Egypt’s new Cabinet includes 3 women and 3 Christians, but excludes Islamists
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s interim leader swore in a Cabinet on Tuesday that included women and Christians but no Islamists as the military-backed administration moved swiftly to formalize the new political order and present a more liberal face that is markedly at odds with the deposed president and his supporters.
The changes came at a time of deep polarization and violence in Egypt, including new clashes that killed seven people as part of the continuing bloodshed that has marked the days following the armed forces coup that swept President Mohammed Morsi from office and cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s military already wields great influence behind the scenes, and the army chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Morsi on July 3, was given a promotion in the Cabinet. He became a first deputy prime minister in addition to keeping his post as defense minister.
For most of the two years since the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the country has been split into two camps — one led by Morsi, his Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies, and another led by secular Egyptians, liberals, Christians and moderate Muslims.
The fault lines remain, except that the Islamist camp is no longer in power. It does not include members of any Islamist parties — a sign of the enduring division that follows the removal of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.
Accord on stalled Obama nominations, averting Senate filibuster meltdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate stepped away from the brink of a meltdown on Tuesday, confirming one of President Barack Obama’s long-stalled nominees, agreeing to quick action on 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.”
The White House reaped the first fruits of the deal within hours, when Richard Cordray’s nomination to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was approved 66-34. He was first nominated in July 2011 and has been in office by virtue of a recess appointment that bypassed the Senate.
As part of the Tuesday’s agreement, both parties preserved their rights to resume combat over nominations in the future, Republicans by delaying votes and Democrats by threatening once again to change the rules governing such delays.
Capture of top leader of Mexico’s brutal Zetas drug cartel unlikely to quell violence
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s most brutal drug cartel leader built a business empire stretching from the Southwest United States to Central America, but Miguel Angel Trevino Morales’ final days of freedom were spent lying low in the hinterlands of Tamaulipas state, traveling only at night over back roads as Mexican marines closed in on his trail.
The last of the Zetas drug cartel’s old-guard leaders saw fate swoop in on him in the pre-dawn hours Monday when a military helicopter flew low over his pickup truck, then almost touching the ground, faced down the vehicle with its guns, Mexico Federal Security spokesman Eduardo Sanchez said.
The vehicle stopped, and three men emerged. Two hit the ground while the third tried to run. All were captured by marine ground forces who had been watching the movements of 40-year-old Trevino Morale, Sanchez told The Associated Press Tuesday. Not a single shot was fired.
Time was clearly running out for the cartel leader better known — and feared — by his nickname, “Z-40,” a play on police radio code for a commander. Mexico’s navy, which has brought down a number of top drug lords, “found out that he had been traveling in the early morning hours on dirt roads. They had been corralling him in little by little,” Sanchez said.
Trevino Morales had $2 million in cash and eight rifles with him when marines caught him outside the border city of Nuevo Laredo, long the Zetas’ base of operations. He was taken to Mexico City for questioning, but unlike the days of former President Felipe Calderon, there was no perp walk by a handcuffed suspect or piles of cash and guns put on display for the TV cameras.