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Politics Today: Pro-settler party poised for big pickup in Israeli election

Israelis walk past an election campaign billboard of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Givataim, Israel, on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013.

Oded Balilty/AP

Politics Today is your daily guide to some of the stories we're watching in Ottawa and across Canada, by The Globe and Mail's team of political reporters.

More planes, more weeks?

Canada's "one plane, one week" military contribution to France's efforts in Mali has been extended, though to how many weeks and planes is unclear, Campbell Clark reports. In announcing the original contribution of a C-17 to transport equipment and troops, the Harper government was insistent on fears of mission creep. Not that the Opposition will mind – NDP critic Paul Dewar said yesterday the mission should be extended.

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Israel's critical election

Israelis go to the polls today in an election many say has been uninspiring, but could turn out to be as critical as when the country first elected the right-wing Likud party as its government in 1977.

While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be returned to office, it likely will be with a greatly reduced number of his own Likud party members.

To shore up his support, Mr. Netanyahu entered into an alliance for this election with the Yisrael Beitenu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Polls, however, show the combined list likely will garner substantially fewer seats than the two parties had in the outgoing Knesset.

The pro-settler Jewish Home party, rejuvenated by its charismatic new leader Naftali Bennett, will get fewer votes than the Likud-Beitenu combo, but could end up with more seats than either one of them individually.

If brought into a new coalition as expected, Mr. Bennett, who insists there never should be any kind of Palestinian state, will be in a very influential position.

– Patrick Martin in Jerusalem

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Climate ch-ch-changes

If you're in Thunder Bay, good luck today, but generally Canadian is getting warmer.  As Anna Mehler Paperny reports, Environment Canada is updating its "new normal" guidelines to reflect an uncertain climate. This will have big effects on government spending, especially by municipalities, and will effect agriculture, building codes, infrastructure and more.

Obama and climate change

If you were sure Monday morning the Keystone XL pipeline would eventually be built, you were likely a little less certain after U.S. President Barack Obama's inaugural address. Climate change was a major point in Mr. Obama's speech, signalling it could be a second-term priority, though it remains to be seen how far he'll go after little movement in his first term.

Atleo is back

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo is recovered and will be back at work this week, he says. Mr. Atleo says he's hoping to press ahead with a meeting with the Prime Minister that had been planned for Thursday, until it was possibly pre-empted by a meeting Jan. 11. Much as been made of the internal disagreements within the AFN, but the interim leader while Mr. Atleo was gone insists the organization has patched up some of its disputes while he was gone.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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