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BAGHDAD (AP) — The Syrian government says it has agreed "in principle" to take part in an international conference in Geneva next month aimed at ending the country's civil war.

Syria's Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem says his government believes that the conference, proposed by Russia and the United States, is a "good opportunity for a political solution for the crisis in Syria."

Al-Moallem did not elaborate in the joint Sunday news conference with his Iraqi counterpart shortly after he arrived in Baghdad for an unannounced visit.

The Syrian crisis began in March 2011 with pro-democracy protests and morphed into a bloody civil war. More than 70,000 people have been killed and several million displaced since the uprising against President Bashar Assad erupted.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pioneering Washington journalist Haynes Johnson, who helped redefine political reporting, has died at age 81.

The University of Maryland, where Johnson was a journalism professor, reports that he suffered a heart attack Friday while at a Bethesda, Md., hospital. He had attended the journalism college's graduation days earlier.

Johnson was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting in 1966 for coverage of the civil rights struggle in Selma, Ala. Johnson spent about 12 years at The Evening Star in Washington before legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee hired him away in 1969.

Besides reporting, Johnson was a columnist at the newspaper from 1977 to 1994.

Johnson was the author, co-author or editor of 18 books. He also appeared regularly on the PBS programs "Washington Week in Review" and "The NewsHour."

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Some call it wishful thinking, but President Barack Obama has all but declared an end to the global war on terror.

Obama isn't claiming final victory over extremists who still seek to kill Americans and other Westerners. Instead, he's steering the United States away from what he calls an equally frightening threat: a country in a state of perpetual war.

He gave a landmark speech Thursday in which he sought to refine and recalibrate his counterterrorism strategy.

The president asserted that al-Qaida is "on the path to defeat," reducing the scale of terrorism to pre-Sept. 11 levels.

That means that with the Afghanistan war winding down, Obama is unlikely to commit troops in large numbers to any conflict unless, as his critics fear, he tragically has underestimated al-Qaida's staying power.

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