tampabay.com

Losses by labor fall short of predictions

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 5, 2007


ENGLAND

Prime Minister Tony Blair's Labor Party suffered considerable losses in local elections held Thursday, but the numbers fell short of the disaster that many analysts and polls had predicted. The setback, coming in the final days of Blair's decade-long tenure, was viewed as a rebuke to the prime minister. In Scotland, the Labor Party, which has dominated for half a century, fell behind the surging Scottish National Party, which picked up 20 seats in the 129-member local assembly. The SNP, which has promised a referendum on independence from Britain, won 47 seats to Labor's 46. In elections for the 10, 000 local councils in England, projections put the opposition Conservative Party's share of the vote at 40 percent, with Labor's at 27, slightly above its result in the last local elections.

ISRAEL

U.S. offers plan on travel, security

The United States has proposed to Israel and the Palestinians a set of modest goals for easing Palestinian travel and bolstering Israeli security. But the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, distracted by its struggle to remain in power after scathing criticism of its performance in last summer's war against Hezbollah, is unlikely to adopt some of the American ideas because of its security concerns.

Elsewhere

Ukraine: The county's warring president and prime minister reached an agreement on Friday to hold early parliamentary elections, defusing a monthlong political standoff. A committee will decide an election date.

Somalia: Former warlord Mohamed Dheere was sworn in as mayor of Mogadishu on Friday and immediately ordered residents of the Somali capital to get rid of their weapons.

Vatican City: Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami met Friday with Pope Benedict XVI for talks the Vatican hoped would help heal tensions left from the pontiff's remarks on Islam and violence.