Political News from Yahoo

Florida's electoral map in flux after court ruling

By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) - Florida's Republicans, stung by a judge's decision to throw out the state's 2012 congressional redistricting plan, remained silent on Friday on whether they will appeal the ruling that found they conspired to rig the boundaries to protect the party's majority in Washington. Republican leaders "would like to exercise all due diligence to review the order and discuss it with our attorneys before making any public statements," said Katie Betta, an aide to Republican state Senate President Don Gaetz, who chaired the chamber's redistricting committees from 2010 to 2012. In his ruling on Thursday, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ordered that two of the state's 27 districts be redrawn because they violated a standard approved by voters in 2010 to ban legislators from favoring or protecting incumbents. "This is a major, major milestone for the process and for progress in Florida," said Deirdre Macnab, state president of the League of Woman Voters, one of the groups that challenged the redistricting plan under which 17 Republicans and 10 Democrats were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kuwait calls for urgent Arab ministers meeting on Gaza crisis

Kuwait requested on Friday an urgent Arab foreign ministers meeting to discuss "the deteriorating situation" in the Gaza Strip, its Arab League representative said, as Israeli air strikes pound the Palestinian enclave. Israel's aerial military campaign targeting rocket-firing militants in Gaza has killed around 110 Palestinians since it began early Tuesday. The Arab foreign ministers' meeting is expected to take place on Monday, an Arab League official told AFP. Kuwait, the current rotating president of the Arab League summit, requested the meeting "to discuss the deterioration of the situation in the Gaza Strip," its permanent representative to the Pan-Arab organisation, Aziz Rahim Al-Daihani, told AFP.

Udall suggests problems with Gardner pill plan

DENVER (AP) — Democratic Sen Mark Udall is skeptical of his challenger's proposal to make birth control pills available over the counter, without a prescription.

Six killed in two Israeli air strikes on Gaza, say medics

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - An Israeli air strike early Saturday killed four Palestinians in Jebaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, emergency services said, revising an earlier report of three fatalities.

Five killed in two Israeli air strikes on Gaza, say medics

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Separate Israeli air strikes early Saturday killed three people in Jebaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, and two further south in Deir el Balah, emergency services said.

2,000 Tunisians protest against Israel's Gaza assault

Some 2,000 people, mostly supporters of the main Islamist party, protested in Tunis Friday against Israel's military offensive in Gaza, which has claimed more than 100 lives in four days. "The people want the liberation of Palestine," and "Forward Hamas, you fight for our honour," were among the slogans shouted by demonstrators, who waved Tunisian and Palestinian flags. The green and white flag of Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza, was also visible. Some protesters shouted slogans against Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whom Islamists have vilified for crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and taking a back seat as Israel pounds Hamas.

Baker to lead US delegation to Shevardnadze funeral

Former secretary of state James Baker will lead a US delegation to the funeral of his old Cold War sparring partner Eduard Shevardnadze, the former Georgian president and last Soviet foreign minister. The retired US statesman will be joined at the ceremony on Sunday by the US ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland, the White House said. Baker this week wrote in The Washington Post that Shevardnadze was his friend despite being an adversary and had played a crucial role alongside Mikhail Gorbachev at a key moment in history.

Indian PM should address Congress: US lawmakers

US lawmakers were spearheading an effort Friday to get Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited to address a joint session of Congress when he visits the United States in September. Modi accepted an invitation Friday to meet US President Barack Obama in Washington during the new Indian leader's trip to the UN General Assembly in New York. Democrat Brad Sherman and Republican Ted Poe, members of the Foreign Affairs Committee, are urging congressional leaders to invite Modi to address a joint session of Congress. "We have an opportunity to build on the US-India strategic partnership to the benefit of both our nations," they wrote in their letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Bank-stealing malware returns after US crackdown

Malicious software used to steal millions from bank accounts has re-emerged a month after US authorities broke up a major hacker network using the scheme, security researchers say. The security firm Malcovery said it identified a new trojan based on the Gameover Zeus malware, which officials said infected up to one million computers in 12 countries, and was blamed in the theft of more than $100 million. "This discovery indicates that the criminals responsible for Gameover's distribution do not intend to give up on this botnet even after suffering one of the most expansive botnet takeovers/takedowns in history," Malcovery said in a blog post Thursday. In a status report filed in court, officials said that "all or nearly all of the active computers infected with Gameover Zeus have been liberated from the criminals' control and are now communicating exclusively with the substitute server established pursuant to court order."

