Political News from Yahoo

Spain's public debt hits record, trade deficit grows

Spain's public debt hit a new record in the first quarter of this year, reaching 96.8 percent of economic output, the central bank said on Friday. Spain kept its debt relatively low before a real estate crash in 2008, at 36.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2007, but it has since soared in a double recession that ended last year. Financial concerns over Spain have calmed since the height of the crisis in 2012, however. The interest rates demanded by investors to lend to Spain have eased, making officials confident it can refinance its debts.

Ukraine inflicts 'high casualties' on rebels

Ukraine's interior minister said on Friday that federal forces had inflicted "high casualties" on separatist rebels led by a Chechen commander in the southeastern port of Mariupol. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said the "active phase" of the offensive began at dawn and was still raging three hours later. He added that two Ukrainian soldiers from the part-volunteer National Guard force were wounded in the fighting. "The terrorists from the Donetsk People's Republic are being headed by a criminal boss known as 'The Chechen,'" Avakov wrote in a Facebook post.

U.S. Aircraft Could Strike Iraq Tomorrow

The Iraqi government wants U.S. air power to help stop the terror groups taking over their cities. It wouldn’t take long to deliver air support, if Obama gives the green light.

OITNB’s New Villain Speaks

What goes into portraying one of the most terrifying villains on TV? Lorraine Toussaint explains the psyche behind Vee, the ‘Orange Is the New Black’ character we love to hate.

The Entire GOP Could Get Cantor’d

Eric Cantor lost because hard-core voters think his kind keep selling out to Obama. The idea is insane as they are.

Uber: Resistance Is Futile

The cabbies’ uprising in cities across Europe showed one thing in common: Taxi cartels everywhere are doomed.

Cast Out by the Mormon Kangaroo Court

Two Mormon activists may be thrown out of the church if they don’t shut up about their causes, but they say they have no plans to change their tune.

How OITNB Flubbed Compassionate Release

A distressing scene from ‘Orange Is the New Black’ in which an elderly inmate with Alzheimer’s is turned out onto the street to die probably wouldn’t have happened in real life.

Is Jack White the Last True Rock Star?

The garage rock singer-guitarist virtuoso’s solo LP, Lazaretto, is impressive. Is the former White Stripes front man the last of a dying breed?

The Kabokovs' ‘Strange City’

The art world is changing—museums are getting bigger and artists are taking on more “outside” projects. For their Monumenta exhibit, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov explore the good old days.

Autism Speaks, but Should We Listen?

In under a decade, it’s become America’s most recognizable autism advocacy organization. But some opponents say its research tactics and spending habits are more hurtful than helpful.

ISIS's Secret Allies

The Iraqi extremist group didn't conquer a major chunk of the country on their own. They had help – from ex-Saddamites, tribal councils, and other militants.

Militants 'ready for new assault on Iraq's Samarra'

Samarra (Iraq) (AFP) - Militants were gathering Friday for a new attempt to take the Iraqi city of Samarra, home to a revered Shiite shrine whose 2006 bombing sparked a sectarian war, witnesses said. A major offensive launched by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and its allies late Monday has overrun second city Mosul and a swathe of northern and north-central Iraq. Witnesses in the Dur area, between militant-held Tikrit and Samarra, said they saw "countless" vehicles carrying militants south during the night. And witnesses in Samarra, just 110 kilometres (70 miles) north of Baghdad, said gunmen were gathering to the north, east and southeast of the city.

US mulls 'all options' as militants move nearer to Baghdad

Jihadists pushed towards Baghdad on Friday as President Barack Obama said he was exploring all options to save Iraq's security forces from collapse and US companies evacuated hundreds from a major air base. With militants closing in on the capital, forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region took control of a swathe of territory they have sought to rule for decades against the objections of successive governments in Baghdad. Foreign Minister Hosyhar Zebari acknowledged that the security forces Washington invested billions of dollars in training and equipping before withdrawing its own troops in 2011 had simply melted away. Obama said Iraq was going to need "more help from the United States and from the international community."

Quick turnaround gives McCarthy edge in GOP race

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Kevin McCarthy's knack for helping colleagues get elected and his ability to maintain a personal connection have given him the advantage in the race for House majority leader despite calls by some Republicans for a new, more conservative direction.

Outside the VA, waits for doctors can vary widely

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's not just veterans who sometimes have to wait for health care. Depending on where you live and what kind of care you want, in parts of the country it's not always easy for new patients to get a quick appointment.

S.Korean president revamps cabinet after ferry tragedy

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye revamped her cabinet Friday, replacing seven ministers in response to intense criticism over her administration's handling of April's ferry disaster. It was Park's first major cabinet shake-up since taking office in February last year and came as the mother of one disaster victim filed a damages suit against the government, as well as the ferry operator. The most high-profile change will see Choi Kyoung-Hwan, a ruling party lawmaker, replacing Hyun Oh-Seok as finance minister in charge of the economy, the presidential Blue House said. Chong Jong-Sup, a Seoul National University law professor, is to head the ministry of security and public administration, which will take the lead in implementing promised reforms following the Sewol disaster, which claimed nearly 300 lives, mostly schoolchildren.

China industrial output up 8.8% on-year in May: govt

China's industrial output growth accelerated to 8.8 percent year-on-year in May, official data showed Friday, while retail sales hit their highest level since December in signs of renewed strength in the world's second-largest economy. The industrial production figure was stronger than the 8.7 percent recorded a month earlier and matched the median forecast of 8.8 percent in a poll of 15 economists by the Wall Street Journal. Retail sales, a key gauge of consumer spending, increased 12.5 percent last month from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics said, up from a gain of 11.9 percent in April and the highest since 13.6 percent at the end of last year. Fixed-asset investment, a main measure of government spending on infrastructure projects, rose by 17.2 percent year-on-year in the January-May period, slowing from a 17.3 percent rise in the first four months of the year.

Wary of Chinese advances, India's Modi woos neighbours

Narendra Modi will step up a charm offensive with India's neighbours in the hope of stopping them falling into China's embrace when he travels next week to Bhutan on his first foreign trip since becoming prime minister. A month after his election, the Hindu nationalist premier will pay a two-day visit to the tiny Buddhist kingdom from Sunday when he will meet his counterpart Tshering Tobgay and King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. "We're honoured to have him choose Bhutan as the first country he's visiting," Tobgay said in comments published by the local Kuensel daily. Tobgay was one of seven regional leaders invited to Modi's inauguration and analysts say the decision to make Bhutan his first port of call is designed to underline the importance he attaches to neighbourly relations, which suffered under the last government.