Ehud Olmert

Olmert remains defiant as he begins prison term

JERUSALEM — Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday began a 19-month prison sentence for bribery and obstruction of justice, defiantly proclaiming his innocence in a farewell video as he became the first Israeli premier to be placed behind bars.

His imprisonment capped a stunning fall from grace that ended Israel's last serious round of peace efforts with the Palestinians and ushered in the era of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Olmert checked into the Maasiyahu prison in central Israel early Monday.

He is being held in a special unit known as the VIP section because it houses people who cannot be held with the general prison population for security reasons. He becomes the fifth prisoner in the ward, which can house 18 inmates.— AP

U.S. denies reports that drone crashed in Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia — The U.S. military denies reports from residents and rebels in southwestern Somalia that a U.S. drone with six missiles crashed Monday in a rebel-held village in the Gedo region.

A spokesman for the U.S. Africa Command, Chuck Prichard, said all their "assets in this area are accounted for and we have no indication that any were involved in this reported incident."

U.S. drones have killed several leaders of Somalia's al-Shabab Islamic extremists over the past year.— AP

Tourist 'lucky to be alive' after being treed by tiger

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Dutch tourist who survived a tiger attack in the jungles of southwestern Nepal over the weekend by climbing a tree said Monday that he's lucky to be alive and will now have a story to tell when he returns home.

Gerard Van Laar said he was attacked by the tiger when he and his Nepalese guide were hiking in Bardia National Park on Saturday.

"I would have been dead if it had not been for Krishna (the guide)," Laar said. "All of a sudden, I heard a roar and a growl, and the tiger was heading toward us at full speed."

He was able to escape by climbing a tree. The guide was attacked and slightly injured as he ran away to draw the attention of the tiger.

The tiger returned and circled the tree while Laar tried to stay quiet about 20 feet above the ground. About two hours later, the guide came back with help and they shouted and used sticks to drive away the tiger.

The guide was hospitalized for a day. Laar was not hurt.— AP

Britain wants to ban boycotts on Israeli goods

LONDON — The British government intends to ban public institutions in the country from banning the purchase of goods from Israel.

It will unveil rules later this week that will make it harder for local town halls and public universities to enact boycotts on Israeli products, spurred by growing popular anger around the collapse of the Middle East peace process.

The new British rules will be announced by Matt Hancock, Britain's Cabinet office minister, on a visit to Israel this week.

— The Washington Post

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