Political News from Yahoo

Unionists walk out of N. Ireland talks, stoking unrest fears

Talks on maintaining peace in Northern Ireland collapsed on Thursday as unionist parties walked out to protest restrictions on an Orange Order parade, raising fears of disorder ahead of the peak of the summer marching season. Local press said the collapse cast doubt over the future of the Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration, in which posts are split between republican and unionist ministers. The Democratic Unionist and Ulster Unionist parties walked out of the negotiations to protest a decision to prevent a 12 July Orange Order parade passing close to the nationalist Ardoyne neighbourhood on its return route. The 12 July march is the peak of the traditional marching season, in which the unionist Orange Order marches with pipes, drums and banners to mark the anniversary of a 1690 victory by Protestant William of Orange over Catholic King James.

Israeli 'revenge' hate campaign hits social media

After this week's murder of an east Jerusalem Palestinian, calls to inflict violent revenge on Arabs over the killings of three Israeli teenagers have gathered momentum on social media websites. Such incitement, including by serving soldiers, has featured photos on Facebook and Twitter and prompted Israel's authorities to urge restraint and threaten the culprits with disciplinary action.

Egypt police crush pro-Morsi protests on anniversary

Egyptian police swiftly quashed protests marking the anniversary Thursday of the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, firing tear gas and arresting dozens of demonstrators. The protests were seen as a test of the Islamists' strength, with the Muslim Brotherhood-led Anti Coup Alliance having issued an aggressive rallying cry demanding a "day of anger" to mark the occasion. Police closed off several main squares in Cairo and scoured neighbourhoods to head off protests. Police also broke up protests elsewhere in Cairo, while three policemen were wounded when their checkpoint in a southern district of the capital was attacked and set on fire by protesters late Thursday, security officials said.

Freed Turkish truck drivers back home after Iraq ordeal

Thirty-two Turkish truck drivers held hostage by Islamic militants in Iraq flew back home to Turkey on Thursday following their release after three weeks in captivity, local officials said. A Turkish plane carrying the truck drivers from the northern Iraqi city of Arbil landed in Turkey's southeastern province of Sanliurfa near the Syrian border late on Thursday. "We were not subjected to ill treatment but we had lived with the fear of uncertainty and death for 23 days," Okkes Sen, one of the truck drivers, told Turkish television.

Iraq forces likely need help to regain territory: US

The US military's top officer said Thursday that Iraqi forces had shored up their defenses against Sunni militants but would be hard-pressed to regain territory without outside help. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said American advisers were still evaluating the state of the Iraqi army, and he suggested US military action was not imminent. Dempsey told a news conference that Iraqi forces were not yet in a position to stage a major counter-offensive after being driven back by Sunni extremists in recent weeks. US military advisers in the capital found that Iraqi security forces are "stiffening, that they're capable of defending Baghdad," Dempsey said.

Open Internet threats loom

The future of an open Internet faces threats from government crackdowns, and "balkanization" resulting from growing concerns over broad electronic surveillance, a survey of experts showed Thursday. The Pew Research Center said a majority of experts and others in the opt-in survey were generally optimistic about Internet freedom but that a significant number expressed concerns. "The experts in this survey noted a broad global trend toward regulation of the Internet by regimes that have faced protests and stepped up surveillance of Internet users," Pew said in its report. "They pointed out that nations such as Egypt, Pakistan, and Turkey have blocked Internet access to control information flows when they perceived content as a threat to the current regime.

US embassy in Algiers warns of possible attack

The American embassy in Algiers has warned of a possible attack by "an unspecified terrorist group" over the weekend and advised its staff to avoid US-operated hotels. "As of June 2014 an unspecified terrorist group may have been considering attacks in Algiers, possibly in the vicinity of a US branded hotel," the mission said on its website. "The US Embassy in Algeria has instructed embassy employees to avoid US owned or operated hotels through the US Independence Day (July 4) and Algerian Independence Day (July 5) holiday weekend." Violence attributed to Islamists has declined considerably in Algeria in recent years, after a decade of appalling blood-letting during the civil war of the 1990s.

150 killed in Sudan clan battle near oil field

A battle between rival Sudanese clans near an oil-drilling site killed 150 people and wounded 100 more, state-linked media reported on Thursday. The fighting in West Kordofan state between two sub-groups of the Misseriya tribe "continued all day because of a land dispute near the oil field," said Mohammed Omer Al-Ansari, a tribal leader. He was quoted by the Sudanese Media Centre, which is close to the security apparatus. The report did not say on which day the battle occurred, but it comes about one month after the same groups, the Zurug and Awlad Amran clans of the Misseriya, clashed in that area.

