-The leader of Greece‘s socialist party, Evangelos Venizelos, has abandoned efforts to form a new government. Mr Venizelos, the third leader to try to forge a coalition following Sunday’s inconclusive elections, said he would meet the president on Saturday in a last-ditch effort to avoid fresh polls. There has been no breakthrough in Mr Venizelos’ talks with other parties.
-While Greek politicians attempt to cobble together a new government, Germany’s Finance Minister said the eurozone would survive if Greece were to leave the single currency. The eurozone economy is forecast to shrink this year as its debt crisis continues to bite. In the mean time, the European Commission’s spring forecast confirmed its prediction of a 0.3% contraction in 2012 in the economies of the 17 countries that use the euro. Growth figures for the first quarter of 2012 will be released by the European statistics agency Eurostat on Tuesday 15 May.
-A day after car bombings killed at least 55 people in Damascus, another attempted suicide attack has been foiled according to Syrian state TV.The international community has condemned Thursday’s blasts, for which there has been no claim of responsibility.
-NATO and the U.S. military apologized today to the families and loved ones of Afghans killed in coalition airstrikes this month in two villages. The deaths occurred May 4 in the village of PanKalay and May 6 in Nowbar, the coalition said.
-Indonesian rescue workers have recovered the first bodies from the mountainous terrain where a Russian superjet crashed on Wednesday, killing all 45 people onboard. The country’s national search and rescue agency said that it had found the bodies of 12 victims. Most of the dead are Indonesian aviation officials, although eight Russians were also on board. Indonesia and Russia are to cooperate on a joint investigation into the cause of the incident.
-An alliance of Algerian Islamist parties has failed in it bid to take control of the country’s parliament, a year after Arab Spring protests. The ruling National Liberation Front and a sister party together won a majority 288 seats in Thursday’s election. The Islamist Green Alliance came in a distant third with just 48 seats. Despite high hopes for a continued push for democratic reform, commentators say the election was characterised by voter apathy, with an estimated turnout of just 43 percent.
-A brother of one of those killed by Anders Behring Breivik has thrown a shoe at the defendant, interrupting his trial in the Norwegian capital Oslo. The shoe missed Breivik, hitting his defence lawyer. Breivik, 33, admits killing 69 people at a youth summer camp on Utoeya island and eight in a bomb attack in Oslo on 22 July 2011. But he denies criminal responsibility.
-Former newspaper executive Rebekah Brooks, at the centre of Britain’s phone hacking scandal, has been laying bare her close ties to top politicians. She told the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics that Prime Minister David Cameron was among those who commiserated with her when she had to quit in disgrace. Brooks used to edit Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, which closed last July amid claims it hacked into the voicemail of public figures and a murdered schoolgirl. She was arrested over the allegations but denies any wrongdoing.
–Lionel Messi has been dragged into the row about racism in football, but his club Barcelona insists that accusations against the three-time world player of the year are “well wide of the mark.”Messi is said to have frequently directed a racial term at Real Madrid’s Royston Drenthe during matches in the Spanish top flight.
Sources: BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, Reuters, euronews, NYT, WSJ