Political News from Yahoo

Morocco demo demands release of jailed reform activists

Some 200 people demonstrated in the Moroccan capital Rabat Sunday to demand the release of activists from the February 20 pro-reform movement who were jailed this week. A court in Casablanca sentenced on Thursday 11 activists from the February 20 group to jail terms of up to one year for violence against police during an unauthorised protest in April. The demonstrators, who included activists and relatives of the accused, marched to parliament in the late afternoon watched by the security forces. They were arrested on April 6 during a march by some 10,000 participants in Casablanca called by trade unions in protest at the policies of Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane.

#YesAllWomen Think You’re a Loser

He may not be around to hear it, but the women of Twitter have a few things to say in response to the self-pitying videos Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger left behind on YouTube.

South Africa names first black finance minister

South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday tapped junior minister Nhlanhla Nene to become the country's first black finance minister as he unveiled his new cabinet a day after taking office. The appointment of Nene, aged 55, represents a statement of intent from Zuma, who has vowed to bring radical social and economic transformation in his second five-year term. Within South Africa's ruling ANC there is a strong desire to put more economic power in black hands. In the 20 years since South Africa struggled free from racist apartheid rule, the economy remains predominantly in white hands, despite a raft of empowerment programmes.

UN chief calls for Lebanon unity over president

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday called on Lebanon's political rivals to end the country's presidential stalemate. A spokesman for Ban said the UN chief "regrets that the Lebanese Parliament was unable to elect a new president within the timeframe set by the constitution." Ban urged Lebanon's leaders "to engage intensively to ensure the election of a new president without delay." Lebanon has been plunged into a leadership vacuum after President Michel Sleiman's mandate ended on Sunday with rival political blocs still divided over a new leader.

Thousands of bikers in Washington for rally on POWS

Thousands of bikers roared through Washington for the annual Rolling Thunder rally Sunday, given added fervor this year amid anger over an ongoing scandal concerning medical care for veterans. Organizers estimated around 750,000 bikers and spectators had descended on the US capital for the annual eve-of-Memorial Day rally in support of American prisoners of war and those missing in action, as they have each year since 1988. The awe-inspiring show of motorcycle might includes many US military veterans on bikes, clearly identifiable in leather jackets emblazoned with military badges and medals. Henry, 58, travelled from Maine in the northeastern United States with his wife and five other bikers.

Turkish Cypriots angry over EU vote in Cyprus

Scores of Turkish Cypriots complained they were denied the right to vote in European Parliament elections in divided Cyprus on Sunday because they had no registered address, officials said. A group of Turkish Cypriots crossing over from the Turkish-held north of the island held a protest. Mehmet Pasa, 44, said he was given no reason why he was prevented from voting at a polling station in Nicosia. But Interior Minister Sotiris Hasikos told the official CNA news agency that only those with a registered address were allowed to cast a ballot under Cyprus's electoral law.

Putin watches hockey as tycoon declares Ukraine vote win

Russian President Vladimir Putin had no immediate reaction to the presidential vote in Ukraine on Sunday, instead focusing on an ice hockey game featuring the Russian team in Belarus. As Western-friendly chocolate baron Petro Poroshenko claimed victory in the crucial election, Putin was in Minsk to watch Russia face off with Finland in the final of the world ice hockey championships. "The head of state wanted to personally support the Russian team playing in the final of the world hockey championships," Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.

Obama praises Ukrainians for going to the polls

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) — President Barack Obama is praising the people of Ukraine for participating in presidential voting "despite provocations and violence."

Lawmakers call for tighter grip on VA hospitals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairmen of House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees on Sunday decried long waits and backlogs at the nations VA hospitals but stopped short of calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Turkey's Alevis protest after deadly police crackdown

Thousands of people from Turkey's minority Alevi community on Sunday held protests over the deaths of two people during a police crackdown on demonstrators earlier in the week. Protestors flocked to rallies in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir to call for an end to discrimination after two men were caught up in clashes between police and protesters in a predominantly Alevi district on Thursday and killed. Turkey has launched an investigation into the deaths of the two men, who were not among the demonstrators. The Alevi community follows a moderate form of Islam and makes up around a quarter of Turkey's 76 million citizens.

Syria, Hezbollah will triumph, says Nasrallah

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Sunday that Syria's regime and the "resistance axis" including his Lebanese Shiite militant group would triumph in the Syrian conflict. Speaking as Lebanon entered a presidential vacuum, Nasrallah also said his Shiite movement wants the country to have a president "who does not conspire against it." "Syria will triumph and the resistance axis will triumph," Nasrallah said in a televised address to mark the 14th anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon. Hezbollah has sent thousands of fighters into Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad's forces against rebels seeking his overthrow, saying they are defending an "axis of resistance" against Israel and the West.

Obama pledges 'responsible end' to Afghanistan war

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (AP) — On a surprise visit to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama pledged Sunday to bring America's longest war to a "responsible end" by the close of the year. He promised a decision soon on keeping a small contingent of troops to help protect gains made over nearly 13 years of combat.

Poland's communist-era strongman Jaruzelski dies

General Wojciech Jaruzelski, Poland's last communist leader who tried but failed to crush the freedom-fighting Solidarity union, died Sunday aged 90, a hospital spokesman said. Jaruzelski, who died in a Warsaw hospital with his daughter by his side, marked Polish history by trying to strangle the Soviet bloc's first free trade union with a brutal military crackdown on December 13, 1981. But by 1989, he became the first communist leader to clear the way for democracy by agreeing to semi-free elections with Solidarity, led by the charismatic former shipyard electrician and Nobel Peace laureate Lech Walesa.

Poroshenko: from chocolate baron to Ukraine president

Petro Poroshenko, who is almost certain to be tasked with steering Ukraine out of months of turmoil and bloodshed, is a billionaire chocolate baron, cabinet minister and occasional revolutionary. "The first thing we must do is bring peace to all the citizens of Ukraine," he said as he cast his vote in Kiev. He had been the clear favourite as the consensus candidate, and the polls gave him commanding lead over his nearest rival, Ukraine's "iron lady" Yulia Tymoshenko, who was considered a much more polarising figure. The tall, slightly greying tycoon is one of the country's 10 richest men with a fortune estimated at around $1.6 billion (1.2 billion euros) by Forbes magazine, which described him as Ukraine's Willy Wonka.

Far-right National Front triumphs in French Euro vote

PARIS (AFP) - The far right National Front topped the polls in elections to the European Parliament in France with a record score of around 25 percent of votes cast, according to exit polls published as ballots closed at 20:00 (1800 GMT).

Libya puts back trial of Kadhafi regime members

A Tripoli court ordered a fresh delay Sunday in the trial of 40 top figures from late dictator Moamer Kadhafi's regime, including his son Seif al-Islam, as spiralling lawlessness grips Libya. "The prosecution demanded that the trial be delayed to June 22 to prepare the indictment," defence lawyer Ali Dhabaa told AFP at the end of a two-hour hearing. The defence had also requested a new delay in the trial and demanded access to the accused, who also include Kadhafi's former spy chief Abdullah Senussi. They have been charged over their roles in suppressing the 2011 uprising that eventually toppled Kadhafi's regime.

Tunisia foils attacks on tourist, industrial sites

Tunisian authorities have arrested suspected Islamist militants from Libya and Tunisia who were allegedly plotting attacks against tourist and industrial sites, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said Sunday. The suspects had infiltrated Tunisia from Libya "and their targets were tourism and industrial zones," the minister told local radio stations. "They were arrested, and mines, explosive belts and explosives were seized," Ben Jeddou said. An interior ministry spokesman said 16 suspects were arrested in the southern town of Ben Guerdane near the porous border with Libya, with three of them detained early on Sunday.

Obama promises Afghan troop decision soon

Bagram Air Base (Afghanistan) (AFP) - US President Barack Obama promised a decision on post-2014 US troop numbers "fairly shortly," after he flew into the country on a surprise night time visit Sunday. Obama is deliberating on the size of the force that will be left behind after the longest US war to continue to train Afghan forces, who will shoulder the burden of confronting the Taliban and preventing an Al-Qaeda resurgence. Obama told the top US General in Afghanistan Joseph Dunford and the US ambassador to Kabul James Cunningham that he was facing tough decisions on the US posture after the end of the year when all combat troops pull out. US officials said as Obama flew into Afghanistan aboard Air Force One that they believed that both candidates in Afghanistan's run-off election, Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, would sign a bilateral security agreement that would allow US troops to stay.

Italian journalist, Russian ex-dissident killed in Ukraine

Slavyansk (Ukraine) (AFP) - The body of an Italian photographer was being flown to Kiev on Sunday after he became the first journalist to die covering the violent pro-Russian insurgency gripping the east of Ukraine. Andrea Rocchelli, 30, and his Russian assistant Andrei Mironov, a former Soviet-era dissident, were killed when they were caught up in a fierce firefight in the rebel-held flashpoint of Slavyansk on Saturday. "These deaths are horrid reminders that not enough is being done to protect journalists who risk their lives reporting from conflict zones in Ukraine," said the OSCE's representative for media freedom Dunja Mijatovic.