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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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Syria extends major offensive to retake territory in west

BEIRUT - Syrian troops and allied militia backed by a fresh wave of Russian air strikes and cruise missiles fired from warships attacked rebel forces on Thursday as the government extended an offensive to recapture territory in the west of the country. | Video