Political News from Yahoo

Hundreds rally for detained Sudan ex-PM

Hundreds of supporters of detained former Sudanese prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi rallied on Friday despite a show of force by police and security agents. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) arrested Mahdi, chief of the opposition Umma Party, on May 17 after he reportedly accused a counter-insurgency unit of abuses against civilians. Mahdi, a descendant of Sudan's legendary Islamic reformer known as the "Mahdi", is also a religious leader revered by followers in his Ansar al-Islam movement. Dozens of vehicles from the riot police, NISS and police special forces were on standby in the area.

Northern Mali rebels agree to ceasefire: diplomat

Bamako (AFP) - Armed rebels who humiliated Mali's army in a deadly offensive across the northern desert agreed to a ceasefire on Friday after talks with African Union chairman Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, a diplomatic source said.

House ethics panel defers probe of NY lawmaker

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee has put its investigation of indicted Rep. Michael Grimm on hold so the Justice Department can proceed with its own probe of the lawmaker, the committee said Friday.

Kidnapped Woman Feared Deportation

How could someone live an outwardly normal life—but be held against her will? California police say the threat of being deported kept undocumented immigrant silent for a decade.

Jealous man castrates and kills French mayor

A jealous man castrated and murdered the mayor of a hamlet in northern France whom he suspected of having an affair with his girlfriend, officials said Friday. Mayor Dominique Leboucher, 55, was brutally stabbed in the neck by a 39-year-old electrician, the prosecutor of the northern city of Caen told reporters. The attacker had no previous police record and was "clearly very much in love" with his girlfriend, Catherine Denis said.

Kerry: I’ll testify on Benghazi, but only to one House committee

Secretary of State John Kerry offered Friday to testify on Benghazi before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – but cautioned that doing so would “remove any need” to appear before the new House Select Committee formed to investigate the tragedy.

Kerry agrees to testify to U.S. House committee on Benghazi: letter

Secretary of State John Kerry has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee on its investigation into the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, according to a State Department letter obtained by Reuters. Kerry was subpoenaed to testify on May 29, but the letter said prior commitments would prevent his appearance. If Kerry testifies before the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, the letter said, it should remove any need for the secretary to appear before a House Select Committee that was formed recently to look into the Benghazi incident. House Republicans have launched multiple investigations into the Obama administration's handling of embassy security in the run-up to the attack and the steps it took in the aftermath.

Former US defense chief Gates to head up Boy Scouts

Former US Defense Secretary and CIA chief Robert Gates, who is also a former Boy Scout, has been tapped to lead the iconic youth organization known for its "be prepared" ethos. Gates was elected Thursday to head the Boy Scouts of America, which had made news in recent years over its long-standing refusal, finally reversed last year, to accept gay youths as scouts. Gates, 70, was Defense Secretary under both presidents George W. Bush as well as under Barack Obama. The Boy Scouts of America, a group founded in 1910, counts 2.5 million young boys as scouts, led by a million volunteer leaders of about 110,000 troops.

Scandinavian anti-immigrant parties face mixed fortunes

Denmark's anti-immigrant party is expected to become the country's largest in Sunday's EU election while their Swedish peers lag behind, highlighting different political and economic landscapes in the two countries. Opinion polls show the Danish People's Party (DPP) is backed by one in four voters in the European Parliament vote, putting them ahead of the ruling Social Democrats. The populist party has also benefitted from a heated debate on whether eastern European guest workers should be eligible for Denmark's generous child and unemployment benefits, even if they have only worked briefly in the country. As he canvassed votes outside Copenhagen's main train station on Wednesday morning, Denmark's top Social Democratic MEP Jeppe Kofod was met by a somewhat underwhelming response.

Chief judge on U.S. patent court steps down from lead role

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. patent court's chief judge stepped down from his leadership role on Friday after a newspaper report said he had to recuse himself from two cases because of an email he sent praising a lawyer who appears before the court. Judge Randall Rader will remain on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but he will be replaced as chief judge by Judge Sharon Prost at the end of May, the court said on its website. The court did not explain why Rader resigned before his seven-year term as chief judge, which is a mainly administrative role, was due to end in 2017. On Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Rader had recused himself from two patent cases because of concerns about impartiality.

Iran addresses nuclear bomb allegations for first time: IAEA

Iran has for the first time in six years addressed concerns about the so-called "possible military dimensions" of its nuclear programme, a new IAEA report showed Friday. Tehran has handed over information related to detonators that can be used for a nuclear weapon under a key November interim nuclear deal, the quarterly report, seen by AFP, showed. In technical meetings in late April and earlier this week in Iran, Tehran provided the UN atomic watchdog with "information and explanations, including showing documents, to substantiate its stated need and application of EBW (Explosive Bridge Wire detonators)," the report by IAEA director-general Yukiya Amano for member states, said. "Iran showed information to the agency that simultaneous firing of EBW was tested for a civilian application," it went on.

