Briefs 11-29


Egypt’s Morsi escalates crisis, raising fears of a ‘second revolution’

CAIRO — Faced with an unprecedented strike by the courts and massive opposition protests, Egypt’s Islamist president is not backing down in the showdown over decrees granting him near-absolute powers.

Activists warn that his actions threaten a “second revolution,” but Mohammed Morsi faces a different situation than his ousted predecessor, Hosni Mubarak: He was democratically elected and enjoys the support of the nation’s most powerful political movement.

Already, Morsi is rushing the work of an Islamist-dominated constitutional assembly at the heart of the power struggle, with a draft of the charter expected as early as Thursday, despite a walkout by liberal and Christian members that has raised questions about the panel’s legitimacy.

The next step would be for Morsi to call a nationwide referendum on the document. If adopted, parliamentary elections would be held by the spring.

Wednesday brought a last-minute scramble to seize the momentum over Egypt’s political transition. Morsi’s camp announced that his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists will stage a massive rally in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the plaza where more than 200,000 opposition supporters gathered a day earlier.

Even with legalization vote, marijuana still not allowed at colleges in Washington, Colorado

SPOKANE, Wash. — Young voters helped pass laws legalizing marijuana in Washington and Colorado, but many still won’t be able to light up.

Most universities have codes of conduct banning marijuana use, and they get millions of dollars in funding from the federal government, which still considers pot illegal.

With the money comes a requirement for a drug-free campus, and the threat of expulsion for students using pot in the dorms.

“Everything we’ve seen is that nothing changes for us,” said Darin Watkins, a spokesman for Washington State University in Pullman.

So despite college cultures that include pot-smoking demonstrations each year on April 20, students who want to use marijuana will have to do so off campus.

Powerball jackpot climbs to $550M on ticket sales, enticing many who rarely play lottery

CHICAGO — As Americans went on a ticket-buying spree, the Powerball jackpot rose to $550 million Wednesday, enticing many people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery to purchase a shot at the second-largest payout in U.S. history.

Among them was Lamar Fallie, a jobless Chicago man who said his six tickets conjured a pleasant daydream: If he wins, he plans to take care of his church, make big donations to schools and then “retire from being unemployed.”

Tickets were selling at a rate of 130,000 a minute nationwide — about six times the volume from a week ago. That meant the jackpot could climb even higher before the Wednesday night drawing, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association.

The jackpot has already rolled over 16 consecutive times without a winner, but Powerball officials say they now believe there is a 75 percent chance the winning combination will be drawn this time.

If one ticket hits the right numbers, chances are good that multiple ones will, according to some experts. That happened in the Mega Millions drawing in March, when three ticket buyers shared a $656 million jackpot, which remains the largest lottery payout of all time.

By wire sources