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ALGERIA RETAINS EMERGENCY POWERS

Algeria's Army-backed leadership showed its determination to crush Muslim fundamentalism by extending indefinitely a state of emergency imposed 12 months ago to combat Islamic militants, diplomats said.

The decision was taken despite pressure from opposition politicians who argued that the emergency destroyed any chances of dialogue and national reconciliation.

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The Algerian leadership has consistently said that it will have no dealings with the Muslim fundamentalists whom it blames for a year of kidnappings and killings.

The state of emergency gives immense powers to Interior Minister Mohamed Hardi. He can set up detention centers, order day or night house searches, ban marches, close public places, dismiss local authorities, and order trials by military courts.