world briefs: Egypt, IMF sign loan pact

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CAIRO -- Egypt reached a preliminary agreement with an International Monetary Fund team for a loan of as much as $4.8 billion that officials say is necessary to support the ailing economy and attract more funding.

The "22-month standby arrangement" for the loan, which will carry an interest rate of about 1.06 percent, will be distributed in eight quarterly amounts if it is approved by the IMF's board, Andreas Bauer, who headed the fund's technical team to the country, told reporters Tuesday.

Planning Minister Ashraf el-Arabi said the board will review the agreement next month.

Polish parliament targeted

WARSAW, Poland -- A Polish academic authorities say was fascinated with Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and upset over the economy has been arrested on suspicion of plotting to kill the nation's president and blow up Parliament.

An analysis of Breivik's Internet purchases of explosives before he massacred 77 people last year led to the suspect's arrest on Nov. 9, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Tuesday. The 45- year-old "expert in explosives" from the Agricultural University in Krakow was trying to set up a group to kill President Bronislaw Komorowski and other officials during a session of Parliament, according to prosecutors.

The suspect's name wasn't made public.

Acquitted of blasphemy

ISLAMABAD -- A Pakistani court on Tuesday acquitted a Christian girl accused of blasphemy over the burning of the Muslim holy book, her lawyer said.

The ruling was the final chapter in a case that caused an international outcry over Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws, which are very popular in the country and are primarily used against supposed offenses to Islam.

In August, the young Christian girl was arrested in Islamabad after a Muslim cleric accused her of desecrating the Muslim holy book, the Quran. The cleric was later accused of fabricating evidence against the girl, whose mental capacity was subsequently questioned.

Bribery charges levelled

LONDON -- Two former confidants of Britain's prime minister have been charged with conspiring to pay public officials in exchange for stories and information .

Britain's Crown Prosecution Services said Tuesday that former tabloid editors Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks were among five people being charged with conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Prosecutors said that Ms. Brooks, a neighbor, close friend, and political ally of Prime Minister David Cameron, conspired with journalist John Kay to funnel as much as 100,000 pounds ($160,000) to Ministry of Defense employee Bettina Jordan Barber in return for a stream of stories that were published in Mr. Murdoch's The Sun newspaper.

Prosecutors also alleged that Mr. Coulson, who until last year served as Cameron's top press aide, conspired with journalist Clive Goodman to pay officials for access to a royal phone directory.

Ex-UBS trader sentenced

LONDON -- Kweku M. Adoboli, a former UBS trader, was sentenced to seven years in prison after he was found guilty Tuesday of fraud for actions that prompted a multibillion-dollar trading loss at the Swiss bank.

After deliberating for five days, the jury returned a guilty verdict on two charges that Adoboli had dishonestly abused his position from 2008 to 2011. But Mr. Adoboli was found not guilty on four counts of false accounting. It is unclear whether he will appeal the prison sentence.

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