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Jan. 29, 2013 at 8:03 AM   |   Comments

McConnell to Obama: No immigration politics

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned President Barack Obama not to deliver a partisan speech when he speaks Tuesday on immigration reform in Las Vegas.

The Kentucky Republican said in a statement in Washington he hoped Obama would "take a bipartisan approach rather than delivering another divisive partisan speech" when he makes a major policy address on immigration at a high school.

The White House said Obama's remarks, scheduled to begin at 11:55 a.m. PST, would focus "on the need to fix the broken immigration system so that it is fairer for and helps grow the middle class by ensuring everyone plays by the same rules."

The address would come a day after a bipartisan Senate working group proposed liberalizing the treatment of undocumented immigrants.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said through a spokesman he welcomed the blueprint worked out by eight senators, including Marco Rubio, R-Fla., even though it offers a path to citizenship for many of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants that conservatives have generally opposed.

Obama's proposal, as previewed on the White House website, differs in at least one key way from the senators' framework, which requires the border with Mexico be deemed secure before letting anyone in the United States illegally get citizenship.

Obama will not endorse such a proposal, an administration official told The Washington Post.


Egyptians defy Morsi curfew; death toll 59

PORT SAID, Egypt, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Thousands of Egyptians in three cities defied the first night of President Mohammed Morsi's curfew, battling police in another deadly show of lawlessness.

Police fired at protesters in the Mediterranean city of Port Said, north of the Suez Canal, killing at least five people, hospital officials said, bringing the detail toll in the city early Tuesday to at least 45 since Saturday.

The overall death toll in the anti-Morsi unrest in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia, near the Suez Canal, and Cairo, the capital, was at least 59, health officials said.

But while The New York Times reported Port Said police were quick to fire at protesters, al-Jazeera said Egypt's army did nothing to enforce Morsi's 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew -- in some cases even letting protesters pose for photos on tanks in the streets.

Egypt's Senate Monday ratified an emergency law granting the armed forces special powers of arrest.

The Senate action followed Morsi's Sunday declaration of a monthlong state of emergency in the three cities. The state of emergency all but eliminates due process, letting police investigate, arrest and detain suspects without trial.


30,000 march for Brazil nightclub dead

SANTA MARIA, Brazil, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Some 30,000 people marched past the Brazilian nightclub where 231 people were killed in a blaze, police said, while four men linked to the fire were in custody.

Brazil's president declared such a tragedy must never be allowed to happen again.

Most of the marchers wore white shirts and carried white flowers and white balloons, as well as placards of the victims' names, as they walked more than a mile Monday night from a large square in the center of the college city of Santa Maria in Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul.

Many people held hands and embraced each other during the somber walk. Violinists played Franz Schubert's "Ave Maria" and other prayerful music, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported. At one point a large group started singing the Rio Grande do Sul state anthem, and there were bursts of applause in memory of the victims, the newspaper said.

In front of the Kiss nightclub, scene of the 2:30 a.m. Sunday tragedy, people shouted: "Justice! Justice! Justice!" the newspaper O Globo reported.


U.S., Yemen forces seize Iranian weapons

SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Yemeni and U.S. military forces intercepted a boat carrying explosives, weapons and money believed to have originated in Iran, U.S. officials said.

Unnamed U.S. officials briefed on the incident off the Yemeni coast, said Monday there were indications that Iran was smuggling weapons and explosives to insurgents in Yemen, The New York Times said.

A boarding party from the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Farragut accompanied Yemeni forces in the raid Jan. 23, the Times said.

Weapons were reportedly found in three cargo sections of the 130-foot boat. The weapons included air-to-surface missiles, C4 military-grade explosives, 122-mm shells, rocket-propelled grenades and bomb making equipment, a statement from the Yemeni government Monday said.

U.S. officials said the weapons were made in Iran and is an attempt by the Islamic Republic to reach out to rebels and other political figures in Yemen, the Times said.


Pro-Clinton super PAC registered with FEC

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A super PAC backing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 has been registered with the Federal Election Commission.

The Ready for Hillary super PAC is led by Allida Black, founder of the Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project at George Washington University, who also was behind the pro-Clinton political action committee WomenCount, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Ready for Hillary was registered with the FEC Friday.

"Our purpose is simple: We are ready to work for Hillary to be president when she is ready to run," Black told the Center for Public Integrity, which first discovered the filing. "When our website launches in a few weeks, we plan to reach out to our grassroots networks and contributors to mobilize them to support her."

The PAC's Facebook page describes Ready for Hillary as "an idea 5 long time friends came up with: one a former aide to Hillary, one a former adviser to Hillary, one a social media guru, and 2 local Democratic activists. The goal? Get Ready for Hillary!"

Clinton, who will be leaving her Cabinet post soon, has repeatedly denied an interest in a 2016 campaign. Polls indicate she would be a popular candidate.

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