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French Lawmakers Extend State of Emergency for 3 Months


France's lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, has voted to extend a national state of emergency for three months in response to the worst civil unrest to hit the country in decades.

The vote followed hours of debate as the opposition Socialists called the extension unnecessary because the violence is abating.

Police officials say only 215 vehicles were burned Monday night in the 19th straight night of violence in predominantly Muslim-inhabited areas of the country. Some officials described the development as almost a return to normal.

Earlier, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin made a surprise visit to the Paris suburb of Aulnay-sous-Bois hard-hit by the riots. He said authorities will be firm with lawbreakers, but stressed his determination to deal with injustice, discrimination and unemployment.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP.

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