VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
NEW EGYPT CABINET LED BY LIBERALS
CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's interim leader on Tuesday swore in the first Cabinet since the military ousted the Islamist president, giving members of the country's liberal movements key positions and naming three Christians and three women, their highest numbers in an Egyptian government.
The new government is led by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, an economist. Army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Mohammed Morsi on July 3, retains his post as defense minister and also took the position of first deputy prime minister, an additional title given to defense ministers in the past.
The Cabinet of more than 30 ministers does not include any members of Islamist parties - a sign of the deep polarization over the removal of Morsi, the country's first freely elected president. The interim president's spokesman had earlier said posts would be offered to Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, but the group promptly refused.
The Brotherhood has said it will not participate in the military-backed political process and vows to continue protests until Morsi is reinstated. The swearing in of the Cabinet took place hours after overnight clashes between police and Islamist supporters of Morsi left seven protesters dead in the worst outbreak of violence in a week.
The new government, sworn in by interim President Adly Mansour, reflects the largely liberal, secular bent of the factions who backed el-Sissi's removal of Morsi.
SENATE STEPS BACK FROM BRINK ON NOMINATIONS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate stepped away from the brink of a meltdown on Tuesday, clearing the way for confirmation of several of President Barack Obama's nominees long blocked by Republicans, agreeing to quick action on unnamed others and finessing a Democratic threat to overturn historic rules that protect minority-party rights.
"Nobody wants to come to Armageddon here," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat whose talks with Arizona Republican John McCain were critical in avoiding a collision that had threatened to plunge the Senate even deeper into partisan gridlock.
McCain, a veteran of uncounted legislative struggles, told reporters that forging the deal was "probably the hardest thing I've been involved in."
There was no immediate response from the White House, although Democratic senators said the terms of the compromise were acceptable to the administration.
Officials in both parties said they hoped the deal would signal a new, less acrimonious time for the Senate, with critical decisions ahead on spending, the government's borrowing authority, student loan interest rates and more.
Under the agreement, several of seven stalled nominees would win confirmation later in the week, including Labor Secretary-designate Tom Perez; Gina McCarthy, named to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, and Fred Hochberg to head of the Export-Import Bank.
COALITION SUES TO HALT ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE
Environmental and human rights activists, church leaders and gun rights advocates found common ground on Tuesday, filing a lawsuit against the federal government to halt a vast National Security Agency electronic surveillance program.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the unusually broad coalition of plaintiffs.
It seeks an injunction against the NSA, Justice Department, FBI and directors of the agencies, and challenges what the plaintiffs describe as an "illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet electronic surveillance."
"Our goal in this case is to highlight one of the most important ways that the governments' bulk untargeted collection of telephone records is unconstitutional," said foundation Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "It violates the First Amendment right of association."
The suit followed disclosures from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who has been leaking details about a broad U.S. intelligence program to monitor Internet and telephone activity to ferret out terror plots.
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