Cairo – Protesters flooded Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday in the second giant rally this week, angrily vowing to bring down a draft constitution approved by allies of President Mohammed Morsi, as Egypt appeared headed toward a volatile confrontation between the opposition and ruling Islamists.
The protests have highlighted an increasingly cohesive opposition leadership of prominent liberal and secular politicians trying to direct public anger against Morsi and the Islamists.
The opposition announced plans for an intensified street campaign of protests and civil disobedience and even a possible march on Morsi’s presidential palace to prevent him from calling a nationwide referendum on the draft, which it must pass to come into effect. Top judges announced Friday they may refuse to monitor any referendum, rendering it invalid.
Native American group buys land
Sioux Falls, S.D. – After months of high-profile fundraising, a group of Native American tribes has raised $9 million to buy a piece of land in South Dakota’s Black Hills that they consider sacred, an official with an Indian land foundation said Friday.
The Indian Land Tenure Foundation President Cris Stainbrook told the Associated Press that the tribes raised enough money to purchase the land from its current owners. The deal was finalized Friday.
The land went up for sale after being privately owned. Members of the Great Sioux Nation have been allowed to gather there every year to perform rituals. The site plays a key role in the tribes’ creation story, and members fear new owners would develop it.
Noda cancels trip, cites Putin’s health
Moscow – Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda canceled a trip to Russia expected in mid-December, citing the health of famously tough Russian President Vladimir Putin, officials said Friday.
Noda did not specify what health problem Putin might have, but Kremlin observers for months have speculated that the Russian president, an avid sportsman, was suffering from a serious back injury.
The chatter began in September when guests and journalists at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok saw Putin limping. A spokesman said then that Putin had strained a muscle during a workout.
The spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said this week that rumors about Putin’s back problems “were strongly exaggerated.”