Protesters attacked as Egypt braces for rallies
CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of opponents and supporters of Egypt’s Islamist president were flocking to key locations in the nation’s capital ahead of rival mass rallies Tuesday, four days before a nationwide referendum on a contentious draft constitution. The protesters were beginning to gather just hours after masked assailants set upon opposition protesters staging a sit-in at Tahrir Square, firing birdshot and swinging knives and sticks, according to security officials. At least 11 protesters were wounded in the pre-dawn attack, according to a Health Ministry spokesman quoted by the official MENA news agency.
Egypt opposition fears violence from Brotherhood
CAIRO (AP) — They showed a military-style precision: Crowds of bearded Islamists proclaiming allegiance to Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi and chanting ‘‘God is great’’ as they descended on tents set up by anti-Morsi protesters outside the presidential palace, swinging clubs and firing rifles. They set up a detention facility, interrogating and beating captured protesters. The scene from bloody clashes outside the presidential palace a week ago hangs over Egypt’s political crisis as a daunting sign of how much more violent the confrontation could become between Morsi’s Islamist supporters and the opposition that has launched a giant wave of protests against him.
HSBC to pay $1.9B to settle money-laundering case
LONDON (AP) — HSBC avoided a legal battle that could further savage its reputation and undermine confidence in the global banking system by agreeing Tuesday to pay $1.9 billion to settle a U.S. money-laundering probe. Europe’s largest bank by market value will pay the biggest penalty ever imposed on a bank after facing accusations it transferred funds through the U.S. from Mexican drug cartels and on behalf of nations such as Iran that are under international sanctions.
Syrian rebels backed by extremists seize army base
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian rebels backed by Islamic extremist fighters took full control of a sprawling military base Tuesday after a two-day battle that killed at least 35 government troops, an activist group said. It was the second major base captured in the country’s north by the rebels, who have been racking up victories in the area in recent weeks and making inroads farther south toward Damascus, seat of the government they are fighting to overthrow.
Delta buys 49 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic
Delta Air Lines said it will buy almost half of Virgin Atlantic for $360 million as it seeks a bigger share of the lucrative New York-to-London travel market. Delta plans to form a joint venture with Virgin Atlantic, where the two airlines would share money from the flights operated under the partnership. In order to coordinate the schedules of the two airlines, they'll need antitrust approval from U.S. and European regulators.
Mali's PM forced to resign, after arrest by junta
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Soldiers arrested Mali’s prime minister and ordered him to resign before dawn on Tuesday, showing that the military remains the real power in this troubled West Africa nation, even though officers made a show of handing back authority to a civilian-led government after a coup in March. The development underscores the deep volatility at the heart of the once-stable nation of Mali. And it reveals the rotten core which is its military, despite numerous accords that it would respect the country’s democracy.
Explosives co. faced scrutiny before La evacuation
DOYLINE, La. (AP) — The explosives recycling company that caused the evacuation of a Louisiana town has come under scrutiny for explosions and its handling of dangerous materials before, and it was so far behind on its rent that the Louisiana National Guard refused to lease it more space. Explode Systems Inc. was cited for safety violations by the federal government in 2007 for its use of old Army explosives in mining operations in West Virginia, where a blast with ‘‘outdated deteriorated military ordnance’’ injured one worker and exposed others to toxins. And the company had fallen hundreds of thousands of dollars behind on its rent at a Louisiana National Guard base even as it processed an Army contract to demilitarize hundreds of thousands of propelling charges used for artillery.
Mandela battled lung infection, a chronic ailment
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Military doctors are treating South Africa’s former President Nelson Mandela for a recurring lung infection, an ailment the 94-year-old anti-apartheid leader remains susceptible to because of his age and his 27 years in prison. Government officials acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that the illness forced soldiers to admit Mandela to a military hospital on Saturday, though they said politician was responding to treatment.
Voter disdain spreads as 'fiscal cliff' looms
HOOKSETT, N.H. (AP) — Fear and frustration course through the lunch crowd at Robie’s Country Store and Deli, a popular outpost 500 miles from where Washington is again locked in tense negotiations over taxes and spending as a critical deadline looms. ‘‘I'm worried,’’ Lorraine Cadren of nearby Manchester says between bites of her chicken sandwich. Her doubt in the nation’s elected leaders is palpable: ‘‘I'm not sure what’s going to come out of Washington next.’’ Not that she has the time to pay much attention; the 64-year-old is unemployed and preoccupied with finding a new job as Christmas approaches.
New tests could hamper food outbreak detection
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s about to get faster and easier to diagnose food poisoning, but that progress for individual patients comes with a downside: It could hurt the nation’s ability to spot and solve dangerous outbreaks. Next-generation tests that promise to shave a few days off the time needed to tell whether E. coli, salmonella or other foodborne bacteria caused a patient’s illness could reach medical laboratories as early as next year. That could allow doctors to treat sometimes deadly diseases much more quickly — an exciting development.