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TOP HEADLINES: Egypt's president flexes power, baseball cards may be worth millions

Tuesday, July 10, 2012 | 7:18 p.m. CDT

Here are some of today's top stories from The Associated Press.

Egypt's president flexes power but yields to caution

CAIRO — The face-off between Egypt's new Islamist president and the old guard military sharpened Tuesday with parliament defying orders to disband and the highest court slapping back at Mohammed Morsi in what has become an early glimpse into how he may flex his power.

Morsi's rapid-fire gambits against Egypt's entrenched institutions show he is willing to push against the establishment left from the era of deposed President Hosni Mubarak. But — so far at least — he and his Muslim Brotherhood allies also have displayed some restraint and pragmatism to avoid setting a collision course during a sensitive transition period.

It could point to a complicated and protracted shake-out between Morsi and Egypt's security and judicial power centers, as all sides test the limits of their powers while the country awaits its post-Arab Spring constitution — possibly by the end of the year.

In place of an all-out confrontation, Egypt may be witnessing the new rules of political engagement being defined in a time of highly unclear guidelines: tough statements, conflicting orders and attempts to push the envelope but not tear it up.

"One of them came through the ballot box, and the other is trying to monopolize power," said Gamal Eid, a prominent rights lawyer.

Baseball cards discovered in Ohio attic may be worth millions

DEFIANCE, Ohio — Karl Kissner picked up a soot-covered cardboard box that had been under a wooden dollhouse in his grandfather's attic. Taking a look inside, he saw hundreds of baseball cards bundled with twine. They were smaller than the ones he was used to seeing.

But some of the names were familiar: Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Cy Young and Honus Wagner.

Then he put the box on a dresser and went back to digging through the attic.

It wasn't until two weeks later that he learned that his family had come across what experts say is one of the biggest, most exciting finds in the history of sports card collecting, a discovery worth perhaps millions.

The cards are from an extremely rare series issued around 1910. Up to now, the few known to exist were in so-so condition at best, with faded images and worn edges. But the ones from the attic in the town of Defiance are nearly pristine, untouched for more than a century. The colors are vibrant, the borders crisp and white.

UN envoy Kofi Annan presses his peace plan for Syria

BAGHDAD — The U.N.'s special envoy on the Syrian crisis sought to build support for his peace efforts Tuesday with the leaders of Iran and Iraq, saying President Bashar Assad has agreed to a plan to quell the bloodshed in the most violent areas of Syria and then expand the operation to the whole country.

Top diplomat Kofi Annan said at a news conference in Iran that the plan still must be presented to the Syrian opposition. But he said his talks with Assad a day earlier focused on a new approach to ending the violence, which activists say has killed more than 17,000 people since March 2011.

"(Assad) made a suggestion of building an approach from the ground up in some of the districts where we have extreme violence — to try and contain the violence in those districts and, step by step, build up and end the violence across the country," Annan told reporters in Tehran, his first step on a tour of Syria's allies. He did not elaborate on the plan.

Annan later visited Iraq and met Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to discuss ways to end the fighting.

"I think we've all watched the tragic situation in Syria, the killings, the suffering of the people," Annan said in Baghdad. "And everyone I've spoken to shares the concerns and the needs for us to stop the killing."

Olmert's acquittal in Israel sets off debate over peace process

JERUSALEM — Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's acquittal of the most serious charges in a high-profile corruption case Tuesday set off a fierce debate about how the peace process might have proceeded differently had the former leader not been driven from office three years ago.

Olmert has claimed he was on the brink of a historic agreement with the Palestinians when he was forced to resign in early 2009. His departure cleared the way for hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu's election, and peace efforts have been at a standstill ever since.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Olmert on Tuesday afternoon to congratulate him on the acquittal, said Nimr Hamad, an Abbas adviser.

"There is no doubt that a great opportunity was wasted with the absence of Olmert. There had been huge progress on all core issues ... and the Palestinian and Israeli positions were getting very close on all issues. Unfortunately, that's all gone now," Hamad said.

Olmert, who headed the centrist Kadima Party, stepped down after he was charged with a series of crimes that included accepting cash-stuffed envelopes from an American supporter and double billing Jewish organizations to cover overseas travel. The alleged crimes took place while Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem and a Cabinet minister, before he became prime minister.


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