- The Washington Times - Monday, September 18, 2006

ISRAEL

Inquiry is orderedin to Lebanon war

JERUSALEM — The Israeli Cabinet yesterday authorized an inquiry into the government’s handling of the recent war with Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon, capping weeks of disagreements over the scope of the investigation.

The inquiry, led by a retired judge, will examine decisions by political and military leaders before and during the monthlong war.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Cabinet that the inquiry would have powers comparable to those of a state commission, which is the most sweeping inquiry. But it did not appear it would have the power to dismiss officials.

SWEDEN

Opposition alliance wins parliamentary vote

STOCKHOLM — A center-right opposition vowing to revamp Sweden’s famed welfare state ousted the Social Democratic government in a close parliamentary election yesterday.

Social Democratic Prime Minister Goran Persson, who had governed for 10 years, conceded defeat and said his government would resign after the party’s worst election showing in decades.

With 99 percent of districts counted, the four-party opposition alliance led by Fredrik Reinfeldt had 48 percent of the votes, compared with 46.2 percent for the Social Democrats and their two allied parties. The center-right alliance has vowed to trim but not radically change the welfare system by cutting taxes and costly benefits.

SINGAPORE

World Bank chief fingers corruption

SINGAPORE — Governments, companies and financial institutions must unite against corruption to fight poverty and political instability, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz said yesterday.

Mr. Wolfowitz said the topic would top the agenda when the bank’s development committee — its main policy-setting body — meets today.

The committee is to discuss a strategy paper on the subject, Mr. Wolfowitz said, adding that he thought there was a growing consensus on the urgency of the issue. “It’s a hard fight. You don’t win it overnight,” he said.

SUDAN

Notorious rebel boss reportedly emerges

NABANGA — The head of Uganda’s notorious Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, Joseph Kony, has arrived at an assembly point in Sudan as agreed in a truce to end his devastating insurgency, a delegate said yesterday.

Confirmation of the presence of Kony would be a huge boost to what is widely seen as the best chance for an end to a two-decade-old war in northern Uganda, which has been one of the world’s worst and most neglected conflicts.

“They’re all there. [LRA No. 2] Vincent [Otti] and Joseph [Kony] are there. We are going to discuss the next phase — a comprehensive solution,” said Martin Ojul, head of an LRA mediating team.

MOLDOVA

Rebel region votes on independence

TIRASPOL — Ex-Soviet Moldova’s rebel Dnestr region voted yesterday in a referendum expected to back the territory’s self-styled independence declared 16 years ago and its eventual union with Russia.

There is little doubt that voters in the Russian-speaking sliver of land bordering Ukraine will overwhelmingly back their hard-line leaders’ call to underpin their independence.

But just as no one recognizes the independence of Dnestr, which has undergone little apparent change since communism fell, no Western country will endorse the vote as legitimate. Only Russia, which keeps 1,200 troops in the region, has called for the outcome to be honored.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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