- - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

ATHENS — Greece headed into a month of political uncertainty after power-sharing talks collapsed Tuesday, triggering new elections that could determine whether the country retains its tenuous position in Europe’s monetary union.

Nine tortured days of fruitless talks to build a coalition government fueled increasing doubt that Greece can make enough reforms to prevent the world’s largest currency federation from fracturing.

No date has been set for the elections, but they will have to be held by mid-June when Greece must make more spending cuts to ensure it meets the terms of its international bailout. A caretaker government will be appointed until then.

The uncertainty has created alarm across the continent, with key leaders fearing that Greece could be forced out of the euro, triggering shock waves throughout the 17-country eurozone.

UNITED KINGDOM

Ex-tabloid editor charged in phone scandal

LONDON — One of Rupert Murdoch’s most trusted lieutenants and five people close to her were charged Tuesday with conspiring to hide evidence of phone hacking, bringing the scandal that has raged across Britain’s media and political elite uncomfortably close to Prime Minister David Cameron.

The charges against former tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks, her husband Charles and four aides are the first prosecutions since police reopened inquiries 18 months ago into wrongdoing by the country’s scandal-hungry press.

Mrs. Brooks, 43, faces three separate allegations of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

For years, Mrs. Brooks was the star in Mr. Murdoch’s media empire, the top editor of two of his tabloids, a friend of his daughter Elisabeth and a close friend of Mr. Cameron, who has known her husband since they both went to an elite high school.

ECUADOR

Authorities find cash in crashed plane

QUITO — Authorities have found $1.3 million in cash in a plane from Mexico that crashed into a rural hillside, Ecuador’s anti-drug chief said Tuesday.

Gen. Juan Carlos Barragan said officials counted up the cash and also found the remains of two Mexican men and three dogs in the wreckage of the plane that went down at about 8:40 p.m. Sunday. Officials have said the flight was probably part of a money-laundering or drug-buying operation.

The two men were identified as 22-year-old Santiago Alfonso Lopez Monzon and 36-year-old Cruz Alfredo Solis Lopez.

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