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Former dictator Suharto falls ill

Published May 5, 2006

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Former Indonesian dictator Suharto was hospitalized Thursday with internal bleeding but released several hours later, a presidential doctor said.

Brig. Gen. Marjo Subiandono said Suharto, 84, was in stable condition.

It was the fourth time since May 2004 that Suharto has been hospitalized for intestinal bleeding.

Suharto was a general who rose to power by crushing Indonesia's communist movement. He ruled the world's fourth-most-populous nation for 32 years with a tough hand, only to be chased from office in 1998 by street protests. Two years later, he was indicted for allegedly embezzling $600-million.

Due to his poor health, Suharto avoided trial on corruption charges, becoming an increasingly isolated figure in recent years, looked after by his children, all of whom became extremely wealthy during their father's reign.

Olmert's government takes over in Israel

JERUSALEM - Ehud Olmert was formally sworn in as Israel's prime minister Thursday with his new coalition government, winning parliamentary approval to pursue his goal of drawing Israel's final borders by 2010.

In his first major policy speech to the new legislature, Olmert said Israel needs to shed isolated settlements in the West Bank but will keep major settlement blocs.

The Parliament approved Olmert's four-party coalition in a 65-49 vote of confidence, but Olmert said he hoped to expand his team - an effort to increase his backing ahead of a West Bank redeployment sure to evoke strident and possibly violent opposition from some Israelis.

His Kadima Party won only 29 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. To gain a majority, Olmert had to break his own rule of signing on only those parties that back his West Bank plan, bringing in the hawkish ultra-Orthodox Jewish Shas faction to join the Labor and Pensioners parties.

Olmert told the Parliament he still hopes to add up to three parties.

Elsewhere ...

Sudan: Negotiators in Nigeria worked past a Thursday deadline to salvage a peace agreement for Sudan's Darfur region. Last-ditch revisions offered concessions to the Sudanese rebels, and the international community urged them to accept the deal aimed at resolving a crisis that has cost at least 180,000 lives.

North Korea: North Korea cannot feed its people and could face another famine like the one that killed up to 3-million unless it changes its "regressive" food policies, a U.S. rights group warned Thursday. New York-based Human Rights Watch said the communist state's decision last year to reject international aid, resume full-scale state distribution of food and ban the private sale of grain is already showing signs of problems.

[Last modified May 5, 2006, 08:36:25]

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