WORLD IN BRIEF
Egypt Holds 31 Members Of Muslim Brotherhood
CAIRO -- Egyptian authorities detained 31 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood on Monday, police said, bringing to nearly 700 the number of members arrested since a crackdown began in March.
The men were arrested in Mersa Matruh, a vacation town on the Mediterranean coast 325 miles from Cairo. All were originally from the port city of Alexandria and were on a summer holiday, according to the group's Web site.
They were arrested for holding illegal meetings in three apartments, police officials said.
Founded in 1928 and banned since 1954, the Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's largest Islamic group and opposition political party. Membership is considered illegal, but the group is believed to have tens of thousands of followers. Its members, running as independents, hold 88 seats in parliament -- well short of a majority.
asia and the pacific
? SYDNEY -- An Australian architect, Pakistan-born Faheem Khalid Lodhi, was found guilty of planning to bomb Sydney defense sites and the city's electricity grid, becoming the first man to be convicted of plotting attacks under new anti-terrorism laws. Judge Anthony Whealy said a sentencing hearing would begin on June 29.
? MOSCOW -- President Vladimir Putin named Justice Minister Yuri Chaika as Russia's new prosecutor general, a move that analysts called an attempt to prevent the country's premier law enforcement office from falling under the sway of any of the Kremlin factions vying for position in advance of presidential elections in 2008.
Chaika, a holdover from President Boris Yeltsin's era, is regarded as a technocrat who will carefully follow Putin's edicts in the run-up to the vote. His predecessor, Vladimir Ustinov, who resigned this month, was reportedly allied with a Kremlin group dominated by former officers in the security services known as the siloviki .
Putin has said he will indicate who his preferred candidate is before the 2008 vote, and Kremlin-watchers say there is intense jockeying within his administration for his ultimate approval. The prosecutor's office is a powerful political tool that can be used by those who control it to punish or sideline opponents, according to legal analysts.
-- Peter Finn