ISRAEL

Talks begin on naming head of new government

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin began consultations Sunday with representatives of the country's political parties as a prelude to naming the head of a new government, presumably incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu.

Although it is widely assumed that Netanyahu will continue as prime minister, it is up to the president to determine who will form a governing coalition, but he has no power to dictate its composition. Rivlin is expected to announce his decision this week.

Before last week's elections, Rivlin expressed a desire to see a unity government led by Netanyahu's conservative Likud Party and the more liberal Zionist Union, headed by Isaac Herzog. But after Likud's decisive victory at the polls, Netanyahu brushed aside that possibility. On election day, Netanyahu prodded his supporters to counter the "masses of Arabs" converging to vote, sparking widespread controversy.

The controversy lingered Sunday.

"This is the time to begin a process of mending and healing in Israeli society," Rivlin said. - L.A. Times
SYRIA

Rebels seize airmen

Syrian insurgents captured several government airmen after their helicopter crashed in a rebel-held area of northwestern Syria on Sunday, activists said. The Idlib Media Center and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the helicopter went down near Jabal al-Zawiya in Idlib province. The aircraft experienced a technical malfunction and made an emergency crash-landing, according to the observatory. Syria's state news agency confirmed that a helicopter had crashed and said the authorities were looking for the crew. - AP
TUNISIA

Antiterror law in works

Tunisia's president said the country is preparing laws to bolster its fight against terrorism and is still seeking one suspect in last week's attack on a museum in the capital that left nearly two dozen dead. "We're against a police state" Beji Caid Essebsi, 89, said on Europe 1 Radio. "But I say that liberties cease when abuses begin, and we are the victims of abuses from fanatics." He didn't give details of the new legislation. Tunisia has largely avoided the turmoil seen in other Arab countries following the revolts of 2011. - Bloomberg