Posted: Dec 22, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2012 4:01 AM
Egypt's constitution receives 'yes' majority in vote but nation's divisions likely to endure
CAIRO (AP) Egypt's Islamist-backed constitution received a "yes" majority in a final round of voting on a referendum that saw a low voter turnout, but the deep divisions it has opened up threaten to fuel continued turmoil.
Passage is a victory for Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, but a costly one. The bruising battle over the past month stripped away hope that the long-awaited constitution would bring a national consensus on the path Egypt will take after shedding its autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago.
Instead, Morsi disillusioned many non-Islamists who had once backed him and has become more reliant on his core support in the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. Hard-liners in his camp are determined to implement provisions for stricter rule by Islamic law in the charter, which is likely to further fuel divisions.
Saturday's voting in 17 of Egypt's 27 provinces was the second and final round of the referendum. Preliminary results released early Sunday by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood showed that 71.4 percent of those who voted Saturday said "yes" after 95.5 percent of the ballots were counted. Only about eight million of the 25 million Egyptians eligible to vote a turnout of about 30 percent cast their ballots. The Brotherhood has accurately predicted election results in the past by tallying results provided by its representatives at polling centers.
In the first round of voting, about 56 percent said "yes" to the charter. The turnout then was about 32 percent.
AP PHOTOS: Images from Egypt's vote on an Islamist-backed constitution
Egyptians returned to the polls to vote on a referendum on an Islamist-backed constitution.
Preliminary results released by the Muslim Brotherhood show that the disputed constitution has received a "yes" majority of more than 70 percent in the second and final round of voting. The referendum was held over two days, on Dec. 15 and 22.
Here's a look at AP photos from Egypt's election.
Tax increases ahead, but it's already too late for employers to adjust early January paychecks
WASHINGTON (AP) Workers probably won't feel the full brunt of next year's tax increases in their January paychecks, but don't be fooled by the temporary reprieve.
No matter what Congress does to address the year-end fiscal cliff, it's already too late for employers to accurately withhold income taxes from January paychecks, unless all the current tax rates remain unchanged, which is an unlikely scenario.
Social Security payroll taxes are set to increase on Jan. 1, so workers should immediately feel the squeeze of a 2 percent cut in their take-home pay. But as talks drag on over how to address other year-end tax increases, the Internal Revenue Service has delayed releasing income tax withholding tables for 2013.
As a result, employers are planning to withhold income taxes at the 2012 rates, at least for the first one or two paychecks of the year, said Michael O'Toole of the American Payroll Association.
If employers don't withhold enough taxes in January, they will have to withhold even more taxes later in the year to make up the difference. Otherwise, taxpayers could get hit with big tax bills, and possibly penalties, when they file their 2013 returns.
Mourners worldwide send toys, money, other gifts to Conn. town where 26 murdered at school
NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) People around the world are grieving with residents of Newtown, and many are expressing their support by sending toys, money and other gifts to the town.
They were moved by the shocking murders of 20 little children and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School just over a week ago.
The outpouring of tens of thousands of teddy bears, Barbie dolls, soccer balls, board games and more has come from toy stores, organizations and individuals worldwide.
"It's their way of grieving. They say, 'I feel so bad, I just want to do something to reach out,'" said Bobbi Veach, who was helping out Saturday at Edmond Town Hall, where all of Newtown's children were invited to choose a toy.
Even as the town was trying to spread Christmas joy on Saturday, tiny victims of the massacre were still being buried. A service was held in Ogden, Utah, for 6-year-old Emilie Parker. Others were held in Connecticut for 7-year-old Josephine Gay and 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene.
Former SC Gov. Sanford eyes US House bid more than 3 years after affair sunk political career
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who left public life two years ago after mysteriously disappearing to visit his then-mistress in Argentina, is poised to re-enter the political arena.
Acknowledging reports that he is seriously weighing a congressional bid for the seat he once held, Sanford wrote in an email late Saturday: "To answer your question, yes the accounts are accurate." Sanford promised "further conversation on all this" at a later date.
The two-term governor was a rising Republican political star before he vanished from South Carolina for five days in 2009. Reporters were told he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, but he later tearfully acknowledged he was visiting Maria Belen Chapur, a woman he called his soul mate at a news conference announcing his affair. The two were engaged earlier this year.
The opening for Sanford comes after Rep. Tim Scott was appointed to fill the remaining two years of Sen. Jim DeMint's seat. DeMint announced earlier this month he was resigning.
News that Sanford, 52, may be interested in the seat comes days after his ex-wife, Jenny, appeared to be dipping her toe into the state's political waters.
Late Sen. Inouye praised as humble leader at public visitation at Hawaii Capitol
HONOLULU (AP) The late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye is being praised as a humble leader who embodied honor, dignity and duty during a public visitation at Hawaii's state Capitol.
Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie told hundreds of people gathered Saturday night that Inouye went from being considered undesirable as a Japanese-American at the start of World War II to gaining the respect of the country's leaders in Washington.
"Rest easy, you are at home with us in paradise," Abercrombie said. Abercrombie's remarks toward the end of an hourlong ceremony marked the start of seven hours of public visitation.
Inouye's closed casket, covered with an American flag, was escorted in by seven pallbearers along a red carpet to the center of the Capitol courtyard.
After the ceremony, it was placed in a large tent with the U.S. and Hawaii flags behind it, as people lined up outside to pay their respect, starting with Inouye's wife, Irene Hirano Inouye.
Motive sought in central Pa. shooting deaths of 2 men, woman decorating church; gunman killed
HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. (AP) The shooting of a man who went on a rampage in central Pennsylvania, killing two neighbors and a third person before wounding three state troopers during a gunbattle, was a justifiable homicide, authorities ruled Saturday.
Investigators are still trying to figure out what set off the gunman, identified as 44-year-old Jeffrey Lee Michael of Geeseytown, a tiny village about 70 miles west of Harrisburg, the state capital.
"We're not sure of the motive. We'll be trying to find out by talking to people who knew him, see if he gave any indication," Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio said of the violence, which began Friday morning in Frankstown Township and spanned five separate crime scenes across a 1.5-mile area.
Authorities said Michael knew his two males victims, who were related to each other, but investigators do not yet know whether he knew the third, a woman who was slain while decorating a church hall for a children's Christmas party.
Michael fired into the Juniata Valley Gospel Church from outside, then entered the church and fired again, killing Kimberly Scott, 58, of Duncansville, State Police Sgt. Gregory Bernard said.
Ho Ho Holy Discount: Vatican tax-free department store open late to accommodate Christmas rush
VATICAN CITY (AP) Anyone left on your Christmas list just aching for a 65-inch Samsung 3D flat-screen television? Just your luck. The Vatican's duty-free department store has one on sale for 2,899 ($3,840) a nifty savings over the 3,799 ($5,032) it costs at Italy's main electronics chain Euronics.
Or how about some new luggage for the holidays? The Vatican shop stocks a variety of Samsonite Cordoba Duo carry-ons for 123, a nice markdown from the 135 on the Samsonite website. But if a last-minute shopping splurge is in order, the Vatican can also oblige: Take this leather-bound travelling trunk from Florence's "The Bridge" leatherworks, with its five drawers, plaid interior, six wooden hangars and shiny brass buckles.
At 5,900, it comes with a matching leather golf club bag, just what every monsignor needs under his Christmas tree.
There's a little-known open secret in the Vatican gardens, a few paces behind St. Peter's Basilica and tucked inside the Vatican's old train station: a sprawling, three-story tax-free department store that rivals any airport duty free or military PX, stocking everything from Church's custom grade shoes ( 483 a pair) to Baume et Mercier watches (ladies 1,585, men's Capeland 5,000).
There's a hitch, however. It's not open to the public, only to Vatican citizens, employees and their dependents, diplomats accredited to the Holy See and (unofficially) their lucky friends who, after stocking up on holiday must-haves, proceed to the checkout with their Vatican connection and the ID card that entitles them to shop there.
Matt Ryan-led Falcons top Lions 31-18 to earn for home-field advantage throughout NFC playoffs
DETROIT (AP) Matt Ryan got what he wanted.
Calvin Johnson was forced to settle for what he could get.
Ryan matched a career high with four touchdown passes, two to Roddy White, to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the Detroit Lions 31-18 Saturday night and earn home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
"It's great," Ryan said. "Our confidence is high and our experience good and bad has helped us. The key is to keep the focus where it's been."
In yet another loss, Johnson had a record-breaking night.
Inability to finish costs Washington in 28-26 loss in Las Vegas Bowl
LAS VEGAS (AP) After last-minute losses in Washington's last two games, coach Steve Sarkisian didn't have to look far to find out what ails the Huskies.
Not being able to finish off a game tops the list.
Washington had another lead late, but was unable to hold it Saturday, falling 28-26 to No. 20 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl on a 27-yard field goal by Michael Frisina with 1:16 left. Combined with a regular-season ending loss to rival Washington State, it was a disappointing end to what had been a promising season for Washington.
"Our inability to finish is pretty blaring," Sarkisian said. "Obviously, it will be a point of emphasis for us on the offseason."
Washington (7-6) had taken the lead for the first time on a 38-yard field goal by Travis Coons with 4:09 left when Boise State (11-2) got a big kickoff return by freshman Shane Williams-Rhodes to the Washington 42. Joe Southwick guided the team to the 12 before Frisina hit the winning kick.