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Egypt gets new PM

CAIRO, Egypt -- Egypt's military-backed interim leader named a new prime minister and won $8 billion in promises of aid from wealthy Arab allies in the Gulf on Tuesday in moves aimed at stabilizing a political transition less than a week after the army deposed the Islamist president.

The armed forces warned political factions "manoeuvring" must not hold up its ambitious fast-track timetable for new elections next year.

The sharp message underlined how strongly the military is shepherding the process, even as liberal reform movements that backed its removal of Mohammed Morsi complained they are not being consulted in decision-making. The appointment of economist Hazem el-Beblawi as prime minister, along with the setting of the accelerated timetable, underlined the military's determination to push ahead in the face of Islamist opposition and outrage over the killing of more than 50 Morsi supporters on Monday.

 

Ex-captives post video

CLEVELAND -- Three women who police say were held captive in a Cleveland home for about a decade have issued a video in which they thanked the public for the encouragement and financial support that are allowing them to restart their lives.

Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight broke their public silence in the three-minute, 30-second video posted Monday night on YouTube. They said the support and prayers of family, friends and the public are allowing them to rebuild their lives after what Berry called "this entire ordeal." The women had gone missing separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16, and 20 years old.

In the video, none of the women had any visible scars of the abuse they said they suffered at the hands of Ariel Castro, who has pleaded not guilty to a 329-count indictment alleging he kidnapped them off the streets and held them captive in his two-storey home. They were smiling and appeared upbeat.

 

Church bomber released

SALT LAKE CITY -- Addam Swapp, the man who bombed a Mormon church building and sparked a 13-day standoff in 1988 that left a corrections officer dead at a polygamist compound, was released from prison on Tuesday after more than 25 years behind bars.

Swapp, 52, was accompanied by family members as he left Sanpete County Jail three months after members of the state board of pardons and parole approved his release, saying he had shown remorse for leading the standoff in Marion.

At his September parole hearing, Swapp apologized and said he planned to join his wife, Charlotte, and wanted to use his freedom to live peacefully and "be a blessing to my fellow man."

"I desire when I get out of prison to live my life in such a manner that my family, friends, neighbours and community would find my presence in their lives a benefit and a blessing," Swapp said in a written statement, according to a transcript of the hearing posted online by The Salt Lake Tribune.

 

U.S. spying on energy?

BRASILIA, Brazil -- A U.S. spy program is widely targeting data in emails and telephone calls across Latin America, and is focusing on energy issues, not just information related to military, political or terror topics, a Brazilian newspaper reported Tuesday.

The O Globo newspaper said it has access to some of the documents released by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. The American journalist who obtained the classified information from Snowden lives in Brazil and is helping write stories for the daily. O Globo published what it said are slides Snowden released indicating the U.S. effort is gathering information on energy in Mexico and oil in Venezuela. There was no information released about what details were obtained, nor any companies that were targeted.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 10, 2013 A12

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