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World Briefs

EGYPT

Mubarak party members allowed to run in elections

CAIRO — Former members of Hosni Mubarak's political party won legal backing Monday to run in Egypt's first parliamentary elections since the ouster of the longtime leader.

The Supreme Administrative Court overturned a ruling that had barred members of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party from contesting the election in one province. Monday's ruling applies nationwide and cannot be appealed.

The decision went against the wishes of many segments of the protest movement that took part in Egypt's uprising, including Islamists, liberals and secular youth groups. However, there was little immediate reaction from those groups, which still have hope that a promised law will weed out some former regime figures found to have been involved in corruption.

UNITED KINGDOM

London considers missiles to protect Olympics

LONDON — Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said Monday that he rules nothing out to protect London during the 2012 Olympics, including the possible use of surface-to-air missiles.

He told Parliament that if the military recommends it, "appropriate ground-to-air defense" could be in place.

Mr. Hammond was responding to a question from his predecessor Liam Fox, who resigned as defense secretary last month.

Mr. Fox noted that surface-to-air missiles had been in place for the Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta games and asked Mr. Hammond to confirm that there would be "a full level of multilayered defense and deterrence" for the upcoming London event.

BURKINA FASO

Worries grow concerning arms trafficking from Libya

OUAGADOUGOU — Burkina Faso and Niger are concerned about regional security because the conflict in Libya likely has resulted in new arms trafficking, Niger's prime minister said Monday.

"It is a major concern, the trafficking of arms is a real threat to the region," Rafini Briji said on a visit to Ouagadougou.

"The conflict in Libya has created very complicated situations since the arms depots were opened and people from all quarters helped themselves and took [weapons] in all directions."

Mr. Briji said Niger and Burkina Faso are worried about armed groups and the concentration of weapons all around their two West African nations.

FRANCE

Hostages freed in Yemen after five months

PARIS — Three French hostages kidnapped by al Qaeda militants in Yemen more than five months ago arrived home Monday after being freed following what tribal sources said was a ransom payment.

The plane carrying the three aid workers, two women and a man who have not been identified, touched down at a military airport outside Paris, where they were welcomed by Foreign Minister Alain Juppe.

On Monday, a tribal chief who led the mediation efforts with al Qaeda said a "ransom was paid" to secure the release of the hostages, but he did not reveal the amount or say who paid it.

France insisted that it had not paid for their release.

"We do not pay ransoms," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said at a news conference.

CHINA

Spacecraft dock in orbit for second time

BEIJING — Two unmanned Chinese spacecraft successfully docked together for a second time Monday, state-run media reported, in China's latest step toward placing its own space station in orbit.

The Shenzhou 8 craft redocked with the Tiangong 1 module that will form part of a future space lab, and the two were jointly orbiting Earth, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the mission's control center.

About 30 minutes before the Monday evening docking, Shenzhou 8 had successfully disengaged from the module after a 12-day flight together, Xinhua said.

In a commentary, Xinhua said the Shenzhou 8 mission had "laid a solid steppingstone for deep space exploration."

"The autonomous docking know-how now enables China to build space stations, resupply them, transfer astronauts and rescue them," it said.

One expert said not needing to have crews on board when docking spacecraft was a big step toward building a space station and developing a human spaceflight program.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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