Political News from Yahoo

Obama sending Kerry to Cairo for talks

Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama expressed concern over the loss of life in Gaza in a call to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Sunday, and said Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cairo to seek an end to the fighting.

Israel PM says 'very strong' world support for Gaza assault

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday there was "very strong" international support for the military's ongoing operation in Gaza that has killed more than 430 Palestinians in 13 days. "We are carrying out a complex, deep, intensive activity inside the Gaza Strip and there is world support for this ... very strong support within the international community for the activity that the IDF is doing," he said at a press conference in the defence ministry in Tel Aviv. Netanyahu has said Israel won "international legitimacy" for its military operation in Gaza after it accepted an Egyptian truce proposal on July 15 which was shunned by Hamas. "As a democratic state, Israel is using the legitimate tools of self-defence to try and harm those who are firing rockets at us.

UK's Cameron tells Putin shooting down MH17 'unacceptable'

British Prime Minister David Cameron told Russia's Vladimir Putin the shooting down of the MH17 passenger plane was "totally unacceptable" and appeared to be the work of Russian separatists. "The evidence suggested that pro-Russian separatists were responsible and the Prime Minister made clear that if Russia wants to put the blame elsewhere they would need to present compelling and credible evidence," a press release about the phonecall from Downing Street said. Cameron urged Putin to use his influence with pro-Russian separatists to ensure experts can access the site of the crash, which killed almost 300 people on Thursday, collect evidence and repatriate the victims. "The G7 and EU had repeatedly called on President Putin to cease support for the separatists and to work with the rest of the world to find a peaceful resolution.

French PM defends ban on pro-Gaza rally after violence

France's prime minister on Sunday defended a controversial decision to ban a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Paris that went ahead anyway and descended into violence. The rally Saturday in a northern district of the French capital was initially peaceful, but scores of men later clashed with riot police, throwing stones and bottles at security forces who responded with tear gas, sending locals and tourists scurrying. "What happened again yesterday in Paris -- unacceptable unrest -- justifies all the more the brave choice by the interior ministry to ban a demonstration," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Sunday. Just hours after his comments, a rally in the Paris suburb town of Sarcelles that had also initially been banned ended in chaos as several cars were burnt, others had their windows smashed and young protesters lit firecrackers and smoke bombs.

Germany's Schaeuble warns ECB on asset bubbles

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned the European Central Bank on Sunday that a loose monetary policy runs the risk of causing asset bubbles. "We can't just leave the avoidance of bubbles to government supervision," he told the Handelsblatt business daily. Schaeuble, speaking in a joint interview with his French counterpart Michel Sapin, said that "in parts of the property market there are signs that bubbles are forming", reiterating earlier warnings. "I do not believe in political discussions about the exchange rate, which is set by the market," he said, adding that government intervention had "never led to a good result".

Tunisia closes media outlets for promoting jihad

Tunisia has closed a satellite television channel and a radio station for promoting jihad, a few days after jihadists killed 15 soldiers, the government said on Sunday. Many radio and television stations operate in Tunisia without permission. The government has also decided to close mosques "working outside the supervision of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, as well as mosques, where celebrations of the death of our soldiers have been confirmed".

Philippine leader signs law for warnings on tobacco products

Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who has been criticised for his own inability to quit smoking, has signed a law requiring tobacco companies to print graphic warning pictures on packets, his spokesman said Sunday. The bill signed Friday has long been campaigned for by health advocates but is opposed by the tobacco industry. In 2013 Aquino signed a "sin tax" bill dramatically raising the taxes on tobacco products. The Philippines is the latest developing country to follow Western nations in requiring shock pictorial health warnings.

Senate race zeroes in on metro Atlanta, north Ga.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Neither Republican running in Georgia's closely watched Senate race has a natural advantage in metro Atlanta, where the state's most populous area and a ring of northern exurbs are serving as the key battleground ahead of Tuesday's runoff.

