Political News from Yahoo

Amnesty slams Saudi jailing of rights activist

Rights group Amnesty International has condemned a Saudi court decision to jail an activist for seven years, labelling the charges as "spurious" and urging that the sentence be quashed. A court in Riyadh passed the sentence on Fowzan al-Harbi on Tuesday and also banned him from travelling for a further seven years, Amnesty said in a statement. "Harbi has been ruthlessly targeted for daring to question the Saudi authorities’ human rights record," said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty's deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme. Harbi, 36, is a founder of the local Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA), and was jailed in December 2013, when a judge ordered his arrest without providing a reason, according to Amnesty.

Hawkish new Israel president ready to meet Abbas: report

Israel's hawkish president-elect Reuven Rivlin, who opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, has said he is willing to meet Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas, a newspaper reported Thursday. "I met with Abu Mazen (Abbas) in the past on a number of occasions and I will also meet with him in the future," the Yediot Aharonot newspaper quoted Rivlin as saying. Rivlin said he received a letter from Abbas after he was elected on June 10 to succeed elder statesman Shimon Peres, whose term ends in late July. The incoming president is a staunch backer of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and has never hidden his opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state.

Iraqis despair, caught between government and militants

Amsha's family decided to leave the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar after shelling one night killed their neighbour as he used his outdoor toilet. She describes nights of terror as Sunni militants traded fire with Iraqi troops desperate to hold onto the town. She curses her country's politicians, both Shiites like Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Sunnis like herself, for courting her support ahead of April 30 elections, only to abandon the city. "We walked for four hours to leave Tal Afar.

Slaying of Libya activist draws UN, Western condemnation

The slaying of a Libyan women's rights activist in her home just hours after she voted in a general election drew Western and UN condemnation on Thursday. Masked men broke into the home of Salwa Bugaighis in restive second city Benghazi, an Islamist bastion, just hours after polls closed on Wednesday evening. "Mrs Bugaighis was stabbed in several parts of her body but the cause of death was a bullet wound to the head," said a spokesman for the Benghazi Medical Centre. British ambassador Michael Aron tweeted that he was "Devastated about horrific murder of Salwa Bugaighis.

Deadly attack, low turnout mar Libya election

A deadly attack on troops and low turnout Wednesday marred Libya's general election on which hopes were pinned of ending three years of turmoil since dictator Moamer Kadhafi's ouster. The electoral commission was also forced to close 18 polling stations in the western town of Al-Jemil after unidentified gunmen attacked five of them and stole ballot boxes, a local security official said. Half an hour before polls closed at 1800 GMT, just 400,000 of the 1.5 million registered voters had cast their ballot, a turnout of less than 27 percent, the electoral commission said. The number of registered voters itself was a far cry from the more than 2.7 million who signed up two years ago for Libya's first ever free election.

Despite jihadist drive, Mideast colonial borders seen intact

A blistering jihadist offensive has sparked debate on the Middle East's colonial-era borders being redrawn, but experts say this is unlikely as Arabs have grown accustomed to their nation states. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant posted pictures online this month of militants bulldozing a berm dividing Iraq and Syria, symbolising its goal of uniting its forces in the two countries. ISIL entitled the photo series "Smashing the Sykes-Picot border" -- a reference to the secret deal that Britain and France signed on May 16, 1916, carving up the Middle East, with the former taking Iraq and the latter Syria.

Do or Die for the USA

The U.S. national team will square off against the Germans in Recife, Brazil, on Thursday at noon ET. Prepare for the big match with this handy guide.

The NYPD’s Racist War on Pot

Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to put an end to arrests for low-level marijuana possession—yet black and Latino youth are still being locked up at disturbing rates.

Lucy Liu: Child Trafficking Must End Now

Millions of girls and boys are trafficked into places where they are exploited, sexually violated, and abused on a daily basis. This is preventable.

Why Boehner Can’t Sue Obama

The House speaker trumpeted his plans Wednesday to file a suit against the president over his ‘king-like’ executive orders. But legal experts say one doctrine may stand in the way.

Britain’s Nuke-Proof Underground City

As the world held its breath during the Cold War, England built a top-secret underground city to save its government in case of nuclear attack. For half a century, "Burlington" lay ready.

The Foolproof Formula for Falling Asleep

With so many sleep trackers on the market, it’s hard to know which is right for you. Here are the best options for beating your sleep problems for good.

Happy birthday, super PAC!

Name for 'independent expenditure-only committee' turns 4 years old, but still not fully integrated into common language.

What is Martin O'Malley thinking?

On a Friday night two weeks ago, Democrats in Manchester, New Hampshire, packed a half-size banquet room for a party fundraiser. Like everyone else with access to cable TV or the Internet these days, the politicians and activists in the room already knew whom Democrats were going to nominate for president in 2016. About the only one who didn't seem to know the score was Martin O'Malley, the square-jawed, serious-minded governor of Maryland.

Obama aims to put human face on economic struggles

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama, in an attempt to put a human face on the economic policies he and Democrats are championing, is spending a day with a Minneapolis mother who wrote the White House about her struggles to make ends meet.

FAA eyes lower building height limit near airports

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government wants to dramatically reduce the allowable height of buildings near hundreds of airports — a proposal that is drawing fire from real estate developers and members of Congress who say it will reduce property values.

Tea party losses don't stop cash or curb influence

WASHINGTON (AP) — Desperate to knock off GOP incumbents in this year's Republican primaries, the nation's tea party groups have spent millions only to fall short in election after election.

Officials say Iraq pullout hurt US spying

WASHINGTON (AP) — When John Maguire was a CIA officer in Beirut in the late 1980s during that country's bloody civil war, he spent weeks living in safe houses far from the U.S. Embassy, dodging militants who wanted to kidnap and kill Americans.