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Egyptian charged with espionage stuns court with Israel

Published May 16, 2007



An Egyptian accused of spying for Israel praised the Jewish state for its advanced technology on Tuesday and said documents he passed on were so outdated they posed no threat to Egypt's security. Mohammed Sayed Saber, 35, a nuclear engineer with Egypt's atomic agency, has been charged with stealing secret documents and giving them to the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. "I don't hide my admiration of Israel. ... It has reached a very high technological and scientific level, " Saber said. "They are a very organized and pragmatic society with definite goals, unlike chaotic societies. ... I don't have animosity toward the Israeli people - why should I? The fact that we had wars against Israel doesn't mean that we remain enemies forever." Saber has never visited the Jewish state. His comments were so unusual that Judge Mohammed Reda Shwakat, presiding over the three-judge panel, called him from the defendant's cage to the bench and questioned him for almost four hours as defense lawyers watched. The hearings were adjourned until June 9. Saber faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.


Rancher found guilty in killing of nun

Brazilian rancher Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura was found guilty Tuesday of ordering the killing of American nun and rain forest defender Dorothy Stang, a judge announced after a two-day trial. De Moura was convicted of masterminding the killing of 73-year-old Stang on Feb. 12, 2005, along a muddy stretch of road deep in the rain forest. Judge Raymond Moises Alves Flexa sentenced de Moura to 30 years in prison, the maximum sentence in a case seen as a crucial test of whether the government could crack down on lawlessness in the Amazon.


Candidate wants to honor WWII figures

The granddaughter of wartime Prime Minister Hideki Tojo, who was executed for crimes against humanity, said Tuesday she will run for a parliamentary seat in July to "restore the honor" of those who gave their lives for Japan. Yuko Tojo, 67, told the Associated Press she will run as an independent from the Tokyo constituency for the legislature's upper house. Tojo called for a national debate on punitive postwar treaties imposed on Japan "to show appreciation and respect toward for those who gave their lives for Japan, and to restore their honor." Gen. Tojo, prime minister from 1941 to 1944, who is enshrined with Japan's 2.5- million war dead at Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, ordered the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that plunged the United States into World War II. Yuko Tojo contended in a 1992 memoir that her grandfather had no choice but to take Japan to war after the country's survival was threatened by a U.S. oil embargo.


Drug trade threatens hummingbird species

There's a new chirp in the forest but it may be choked by the slashing and burning of trees by coca farmers, researchers said. The gorgeted puffleg, a rare hummingbird that boasts a plumage of violet blue and iridescent green on its throat, has been discovered living in the cloud forests of southwestern Colombia, researchers announced. The species - known by its scientific name Eriocnemis isabellae - was confirmed by two of the world's leading specialists on the puffleg, Karl L. Schuchmann, curator of ornithology at Zoological Research Museum A. Koenig in Germany, and F. Gary Stiles of the Instituto de Ciencias Naturales at Colombia's Universidad Nacional de Colombia. Colombia has the world's largest variety of birds, more than 1, 800 species.


3 arrested in transit attacks are freed

The British police on Tuesday released three of four people arrested a week ago in connection with the London bombings of 2005, including the widow of one of the bombers. The July 7 attack, in which suicide bombers killed 52 people, was London's bloodiest peacetime atrocity. The three had been held under counterterrorism laws allowing detainment of suspects for up to 28 days without charge. Police must seek judicial approval to keep suspects in detention. The spokesman said a fourth man was still in custody. In the past, Muslim leaders in Britain have expressed outrage at the police for arresting suspects only to release them without charge.


Doctor injected 275 with hepatitis C

A Spanish anesthesiologist with hepatitis C was sentenced to prison Tuesday for infecting 275 people with the virus by injecting them with morphine from the same needles he used to feed his own addiction. In sentencing Juan Maeso, 65, to 1, 933 years in prison, the Valencia Provincial Court said he tainted the patients by first giving himself a portion of morphine shots meant for them, then shooting the rest into them without changing the syringes. The most he can serve under Spanish law is 20 years.


Nazi archives: Copies of documents from a secretive Nazi archive, locked away in a quiet German town for more than 50 years, will be released to Holocaust institutions within a few months under an agreement reached Tuesday. The 11-nation governing body of the International Tracing Service, which runs the archive in Bad Arolsen, Germany, voted to begin distributing electronic copies of the documents to member states as soon as they are ready.

Philippine election: International observers of elections in the Philippines said they witnessed threats and vote-buying inside some southern precincts, and police said two more people were killed in violence related to the voting. Official results were not expected for weeks as the ballots were being counted by hand.

Bus hijacked in Italy: Three armed men hijacked a bus Tuesday in northern Italy and set it on fire after freeing the passengers, officials said. An off-duty police officer was injured and two of the three hijackers, both Albanian, were apprehended.

[Last modified May 16, 2007, 02:19:11]

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