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Taliban bomb kills 5 Polish soldiers

KABUL -- A roadside bomb killed five Polish soldiers in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday, officials said, marking that country's largest single troop loss of the 10-year-old war. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

The attack took place in the Rauza district of Ghazni province, south of the capital, Kabul, officials said.

A provincial spokesman, Hazrat Moammad Ghaznawi, said the blast was so powerful it broke the Polish troops' armored vehicle into several pieces.

The Polish contingent in Afghanistan numbers nearly 2,600.

-- Los Angeles Times

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Military steps up anti-activist campaign

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's ruling military escalated its tone against pro-democracy activists Wednesday, warning of an attempt to "topple the state," as government media said a plot had been uncovered to use upcoming protests to throw the country into a civil war.

The statements stepped up a campaign by the military that has seemed intended to demonize protesters in the eyes of the Egyptian public. The warnings could signal a heavier crackdown on activists who demand that the generals who took power after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February step down to let civilians rule.

They come after more than four days of heavy clashes as soldiers tried to break up protests outside parliament and the Cabinet headquarters in a crackdown that killed 14 people and left hundreds injured.

Parliament will convene Jan. 23, just two days before the one-year anniversary of the start of Egypt's uprising, according to the state news agency.