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Chatter: Should Britain stay or should it go?

Brits are offered a choice between in and out of Europe, Israel's new government will be same-same but different, and cheese finds new ways to kill you.
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Graphic. (Antler Agency/GlobalPost)
           

                      

   

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NEED TO KNOW

Brits will get their say on whether to stay in the European Union – eventually, and only if Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives win the next general election. In a long-awaited speech, Cameron has finally promised what's been on the cards for months: an "in-or-out" referendum in which British voters decide whether they're part of Europe or not.

The choice isn't imminent: sometime before 2018 is the deadline, before which the Conservatives may well find themselves voted out. But when it comes, if it comes, the decision will be a close-run thing. From London, GlobalPost's Michael Goldfarb analyzes what's at stake.

It's time to pick teams in Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Beitenu alliance remains the largest group in parliament after yesterday's elections, but it needs to join with other parties if it's to get anywhere close to a majority.

With the surprise success of newly formed Yesh Atid ("There is a Future"), suddenly Israel's second-biggest party, it looks like Netanyahu will necessarily have to pal up with those further to the left than him – and that'll be a shock. Some are already predicting that Israel's next government, based on a fragmented political mandate and reliant on inexperienced new faces, might not last long.

How many times can you postpone a crisis? Quite a few, to judge by the combined efforts of the US Congress and President Barack Obama. Having averted a tumble off the fiscal cliff at the 11th hour, House Republicans now propose a short-term solution to the debt ceiling that would give the government until May 19 to pay its bills.

The House votes on the plan today, and the White House has already indicated it won't oppose it. See you in five months, mountain of debt.

WANT TO KNOW

North Korea doesn't take kindly to being resolved against. Pyongyang has branded "extremely unfair" the UN Security Council's latest resolution condemning its unauthorized rocket launch last month.

The regime has pledged to boost its "self-defensive military forces," including nuclear ones, regardless. That might be a tough task: the UN has added new sanctions on the North Korean space agency and individuals, and promises "significant action" if the country carries out a new nuclear test.

The Petraeus scandal just got a little less scandalous. While our attention had drifted to fresher controversies, US Defense Department investigators were plowing through the hundreds of supposedly "inappropriate" emails exchanged between General John Allen and Jill Kelley, the Florida socialite who said she received threats from General David Petraeus' mistress, Paula Broadwell.

Having finally got to the end, the Pentagon has cleared Allen of any misconduct. Respectable once more, he should be free to assume his promotion as the head of NATO forces in Europe.

STRANGE BUT TRUE

Cheese can kill you – just not in the way you think. Just because you're watching your cholesterol doesn't mean that cheddar won't combust in a fiery, cheesy inferno.

That's what happened in Norway this week, where a road tunnel had to be closed following a fire caused by a flaming shipment of gourmet cheese. And it's not the first. GlobalPost presents a brief history of flaming-cheese mishaps. Well, I'll be Edamed.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-should-britain-stay-or-should-it-go

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