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Anti-democracy sweep reaches Turkish border

GUVECCI, Turkey (AP) -- Syrian troops pushed to the Turkish border Thursday in their sweep against a 3-month-old pro-democracy movement, sending panicked refugees, including children, rushing across the frontier to safe havens in Turkey.

The European Union, meanwhile, announced that it was imposing new sanctions on the Syrian regime because of the "gravity of the situation," in which the Syrian opposition says 1,400 people have been killed in a relentless government crackdown. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Syria to pull its troops back from the border.

Syrian soldiers patrolled in military vehicles and on foot around the border village of Khirbet al-Jouz, according to Associated Press journalists who watched their movements from the Turkish side. The local coordinating committees, which track the Syrian protest movement, said residents reported that tanks had entered the village and that snipers were noticed on rooftops.

Syria has banned foreign journalists.


Boat excavated at site next to Great Pyramid

CAIRO (AP) -- Archaeologists have begun excavating a 4,500-year-old wooden boat found next to the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of Egypt's main tourist attractions, the nation's top antiquities official said Thursday.

The boat is one of two buried next to the pharaoh Khufu in what appeared to be a religious custom to carry him in the afterlife. Khufu, also known as Cheops, is credited with building the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Sakuji Yoshimura, a Waseda University professor who is leading the restoration project with Egypt's Antiquities Council, said scientists discovered that the second ship is inscribed with Khufu's name.

Khufu founded the 4th Dynasty around 2680 B.C. and ruled Egypt for 23 years.

Zahi Hawass, minister of state for antiquities, called the excavation "one of the most important archaeological and conservation projects in the world."


Palestinians may ease stance on settlements

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- The Palestinians are ready to ease their demand for a freeze on Israeli settlement construction to get peace talks back on track, a top official told the Associated Press on Thursday.

The softened position reflects the Palestinians' growing realization that their alternative strategies to talks -- reconciling with the Hamas militant group and seeking unilateral recognition at the United Nations -- are both in trouble.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Palestinians will ease the demand for a full construction freeze and resume peace talks if Israel accepts President Obama's proposal to base negotiations on a broad Israeli withdrawal from lands captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.

The Palestinians have been demanding a full freeze on all construction -- which would go further than that slowdown -- before resuming negotiations. Any move to drop or significantly ease that demand could put greater pressure on Israel to respond positively, perhaps by accepting Obama's formula.

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