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AROUND THE WORLD

Names of Mubarak, wife ordered removed

CAIRO (AP) -- An Egyptian court on Thursday ordered the name of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his wife, Suzanne, removed from all public facilities and institutions, the latest step in dismantling the legacy of the former leader's 29 years in power.

Early in his rule, Mubarak said that out of modesty he didn't want his name put on public buildings, but hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of schools, streets, squares and libraries -- as well as a major subway station in central Cairo -- now bear the name of the former leader or his wife.

All those will have to go, a new blow to Mubarak, who was ousted Feb. 11 and last week was put under detention in a hospital for investigation on charges of corruption and the deadly shooting of protesters.

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Emergency rule ends; more protests set today

BEIRUT (AP) -- Ahead of what could turn out to be a decisive day for Syria, protesters took credit Thursday for forcing President Bashar Assad to lift the country's 50-year state of emergency and brushed off his attempts to placate the monthlong uprising against his authoritarian regime.

Activists said they were planning the biggest protests to date today against Assad, who inherited power from his late father 11 years ago but has failed to deliver on early promises of sweeping reform.

The president has been trying to defuse the protests by launching a bloody crackdown along with a series of concessions, most recently lifting emergency laws that gave authorities almost boundless powers of surveillance and arrest.

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Queen marks birthday at church service

LONDON -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II marked her 85th birthday Thursday by attending the traditional Maundy Service in Westminster Abbey -- where the royal wedding will be held next Friday.

The televised service turned out to be something of a dress rehearsal for the media, choristers and clergy ahead of the global coverage of the nuptials between Kate Middleton and Prince William, the queen's grandson.

William and Kate, sources confirmed Thursday, also have visited the grave of Princess Diana, William's mother, at her family home.

In a service she has performed for the past 59 years, the queen carried out the centuries-old Christian tradition of handing maundy money to the "deserving in a gesture of humility."

-- McClatchy Newspapers

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