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Olmert faces corruption charges

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accepted envelopes full of cash from a U.S. businessman, the chief prosecutor said yesterday in his most graphic public account of a corruption case against Mr. Olmert.

Mr. Olmert has denied any wrongdoing in the case, which threatens to force him from office and disrupt his U.S.-brokered peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador, speaking at a Supreme Court hearing, said investigators suspected New York businessman Morris Talansky had given Mr. Olmert “dollars, in cash and in envelopes, during brief meetings from time to time.”

The prime minister acknowledged this month that Mr. Talansky had raised funds for his two successful campaigns for mayor of Jerusalem in 1993 and 1998, a failed bid to lead the right-wing Likud bloc in 1999 and a further internal Likud election in 2002.

Mr. Olmert said his former law partner had handled the details, and voiced confidence that the lawyer had made sure proper procedures were followed.

Israeli law broadly prohibits political donations of more than a few hundred dollars, but a judicial source said the sums involved totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Kidnapped youths forced into sex, labor

KAMPALA — Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels have abducted at least 100 children from neighboring countries to use as sex slaves and laborers, an international human rights group said yesterday.

Peace talks between the government and the rebels appeared to stall last month when LRA leader Joseph Kony, wanted for war crimes, failed to appear at a signing ceremony on the Sudan-Congo border.

“Kony and the LRA took advantage of the breathing room given to them and appear to be terrorizing civilians yet again,” said Richard Dicker, international justice director at Human Rights Watch.

Kony’s 21-year insurgency has claimed tens of thousands of lives and displaced 2 million people. Kony and two of his deputies are wanted for abducting children, massacres and mutilations.

U.S.-based Human Rights Watch accused the rebels of kidnapping children in mineral-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and oil-producing south Sudan, as well as in the Central African Republic.

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