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Egypt extends state of emergency

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s interim president on Thursday extended a nationwide state of emergency by two months, citing security conditions.

The nearly month-old state of emergency, which gives security forces greater powers of arrest, had been due to expire within days. It was first declared in mid-August after authorities cleared two protest encampments held by supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, unleashing violence that claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 in subsequent days.

Ever since, a nighttime curfew has also been in effect in much of the country. The government will decide separately on whether to continue the curfew.

The extension had been widely expected, and the decree cited continued security concerns.

Kerry meets with Russia on Syria

GENEVA (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his team open two days of meetings with their Russian counterparts on Thursday, hoping to emerge with the outlines of a plan for the complex task of safely securing and destroying vast stockpiles of Syrian chemical weapons in the midst of a brutal and unpredictable conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held out the effort as “a new opportunity to avoid military action” by the U.S. against Syria.

“The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction,” Putin wrote in an opinion piece published in the New York Times.

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