Egypt's president has ordered the defense minister and chief of staff to retire and has canceled the military-declared constitutional amendments that gave top generals wide powers. President Mohammed Morsi also appointed a senior judge, Mahmoud Mekki, as vice president. The decisions announced today are effective immediately. A spokesman said in a news conference aired on state TV that Morsi appointed a new defense minister, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
He replaces Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who headed the military council that ruled Egypt for 17 months after Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February 2011. Tantawi was defense minister for nearly two decades under Mubarak. The military council's No. 2, Chief of Staff Sami Annan, was also ordered to retire. (Read more Egypt stories.)