World Bulletin/News Desk
Israel's main centre-left parties may join forces against conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Jan. 22 election that he is currently forecast to win easily, one of the challengers said on Saturday.
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni, head of the centrist Hatenuah party, said on Twitter that she would meet counterparts from the kindred Yesh Atid and left-leaning Labour "to discuss the creation of a 'united front' to work together to replace Netanyahu".
Opinion polls see the three parties taking around 37 of parliament's 120 seats in the vote - collectively, enough to best the some 35 projected for Netanyahu's joint rightist list and, potentially, to form the next Israeli coalition government.
Netanyahu is a two-term premier who takes credit for the relative stability of the Israeli economy and appeals to the Jewish state's burgeoning religious-nationalist sectors by championing the settlement of occupied land. He has sounded hawkish on the Palestinians and Iran but avoided big conflicts.
Israel's festering international isolation has been seized on by Livni, who as top diplomat in the former government pursued inconclusive talks on founding a Palestinian state.
The leaders of Yesh Atid and Labour, Yair Lapid and Shelly Yachimovich, are new to politics and known to much of the public from their former jobs as television commentators. Their campaigns have focused largely on social reform.
Any alliance of the Netanyahu challengers would likely require that they agree power-shares and policies in advance.
Yachimovich said this week she intended either to be the next prime minister or to sit in opposition, and that Labour would not join a Netanyahu-led government. Livni and Lapid have yet to do the same.
"A unified move by ... all those who seek to change the government will be real and meaningful only if such parties act as we did," Yachimovich said in a statement confirming that she had agreed to meet Livni.
By collectively ruling out a future coalition partnership with Netanyahu, Yachimovich said, challengers could "plant enormous hope in the heart of the public ... and bring about grassroots mobilisation for a determined and spirited struggle".
Lapid played down his scheduled meeting with Livni, telling Reuters that he would go at her invitation "because I'm a polite man". He said he had not agreed to discuss uniting the parties.
The Netanyahu government was unfazed by Livni's initiative.
"I wish that the other side, to the left, would coalesce, because that would hone the differences between us," Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon of the ruling Likud said in a speech.
In an apparent dig at Lapid and Yachimovich, Yaalon rued "the immodesty and immaturity in the desire of certain people to jump straight into the cold water of being prime minister, without passing through any stations along the way".
The move envisions forming a unity government within five weeks and holding national elections six months.
Candido Van-Dunem, who had held the post since 2010, will be replaced by Joao Lourenco, a former secretary-general of the MPLA ruling party
About 22,000 people took refuge in the U.N. base in Bentiu, the capital of the oil producing Unity State, after the killings
Pollsters say UKIP has siphoned off much of its support from disgruntled right-wing Conservative voters. But they say it is also stealing traditional Labour supporters
State media said Maher Abdel-Hafiz Hajjar - a member of the government-sanctioned opposition and formerly a member of the Communist Party- had nominated himself
A man and two children were injured when an Israeli aircraft fired on them in the city of Beit Lahia.
Moscow is "extremely surprised by the distorted interpretation (of the agreement) by the Kiev authorities and the American partners," the foreign ministry said.
A remote Sunni village of roughly 2,000 people, Tfail is surrounded on three sides by Syria, and the primary route to the rest of Lebanon goes through its neighbour.
Russia conducted military exercises in its south-eastern Rostov region, which borders Ukraine
Northern England is overall less wealthy than the country's south, which hosts England's capital and economic powerhouse London.
Rights groups accuse Azerbaijan of muzzling dissent and jailing opponents, charges the government denies.
Katanga's interior minister gave a provisional toll of 56 dead and 69 injured but said the toll was expected to rise
China's modernising navy has taken an increasingly assertive stance in guarding what it sees as its sovereign maritime territory in the East China and South China Seas.
Christian Arabs, who are actually Palestinians, are among the 1.6 million Arabs who refused to leave their homes despite the Israeli occupation.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye appealed to his Chinese counterpart as the North looks set to defy UN obligations.