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Rocket found on Sharon’s ranch

Jerusalem Israeli soldiers on a routine patrol uncovered an unexploded Palestinian rocket Saturday at Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s ranch in the southern Israeli desert, security officials said.

While the homemade rocket, fired two weeks ago, did not cause any damage, it raised concerns that Sharon’s ranch was within range of the projectiles, the security officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters. The incident would mark the third time rockets have hit Sharon’s Sycamore Ranch.

The prime minister’s official residence is in Jerusalem, but Sharon often stays at his personal home in southern Israel’s Negev Desert. He was at his home on the ranch when the rocket found Saturday was fired, the officials said.

Merkel to focus on budget, jobs

Berlin Chancellor-designate Angela Merkel said Saturday that cutting unemployment and Germany’s budget deficit will be her priorities as leader, and she added that a month of “hard work” will be needed to get a new government in place.

Germany’s persistently high jobless rate – currently 11.2 percent – helped bring down outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s center-left coalition in last month’s parliamentary election.

Merkel told the weekly Der Spiegel in an interview published Saturday that “unemployment must fall in this parliamentary term.”

She gave no numbers. Schroeder once promised to get the number of Germans out of work below 3.5 million, only to see the number peak above 5 million earlier this year.

Soccer star leading in Liberian election

Monrovia, Liberia A former soccer star whose rise from a Monrovia slum has captivated Liberia’s youth had a firm lead in early returns in the country’s presidential race, an electoral official said Saturday.

George Weah led a field of 22 candidates with 32 percent of votes tallied so far, followed by Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former finance minister with a degree from Harvard University, with 18 percent, National Elections Commission chairman Frances Johnson-Morris told reporters.

A candidate must win 51 percent of the Oct. 11 poll to avert a runoff, and electoral officials say a second round vote is likely in early November.

Johnson-Morris said the latest results were based on 628,851 votes, or about 74 percent of recorded turnout.

‘Dr. Death’ reportedly tracked to Spain

Jerusalem A Nazi war criminal notorious for sadistic experiments that killed hundreds of prisoners during World War II has been tracked to Spain, according to media reports Saturday. Spanish police said they had not yet found the man.

The German weekly Der Spiegel said Spanish investigators believe the 91-year-old suspect, Aribert Heim, has been in Spain recently.

During the war, Heim earned the nickname “Dr. Death” for experimenting on inmates at the Buchanwald and Mauthausen camps. His research included performing surgery without anesthesia and injecting prisoners with gasoline, poison and lethal drugs to see how much their bodies could take before dying, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said.


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