Political News from Yahoo

Rocket hits Ashdod in first strike on city since 'truce'

A Gaza rocket struck the southern port city of Ashdod on Tuesday, police said, just hours after Israel agreed to abide by an Egyptian truce that was rejected by Hamas. "The rocket struck a yard outside a house in Ashdod, several people have been treated for shock," police spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement. The attack was claimed by the armed wing of Hamas, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, which said it had fired "eight Grad rockets" at Ashdod, which is home to some 212,000 people.


French soldier killed in northern Mali

Paris (AFP) - A French legionnaire was killed during a reconnaissance mission in northern Mali, taking to nine the number of soldiers to have died in the west African country since 2013, President Francois Hollande's office said Tuesday.


Mali government, rebels meet for peace talks

Malian government negotiators come to the table with rebel groups on Wednesday hoping to strike an elusive peace deal with the country mired in conflict a year after returning to democracy. Riven by ethnic rivalries, a separatist rebellion and an Islamist insurgency in its vast desert north, the west African nation has struggled for stability and peace since a military coup in 2012. The talks in the capital of neighbouring Algeria will be the first to bring together the various warring factions since an interim agreement last June paved the way for nationwide elections. The talks follow skirmishes in May between the Malian army and a coalition of rebels from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) which saw at least 50 soldiers lose their lives in the Tuareg region of Kidal.


VA cites progress on backlog; Congress disagrees

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Veterans Affairs says it has made "tremendous progress" in reducing a disability claims backlog that reached above 600,000 early last year. Members of Congress and the department's assistant inspector general don't believe it.


Federal Reserve's Yellen giving Congress good news

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen will have some good news to tell Congress this week about the health of the labor market. But lawmakers will likely press her to provide more information on just how the central bank intends to react to the good news.


House to take up highway bill as deadline looms

WASHINGTON (AP) — With an August deadline looming, the House is poised to act on a bill that would temporarily patch over a multibillion-dollar pothole in federal highway and transit programs while ducking the issue of how to put the programs on sound financial footing.


Schools a haven for many unaccompanied minors

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — After 14 years of separation from her parents and a harrowing journey across the U.S. border, Milsa Martinez finds solace in the northern Virginia high school where she's perfecting her English and learning civics and math.


Peace Corps allowing its applicants more choice

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Peace Corps will begin allowing applicants to choose the countries and programs where they want to serve as part of an update to the international service organization's application process.

Israel accepts Egypt's Gaza truce proposal

Israel's security cabinet on Tuesday accepted an Egyptian ceasefire proposal, a government spokesman said, after a week of the deadliest violence in and around Gaza in years. "The cabinet has decided to accept the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire starting 9am today," Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Twitter. Ministers in the security cabinet had begun meeting early on Tuesday to consider the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire to start immediately from 0600 GMT. Army radio noted that there had been no parallel acceptance of the initiative by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip.


BRICS to create development bank, 'mini-IMF'

Leaders of the BRICS group of emerging powers meet Tuesday to launch a new development bank and a reserve fund seen as counterweights to Western-led financial institutions. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hosts the leaders of Russia, India, China and South Africa in Fortaleza on Tuesday before talks with South American leaders the next day in Brasilia. The summit will mark the first face-to-face meeting between India's new Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.


Bulgaria plans to join EU 'banking union'

Bulgaria announced on Monday that it would seek to join a new EU set of rules known as the 'banking union' after poor bank supervision led to the collapse of its fourth-biggest lender. "There is full consensus for an immediate start of procedures for Bulgaria's entry into the Single Supervisory System of the European Union as a first step to joining the EU's 'banking union'," President Rosen Plevneliev said on Monday. The new oversight system is expected to become operational in November under the European Central Bank to supervise the eurozone banks and prevent bank failures. Bulgaria, which joined the EU in 2007, still remains outside the eurozone but it operates an IMF-led currency board arrangement that pegs its lev currency to the euro at a fixed rate.


UN leader vows to help Haiti fight cholera epidemic

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti on Monday, vowing to help the country end a cholera epidemic that has killed more than 8,500 people since 2010 and that some blame on UN peacekeepers. There had been no cholera in Haiti for at least 150 years until it was allegedly introduced by Nepalese UN peacekeepers sent there in the wake of the devastating January 2010 earthquake. The source of the cholera epidemic was traced to a river that runs next to a UN camp in the central town of Mirebalais, where Nepalese troops had been based, and the strain is the same as the one endemic in Nepal. The United Nations has up to now denied any responsibility over the outbreak and has so far not offered an apology or compensation for the outbreak, even as three different lawsuits have been filed in US courts.


Government slaps $579 million penalty on India's Reliance

The Indian government has announced a new penalty of $579 million on the country's largest private company, Reliance Industries, for failing to meet commitments to supply gas for the fourth year in a row. Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan told parliament on Monday that Reliance supplied only 9.77 million standard cubic meters per day of gas from its KG-D6 gas field in the Bay of Bengal last year, a fraction of its target of 80 million. Under the terms of the contract, Reliance can deduct all of its capital and operating expenses before sharing profits with the government. The penalty reduces the amount of expenses Reliance can deduct by $579 million, with total fines of this kind now totalling $2.4 billion since 2010, the minister was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency.


Obama tells China's Xi wants 'constructive management of differences'

By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama told Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday he wants U.S.-Chinese relations defined by more cooperation and a constructive management of differences during a phone call in which Iran and North Korea were discussed. Escalating tensions between China and some countries in the South China Sea and with Japan in the East China Sea, as well as U.S. charges over hacking and Internet spying, have provoked anger on both sides of the Pacific in recent months. A White House statement about the Obama-Xi conversation did not get into the details of U.S.-Chinese tensions. It came after two days of talks in Beijing that were an opportunity for the world's two biggest economies to lower tensions after months of bickering over a host of issues.


Assad to play Syria 'victor' at inauguration

President Bashar al-Assad on his inauguration on Thursday is expected to play the role of "victor" while trying to win over war-weary Syrians and those fearful of jihadist advances. Analysts say Assad, who was swept back to power in a June 3 election slammed as a "farce" by the opposition, will also try to convince the West his regime is a bulwark against the extremist Islamic State (IS) which is sowing terror in Syria and Iraq. "Assad wants to consolidate his image as the victor" in the regime's bid to crush a three-year rebellion, said Khattar Abou Diab, Paris-Sud University professor of international relations. The inauguration "will be a show of defiance against countries that demanded his ouster" ever since the outbreak of a popular revolt in March 2011, Abou Diab told AFP.


William Hague signals end to rollercoaster political life

William Hague's surprise resignation as foreign secretary is the latest twist in a political career that has seen soaring highs and deep lows. Now 53, Hague began as a prodigy who first caught public notice when he gave a rousing speech to a Conservative Party conference aged 16. Speaking in his native flat Yorkshire accent, the fair-haired Hague drew hearty applause from then-opposition leader Margaret Thatcher as he spoke of how people "want to be free" from government interference.


‘24: Live Another Day’s’ Crazy Finale

Jack Bauer going H.A.M. on London has finally come to an end. Showrunners Manny Coto and Evan Katz discuss that wild finale, the show’s politics, and where we’ll see Bauer go next.


Obama praises Egypt's cease-fire plan for Israel

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama praised Egypt's proposal Monday for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, telling Muslim-Americans that he's hopeful that the plan can restore calm in the wake of a deadly wave of violence.


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