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The radio station said the rebels continue to hold the town of Rutshuru and nearby Kiwanja and that thousands of people had fled in recent days. More than 260,000 civilians have been forced from their homes in recent months, according to U.N. agencies. Some have fled across the borders to Uganda and Rwanda, others toward the southern provincial capital of Goma.

Maj. Olivier Hamuli, an army spokesman, said soldiers made a strategic retreat from Rutshuru “to avoid a bloodbath” of civilians.

“Actually, the operations at the front are running well,” he said.


West Bank Government in financial crisis

RAMALLAH | The cash-strapped Palestinian self-rule government is finding it harder each month to stay afloat, its finance minister said Thursday.

The Palestinian Authority is struggling with its worst financial crisis in years, in part because key donor countries, including the United States and some Arab nations, so far have not sent aid they promised for 2012.

“Each month is becoming more and more difficult,” said Finance Minister Nabeel Kassis, a German-educated nuclear physicist. “We are tightening the belt, we are having only one meal a day, so to speak, and after a while, we will become just too weak to continue.”

The Palestinian government had hoped to close a projected $1.1 billion deficit in the 2012 budget of about $4 billion with the help of foreign aid but is expected to fall short by about $250 million. It has tried to reduce the deficit, among other things by raising income taxes for high earners and cutting back on subsidies.

South Africa

White extremist found guilty of treason

JOHANNESBURG — A Supreme Court judge ruled Thursday that the leader of a small white extremist organization was guilty of treason in a 1990s plot to overthrow the country’s African National Congress government.

Judge Eben Jordaan on Thursday described South African Mike du Toit, a former teacher at a segregated apartheid-era university, as the “main role player” in a thwarted “war plan” to stage bomb attacks and kill former President Nelson Mandela.

He said du Toit recruited supporters from among hard-line white Afrikaners for his far-right Boeremag, or Boer Force.

Another 21 members were charged with treason in a trial that has dragged on more than nine years. Sentencing is expected next month. They all face life imprisonment. South Africa has no death penalty.

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