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Generals again vow to hand over power

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's ruling generals promised again Thursday that they would hand power to a civilian administration within the next two months, a day after deadly clashes stoked by political tensions brought fresh accusations that the military was trying to create chaos so it could cling to power.

At least 11 people were killed in clashes that broke out Wednesday when apparent supporters of the ruling military council attacked a mostly Islamist crowd staging a sit-in outside the Ministry of Defense in Cairo to call for an end to the generals' rule. The protesters were predominantly supporters of an ultraconservative presidential candidate who was barred from running in the May 23-24 presidential election.

Army troops were accused of standing idly by near the clashes and not intervening until after the deaths.

"We say it frankly and clearly. The armed forces and their supreme council are committed to the handover of power on June 30," Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Asar told a news conference. "We don't desire power. The Supreme Council (of the Armed Forces) is not a substitute for legitimacy in Egypt."


2 news photographers tortured, dismembered

MEXICO CITY -- Two missing news photographers were found dead Thursday in southeastern Mexico, officials said, marking a grim week for journalists in the violence-plagued state of Veracruz.

The photographers, identified as Gabriel Huge and Guillermo Luna, were found dismembered and bearing signs of torture in a housing complex in Boca del Rio, a suburb of the port city of Veracruz.

Two other bodies weren't identified, but Mexican news reports said one was a journalist who worked for a newspaper called Diario AZ. The deaths come less than a week after correspondent Regina Martinez was found strangled and beaten to death in Xalapa, the state capital, where she lived and covered organized crime and corruption for the Proceso weekly news magazine.

The killings came on a day when reporters observed World Press Freedom Day. At the United Nations, Reporters Without Borders condemned the "astonishing pace" at which journalists are being attacked and murdered -- 67 killed in 2011 and 22 more deaths since the beginning of the year.

-- Los Angeles Times


Troops storm protest, killing 4 students

BEIRUT (AP) -- Syrian forces stormed student dormitories during an anti-government protest at Aleppo University Thursday, firing tear gas and bullets in an hours-long siege that killed at least four students and forced the closure of the state-run school, activists said.

U.N. truce observers toured other restive parts of the country, and residents told them of being too terrified to walk on the streets after dark as the uprising rages on. The U.N. estimates 9,000 people have been killed since the revolt began, and a peace plan brokered by international envoy Kofi Annan nearly a month ago has done little to stem the bloodshed.

In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney admitted the plan might be doomed.

"If the regime's intransigence continues, the international community is going to have to admit defeat," he said, adding that new measures might have to be taken, including a return to the U.N. Security Council.

The university siege began late Wednesday when around 1,500 students held a protest against President Bashar Assad's regime.