Musharraf was accused of doing but prosecutors have previously accused him of failing to provide enough protection to Bhutto.

The former army commando appeared in person during the brief morning hearing, and pleaded not guilty, said Afshan Adil, a member of Musharraf's legal team.

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Obama urges renewed push for Wall Street overhaul, 3 years after passage of rules update

WASHINGTON (AP) Passage of a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulations in 2010 was a hallmark of President Barack Obama's first term. Three years later, amid delays and compromises that critics say have diluted its ambitious goals, the president is trying to rekindle the law's promise.

Obama prodded the nation's top financial regulators on Monday to act swiftly and finish writing rules designed to prevent a recurrence of the 2008 financial crisis that helped precipitate a damaging recession from which the country is still recovering.

Obama met privately with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and seven other independent agency heads to emphasize his desire for comprehensive new rules as the five-year anniversary of the nation's financial near-meltdown approaches.

The law was considered a milestone in Obama's presidency, a robust response to the crisis, which led to a massive government bailout to stabilize the financial markets. But its implementation is behind schedule with scores of regulations yet to be written, let alone enforced.

Obama hoped to convey "the sense of urgency that he feels," spokesman Josh Earnest said before the president convened the meeting.

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Guardian editor: UK spies oversaw shredding of newsroom disks

LONDON (AP) British agents oversaw the destruction of an unspecified number of the Guardian newspaper's hard drives after the paper began publishing revelations from Edward Snowden's leaks, the paper's editor said Monday.

Alan Rusbridger made the claim in an opinion piece published on the Guardian's website, saying that a pair of staffers from British eavesdropping agency GCHQ monitored the process in what he called "one of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history."

He said the hard drives were torn apart in the basement of the Guardian's north London office with "two GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction ... just to make sure there was nothing in the mangled bits of metal which could possibly be of any interest to passing Chinese agents."

It was not clear exactly when the incident occurred. Rusbridger gave a vague timeline, suggesting that it happened within the past month or so. Guardian spokesman Gennady Kolker declined to comment further, and messages left with GCHQ after working hours were not immediately returned. An operator at the intelligence agency's switchboard said no one was available until Tuesday.

Rusbridger said the destruction was the culmination of weeks of pressure on the Guardian by British officials.

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Murder, intrigue, betrayal in China: Ousted politician Bo Xilai's trial to seal his downfall

BEIJING (AP) Only a few people heard it, but when one of China's most prominent politicians slapped his police chief across the face, it would end up reverberating far and wide. The smack unleashed tales of murder and conspiracy at the highest levels of the Communist Party and eventually, the politician's own undoing.

A day earlier, the chief had confronted Bo Xilai, the party boss of the megacity of Chongqing, with some unwelcome information: He had evidence Bo's wife had killed a British businessman in China. Bo's stinging rebuke sent the top cop fleeing into the arms of American officials, creating the Communist Party's most embarrassing scandal in decades.

Now the final chapter in the saga is about to unfold: a closely orchestrated trial, opening Thursday, in which the 64-year-old Bo is virtually assured of being convicted of corruption and abuse of power.

Bo's trial will seal the political demise of a charismatic figure who cultivated a following by mobilizing the masses and sending his critics to labor camps. His naked ambition might have led to his fall.

He had been a member of China's 25-member Politburo, and had been considered a contender for one of the seven seats on the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee. Today, he is in many senses a nonentity; his own family has not seen him in 18 months.

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PIERCE, Neb. (AP) Seventeen years have passed since Ray Lambrecht closed his Chevrolet dealership, a small-town operation in northeast Nebraska with a big and valuable secret.

For decades, the owner of the Lambrecht Chevrolet Co. in Pierce held on to new cars and trucks that didn't sell right away. He stashed them in warehouses, at his farm and in other spots around the town he worked in for 50 years.

"To find this many new, old vehicles is unheard of," said Yvette VanDerBrink, the auctioneer coordinating the event. "It's like a white buffalo."

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Floods cover more than half of Manila area after some of Philippines' heaviest rains on record

MANILA, Philippines (AP) Flooding caused by some of the Philippines' heaviest rains on record submerged more than half the capital Tuesday, turning roads into rivers and trapping tens of thousands of people in homes and shelters. The government suspended all work except rescues and disaster response for a second day.

At least seven people have died, including four who drowned north of Manila on Monday. There were no reports of fresh fatalities Tuesday.

The dead included a 5-year-old boy whose house was hit by a concrete wall that collapsed, and a 3-year-old boy who fell into a swollen river in Mariveles town in Bataan province. Four people are missing.

Throughout the sprawling, low-lying capital region of 12 million people, offices, banks and schools were closed and most roads were impassable. People stumbled through waist- or neck-deep waters, holding on to ropes strung from flooded houses.

More than 200 evacuation centers were opened in Manila and surrounding provinces, filled with tens of thousands of people, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said. Overall, more than 600,000 people have been affected by the floods.

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HEALTHBEAT: To make waiting lists for new livers fairer, specialists consider redistricting

WASHINGTON (AP) Where you live can affect your chances of getting a liver transplant, and your risk of dying while waiting. The nation's transplant network says it's time to make the system fairer and it may take a cue from how politicians redraw voting maps.

"Gerrymandering for the public good" is how Johns Hopkins University transplant surgeon Dr. Dorry Segev describes a proposal to change the map that governs how donated livers are distributed around the country.

The problem: Some areas have fewer donated organs, and higher demand for them, than others. The sickest patients go to the top of the waiting list. But the geographic variation means that someone in California, among the toughest places to get a new liver, waits longer and is a lot sicker before getting transplanted than someone in Ohio or Florida if they survive long enough.

"This should not be happening," Segev said.

Segev is advising the United Network for Organ Sharing, which runs the transplant network, as its liver specialists consider the novel idea of "redistricting" how livers are allocated redrawing the nation's 11 transplant regions based on the distribution and demand for donated organs, much like lawmakers set political districts based on the party voting histories of different areas.

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William and Kate choose family snapshots as first official portraits of Prince George

LONDON (AP) Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge have bypassed professional photographers and chosen family snapshots for the first official images of their new son, Prince George.

Royal officials on Tuesday released photos of Kate holding the swaddled baby while standing beside William and in one image, the couple's cocker spaniel, Lupo. The pictures were taken by Kate's father, Michael Middleton, in the family's backyard.

The casual images are a departure from the royal tradition of hiring professional photographers for baby portraits.

Professionals gave the snapshots a mixed review. Martin Keene, head of pictures at the Press Association news agency, said "any photographer would have been pleased to have taken them." But The Sun newspaper's veteran royal photographer, Arthur Edwards, advised Michael Middleton: "Don't give up the day job."