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UPI NewsTrack TopNews

  |   March 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Egypt court overturns Morsi's decision

CAIRO, March 27 (UPI) -- The Cairo Court of Appeal issued a verdict Wednesday overturning Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's decision to dismiss the former prosecutor general.

Morsi's decision to dismiss Abdel Meguid Mahmoud and appoint Talaa't Abdallah in his place was part of his constitutional declaration last November, the Daily News Egypt reported.

Ahram Online said that, under Egyptian law, the prosecutor general can only be dismissed by judicial decree and not by the president.

The dismissal was strongly criticized by opposition groups and the judiciary, Ahram Online reported, and many opposition groups are demanding for the dismissal of the current prosecutor general.

Mahmoud refused to comment on the verdict.


Neighbor: Knox won't return to Italy

ROME, March 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. woman ordered to be tried again for the death of a British student in Italy is confident she wouldn't return to Italy no matter what, a friend said.

"I spoke to the family and they are very confident she won't have to go whatever happens, very confident," a family friend of Amanda Knox told The Daily Telegraph, a British publication, in an article published Wednesday.

In Rome, Italy's highest court Tuesday ordered a new trial for Knox and her former boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, accused of killing British student Meredith Kercher in 2007 during a sex game gone wrong while the women were roommates in a student exchange program in Perugia, Italy.

In 2009, Knox and Sollecito were found guilty in Kercher's death and were sentenced to 25 years in prison. Knox received an additional year-in-prison sentence on a slander conviction for accusing her former boss of killing Kercher.

In 2011, an Italian appeals court tossed the conviction and acquitted Knox and Sollecito. Knox and Sollecito were released after four years in prison.

Another person, Rudy Guede of the Ivory Coast was convicted in Kercher's death and is serving a 16-year prison term.

Another Knox neighbor, Robb Orr, told the Telegraph: "The case seemed really poorly put together. I am sure it was a horrible, horrible thing to go through and it would be nice if she could just move on with her life."

One U.S. lawyer said the legal concept of double jeopardy should protect Knox from extradition if she were convicted in absentia.

Christopher Blakesley, an international criminal law professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, said, "If Knox is found guilty, there's still a whole lot of room for battle before she would ever be extradited."

However, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said much would depend on whether U.S. courts considered overturning her conviction was an acquittal.

"It's very complicated and there's no clear answer," Dershowitz told the Telegraph. "It's in the range of unpredictable."

A date for the retrial hasn't been set.

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Petraeus apologizes for affair

LOS ANGELES, March 27 (UPI) -- Former CIA Director David Petraeus, during a dinner in Los Angeles, apologized for an affair that led to his resignation.

Petraeus, the U.S. Army general who led coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has maintained a low profile since he resigned the directorship after admitting to an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, in November.

Petraeus told about 600 guests at Tuesday's event honoring veterans and ROTC students at the University of Southern California he is "regarded in a different light now" than he was a year ago, the Los Angeles times reported.

"I am also keenly aware that the reason for my recent journey was my own doing," he said. "So please allow me to begin my remarks this evening by reiterating how deeply I regret -- and apologize for -- the circumstances that led to my resignation from the CIA and caused such pain for my family, friends and supporters."

Petraeus, 60, considered the architect of the U.S. military's counterinsurgency doctrine, also said he wants to move forward, the Times said.

"One learns after all that life doesn't stop with such a mistake," he said, "it can and must go on."

Before his speech, Petraeus generally stayed out of the public eye.

"I know that I can never fully assuage the pain that I inflicted on those closest to me and on a number of others," Petraeus said Tuesday. "I can, however, try to move forward in a manner that is consistent with the values to which I subscribed before slipping my moorings and, as best as possible, to make amends to those I have hurt and let down."

One friend told the Times Tuesday, "I don't think it's in his DNA to just retire."

Petraeus has been mum about his plans, except to say he agreed to support several non-profit organizations that assist veterans.

Petraeus received two standing ovations during his speech in which he said the nation has a responsibility to look after families of fallen soldiers, care for the wounded, help veterans move into to civilian life and honor their service.

"We can and must do more," he said. "Helping those who have given so much is simply the right thing to do."


Report: Al-Khatib may reverse resignation

DAMASCUS, Syria, March 27 (UPI) -- Moaz al-Khatib, a key opposition figure in Syria's civil war, could rescind his resignation as leader of the Syrian National Coalition, activists said.

A former leader of the Syrian National Council said Khatib has "not closed the door" to staying on as leader of the opposition's main umbrella coalition, The Guardian reported Wednesday.

Other opposition officials said they expected Khatib to reverse his decision to leave the post after he had expressed frustration of appealing to the international community for help in ending the nation's civil war.

On Wednesday, Khatib participated in a ceremony marking the reopening of the Syrian Embassy in Doha, Qatar, under opposition control. He was in Doha for the Arab League summit, heading the Syrian delegation.

Officials from President Bashar Assad's regime criticized the Arab League's decision to invite the Syrian opposition to represent Syria at the summit. Syria's membership was suspended in November 2011.

Opposition leaders said they must expand representation of the national coalition to take in more Syrians, including more women and members of minorities, especially Alawites, which is Assad's sect, The Guardian reported. The opposition also wants to blunt charges that it is dominated by exiles who are out of touch with events in their homeland.

In Damascus Wednesday, mortar fire, car bombings and other attacks resulted in multiple deaths and injuries in Damascus, state-run media reported.

Syrian Arab News Agency said mortar shells fired in Baramkeh area of the city landed near the news agency's building and on several schools.

The attack on the SANA facility killed four people and wounded several others.

State media reported a child died when a girls' school was shelled. SANA said four people were injured by mortar fire on two other schools in the area.

State media said terrorists were responsible for the shelling. "Terrorist" is used by the Syrian government to describe rebel or opposition forces.

An official told SANA mortar shells fell on an obstetrics hospital near Dinar Mosque, as well the campus of a law university, killing and wounding an unknown number of people.

A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-filled vehicle in a residential area of Damascus, killing two people, wounding two others and causing damage along the street, SANA said.

SANA also reported a car bomb went off near a schoolbook dispensary in Bab Msalla area in Damascus, causing material damage but no injuries or deaths.

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