Chatter: Egypt president signs controversial new constitution into law




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Need to know:

Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi has signed into law a controversial new constitution drafted by his Islamist allies.

The constitution passed with 64 percent of voters casting "yes" ballots in a referendum, although only 33 percent of Egypt's 52 million registered voters showed up to the polls. 

Mursi said the constitution will help end political turmoil and allow him to focus on fixing the country's economy.

But critics of the document, who have campaigned in sometimes deadly street protests, worry that it lays the foundation of an Islamic state and does not sufficiently protect the rights of women or Christians.

Want to know:

The head of Syria's military police has defected from President Bashar-al Assad's government.

Maj. Gen. Abulaziz al-Shalal, who has reportedly fled to Turkey, is one of the highest-ranking officials to join the uprising against the Syrian regime.

"I declare my defection from the army because of its deviation from its fundamental mission to protect the nation and transformation into gangs of murder and destruction," the general said in a video statement posted online.

The announcement came amid reports of deadly tank attacks near a village in the northern province of Raqqa.

Dull but important:

Japan's new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has named his cabinet as he begins the difficult task of revitalizing the troubled Japanese economy.

Parliament voted for Abe as prime minister following his Liberal Democratic Party's overwhelming victory at the polls earlier this month.

Abe, who campaigned on a platform of ending years of economic stagnation in Japan, previously served as prime minister in 2006-07.

He chose another former premier, Taro Aso, as the country's new finance minister.

Just because:

The "hero dog" that lost her snout while protecting two children in the Philippines has beaten cancer.

Kabang, a shepherd mix, was given a clean bill of health by veterinarians in California who are caring for the dog after it was brought from the Philippines for treatment.

The dog gained worldwide celebrity last year when it was reported that she had thrown herself in front of an oncoming motorcycle to protect two kids. The children were unharmed but the dog had her snout and upper jaw torn off by the motorcycle's spokes.

Now that Kabang has defeated cancer, she will undergo difficult treatment for heart worms using arsenic before having her face wounds treated.

Strange but true:

Women in Swaziland risk arrest by wearing miniskirts, tank tops and crop tops under a 19th-century law that bans immoral dressing.

Police decided to enforce the colonial-era law after Swazi women marched to seek equal rights and protection from rape in the mountain kingdom, which borders South Africa.

Police spokeswoman Wendy Hleta said "the act of the rapist is made easy because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women."

But the “indlamu” costume, a beaded G-string worn when young maidens dance for King Mswati III topless and with bare buttocks, will still be allowed.