In brief: Egypt to return NGOs’ equipment, money

SATURDAY, DEC. 31, 2011

Washington – The Egyptian government has agreed to return equipment and money seized Thursday from Egyptian, American and other nongovernmental groups and to begin formal talks over their disputed participation in Egypt’s political system, U.S. State Department officials said Friday.

U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson “sought and received Egyptian leadership assurances that the raids will cease and property will be returned immediately,” said a statement by a senior administration official.

Egyptian activists and U.S. officials reacted with outrage when authorities seized laptops, cellphones, other equipment and cash from the Egyptian offices of at least 17 nongovernmental groups. Among them were three U.S.-based groups: the National Democratic Institute, Freedom House and International Republican Institute.

Abortion doctors charged with murder

Washington – Authorities say two out-of-state doctors who traveled to Maryland to perform late-term abortions have been arrested and charged with multiple counts of murder, an unusual use of a law that allows for murder charges in the death of a viable fetus.

Dr. Steven Brigham, of Voorhees, N.J., was taken into custody Wednesday night and is being held in the Camden County Jail, according to police in Elkton, Md. Authorities also arrested Dr. Nicola Riley in Salt Lake City and she is in jail in Utah. Each is awaiting an extradition hearing.

Brigham, 55, is charged with five counts of first-degree murder, five counts of second-degree murder and one count of conspiracy. Riley, 46, faces one count each of first- and second-degree murder and one conspiracy count.

Maryland is one of 38 states that allows murder charges to be brought against someone accused of killing a viable fetus. The 2005 state law has so far only been used for cases in which defendants were accused of assaulting or killing pregnant women.

U.S., U.A.E. reach $3.48 billion arms deal

Washington – The United States has reached a deal to sell $3.48 billion worth of missiles and related technology to the United Arab Emirates, a close Mideast ally, as part of a massive buildup of defense technology among friendly Mideast nations near Iran.

Pentagon spokesman George Little announced the Christmas Day sale on Friday night.

He noted that the U.S. and U.A.E. have a strong defense relationship and are both interested in “a secure and stable” Persian Gulf region.

The deal includes 96 missiles, along with supporting technology and training support that Little says will bolster the nation’s missile defense capacity.

The deal includes a contract with Lockheed Martin to produce the highly sophisticated Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, weapon system for the U.A.E.


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