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EGYPT: Morsi seeks to soften remarks

Islamist president Mohammed Morsi sought Wednesday to defuse Washington's anger over his past remarks urging hatred of Jews, telling visiting U.S. senators his comments were a denunciation of Israeli policies. Sen. John McCain said a congressional delegation he led that met with Morsi expressed to him their "strong disapproval" about his 2010 comments. Despite calls by some in Washington to rein in aid to Egypt, McCain said the delegation will press in Congress for approval of some $480 million in new assistance to Cairo.

25 killed as building collapses

An eight-story apartment building collapsed Wednesday in the port city of Alexandria, killing 25 people in the second deadly accident to hit the country in as many days. Rescuers were searching for survivors under the rubble. The collapse came a day after 19 police conscripts were killed when the last car of the train they were riding in jumped the tracks and smashed into another train just outside Cairo.

RUSSIA: Punk rocker's appeal rejected

A court turned down an attempt Wednesday by an imprisoned Pussy Riot band member to defer serving her sentence for hooliganism until her preschool son becomes a teenager. Maria Alekhina asked the court in Berezniki, a Urals Mountain city near her prison, to let her serve the rest of her two-year sentence after her 5-year-old son turns 14. She and two other members of the female punk band were convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in Russia's main cathedral. Judge Galina Yefremova rejected Alekhina's petition, saying the court that sentenced her had already taken the child's existence into account. Alekhina told the court that while she wanted her sentence deferred, she still refused to plead guilty.

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