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CAIRO (AP) — Thousands of Egyptians demanding the ouster of Egypt's Islamist president are gathering at Cairo's central Tahrir Square at the start of a day of massive, nationwide protests many fear could turn deadly.

Sunday marks the first anniversary of President's Mohammed Morsi's assumption of power as Egypt's first freely elected leader.

Thousands of Morsi's supporters have staged a sit-in since Friday in an eastern Cairo district not far from the presidential palace, the focus of protests later on Sunday to demand his ouster.

The youth group leading the campaign to force Morsi out said it had collected more than 22 million signatures from Egyptians who want the president to go. It was not possible to verify the claim.

Morsi's supporters have questioned the authenticity and validity of the signatures.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he has "considerably" narrowed the gaps between Israel and the Palestinians and he believes the start of final-status negotiations could be "within reach."

Kerry delivered his assessment Sunday after four days of shuttling between the sides.

Kerry says he was impressed with the "serious commitment" by both sides to resume talks, which broke down nearly five years ago.

"I know progress when I see it, and we are making progress," Kerry said.

He said he would leave a team of experts in the region to continue efforts and he plans on returning soon.

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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — President Barack Obama says former South African President Nelson Mandela continues to shine as a beacon of the power of principle and standing up for what's right.

Obama says South Africa's transition from apartheid to a free nation has been a personal inspiration and an inspiration to the world.

He says the recent outpouring of love for the critically ill anti-apartheid icon shows the deep yearning for justice and dignity in the human spirit. He says that yearning transcends class, race and country.

Obama spoke at a joint news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma. The White House says Obama will meet Saturday with Mandela's family but won't visit him in the hospital, in line with the family's wishes.

Read more...

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