Political News from Yahoo

Hollande made BNP Paribas plea to Obama in April: Elysee

French President Francois Hollande has already written to US President Barack Obama in defence of BNP Paribas bank, threatened with huge sanctions on charges of embargo breaches, Hollande's office said on Wednesday. In a statement before Hollande and Obama meet for dinner, the Elysee Palace said that two months ago the French president urged Obama to take account of what it described as "disproportionate" penalities being lined up to hit the bank. These penalties, which could also include action crimping the bank's ability to provide services in dollars, are reported to amount to more than $10 billion (7.4 billion euros) on charges that BNP broke US sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2002 and 2009. A diplomatic source said that the threat hanging over the bank would would be one of the issues Hollande will raise when he meets Obama for the dinner, against the background of D-Day World War II celebrations.

Californian county votes in health services measure for illegal immigrants

Voters in California's Alameda County passed a measure on Tuesday that is expected to raise $100 million a year for health clinics for illegal immigrants, who are excluded from state programs and the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. On May 23 a measure to include illegal immigrants in the state's Medi-Cal program for the poor to residents who are undocumented stalled in the state senate, and immigration reform proposals have also stalled in U.S. Congress for the past year. "Our elected officials, our constituents, and our health authority see healthcare as a basic human right, to be provided regardless of immigration status," Alex Briscoe, Director of the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency, said. About 7 percent of California's population - 2.6 million people - are undocumented, and in 2012 the state spent more than $600 million on emergency room and other health-related services alone for people living in the state illegally.

California voters support plan to spend $600 million for homeless veterans

By Jennifer Chaussee BERKELEY Calif. (Reuters) - California residents have voted for a plan to spend $600 million to build houses for homeless veterans in the state with the highest number of ex-servicemen without a roof in the United States. Under the plan backed by voters in a primary election on Tuesday, the state will sell bonds to build apartments and temporary shelters for qualifying veterans or those recovering from physical injuries or mental health issues. California has about 25 percent or 19,000 homeless veterans, according to the Coalition for Veterans Housing support group. With the winding down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of those returning need housing, employment, and mental health and drug treatment.

Obama gives backing to Ukraine's new president

By Natalia Zinets and Roberta Rampton WARSAW (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama endorsed Ukraine's president-elect Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday, offering Kiev financial and security help and saying he was the right choice to lead the country locked in a stand-off with Moscow. At their first meeting since the billionaire confectionary magnate was elected last month against a backdrop of armed clashes in Ukraine's east, Obama said he was impressed by Poroshenko's vision for pulling his nation out of crisis. They reject violence," and want the opportunity to determine their own future, Obama told reporters after meeting Poroshenko in the Polish capital. "That's the hope that President Poroshenko represents," Obama said.

US calls on China to account for Tiananmen on anniversary

The United States on Wednesday called on China to account for those killed, detained, or missing in the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989, as Washington marked the 25th anniversary of the pro-democracy revolt. "Twenty-five years ago, the United States deplored the use of violence to silence the voices of the peaceful demonstrators in and around Tiananmen Square," the statement from the White House said. It comes as tensions simmer between the two countries on issues ranging from alleged hacking by the Chinese military into private US firms to displeasure in Washington with what it calls Beijing's aggressive behavior in the South China Sea.

Japan to act on child porn possession

Japan edged closer to banning the possession of child pornography on Wednesday, the last major developed country to do so, but paedophilia portrayed in the country's popular manga comics will be exempt. Under current laws, only the production and distribution of child pornography are banned, a situation that campaigners say is damaging to children. A revised law would ban possession of photographs and videos depicting real children, but would exclude "manga" comics and "anime" video, following calls to protect freedom of expression. "The primary reason (for the new rule) is to protect the rights of real children.

Pennsylvania governor badly trails Democratic challenger in poll

By Edith Honan NEW YORK (Reuters) - Pennsylvania Republican Tom Corbett, considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent governors in the country, trails Democratic challenger Tom Wolf by 20 percentage points five months ahead of November's election, a poll released on Wednesday showed. Wolf, a businessman who poured his personal fortune into the four-way race for the Democratic nomination in May, leads Corbett 53 to 33 percent in the governor's race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. "There's no good news anywhere for Gov. Corbett," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said in a statement. "Gov. Tom Corbett looks like easy prey for Democratic challenger Tom Wolf." Corbett has struggled with poor approval ratings for much of his first term as governor.

The real NSA scandal is overseas

Last week Edward Snowden popped up from his exile in Moscow for an exclusive interview with NBC News anchor Brian Williams. Like much of the public narrative that has emerged since Snowden absconded with reams of classified documents from the National Security Agency, the interview further muddied the waters about what his historic leaks have revealed.

New round of South Sudan peace talks delayed

A new round of talks on ending South Sudan's nearly six-month-old civil war have been delayed, mediators said Wednesday. No explanation was given for the latest delay in the talks, which are aimed at building on a ceasefire agreement signed last month and paving the way for more face-to-face talks between President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar, a former vice president. "We won't have the talks today," a source close to the peace process told AFP in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital and seat of the African Union, where previous rounds of talks have been held. Face-to-face talks between the warring parties will likely "be determined after the symposium," the source said.

If Kate Middleton’s Butt Could Speak

Royal families, and the public, seem to want young royal women to be decorative and on-message—we obsess about wardrobe malfunctions, not their words. Let Kate and Letizia speak, and fulfill passionate public roles.

My Visit to OITNB's Prison

I went to the set of Litchfield Prison and witnessed the magic behind Orange Is the New Black's incredible pop-culture rise. Spoiler alert: it was the best day ever.

The Sky Explodes Over Luhansk

Heavy gunfire rocked a Ukrainian base Tuesday night, a day after Ukrainian military rockets killed eight unarmed civilians—an attack rebels say lost Kiev the war for this eastern city.

Music’s Future Will Screw Songwriters

In the digital age, the idea that everything is free has brought genuine hardship to the music business in general and to composers most of all.

A Tony Voter Tells All

There’s only one Tony voter who really counts—the one willing to talk to us about the golden battle between jukebox shows, drag, Disney, historical dramas, and revivals of revivals.

The Bergdahl Story Is Right-Wing Crack

Never mind that Bush would have done the same as Obama. Republicans are hitting the pipe big time on the ‘deserter’—and their creepy bottom line is that he should have been left to die.

Should Google Be Mapping Tribal Lands?

The search engine's indigenous mapping project presents itself as a powerful expression of empowerment for tribal communities worldwide, but it could bear huge consequences.

The New World of Anti-Aging Dentistry

Worth an estimated $11 billion, the plastic surgery market has medical professionals scrambling for a share of the vanity pie. The newest group to enter the ring: dentists.

Just Don’t Call It an ‘Abortion Comedy’

Hailed as an ‘abortion comedy,’ ‘Obvious Child’ isn’t about politics—it’s about a woman’s struggle with herself as a person. This wouldn’t work without the kind humor of Jenny Slate.