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  • Mursi thinks better to "die standing like tree" - aide

    A spokesman for Mohamed Mursi said the president believed it would be better to die "standing like a tree", defending the electoral legitimacy of his office, than to go down in history as having destroyed Egyptians' hopes for democracy.

    Saying that Mursi was not seeking to cling to office for its own sake, spokesman Ayman Ali told Reuters that, in his overnight speech to the nation, the president had defied calls to resign in order to "defend the democratic system".

    "It is better for a president, who would otherwise be returning Egypt to the days of dictatorship, from which God and the will of the people has saved us, to die standing like a tree," Ali said, "Rather than be condemned by history and future generations for throwing away the hopes of Egyptians for establishing a democratic life."

    (Reporting by Tom Perry; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)
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Ukraine, rebels gather for peace talks as fighting rages in east

MINSK/KIEV - A new round of peace talks were about to start on the Ukraine crisis on Saturday, even as fighting between Kiev government forces and pro-Russian separatists raged in the east, claiming civilian and military lives.