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April 19, 2014

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AP Top News at 2:45 p.m. EST

Updated Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014 | 11:45 a.m.

Violence mars third anniversary of Egypt uprising

CAIRO (AP) — The anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising brought a violent display of the country's furious divisions Saturday, as giant crowds danced at government-backed rallies and security forces crushed demonstrations by rival Islamists and some secular activists. Clashes nationwide killed at least 29 protesters, health officials said. The starkly contrasting scenes reflect the three years of turmoil Egypt has faced since the Jan. 25, 2011, revolution began and ultimately toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, replacing him with a transitional military council.

AP PHOTOS: Rage and celebration on Egypt's streets

CAIRO (AP) — It was a day of celebration and rage Saturday across Egypt as the country marked the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. At the iconic Tahrir Square, several thousand demonstrators massed at a state-backed rally celebrating the military, which launched a popularly backed coup in July that toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Many there called for army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi to run for president in coming elections.

Ukraine president offers PM post to opposition

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's embattled president on Saturday offered to make a top opposition leader the prime minister, but it was unclear if the overture would mollify the radical faction of protesters who have clashed with police for much of the last week. The offer by President Viktor Yanukovych to make Arseniy Yatsenyuk the premier could be seen as either a concession to the opposition or as a strategy to put it in a bind, caught between a compromise-seeking European Union and angry protesters who don't want to back down.

Police say 3 dead after shooting at Maryland mall

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) — Someone armed with a gun opened fire at a busy shopping mall in suburban Baltimore on Saturday. Three people died, including the person believed to be the shooter, police said. The shooting took place at the Mall in Columbia, a suburb of both Baltimore and Washington, according to Howard County police.

Hagel seeks root cause of nuke missile problems

WASHINGTON (AP) — In taking a deep look at trouble inside U.S. nuclear forces, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is searching for the root causes of recent Air Force missteps but also for ways to make the nuclear warrior's job more attractive at a time when the military has turned its attention away from such weapons. Nuclear missile duty has lost its luster in an era dominated by other security threats. It's rarely the career path of first choice for young officers. And yet Hagel and others say it remains important to U.S. national security.

Syria antagonists in 'half-steps' of peace talks

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. mediator trying to broker peace after three years of civil war in Syria said the agreement by the antagonists to face each other at peace talks for the first time Saturday is an accomplishment to be measured in "half-steps." Lakhdar Brahimi also said the painstakingly choreographed conference would continue Sunday, focusing on humanitarian aid — the one topic the Syrian government and the opposition could agree to discuss.

Philippines, Muslim rebels clinch peace deal

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Philippine government and the country's largest Muslim rebel group completed talks Saturday on a deal to end four decades of fighting that has killed tens of thousands of people and helped foster Islamic extremism in Southeast Asia. The accord between Filipino negotiators and the rebel Moro Islamic Liberation Front calls for Muslim self-rule in parts of the southern Philippines in exchange for the deactivation of the rebel force. Military presence in the proposed autonomous region would be restricted.

Official: French president splits with first lady

PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande has split with the country's first lady two weeks after a tabloid reported that the leader was having an affair with an actress, an official said Saturday. A presidential aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the matter, confirmed that Hollande ended his seven-year relationship with Valerie Trierweiler.

In address, Obama to focus on economic opportunity

WASHINGTON (AP) — Struggling to generate second-term momentum, President Barack Obama will use Tuesday's State of the Union address to announce new executive actions on job training and retirement security, while prodding a divided Congress to work harder on expanding economic mobility for middle class Americans. Obama's broad themes — described by the White House as opportunity, action, and optimism — may find some support among Republicans, who also have picked up the inequality mantle in recent months. But as Congress barrels toward the midterm elections, there's little indication the president will win over the GOP with his legislative policy prescriptions, including a renewed push to increase the minimum wage and expand access to early childhood education.

32 presumed dead in Quebec fire, 8 confirmed

L'ISLE-VERTE, Quebec (AP) — The painstaking search through the iced-over remains of a burned-out Quebec retirement home resumed Saturday morning, with friends and relatives of the missing awaiting news. Just eight bodies of the 32 presumed dead have been recovered. A massive blaze swept through the three-story building in L'Isle-Verte, about 140 miles (225 kilometers) northeast of Quebec City early Thursday. Quebec Provincial Police Lt. Guy Lapointe at a Saturday news conference lowered the number of missing from about 30 to 24 based on more detailed information.