Malé (Maldives) (AFP) - The United States led international criticism of the Maldives on Tuesday after the island nation's top court sacked its election commissioner two weeks before polls, questioning its commitment to democracy. The US State Department accused the Supreme Court of overstating its powers and undermining the election commission after Fuwad Thowfeek and his deputy were sacked Sunday for "disobeying and challenging" its orders. The Supreme Court handed Thowfeek a six-month prison sentence, suspended for three years, raising concerns the decision could throw the tourism-reliant Indian Ocean nation back into political turmoil. "These actions (of sacking) represent an unprecedented expansion of judicial powers which undermines an independent democratic institution that has made laudable efforts to hold multiple successful elections despite previous judicial interference," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Former top aides to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were due in court on Tuesday to explain why they have not turned over records and documents to investigators of a traffic scandal that has threatened the Republican governor's political future. Bridget Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff, and Bill Stepian, his former campaign manager, have so far not cooperated with subpoenas issued by state lawmakers looking into the September incident, when Christie aides apparently helped orchestrate traffic jams at the busy George Washington Bridge. The closing of several access lanes to the bridge, ostensibly due to a traffic study that has never materialized, caused extensive, hours-long delays for four days in the town of Fort Lee, where the Democratic mayor had not endorsed Christie's re-election bid. Christie, widely seen as a potential Republican candidate for the White House in 2016, has said he was unaware of his aides' actions and has severed ties with several of them.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is bolstering his party's campaign coffers, joining an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to help the Democratic National Committee climb out of a worrisome deficit. It's the latest alignment of the Obama and Clinton orbits, as the former first lady considers a White House bid in 2016.
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - - As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a religious dispute over the Obamacare contraception mandate, advocates on both sides are trying to set the court straight on the science. While the Supreme Court will not be ruling on the science, and has never defined pregnancy, many groups have filed friend-of-the-court briefs offering their view of how emergency contraceptives work.