ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn in Georgia declined to answer questions Monday about whether she would have voted for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, as candidates in six states went through the final paces of bruising primary campaigns for congressional and statewide offices.
Tuareg rebels on Monday released 32 civil servants taken hostage in a deadly siege at government offices in northern Mali, the United Nations' MINUSMA peacekeeping force said. The release of the hostages came as 1,500 Malian troops poured into the town, sent to restore government control to the bastion of Mali's Tuareg separatist movement, 1,500 kilometre (900 miles) northeast of the capital. A firefight between the army and separatists from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) outside the regional governor's headquarters on Saturday left eight Malian soldiers and 28 insurgents dead. "After negotiations that took place during the night of Sunday May 18 and Monday May 19, MINUSMA recovered 32 prisoners from the MNLA and transported them to the MINUSMA camp in Kidal where a medical check-up was offered," the force said in a statement.
Gunmen travelling in a car opened fire on Tuesday on a group of Egyptian policemen outside Cairo's Al-Azhar university, killing three and wounding nine others, the interior ministry said. The attack comes just days ahead of a presidential election on May 26-27, which former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win. The number of attacks targeting policemen has risen since Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July last year. The latest came as some students of Cairo's Al-Azhar university, a prestigious seat of Sunni Islamic teaching, were protesting in favour of Morsi, the ministry said in a statement.
Thailand's army on Tuesday declared martial law across the crisis-gripped kingdom to restore order following months of anti-government protests that have left 28 people dead and hundreds wounded. An announcement on military-run television said martial law had been invoked "to restore peace and order for people from all sides", stressing that the move "is not a coup". The imposition of martial law risks angering supporters of the government if it is seen as tantamount to a coup. The dismissal of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier this month in a controversial court ruling has sent tensions soaring in the kingdom, which has endured years of political turmoil.
President Barack Obama announced Monday that the United States would offer an extra $50 million to help tackle a growing refugee crisis spawned by fighting in South Sudan. "Months of conflict between the government of South Sudan and rebel forces have exacted a terrible toll on the people of South Sudan," said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden. Hayden said the $50 million in extra emergency aid would be part of a $300 million grant the US delegation will formally unveil at a pledging conference in Oslo on Tuesday and would bring total US humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict in South Sudan last year to around $433.6 million. The United Nations says $1.26 billion is needed in conflict-torn South Sudan to avoid a major humanitarian crisis threatening millions of people.
The US Supreme Court will consider later this year whether an air marshal was lawfully sacked for disclosing sensitive information on flight safety to the media, it said Monday. Air Force veteran Robert MacLean was among the first US air marshals recruited after the September 11, 2001 terror strikes to provide security on flights. In 2003, he told a US broadcaster that his employer, the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), to save money, had decided not to put agents on some late flights because that would require overnight hotel stays. He had discussed his concerns with FAMS that terrorists might take advantage of the apparent security hole, but was told the decision would stand, court documents show.
The Democratic-controlled Senate Finance Committee will hold a business meeting on Wednesday to consider the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as U.S. secretary of health and human services, a panel aide said on Monday. The 24-member committee, which includes 13 Democrats and 11 Republicans, is expected to conduct an up-or-down vote on whether to forward Burwell's nomination to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote. The aide said Burwell's nomination will need support from a majority of lawmakers to make it to the Senate floor.
The White House has promised the United States will not use vaccination programs as cover for spy operations -- after the move was attempted during the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. As Pakistan suffers a resurgence of polio, a top White House official pledged in a letter dated May 16 that intelligence agencies would foreswear the tactic, which is partly blamed for the spread of the crippling disease. Islamic militant leaders are reluctant to embrace vaccination programs after Pakistani doctor Shakil Afridi attempted to help the CIA track down the Al-Qaeda terror chief through a fake vaccine project.
By Nick Carey LOUISVILLE (Reuters) - Facing a challenge from a Tea Party candidate in this year's race to fill his Senate seat, Mitch McConnell has sought to appeal to conservative Republicans by stressing his pro-gun, anti-immigration and anti-abortion stance. Going into Tuesday's Republican primary in Kentucky, the Senate minority leader is ahead of his opponent, Louisville-based businessman Matt Bevin, by a wide margin, according to opinion polls. But once victory is secured, McConnell will have to tack back toward the political center ahead of a tight November contest against Democratic candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. When McConnell sought re-election in 2008 he ran on a record of bringing jobs and federal largesse to his home state of Kentucky, including some of the pork barrel spending be has been arguing against, and was low key about the social issues.
Drivers in the southern US state of Louisiana -- many of whom trace their colonial roots to France -- may one day soon find themselves stopping at bilingual signs that warn: "Stop-Arret." A new law passed last week by local lawmakers authorizes parishes -- the state's version of counties -- to translate their road signs into "Louisiana French." The law now passes to Governor Bobby Jindal, a conservative Republican, for his signature or veto. Jindal has thrown out previous versions of the bill, but local lawmaker Stephen Ortego, a Democrat who authored it, urged the governor to sign this time.
The US Supreme Court Monday dealt a blow to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, siding with the daughter of a screenwriter behind Oscar-winning boxing drama "Raging Bull" over her right to sue for copyright claims. Paula Petrella, whose now deceased father Frank Petrella worked on the script for the 1980 film, sought damages from infringement of a copyright that she inherited after her father's death. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court said that Petrella could go forward with her suit against the studio, which she first filed in 2009. The justices sought to determine whether the "doctrine of laches" -- which says a lawsuit cannot be filed after an unreasonable delay -- applied in the case.