** Egypt Braces for Protests, Awaits Election Results**
Several Islamist groups are calling for mass protests in Egypt on Friday, as the country nervously awaits the official results of its first freely-contested presidential elections.
Thousands of protesters camped out overnight in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square to denounce a power grab by Egypt's interim military rulers and to call on officials to release the results of last week's runoff.
Egypt's election commission has postponed the results, which were due to be released Thursday, because it says it needs time to investigate fraud allegations by both candidates.
Muslim Brotherhood officials have warned of a confrontation between the people and the ruling military if its candidate, Muhammad Morsi, is not named the winner.
Both Morsi and former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq are claiming victory, and supporters of both men have threatened a backlash should their candidate lose.
Egypt's official MENA news agency is reporting that the election commission could announce the elections results on Saturday or Sunday.
** Taliban Siege of Afghan Hotel is Over **
Afghan officials say a 12-hour siege by Taliban insurgents on a hotel on the outskirts of Kabul ended early Friday and at least eight people have been killed.
Earlier Friday, authorities said security forces had freed at least 35 hostages taken by the militants.
Officials say four civilians, three hotel guards and one police officer were killed in the assault on this Hotel. The French news agency reports all the Taliban attackers are dead.
Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen attacked the hotel late Thursday, seizing civilian hostages, including women and children.
A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility, saying its fighters had targeted a hotel being used by foreigners.