Liberia journalist arrested after criticising president

The editor of a Liberian newspaper critical of the government and family of president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has been arrested, a police source said on Thursday. Friends and colleagues of Octavin Williams claim the journalist was detained after he published an article on two of Sirleaf's sons. Williams criticised Fumba Sirleaf in Wednesday's edition of Nation's Time following the arrest of immigration officers who reportedly leaked to the press the fact that his brother Robert -- a US citizen -- was seeking Liberian documents enabling him to run in forthcoming general elections. Robert Sirleaf, who resigned last year as chairman of the state oil company amid allegations of nepotism, has since been named presidential envoy to Kuwait.

Egypt army says 17 jihadists killed in Sinai

Egypt's military said troops killed 17 jihadists in shoot-outs in the restive Sinai Peninsula Thursday, the anniversary of the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi. It said another three were arrested and that troops destroyed four vehicles belonging to jihadists in Rafah, on the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Since Morsi was deposed, militant attacks have hit the north of the mostly desert Sinai, but also hit Cairo and the Nile Delta.

US gives tacit nod to Japan easing North Korea sanctions

The United States offered a tacit approval Thursday to Tokyo's easing of some sanctions on North Korea, saying it can "understand" Japan's efforts to resolve abductions of its nationals. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his government will revoke some of its unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang as a reward for the secretive state's progress in its pledge to reinvestigate the cases of Japanese citizens snatched in the 1970s and 1980s. The United States maintains sweeping sanctions on North Korea, and US lawmakers have moved toward toughening them further, but Washington appears to have opted against publicly objecting to Tokyo's easing of their restrictions on Pyongyang.

Strong Irish growth raises prospect of eased austerity

Ireland's economy expanded by a strong 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 in a fresh sign the eurozone nation is returning to health, official data showed Thursday. The Central Statistics Office figures show GDP in the first three months increased 4.1 percent year-on-year, the strongest growth since 2011. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said the data will have a favourable impact on both Ireland's deficit and debt ratios. He said that the figures indicate Dublin's deficit this year would be closer to 4.5 percent of GDP, rather than the 4.8 percent previously predicted.

US child immigrant surge a 'tragedy': Texas governor

Texas governor Rick Perry warned Thursday that a growing wave of immigrant children flooding into the US risks becoming a "monumental tragedy" and a national security crisis unless they are sent back as soon as possible. He said a policy of housing unaccompanied minors in detention centers or allowing family members living in the US to care for them risks encouraging a "deluge" of more immigrants from Central America and elsewhere. "This second crisis is one of national security," he added, saying resources which should be used to protect the border were being diverted by the huge influx of immigrants. "The border between the United States and Mexico is less secure today than any time in the recent past," he said.

AP NewsBreak: Senator questions Hanford legal fees

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Private contractors for the U.S. Department of Energy have spent at least $3.5 million in legal expenses to battle two critics of a massive construction project at the nation's most polluted nuclear site, according to a letter obtained Thursday by The Associated Press.

US jobs machine revs up, cutting unemployment to 6.1%

President Barack Obama, who came into office in the depth of the recession that saw millions laid off, said the gains attested to the strength of the recovery. Indeed, bond yields jumped as traders adjusted their medium-term expectations.

Modi, McCain speak of 'revitalising' India-US ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed his desire to boost ties with the United States Thursday during a meeting with Senator John McCain, a day after another snooping row sparked by Washington's National Security Agency. Modi conveyed his wish to "further deepen and expand the strategic partnership" between the two countries during talks with McCain -- the first high-ranking US politician to visit since India's change of government in May. The meeting came a day after India summoned the top US diplomat in New Delhi to complain for the third time about alleged spying by the National Security Agency. A document leaked by fugitive intelligence worker Edward Snowden and published by the Washington Post on Monday showed the NSA was authorised to spy on Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in 2010.

Girls Just Want to Have Birth Control

The Hobby Lobby decision makes clear that this isn’t an argument about religious liberties—it’s a rejection of women’s rights across the board.

Egypt police crush pro-Morsi protests on anniversary

Egyptian police on Thursday swiftly quashed Islamist protests marking the first anniversary of the military ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, firing tear gas and arresting dozens of demonstrators. The protests were seen as a test of the Islamists' strength, with the Muslim Brotherhood-led Anti Coup Alliance having issued an aggressive rallying cry demanding a "day of anger" to mark Morsi's overthrow. Police closed off several main squares in Cairo and scoured neighbourhoods to head off protests. Thirty-nine wanted activists were arrested ahead of Thursday's protests, and 157 allegedly illegal demonstrators were detained during the day, the interior ministry said.