Political News from Yahoo

US commander hails successful drills with China

Singapore (AFP) - A top US commander has praised China's participation in huge US-led drills seen as a step towards potentially thawing tensions between the two powers, saying it had gone "very, very well".


Miller faces sales job on $17B VA health care bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Before being elected to Congress, Rep. Jeff Miller was a real estate broker. His background in sales will come in handy as the Florida Republican tries to a sell a $17 billion deal to improve veterans health care to a GOP caucus that includes tea party members and other conservatives dead set against raising the deficit.


Obama going to dinner as clock ticks toward recess

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is taking four Kansas City residents out to dinner to chew over the concerns of heartland Americans, with little time remaining for action on pressing issues before Congress begins its August recess.


Senate to vote on highway money as deadline looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is set to take up legislation to keep federal highway money flowing to states, with just three days left before the government plans to start slowing down payments.

Iran's supreme leader accuses Israel of Gaza 'genocide'

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Tuesday accused Israel of committing "genocide" in Gaza and called on the Islamic world to arm Palestinians fighting "the Zionist regime". In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei said Israel was acting like a "rabid dog" and "a wild wolf" in acts that are causing a human catastrophe and which must be resisted. "A people surrounded in a small place with closed borders, unsure of having water and electricity, this population faces an armed enemy," he said of three weeks of fighting in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians and 53 Israelis. Khamenei dismissed talk of a ceasefire in Gaza, saying it was a ploy by the United States and European states to save Israel and said Hamas should be re-armed, rather than disarmed as otherwise they will be "unable to defend themselves".


Slovenia resumes privatisation of state-owned companies

Slovenia's outgoing government resumed the privatisation of state-owned companies it had suspended earlier this month, Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek's cabinet said in a statement late on Monday. Ahead of the July 13 elections, Bratusek froze the ongoing privatisation of 15 state-owned companies, including telecommunication operator Telekom and Ljubljana's airport, until a new government was elected. Outgoing Finance Minister Uros Cufer had criticised the freeze saying it was "pre-electoral move" by Bratusek, aimed at challenging the main favourite to take over the government, political newcomer Miro Cerar, who opposed the privatisation of infrastructure companies.


Ex-Philip Morris workers lead Uruguay tobacco crackdown

During the two decades Daniel Gomez spent in the cigarette business at Philip Morris in Uruguay, he never imagined he would one day be promoting and enforcing anti-tobacco laws. "It's unusual, but we were left without work from one day to the next, on the street, and it was hard to reinsert ourselves into the labor market," said Gomez, who spent most of his career in cigarette quality control. Their group is called the "October 21 Cooperative," named for the day in 2011 that Philip Morris International shut its Uruguayan factory, complaining that anti-tobacco rules and black-market cigarettes were putting it out of business. It was the first country in Latin America to ban smoking in public spaces, a measure it enacted in 2006 under then president Tabare Vazquez, a cancer doctor who made anti-tobacco legislation a personal crusade.


Poor, restive French town once housed Nobel prize creator

It's one of the poorest suburb towns in France, riddled with unemployment, drugs and violence. The Swedish inventor of dynamite who is best known for the prizes that bear his name worked in the town northeast of Paris at the end of the 19th century, says Daniel Mougin, a local expert on Sevran's history. At the time, the Seine-Saint-Denis department to which Sevran belongs -- the poorest in France -- did not exist. "Alfred Nobel was based... in a luxury house on Malakoff avenue", an upmarket area in Paris, says Mougin.


Mexico, California question Texas border troop plan

Mexico's foreign minister and the visiting governor of California questioned Monday plans by Texas to deploy troops to stem the flow of immigrant children, saying they need humanitarian aid instead. Governor Jerry Brown, on a visit focused on boosting trade with California's southern neighbor, said the Texas plan must be a short-term measure and that he hopes "wiser minds will prevail over the next several months." The Democratic politician was referring to a plan announced last week by Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican seen as a potential 2016 presidential election candidate, to send 1,000 National Guard reservists to the enormous and porous border US-Mexico border.


