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Poor little dictator

The week's news at a glance.

The Hague

The war crimes trial of former Liberian strongman Charles Taylor was halted before it could even start this week, when Taylor claimed he could not afford a lawyer. Taylor, who is charged with arming rebels who killed and mutilated hundreds of thousands of civilians in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, said he is in a state of “partial indigence.” A United Nations report, though, found that Taylor has access to several million dollars of the nearly half-billion-dollar fortune he amassed during his reign. He also refused the court’s proposal to give him $50,000 a month for his defense. “What’s been offered to Taylor, presuming he’s indigent, which we doubt, is very adequate,” said prosecutor Stephen Rapp.

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