By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - Texas Republicans aligned with Tea Party darling Ted Cruz were projected to win primary runoffs on Tuesday for two of the state's most powerful posts, while U.S. Representative Ralph Hall, 91, was ousted by a challenger about half his age. The Tea Party win over established politicians boosts the stature of U.S. Senator Cruz, a possible 2016 Republican presidential contender, and returns some luster to the Tea Party movement after several candidates were defeated by mainstream Republicans in primaries in other states last week. Hall, the oldest serving member of the House of Representatives, lost in a Republican primary runoff election to Tea Party-backed challenger, John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney.
The leader of France's embattled centre-right opposition quit following claims that invoices for former president Nicolas Sarkozy's 2012 election campaign were fraudulently billed as party expenses. Jean-Francois Cope agreed to step down at the request of fellow heavyweights in the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) following the latest twist in an scandal engulfing him and a PR firm owned by two close friends. The 50-year-old leader's position became untenable after Sarkozy's former deputy campaign director gave an explosive television interview on Monday evening. Jerome Lavrilleux tearfully claimed that bills for Sarkozy's failed 2012 re-election campaign were passed off as invoices for party meetings in order to skirt round France's strict limits on campaign financing.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama may soon sign off on a project to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels, in an open move that would significantly boost U.S. support to forces who have been asking for three years for military help in their quest to oust President Bashar Assad, administration officials said Tuesday.
Nigeria's former president Olusegun Obasanjo has met with people close to Boko Haram in an attempt to broker the release of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the militants, a source close to the talks told AFP. Reports of the talks emerged Tuesday as Boko Haram was blamed for fresh attacks targeting the security forces, public buildings and a school in its northeastern stronghold. Cameroon also said it had begun deploying 3,000 extra troops to buttress its border with Nigeria against the threat posed by marauding militants. On Monday evening, Nigeria's chief of defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, said the 223 girls still missing had been located but cast doubt on the prospect of any rescue by force.
US fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden "trained as a spy" and worked "undercover overseas" for intelligence agencies, he told NBC News in aired excerpts from an interview. In his first interview in US media, Snowden hit back at claims that he was merely a low-level contractor, saying he worked "at all levels from -- from the bottom on the ground, all the way to the top." Snowden, who has been charged in the United States with espionage, was granted asylum by Russia in August 2013 after shaking the American intelligence establishment to its core with a series of leaks on mass surveillance in the United States and around the world. He said he had worked covertly as "a technical expert" for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, as well as as a trainer for the Defense Intelligence Agency.
The United States lifted all remaining restrictions on direct assistance to Madagascar in light of successful elections and installation of a new government five years after a 2009 coup. Madagascar's new President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who was sworn into office in January, launched a charm offensive against the world's biggest aid institutions earlier this year hoping to revive the support to his impoverished country. Major donors like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union cut off the flow of aid to the Indian Ocean island after the coup. "We have lifted all remaining restrictions on direct assistance to Madagascar," State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki said in a statement.
Brasilia (Brazil) (AFP) - Brazilian police fired tear gas to break up a protest by bow-and-arrow wielding indigenous chiefs who joined forces with anti-World Cup demonstrators to condemn the money spent on the tournament. Wearing traditional clothing including feather headdresses and face paint, about 500 chiefs mainly from the Amazon basin on Tuesday joined another 500 protesters rallying for various social causes in Brasilia's government square and began marching toward the capital's World Cup stadium. The protest, which brought together 100 ethnic groups from across Brazil, included Kayapo chief Raoni, an 84-year-old leader famous for fighting to protect the Amazon rainforest alongside pop music star Sting. They soon came down from the roof and rejoined the rest of the protesters along the main avenue where Brazil's government ministries are located.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Four prominent veterans groups are exchanging accusations with Republican Sen. Richard Burr after he criticized the groups for declining to embrace his call for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign amid reports of treatment delays and falsified records at VA hospitals.
The US State Department recommended Americans in Libya "depart immediately," in its latest travel warning on Tuesday. The warning comes amid worsening unrest in Libya, where militia battles have plunged the country into chaos. "Due to security concerns, the Department of State has limited staffing at Embassy Tripoli and is only able to offer very limited emergency services to US citizens in Libya," the travel warning said. "Because of the presumption that foreigners, especially US citizens, in Libya may be associated with the US government or US NGOs, travelers should be aware that they may be targeted for kidnapping, violent attacks, or death," it added.