Posted Saturday, June 30, 2012 --- 8:50 a.m.
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.
1. SUMMER STORMS
Eastern US storms leave 2 dead, 2M without power
UNDATED (AP) — Police in northern Virginia say two people have been killed by falling trees in massive storms that wiped out power to more than 2 million people across the eastern United States.
Fairfax County police spokeswoman Mary Ann Jennings says one of the victims was a 90-year-old woman who was asleep in bed Friday night when heavy winds blew a tree onto her house in Springfield. Another death was reported in Springfield when a tree collapsed onto a car.
In addition, a park police officer was injured by a falling tree and an 18-year-old man was struck by a power line. He was in stable condition after receiving CPR.
Power outages were reported from Indiana up the Atlantic coast following a day of sweltering heat, including record-setting temperatures in Washington, D.C.
UPDATE: Egypt's new leader vows support for Palestinians
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's newly elected president has sent an implicit message of reassurance to Israel in his first major address after taking office, but he also pledged support for the "legitimate rights" of the Palestinians.
Islamist Mohammed Morsi said Saturday that his administration will continue to honor its international treaties — a thinly veiled reference to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.
Relations between the two neighbors have become particularly tense since last year's overthrow of Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, who had forged close ties with the Jewish state during his 29-year rule.
Morsi was sworn in Saturday as Egypt's first freely elected president and the Arab world's first Islamist head of state.
The rise to power of Egyptian Islamists has been a source of alarm among many Israelis.
NEW: Iran says selling oil 'easily' despite sanctions
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran says it is having no trouble selling oil despite U.S. sanctions imposed over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.
The Saturday report by the semiofficial Mehr news agency quotes Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani as saying that Iran is "easily" able to sell its oil thanks to countries given waivers by the U.S. to import some oil.
The State Department has announced that China, India, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Taiwan have received waivers from the U.S. in exchange for "significantly reducing" oil imports.
Bahmani's comments come a day before an EU embargo on imports of Iranian oil goes into effect.
The U.S. and EU measures are intended to pressure Iran over fears that it is developing nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges.
NEW: Report: Iran to deploy submarines in Caspian Sea
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A semiofficial Iranian news agency says Tehran plans to deploy submarines in the Caspian Sea.
The Saturday report by Fars quotes Adm. Abbas Zamini as saying Iran plans to deploy "light submarines" to the oil-rich sea that adjoins Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. He did not elaborate.
Relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have soured in the past year. Iran accuses Azerbaijan of harboring anti-Iranian terrorists linked to Israel's Mossad spy agency. Azerbaijan in return says Iran supports Islamist dissidents. Both countries deny each other's charges.
Earlier this month Iran said it has begun the "initial stages" of designing nuclear-powered submarines.
Iran has domestically built several small submarines over the past years. It has recently overhauled one of the three non-nuclear Russian Kilo-class submarines it bought in the 1990s.
Annan warns of severe Syrian crisis
GENEVA (AP) — Syria envoy Kofi Annan has warned that if nations trying to end the country's violence fail to act they face an international crisis of "grave severity."
He says history "will judge us all harshly if we prove incapable of taking the right path today."
The talks hosted by the United Nations at its European headquarters in Geneva on Saturday are seen as a last-ditch attempt to salvage Annan's peace plan.
Russia's determination to preserve its last remaining ally in the Middle East has collided head-on with U.S. and other Western powers' desire to replace Assad with a democracy.
Diplomats are growing pessimistic that the U.N.-brokered conference can bridge the Russia-U.S. divide.
Annan says, "by being here today, you suggest intention to show leadership, but can you follow through?"
Syria activists: Troops recover rebellious suburb
BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say Syrian troops have regained control of a rebellious Damascus suburb after a 10-day assault that left dozens dead and hundreds wounded.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and local activist Mohammed Saeed say troops recaptured Douma outside the capital late Friday.
The Observatory says conditions in Douma are miserable, with dead bodies in the streets.
It says there is a lack of food, electricity and running water.
Douma has been a hotbed of dissent since the uprising against President Bashar Assad began in March last year.
Troops loyal to Assad are strong in central Damascus, but have battled to control the ring of suburbs and settlements in the surrounding countryside. The army launches frequent offensives into the suburbs only to see them slip back into rebel control.
Obama praises Colorado fire response; GOP hits health care
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says the wildfires in Colorado are another example of Americans pitching in to help in times of tragedy and emergency bring Americans together.
Obama used his weekly media message today to praise the coordinated response to the fires which have killed at least two people and destroyed hundreds of homes.
Obama's attention to Colorado takes on added significance coming less than five months before the Nov. 6 presidential election. Colorado is an important swing state in Obama's contest with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
For the Republicans, the target this week is the health care law. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso argues that it has not lived up to billing and vows that Republicans would work to repeal it.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Barrasso says the law is "unworkable, unaffordable, and very unpopular."
8. GERMANY-FINANCIAL CRISIS
German opponents challenge budget pact, euro fund
BERLIN (AP) — Opponents of Europe's new budget-discipline pact and the eurozone's permanent rescue fund are asking Germany's highest court to issue injunctions blocking the plans.
Germany's Parliament approved both the so-called fiscal compact — a cherished project of Chancellor Angela Merkel — and the €500 billion ($623 billion) European Stability Mechanism by a wide majority Friday.
Various opponents applied Saturday to the Federal Constitutional Court for injunctions blocking the plans while judges consider whether they're in line with German law. A decision could take a few weeks.
Plaintiffs include the hard-left opposition Left Party — the only party to oppose the plans in Parliament — and Peter Gauweiler, one of a few lawmakers in Merkel's center-right coalition who has consistently rejected bailouts. He challenged previous rescue plans.
Yemen: Mines kill 81 in 2 weeks in embattled town
Yemeni military officials say landmines laid by al-Qaida fighters have killed eight people in the past three days near the former militant stronghold of Zinjibar in the country's south. This brings the total number of mine deaths since the town fell to a military offensive two weeks ago to 81.
The officials also said six bodies were found Saturday outside Zinjibar and five more inside a well on Friday. They say the identities of the 11 have not yet been established.
The officials say engineering teams have removed some 3,000 landmines from the area. They spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations.
10. KENYA-AID AMBUSH
Fears rise 4 abducted aid workers taken to Somalia
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A police commander in Kenya says it's possible that armed attackers from Somalia who kidnapped four aid workers in a Kenyan refugee camp may have crossed back into Somalia.
Philip Ndolo said Saturday that the attackers abandoned the vehicle they commandeered on Friday not far from the Somali border, and that the gang could have crossed the border after walking about eight hours.
Ndolo said Kenyan security forces are still pursuing the kidnappers and hostages.
The armed attack happened Friday in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya with nearly 500,000 Somalis. A Kenyan driver was shot and killed in the attack.
Ndolo also said that the Norwegian Refugee Council had scheduled armed security to escort their convoy through the camp but decided in the end to travel without security.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.