- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 24, 2005

BRITAIN

Merkel sits on fence over EU budget

LONDON — German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to take sides in a standoff over the European Union’s future budget yesterday but said all member states should be prepared to give ground.

Mrs. Merkel used her third day in office to meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair, holder of the rotating EU presidency, after traveling to Paris and Brussels the day before.

London blocked a budget deal in June by refusing to accept a curb on its annual rebate from EU coffers without a commitment to future reductions in farm subsidies that mainly benefit France.



CANADA

Parties move no-confidence motion

OTTAWA — Opposition parties, charging Prime Minister Paul Martin’s minority Liberals are too corrupt to govern, moved a parliamentary motion of non-confidence yesterday that will likely trigger an election call next week.

The three opposition parties decided to act after the report of a judicial inquiry this month found evidence of a kickbacks scheme involving government advertising contracts and some Liberal Party officials.

The non-confidence motion is expected to be approved by the House of Commons on Monday evening, leading to an election in mid-to-late January.

RUSSIA

Putin will consider amending NGO law

MOSCOW — President Vladimir Putin said yesterday he would consider making amendments to legislation aimed at clamping down on foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations in Russia.

Mr. Putin warned, however, that his administration would pay close attention to foreign governments funding NGOs, hinting that some groups were being used to influence Russian political life from abroad.

The announcement came as rights groups denounced a vote by lawmakers giving preliminary backing to a bill that would severely restrict all NGOs and foreign-funded groups in particular.

KENYA

Critics of government seek early elections

NAIROBI — The opposition called for early elections yesterday after President Mwai Kibaki dissolved his Cabinet in response to a humiliating referendum defeat on a new constitution.

The government dismissed the dissolution call as an opposition power grab. Several hours later Mr. Kibaki announced he would postpone parliament’s opening from Tuesday to next March, but stopped short of the opposition call to dissolve it.

Several hours later Mr. Kibaki announced he would postpone parliament’s opening from Tuesday to next March, but stopped short of the opposition call to dissolve it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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