- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 10, 2012

ISRAEL

The Kadima party could lose a large faction of lawmakers because of its leader’s decision to join the Israeli government, The Washington Times has learned.

In a phone interview Thursday, Kadima lawmaker Shlomo Molla said “more than seven” of the party’s 28 Knesset members were prepared to bolt if there is not a “dramatic change” in the government’s policies “before the end of June.”

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a deal with new Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz to bring the large centrist party into his coalition, which is dominated by the Likud party and other right-wing blocs.

The pact nullified Mr. Netanyahu’s call just two days earlier for early elections, and all but ensured that his government would serve until October 2013, when its term expires.

EUROPEAN UNION

Parliament backs curb on roaming fees

BRUSSELS — The European Parliament on Thursday approved a clampdown on mobile network operators to protect consumers from paying excessive prices for using their phones and tablet computers abroad.

In a 578-10 vote with 10 abstentions, the legislature backed a deal to make it cheaper to make phone calls, download email and use the Internet when abroad in other EU countries.

The caps on fees will take effect July 1 at the start of the European summer vacation season, when many vacationers all too often are the unwitting victims of overspending on high roaming costs only to find out when the bill comes in later.

ALGERIA

Vote touted as fair, but voters apathetic

ALGIERS — As parliamentary elections unfolded across Algeria on Thursday, voting appeared to be light for much of day in the capital, despite the contests being billed as the freest in 20 years.

A coalition of Islamist parties is hoping to replicate the election successes of other Islamists across North Africa in the wake of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings of 2011, but they face stiff competition from two government parties with entrenched networks.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika spent the past several months urging Algerians to come out and vote, alternating promises of bold new reforms after elections with warnings that foreign powers might invade Algeria if there is a low turnout.

Story Continues →