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Post-Mubarak Egypt day 1: military vows to hand over power, stick to Israel peace deal

CAIRO (AP) - On Egypt's first day in nearly 30 years without Hosni Mubarak as president, its new military rulers promised Saturday to abide by the peace treaty with Israel and eventually hand power to an elected government. Protesters, still partying over their victory in pushing Mubarak out, now pressed for a voice in guiding their country's move to democracy.

The protesters' first act was deeply symbolic of their ambition to build a new Egypt and their determination to do it themselves: Thousands began cleaning up Cairo's central Tahrir Square, the epicenter of their movement. The sprawling plaza was battered and trashed by 18 days of street battles and rallies by hundreds of thousands.

Even as thousands flowed in to celebrate, broom brigades fanned out, with smiling young men and women - some in stylish clothes and earrings - sweeping up rubble and garbage. Others repaired sidewalks torn apart for concrete chunks to use as ammunition in fighting with pro-regime gangs. Young veiled girls painted the metal railings of fences along the sidewalk. "Sorry for the inconvenience, but we're building Egypt," read placards many wore.

"We are cleaning the square now because it is ours," said Omar Mohammed, a 20-year-old student. "After living here for three weeks, it has become our home ... We're going to leave it better than before."

A coalition of youth groups that organized the protests issued their first cohesive list of demands for handling the transition to democracy. Their focus was on ensuring they - not just the military or members of Mubarak's regime - have a seat at the table in deliberations shaping the future.


Insiders, officials say Mubarak defied nearly all of Egypt in last attempt to cling to power

CAIRO (AP) - Hosni Mubarak was supposed to announce his resignation on Thursday. The Egyptian military expected it. The new head of his ruling party pleaded to him face-to-face to do it. But despite more than two weeks of massive demonstrations by protesters unmoved by lesser concessions, the president still didn't get it.

Mubarak's top aides and family - including his son Gamal, widely viewed as his intended successor - told him he could still ride out the turmoil. So the televised resignation speech the rest of Egypt had expected became a stubborn - and ultimately humiliating - effort to cling to power. It only enraged protesters. On Friday, the military moved decisively.

On Saturday, insiders in Egypt gave The Associated Press an initial picture of what happened in the hours before Egypt's "unoustable" leader of nearly 30 years fell. Some of them spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

Their account portrayed Mubarak as unable, or unwilling, to grasp that nothing less than his immediate departure would save the country from the chaos generated by the protests that began Jan. 25. A senior government official said Mubarak lacked the political machinery that could give him sound advice about what was happening in the country.

"He did not look beyond what Gamal was telling him, so he was isolated politically," said the official. "Every incremental move (by Mubarak) was too little too late."


Obama wields scalpel to budget devoid of painful political choices as Republican seek to slash

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's budget submission on Monday will take a surgical approach to a deficit problem that his Republican rivals say warrants a meat ax.

As Obama seeks $53 billion for high-speed rail over the next few years, House Republicans are trying to pull back $2.5 billion that's already been promised. He's seeking increases for his "Race to the Top" initiative that provides grants to better-performing schools; Republicans on Friday unveiled a five percent cut to schools serving the disadvantaged.

Monday's release of next year's budget plan will be likely ignored by resurgent Republicans intent on cutting $100 billion from the president's old budget.

The GOP drive to slash 2011 spending and much of the savings sought by Obama involve just a small piece of the budget pie - the annual domestic agency budgets that make up just one-tenth of federal spending. Tea party-backed House Republicans are trying to slash tens of billions of dollars in such programs to return them to levels when Obama first took office.

Obama's promise to freeze budgets of domestic agencies at 2010 levels for five years - an austere plan by itself - looks generous by comparison.


25 injured when taxi plows into crowd in San Diego, including woman whose leg was severed

SAN DIEGO (AP) - A taxi driver plowed slowly through a crowd on a sidewalk in a popular restaurant and nightclub zone early Saturday, severing the leg of one woman and injuring more than two dozen other people, police said.

The crash occurred about 2 a.m. in the heart of the busy Gaslamp District as revelers were heading home, according to police Sgt. Ray Battrick. Witnesses said the cab was traveling around 15 miles an hour.

The driver sustained a broken nose after being beaten by people in the crowd, who also smashed windows on the taxi, Battrick said. Security guards from a nearby nightclub intervened and detained the driver until police arrived, and he was transported to a hospital.

The crash did not appear to be intentional, authorities said.

Police said 25 people were injured. All but two were taken to area hospitals.


NYPD: Man stabbed stepfather, ex-girlfriend, her mother to death, ran over pedestrian

NEW YORK (AP) - A man who went on a 28-hour stabbing rampage that took the lives of his stepfather, his ex-girlfriend and her mother was arrested Saturday at a subway stop in Times Square after a nightlong manhunt across New York City, police said.

