Egypt Sets Up Reform Panels as Rallies Continue

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As Egypt entered its third week of freedom rallies, President Hosni Mubarak formed a committee to recommend constitutional amendments intended to relax presidential eligibility requirements. The new measures are also expected to include term limits.

The move, announced Tuesday by Vice President Omar Suleiman, is intended to meet the demands of would-be revolutionaries, who want Mubarak to step down immediately.

The president has also called for an investigation in last week's clashes between Mubarak supporters and protestors. In addition, the government will be looking into the mass detentions of human rights activists and journalists.

"The youth of Egypt deserve national appreciation," Suleiman said, citing what he described as an edict from Mubarak. "They should not be detained, harassed or denied their freedom of expression."

Meanwhile, a young Google, Inc. executive detained by Egyptian authorities for 12 days has been released.

Wael Ghonim, a marketing manager for the Internet company, said he was responsible for the Facebook page that gave rise to "the revolution of the youth of the Internet."

"This is the revolution of the youth of the Internet and now the revolution of all Egyptians," an emotional Ghonim said in a television interview hours after being freed.

The Google marketing manager said he was stunned when the security forces holding him labeled him a traitor.

"Anyone with good intentions is the traitor because being evil is the norm," he said. "If I was a traitor, I would have stayed in my villa in the Emirates and made good money and said like others, 'Let this country go to hell.' But we are not traitors."

As protesters continued to call for their leader's immediate ouster, U.S. officials questioned whether the Egypt was prepared for a fair election.

"A question that that would pose is whether Egypt today is prepared to have a competitive, open election," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.  "Given the recent past, where, quite honestly, elections were less than free and fair there's a lot of work that has to be done to get to a point where you can have free and fair elections."

"I think that would be a challenging undertaking," he said.

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