**Obama Campaigns for Plan to Avoid Fiscal Cliff**
U.S. President Barack Obama is making a campaign-style trip Friday aimed at winning public support for his plan to avert a potential fiscal crisis.
Mr. Obama's visit to a toy factory in Pennsylvania is part of a series of public events to sell the nation on his strategy to avoid the $600 billion in spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect January 1.
Congressional Republicans say there is little progress in resolving the partisan stalemate over how to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
House Speaker John Boehner said he was "disappointed" after speaking with the president late Wednesday and meeting with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Thursday.
Boehner, the leader of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, criticized the president for staging gatherings of taxpayers this week who support his call for eliminating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
The forced spending cuts would affect important defense and domestic programs, while the question on the tax cuts is whether they should be extended beyond their scheduled December 31 expiration.
The Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, said, "We are still waiting for a serious offer from Republicans."
**Egyptian Panel Approves Draft Constitution**
An Islamist-dominated panel has approved Egypt's new draft constitution that must now be voted on in a nationwide referendum.
The panel, boycotted by several Christian and liberal members, has retained the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation. The group hastily rushed through the approval of the 234 articles in a meeting that lasted from Thursday afternoon until early Friday.
The assembly moved up the vote in order to pass the draft before Sunday, when Egypt's highest judicial power is expected to rule on whether to dissolve the panel.
Over the past few days, about 30 liberal and Christian members pulled out of the panel to protest what they called the hijacking of the process by Islamists loyal to President Mohamed Morsi.
The Egyptian leader caused a political uproar last week when he granted himself sweeping new powers. Mr. Morsi told state television Thursday the decree will end immediately after people vote on the constitution.
Egyptians angered by the president's power grab have protested for more than a week. Two people have been killed and hundreds injured in the nationwide demonstrations.