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Israeli police widen probe into Olmert donations

Israeli police raided Jerusalem's City Hall on Monday, searching offices and confiscating documents as part of a widening corruption inquiry against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

Olmert is suspected of illicitly accepting large sums of cash from a Jewish American donor. Some of the donations are believed to have been made during Olmert's 10-year tenure as mayor of Jerusalem.

Police said the seized documents were connected to Olmert's time as mayor, between 1993 and 2003.

Also Monday, a poll said six of 10 Israelis think Olmert is not capable of promoting peace with the Palestinians. Sixty percent also said they don't believe his claim that he didn't funnel money into his own pocket. The survey had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

Israel

Israel demands soldier

be freed before truce

Egypt dispatched its powerful intelligence chief to Israel on Monday in an attempt to mediate an end to months of violence in the Gaza Strip, but Israeli leaders said there would be no truce unless Gaza militants release an Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Schalit, whom they have held captive for nearly two years.

Meanwhile, militants fired a rocket from Gaza that struck a house in an Israeli village, killing a 75-year-old woman, the military and rescue services said. Islamic Jihad said it fired rockets at the time of the fatal attack.

Venezuela

Chavez blasts Merkel

with Hitler remark

President Hugo Chavez suggested German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party shared the ideals of Adolf Hitler after she said the Venezuelan president doesn't speak for all of Latin America.

Chavez lashed out at Merkel late Sunday, describing her conservative Christian Democratic Union party as "the same right wing that supported Hitler and fascism."

Merkel's spokesman, Thomas Steg, said she would not add to what she said in a recent interview — that no single country could harm overall relations between the European Union and Latin America. "The comments of President Chavez speak for themselves," Steg said.

Russia

Putin gets right to work, picks Cabinet

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wasted no time in naming his new Cabinet on Monday, bringing in loyalists from the Kremlin in what was seen as an effort to shift the center of power to his new place of work.

He also left several prominent ministers untouched, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

President Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's hand-picked successor who was inaugurated last week, approved the appointments.

Elsewhere

Haiti: A U.N. official said the bodies of two teenagers have been found near a capsized Haitian sailboat, raising the death toll to 13.

Haiti: Lawmakers say they have rejected President Rene Preval's pick to fill the prime minister's office, international banker Ericq Pierre.

Chad: Chad closed its border with Sudan on Monday and halted bilateral trade, a minister said, a day after Sudan severed diplomatic ties with Chad.

Liberia: Liberia banned all food exports Monday, saying profiteers have been taking advantage of its cheap rice prices to truck the grain to neighboring countries to sell at higher prices.

Times wires

Israeli police widen probe into Olmert donations 05/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:30pm]

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