US hints at displeasure with Germany over spying row

The United States on Friday hinted at displeasure with Germany over its handling of a spying row, which saw the CIA chief in Berlin thrown out of the country. The White House however rejected suggestions the showdown over apparent US recruiting of double agents could damage broader ties with the Berlin government and cooperation on issues like Ukraine. White House spokesman Josh Earnest, who has all week declined to go into detail about the row because it touches on intelligence matters, did offer a window into US thinking. "Allies with sophisticated intelligence agencies like the United States and Germany understand with some degree of detail exactly what those intelligence relationships and activities entail," Earnest said.

US offers to leverage contacts in search of Gaza ceasefire

The United States said Friday that it was ready to leverage its relationships in the Middle East to try to bring about a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The US offer came a day after President Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to offer to facilitate an end to Hamas rocket fire and Israeli aerial assaults that have killed 100 Palestinians in Gaza. "There are a number of relationships the United States has that we are willing to leverage in the region to try to bring about an end to the rocket fire that's originating in Gaza and, as we saw this morning, in Lebanon," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Former NY mayor riles Colorado pols with 'rural' gun remarks

By Keith Coffman and Daniel Wallis DENVER (Reuters) - Republican politicians in Colorado have slammed former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg for saying parts of the Western state that recalled two lawmakers last year over new gun laws were so rural they didn't even have roads. Colorado's Democratic-controlled legislature passed tighter gun laws last year in the wake of the deadly shooting rampages here and in Connecticut. In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Bloomberg, a staunch advocate of gun control, blamed the National Rifle Association (NRA) for the recalls.

Sudan activists freed after torture alleged

"Thanks be to God," said mother Sabah Osman Mohammed, whose son Tajalsir Jaafar, 28, was among those freed. She told AFP that Jaafar had just contacted her by telephone to say that he, Mohammed Salah and Moamer Musa Mohammed had been released. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) confirmed to local journalists that the trio had been freed. They were detained outside the University of Khartoum on May 12, according to Girifna, a non-violent movement seeking an end to President Omar al-Bashir's government.

Commanders: Benghazi rescue hampered by info lack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two of the four U.S. deaths in Benghazi might have been prevented, military leaders say, if commanders had known more about the intensity of the sporadic gunfire directed at the CIA facility where Americans had taken refuge and had pressed to get a rescue team there faster.

Homeland secretary visits immigrant holding center

ARTESIA, N.M. (AP) — U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson visited a New Mexico detention facility housing 400 Central American women and children Friday and warned immigrants that "we will send you back" if they try crossing into the country.

Billionaire trio unite for US immigration reform

Three of the world's richest men -- Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson -- put aside their political differences to unite in scathing condemnation of US lawmakers' failure to implement immigration reform. In an opinion column in Friday's New York Times, the trio, who have a net worth of about $160 billion between them, said that a Congress paralyzed by partisanship is failing US citizens by refusing to make the compromises necessary to overhaul a system that Democrats, Republicans and President Barack Obama all say is broken. "Americans deserve better than this," the men wrote, adding that despite their political differences they would be able to draft a bill acceptable to each of them. They took particular aim at the Republican-led House of Representatives, which has stonewalled several attempts to craft legislation.

House chairman: $3.7 billion request 'too much'

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key Republican said Friday that President Barack Obama's multibillion-dollar emergency request for the border is too big to get through the House, as a growing number of Democrats rejected policy changes Republicans are demanding as their price for approving any money.