Nigeria cannot beat Boko Haram without foreign help: security

Maiduguri (Nigeria) (AFP) - A senior Nigerian security source told AFP on Friday that the kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram has exposed the country's incapacity to deal with the Islamist uprising. "We have been playing the ostrich all this while, pretending we are on top of the situation," said the source based in Maiduguri, who agreed to an interview provided his name and title be withheld. Gunmen seized 276 girls on April 14 from their school in Chibok in northeastern Borno state, of which Maiduguri is the capital. The source said Nigeria needed outside help beyond the Chibok mission as the security forces in Africa's most populous country and biggest economy were incapable of defeating Boko Haram.

Iraq files case against Turkey over Kurdish oil exports

Baghdad launched legal action against Ankara Friday after oil from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region was exported to international markets without the cental government's consent, potentially worsening already-poor ties between the neighbours. The sudden decision to call for arbitration by Iraq, which came after shipments began on Thursday evening, is the latest move in a years-long row in which Baghdad has insisted it has the sole right to export Iracaught itqi crude. The dispute over the exports, which the US has said could further destabilise Iraq, also throws into doubt Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's bid for re-election after polls last month, with his campaign expected to hinge on whether or not he can secure Kurdish backing. The central government's oil ministry said in a statement that it has "filed a request for arbitration against the Republic of Turkey and its state-owned pipeline operator BOTAS... with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Paris."

Czechs, Irish vote in EU poll tipped to boost eurosceptics

The Czech Republic and Ireland voted Friday in European Parliament elections expected to boost eurosceptic parties despite a surprise setback for Dutch populists on the polls' first day. With 26 million people out of work across the European Union, eurosceptic and far-right parties have picked up massive support on anti-immigration and anti-EU platforms. The latest opinion polls suggest they could secure almost 100 seats in the new parliament, trebling their number in the 751-seat assembly, and may top the polls in Britain, France and Italy. Friday results showed that the UK Independence Party (UKIP) led by Nigel Farage surged in local council elections, giving the anti-EU and anti-immigration group hope for a similar breakthrough in the European Parliament polls.

US 'would welcome' Russian embrace of Ukraine election

The United States on Friday offered a cautious response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's statement that he would respect the result of Ukraine's weekend election. "We would welcome an indication from Russia that they would accept the results of a free and fair and democratic election in Ukraine," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. Carney's cautious language and choice of tense however indicated US skepticism over Putin's comments, after Washington has spent weeks condemning what it sees as Russia's deliberate destabilization of Ukraine. "Right now we are focused on Ukraine's efforts to carry out that election freely and fairly," Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Column row sparks debate over Turkey's press censorship

A columnist for a Turkish newspaper has proved her own point all too well after a piece she wrote criticising Ankara's crackdown on press freedom was rejected by her editor. Washington-based academic Gonul Tol left her position at the Aksam daily to preserve her "professional ethics" in a case that has sparked fierce debate about censorship in Turkish media. Her article focussed on the race-fuelled backlash against a report from Freedom House this month that claimed the country had seen the biggest decline in press freedom in Europe. The US-based media rights watchdog downgraded Turkey's status from "partly free" to "not free" -- putting the EU hopeful in the same category as Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine and Zambia -- after it put a record number of journalists behind bars.

Egypt's revolutionary youth fear repression under Sisi

After having spearheaded a 2011 uprising that toppled Egypt's strongman and former air force chief Hosni Mubarak, many young revolutionaries are now in jail and an ex-army chief is about to become president. Their dramatic reversal in fortunes could well presage a return to the repression of the Mubarak era, activists fear. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last July, is expected to sweep the 26-27 election amid a clamour for a new strongman to restore stability. Sisi, who had been Mubarak's military intelligence chief before Morsi fatefully made him army chief, toppled the Islamist with the approval of millions of protesters, including some of the revolutionary youth.

'Stealthy Freedoms of Iranian Women' Campaign Gains Steam

Freedom comes in all shapes and sizes — it can be as monumental as the Declaration of Independence, as American as apple pie, or as simple as letting your hair flutter in the breeze. London-based journalist Masih Alinejad is at the center of a social...

Election divides rebellion-hit east Ukraine

Krasnoarmiysk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Svetlana Pershenko mops sweat from her forehead as she waits on a bench outside her local election commission to pick up papers for the polling station in her village in strife-torn eastern Ukraine. Although election workers insist everything is going to plan, organisation seems chaotic with ballot papers yet to be delivered and some election officials refusing to oversee the vote.