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First major poll finds Egyptians hopeful but still divided

Egyptians are looking forward with extraordinary confidence and enthusiasm to their first free and fair elections this fall after the defining revolution of the Arab spring, according to the first major poll since the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak. But they remain deeply divided over the role of Islam in their public life.

The poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center and based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 Egyptians, is the first credible survey since the revolution lifted many restrictions on free expression. It is also the first to directly address Western debate over whether the revolution might drift toward Islamic radicalism.

The poll found Egyptians remarkably bullish on their revolution and, in its aftermath, their future. Nearly two-thirds said they were satisfied with their country’s direction, and six in 10 were optimistic about the future. Although open political elections would be a novelty in Egyptian history, most had some degree of faith that they had won democracy. Forty-one percent said a free and fair choice in the next election was very likely, and 43 percent said it was somewhat likely. Only 16 percent said it was unlikely.

The poll also found about 30 percent of Egyptians have a favorable view of Islamic fundamentalism and about the same number sympathize with its opponents. About a quarter have mixed views.

—David D. Kirkpatrick and Mona El-Naggar, The New York Times

Labor board plans to sue two states over union rules

The National Labor Relations Board has told state officials that it will soon file federal lawsuits against Arizona and South Dakota in seeking to invalidate those states’ constitutional amendments that prohibit private sector employees from choosing to unionize through a procedure known as card check.

In a letter sent on Friday, the labor board told those states that it would invoke the Constitution’s supremacy clause in asserting that the state constitutional amendments conflict with federal laws and are pre-empted by those laws. One federal official said the lawsuits would be filed in the next few days.

The Arizona and South Dakota constitutional amendments were promoted by various conservative groups worried that congressional Democrats would pass legislation allowing unions to insist on using card check in organizing drives, meaning that an employer would have to recognize a union as soon as a majority of workers signed pro-union cards. Under current law, private sector employers can insist that secret ballots be used when unions are trying to organize.

Unions like using card check because it makes it easier to win unionization campaigns. Organizers can gather signature cards quietly until they get a majority of workers, making it more difficult for an employer to mount an opposition campaign. Congressional Republicans blocked passage of the card-check bill.

—Steven Greenhouse, The New York Times

Netflix profit up as people flock to its on-demand service

Netflix posted a first-quarter profit of $60.2 million Monday and said it had added 3.3 million subscribers in the United States in three months, its fastest rate of growth yet.

“It took us four years to get to 3.3 million subscribers,” Reed Hastings, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview Monday evening. “Now we did it in one quarter.”

Hastings said the online streaming business “is just racing ahead.” But earlier in the day, in a letter to shareholders, the company cautioned that its torrid pace of growth may be tempered in the months ahead. It said it expected to add between 1.2 million and 2 million subscribers in the next three months. Netflix shares declined about 5 percent in after-hours trading.

At the end of the first quarter, Netflix had 22.8 million subscribers in the United States, giving it as big a footprint as the biggest American cable operator, Comcast, which reported 22.8 million subscribers at the end of last year.

—Brian Stelter, The New York Times

Iranians discover new cyberattack

TEHRAN — Iran has discovered a new hostile computer virus designed to damage government systems, an Iranian official who heads a cyberdefense agency said in comments reported Monday.

In comments published by Iran’s semiofficial Mehr News Agency, the official, Gholam-Reza Jalali, said the Stars virus had infiltrated government systems but was being decoded.

“Fortunately, our scientists have successfully identified the Stars virus, which has now been sent to laboratories,” said Jalali, a senior Revolutionary Guard commander.

He said no conclusions had yet been reached about the virus’ aim. In its initial state, it mimics a regular executable file.

In recent days, Jalali admitted that the powerful Stuxnet virus discovered last year did indeed infect computer systems related to the country’s nuclear program but said that it was discovered before causing serious damage. Jalali said that the threat from Stuxnet had not yet been completely dispelled and cautioned that further attacks were anticipated.

—William Yong, The New York Times

Rivet flaw suspected in jet’s roof

WASHINGTON — Federal investigators said Monday that they had discovered flaws in the riveting of the roof of the Southwest Airlines plane that tore open in flight on April 1, a finding that experts said probably showed manufacturing defects.

The National Transportation Safety Board, in an interim report, said that a laboratory examination of intact sections of the roof found rivet holes on one layer of the plane’s skin did not line up properly with an underlying layer. The board also said that it found paint from the exterior of the plane had bled through into the inside. Experts said that suggested the aluminum skin had not been properly bound together, leading to premature damage from fatigue.

—Matthew L. Wald and Jad Mouawad, The New York Times