Time for Russia to 'get out' of Ukraine: Britain

Britain's Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Sunday it was time for Russia to "stop interfering" and "get out of eastern Ukraine". Fallon said Russian President Vladimir Putin was encouraging the ethnic Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. "They need to get out of East Ukraine and leave Ukraine to the Ukrainians," he told The Mail on Sunday newspaper. Britain believes the evidence surrounding the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane crash in east Ukraine, which killed all 298 people on board, points to it being shot down by Russian separatists.

Hamas 'stubbornly' refusing ceasefire bid: Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday blamed Hamas for the continuation of the conflict in Gaza, saying the Islamic militants were refusing all ceasefire efforts. "They've been offered a ceasefire and they've refused to take the ceasefire," Kerry told ABC television, adding Hamas has "stubbornly" refused efforts to defuse the conflict "even though Egypt and others have called for that ceasefire." By its behavior, Hamas had "invited further actions" by the Israelis to stop the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, Kerry said.

Putin's Russia risks burning bridges over jet crash

Russia risks burning bridges with the West over the deadly Malaysian plane crash in Ukraine, as analysts warn that President Vladimir Putin might never accept responsibility for the disaster. Observers said Thursday's shooting down of a Boeing 777 with 298 people on board over Ukrainian territory held by pro-Kremlin rebels would have unpredictable political and economic consequences for Russia. "We are witnessing a tectonic clash between Russia and the West," Yuly Nisnevich of the Moscow-based Higher School of Economics told AFP. "Russia's isolation will very much deepen."

Israel army: 13 soldiers killed Sunday in Gaza  

Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed in fighting inside Gaza on Sunday, the army said, in what was the highest number of troops killed in combat since 2006. "Over the course of the day, 13 soldiers from the IDF's Golani Brigade were killed in combat in the Gaza Strip," an army statement said. Their deaths raised to 18 the total number of soldiers killed since Israel began a ground operation in Gaza late on Thursday, in what was the highest casualty figure since the 2006 Lebanon war. "We know that in battle there are casualties," Israel's Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said after the news was released.

Egypt vows to punish attackers in checkpoint assault

Egypt vowed on Sunday to punish the attackers who killed 22 border guards in its western desert near the frontier with restive Libya. Egypt's presidency said "the heinous crime that took these brave souls and spilled their blood will not go unanswered". "Terrorism will be uprooted from every part of Egypt. Egypt authorities declared a three-day period of mourning from Sunday.

US sharpens criticism of Hamas, urges cease-fire

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Sunday sharpened its criticism of Hamas and urged the militant Palestinian group to accept a cease-fire agreement that would halt nearly two weeks of fighting with Israel.

Foreign Secretary Hammond admits he would vote to leave EU

Britain's new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond confirmed Sunday he would vote to leave the EU unless London can repatriate powers from Brussels. Hammond said without changes to Britain's relationship with the European Union, he expected the country would vote to leave the bloc in a referendum, which Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to hold in 2017 if his Conservatives are reelected next year. "If there is no change at all in the way Europe is governed, no change in the balance of competences between the nation states and the EU, no resolution of the challenge of how the eurozone can succeed and co-exist with the non-eurozone; Hammond said there had to be a "repatriation of powers to the nation states" and things should only be done on a European level where "absolutely necessary".

Bosnia buries 284 war victims two decades on

Kozarac (Bosnia-Hercegovina) (AFP) - Thousands gathered on Sunday for a final farewell to 284 people killed in Bosnia's 1992-1995 war, after their remains were exhumed from one of the largest mass graves found in the country. "I hope it will be easier now," said 48-year-old Suad Tatarevic, who came to bury some 40 family members lost to the mass killing, including his father and six brothers. His family were executed by Bosnian Serb forces as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing at the beginning of the war. Their bodies were among hundreds dumped in a huge mass grave found last year in a disused mine in the northwestern village of Tomasica.

US turns up heat on Russia over downed plane

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Sunday turned up the heat on Russia for its support of Ukrainian separatists accused by the United States of shooting down a Malaysian passenger plane.

How the AP-NORC Center poll was conducted

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll on finding a doctor and evaluating provider quality was conducted from May 27 to June 18 by NORC at the University of Chicago. The survey was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.