Maksim Gelman, 23, also hijacked a car, stabbing and wounding the driver and fatally hitting a pedestrian, authorities said.

Gelman of Brooklyn was apprehended at 8:30 a.m. in the subway station, said chief New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne. Minutes earlier, a man was stabbed and wounded on a crowded No. 3 train in Manhattan.

Relatives of Gelman could not be immediately reached by phone Saturday.

Gelman's stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, was knifed numerous times at about 5 a.m. Friday, authorities said. Police found the 54-year-old man's body at his home in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay, a predominantly Russian immigrant neighborhood.


Paul wins conservatives' straw poll, Romney finishes second

WASHINGTON (AP) - Texas congressman Ron Paul has won the straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has finished second.

Paul got 30 percent, while Romney got 23 percent of the votes of those attending the conference in Washington. Others were grouped far behind. Paul is a hero to libertarians and has a fiercely loyal following. Paul also won last year.

The straw poll was co-sponsored by CPAC and The Washington Times.


Thousands protest in Algeria, defying government warnings; 400 arrested but 'the fear is gone'

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) - Heavily outnumbered by riot police, thousands of Algerians defied government warnings and dodged barricades to rally in their capital Saturday, demanding democratic reforms a day after mass protests toppled Egypt's autocratic ruler.

Protesters chanting "No to the police state!" and brandishing signs that read "Give us back our Algeria" clashed with baton-wielding police in helmets and visors. Organizers said more than 400 people were briefly detained, but aside from some jostling between police and protesters no violence was reported.

The opposition said demonstrators' bold defiance of a long-standing ban on public protests in Algiers marked a turning point.

"This demonstration is a success because it's been 10 years that people haven't been able to march in Algiers and there's a sort of psychological barrier," said Ali Rachedi, the former head of the Front of Socialist Forces party. "The fear is gone."

Organizers said as many as 26,000 riot police were deployed to try to quash Saturday's rally, but that an estimated 10,000 people succeeded in jostling, squeezing and jumping over the barricades and gathering in the city center before the protest was broken up. Officials put turnout at the rally at 1,500.


6 dead, 37 injured in shooting, grenade attack on Mexican nightclub

GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) - Armed men opened fire and hurled a grenade into a crowded nightclub early Saturday, killing six people and wounding at least 37 in a western city whose former tranquility has been shattered by escalating battles among drug cartels.

The attack in Mexico's second-largest municipality took place just hours after a shootout between soldiers and presumed cartel gunmen left eight people, including an innocent driver, dead in the northeastern city of Monterrey. Monterrey is Mexico's third-largest city.

In the Guadalajara attack, assailants in a Jeep Cherokee and a taxi drove up to the Butter Club, located in a bar and restaurant district popular with young people, and sprayed it with bullets.

Some of the men then got out of the taxi and threw a grenade into the nightclub entrance, said a police official, who spoke to news media at the scene and left without giving his name. The gunmen fled after the pre-dawn attack, he said.

Three were killed at the scene and three more died later in hospitals, said Medical Services Director Yannick Nordin. A Venezuelan and a Colombian were among the dead.


Liz Taylor still in hospital, condition unchanged, with symptoms of congestive heart failure

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Elizabeth Taylor remained in a Los Angeles hospital on Saturday for treatment of congestive heart failure.

The Oscar-winning actress' condition was unchanged, her spokeswoman Sally Morrison said early Saturday afternoon. She did not know how long Taylor would remain at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

The 78-year-old Taylor first disclosed in November 2004 that she suffered from congestive heart failure. The condition was compounded with other ailments including spinal fractures and the effects of scoliosis.

Taylor had been scheduled to attend an amfAR benefit gala Wednesday night in New York, where she was to receive an award alongside President Bill Clinton and designer Diane von Furstenberg, celebrating their dedication to AIDS research.

Elton John accepted the honor on her behalf.


Michael Annett admits driving while impaired, apologizes for 'horrible' judgment

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Michael Annett admits he drank too much and got behind the wheel. Now he's apologizing for his "horrible" judgment and hopes to prove he can turn around his life.

Speaking to reporters at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, Annett says he is "definitely owning up" to his mistake.

"I got behind the wheel. I had the keys in my hand. I turned the truck on," Annett said. "It was my choice, and it was a horrible one. It was a huge mistake. Just fortunate enough that nobody got hurt."

Annett was arrested last Sunday and charged with driving while impaired following a two-car accident in Mooresville, N.C. Police say Annett rear-ended another car at a red light and had a blood-alcohol level of 0.32 percent - four times the legal limit in North Carolina.

He also was charged with resisting arrest, failure to reduce speed and unlawful use of a mobile phone to text or send e-mail. He has a March 18 court date.