Russia sanctions may undermine EU's recovery

The EU is expected to take the plunge Tuesday and impose tougher sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, but the measures could hit its own struggling economy -- especially should Moscow reply in kind. "It is clear that there is a risk of Russian reprisals," one EU diplomat said, noting that Moscow has repeatedly used trade embargoes to put pressure on former communist states such as Moldova or Georgia seeking closer ties with the European Union. As if on cue, Moscow announced Monday a ban on the import of processed fruit and vegetables from Ukraine, and warned of similar steps against the European Union. The International Monetary Fund last week cut its 2014 global growth forecast to 3.4 percent from 3.7 percent, in part because of the Ukraine crisis, and warned that sanctions against Russia would hurt Europe.


Ethnic hate speech reveals roots of Kenya violence

Kenya takes pride in being a union of "42 tribes", but a string of attacks in towns on its volatile Indian Ocean coast has exposed bitter and explosive ethnic tensions linked to politics. The series of killings in which around 100 people have died in recent weeks have provoked warlike political speeches, alarmist headlines, and offensive and inflammatory messages on social media. "There has been a surge of dangerous speech," said 26-year-old Nanjira Sambuli, a project leader of Umati, an online project monitoring hate speech, based in Nairobi's sleek iHub offices. The gruesome massacres near the tourist island of Lamu in June were claimed by the Shebab, Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents, saying the murders were retaliation for Kenya's military role in their country.


U.S. says Russia violated nuclear treaty, urges immediate talks

By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In another sign of deteriorating relations between the United States and Russia, the U.S. government said on Monday that Moscow had violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty, and urged immediate bilateral talks on the issue. "This is a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now," an administration official said in a statement. "We encourage Russia to return to compliance with its obligations under the treaty and to eliminate any prohibited items in a verifiable manner," the official said. The official did not describe how Russia violated the treaty.

Russia has violated arms treaty by testing cruise missile: US

The United States has found that Russia violated a 1987 arms control treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile, a senior US official said late Monday, calling the matter "very serious." The finding comes in a 2014 report that concluded Russia was in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which barred it from possessing, producing or flight-testing such cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, the official told AFP. President Barack Obama has sent a letter to his counterpart Vladimir Putin on the subject, which the administration official described as "a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now."


US: Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an escalation of tensions, the Obama administration accused Russia on Monday of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time.


Syria rebels advance towards key airport in Hama province

Syrian rebels pressed on with a fresh advance in the central province of Hama, as they tried to take out its military airport, a rebel commander and a monitor said Tuesday. "The rebels are now nine kilometres (six miles) away from Hama military airport, which they want to put out of action," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman. A rebel leader in the area, Yusef al-Hassan, said Hama military airport was important because "that is where the regime makes its barrel bombs, and warplanes take off from there to carry out air strikes on (opposition-held) areas across Syria".


Cameron vows to 'put British first' in battle for vote

Britain's prime minister announced new measures to cut immigration on Tuesday in a bid to lure voters from eurosceptic rivals 10 months from a general election. "We are making changes to put the British people first," David Cameron wrote in an editorial in The Telegraph newspaper. Cameron's centre-right Conservative party is keen to win back voters who flocked to the eurosceptic, anti-immigration UK Independence Party in European parliament elections in May. The prime minister's editorial listed a series of measures already taken to limit migration to Britain, including a cap on entry from outside the European Union and closing colleges thought to be helping illegal immigration.


Rocket attack kills girl in Egypt's Sinai: security

A nine-year-old girl was killed when a rocket hit the ground outside a house in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, in an apparent attack targeting soldiers, security officials said. Another girl, 10, was wounded in the blast south of the town of Sheikh Zuwaid in northern Sinai on Monday. The rocket was apparently targeting a security patrol that was passing through the area, security officials said. Soldiers and police have been combing the area and the military says it has killed dozens of militants in north Sinai in several operations last week.


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