Syria's Assad ratifies law to end state of emergency

BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday ratified a law to end 48 years of emergency rule in an attempt to defuse angry protests against his 11-year rule by people demanding greater freedoms. State TV said Assad signed the legislation "to end the state of emergency in Syria."
Inspired by uprisings gripping the Arab world, thousands of Syrians have held demonstrations across the country demanding reforms, presenting Assad with the most serious challenge to his governance. Rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed.