- The Washington Times - Monday, June 8, 2009

BRITAIN

Ally defends prime minister

LONDON | The embattled British prime minister’s top Cabinet ally warned rebels Sunday to “stop taking shots” at Gordon Brown as the ruling party awaited European election results that it expects to be terrible.

Peter Mandelson, the new first secretary of state, said the campaign against Mr. Brown — which has seen 10 ministers resign in a week — could spark an unwanted general election.

Despite Mr. Mandelson’s intervention, former Lord Chancellor Charles Falconer, a close friend of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, called for an “urgent debate” on Mr. Brown’s leadership.

IRELAND

Prospects improve for Lisbon treaty

DUBLIN | The European Union’s Lisbon treaty would be passed “quite comfortably” in an expected second referendum in Ireland later this year, according to a European election exit poll published Sunday.

Voters interviewed as they left polling booths Friday said they would back the treaty by 54 percent, with 28 percent saying they would vote “no” and 18 percent still undecided.

Lansdowne Marketing Research carried out a poll for public broadcaster RTE and the Sunday Independent newspaper.

In a shock result in a referendum last June, 53.4 percent voted “no” and 46.6 percent voted “yes,” sparking a major crisis in the European Union. The treaty must be ratified by all member states.

FRANCE

City snubs China, with Dalai Lama

PARIS | Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama renewed his attack on China’s “totalitarian regime” Sunday as he prepared to be made an honorary citizen of the French capital Paris.

Although he has insisted that his latest tour of Europe is nonpolitical, the Buddhist leader has made a point of meeting with non-Tibetan Chinese dissidents and accused Beijing of plotting repression in his homeland.

The visit has proved a diplomatic challenge to France, which is still trying to patch up ties to China, strained in recent months by a December meeting between President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Tibetan leader.

Beijing accuses the Dalai Lama of being a leader of Tibetan separatists.

GERMANY

Swine flu hits U.S. hospital

BERLIN | The U.S. military says two cases of swine flu have been confirmed in soldiers at its medical center in Landstuhl, Germany.

Europe Regional Medical Command spokesman Steve Davis says four additional service members — two Navy and two Air Force personnel — with flulike symptoms have “probable” cases of the virus.

Mr. Davis said Sunday that one Navy sailor had recently been in Italy but that the others had not been outside Germany.

All were sharing a common area at the Landstuhl hospital.

UKRAINE

Election dispute wrecks coalition try

KIEV | The leader of Ukraine’s pro-Moscow Regions Party on Sunday rejected proposals for parliament to elect the president, wrecking the chances of a government coalition with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

Regions Party chief Viktor Yanukovich had for the past days been in coalition talks with the faction of his one-time rival Mrs. Tymoshenko, in search of a deal that would have caused a political earthquake in Ukraine.

The coalition talks between Mr. Yanukovich and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc were reportedly aimed at installing the Regions Party leader as Ukraine’s next president with Mrs. Tymoshenko staying on as a powerful prime minister.

They were also focused on implementing changes to the constitution that would have seen the president elected by the parliament rather than universal suffrage.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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