President Hosni Mubarak defied a quarter-million protesters demanding he step down immediately, announcing Tuesday he would serve out the last months of his term and "die on Egyptian soil." He promised not to seek re-election, but that did not calm public fury as clashes erupted between his opponents and supporters. The protesters, whose numbers multiplied more than tenfold in a single day Tuesday for their biggest rally yet, have insisted they will not end their unprecedented week-old wave of unrest until their ruler for nearly three decades goes.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday challenged Egypt's embattled autocratic ruler, a staunch U.S. ally, to immediately begin the process of transitioning the country to new leadership, a signal that there should be no drawn-out goodbye. Earlier, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak had announced he would not seek another term in office but also would not yield to growing demands to step down now. After a huddle at the White House, Obama went on television to respond.
CHICAGO (AP) — A winter weather colossus roared into the nation's heartland Tuesday, laying down a paralyzing punch of dangerous ice and whiteout snow that served notice from Texas to Maine that the storm billed as the worst in decades could live up to the hype. Ice-covered streets were deserted in Super Bowl host city Dallas. Whiteouts shut down Oklahoma City and Tulsa. And more was on the way. Chicago expected 2 feet of snow, Indianapolis an inch of ice, and the Northeast still more ice and snow in what's shaping up to be a record winter for the region.
CAIRNS, Australia (AP) — Tens of thousands of Australians stocked up on food and hunkered in sturdy shelters Wednesday as a monster cyclone approached the northeast coast with furious winds, rains and surging seas on a scale unseen there in generations. Gusts up to 186 mph (300 kph) were expected when Cyclone Yasi strikes the coast late Wednesday after whipping across Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The storm front is more than 310 miles (500 kilometers) wide and Yasi is so strong, it could reach far inland before it significantly loses power.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Buoyed by a federal court ruling, Senate Republicans maneuvered for a vote to repeal the year-old health care law on Tuesday while the party's potential White House contenders took turns urging them on. Despite the stepped up attack, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the legislation was secure. "It's not going to go anywhere," predicted the Nevada Democrat.
CAIRO (AP) — President Hosni Mubarak came to power amid crisis three decades ago, a reassuring symbol of stability for many Egyptians as well as for Western leaders seeking a solid ally in the Middle East. Today, crisis again envelops Egypt, and Mubarak is widely seen as the root of the problem. In the span of his presidency, Mubarak, a former pilot and air force general with a combative, stubborn streak, took tentative steps toward democratic reform but then pulled back toward the authoritarianism that, coupled with poverty and a culture of corruption, helped drive Egyptian protesters into the streets.
The current U.S. education system is failing to prepare millions of young adults for successful careers by providing a one-size-fits-all approach, and it should take a cue from its European counterparts by offering greater emphasis on occupational instruction, a Harvard University study published Wednesday concludes. The two-year study by the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education notes that while much emphasis is placed in high school on going on to a four-year college, only 30 percent of young adults in the United States successfully complete a bachelor's degree.
WASHINGTON (AP) — NASA's planet-hunting telescope is finding whole new worlds of possibilities in the search for alien life. An early report from a cosmic census indicates that relatively small planets and stable multi-planet systems are far more plentiful than previous searches showed. NASA released new data Wednesday from its Kepler telescope on more than 1,000 possible new planets outside our solar system — more than doubling the count of what astronomers call exoplanets. They haven't been confirmed as planets yet, but some astronomers estimate that 90 percent of what Kepler has found will eventually be verified.
NEW YORK (AP) — Elton John says Billy Joel needs to get serious about rehab and "do something better" with his life. John makes the comments about his former touring partner in the Feb. 17 edition of Rolling Stone magazine. He tells the magazine the pair canceled many tours because of Joel's illnesses and "alcoholism." He also says Joel should do rehab like he did it — with patients cleaning floors, not watching television.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Casey Hampton is listed at 325 pounds. The way his jersey stretches tautly across his biceps (and belly) suggests the real number is north of that. Asked for his actual weight, the Steelers nose tackle says, "It's 300 and change. Lots of change." Hampton is one of 26 players on the Green Bay and Pittsburgh Super Bowl rosters who tip the scale at more than 300 pounds — an eye-popping number made even more startling when you put it in historical context.