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Ban sought on U.S. adoptions

MOSCOW - Some Russian lawmakers are calling for a ban on adoptions of Russian children by American citizens, in a bid to toughen their response to a new U.S. law that seeks to punish people from Russia who are accused of violating human rights.

The new law, signed by President Obama last week, bars those accused of rights abuses from traveling to the United States and from owning American real estate or other financial assets. It infuriated Russian officials, including President Vladimir V. Putin.

Putin last week voiced support for a plan to impose comparable sanctions on U.S. judges and others accused of having violated the rights of Russian children adopted by Americans. On Friday, the lower house of parliament approved the first version of such a bill.

But some lawmakers are now pushing an amendment that would ban all adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens. A vote could come as soon as Wednesday. - N.Y. Times News Service

Congo rebel is acquitted

PARIS - The International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, said Tuesday that it found testimony against a former rebel leader "too contradictory and too hazy" to convict him of a gruesome 2003 attack on a village in Congo in which some 200 people were hacked to death and female survivors were raped and held in camps as sex slaves.

The acquittal of the leader, Mathieu Ngudjolo, 42, was only the second verdict issued by the court since it opened its doors a decade ago. It drew harsh criticism from rights groups, who faulted prosecutors for not assembling a stronger case.

The trial had been tightly focused on the events of Feb. 24, 2003, in the village of Bogoro. Prosecutors said the attackers used machetes to preserve bullets and burned some civilians alive. The judges said they did not question that villagers had suffered but that there was not enough evidence to convict Ngudjolo of murder, rape, and using child soldiers.

- N.Y. Times News Service

Zuma reelected to lead ANC

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa - President Jacob Zuma, who has faced frequent criticism as an ineffective leader, was reelected Tuesday for a second term as head of the ruling African National Congress.

Zuma, who has faced frequent scandals, including the use of public money for renovations to his house and corruption charges that were inexplicably dropped in 2009, called for party unity after the vote.

The conference also elected wealthy businessman and former unionist Cyril Ramaphosa as the party's deputy president, making him the probable national deputy president after the 2014 elections.

Ramaphosa's wealth may make him a target for criticism in a country still struggling with entrenched economic inequality.

- Los Angeles Times