Political News from Yahoo

US diplomat slams Russian Internet slurs

US diplomat Jen Psaki hit back Tuesday at Russia's "propaganda machine," accusing it of being behind a series of Internet slurs mocking her for stumbling over her words. As spokeswoman for Secretary of State John Kerry, Psaki runs the gauntlet of the world's media in her daily briefings, when she is quizzed on US foreign policy in the full glare of the cameras. The attacks have been led by the Russian state-run television network RT, whose reporters have had a couple of run-ins with Psaki during the briefings, which put together a slide show called: "Jen Psaki's most embarrassing fails." But Psaki hit back Tuesday, saying the attacks on her were "sexist" and adding "many people know that there are efforts by the Kremlin and the propaganda machine to discredit a range of officials, including recently myself, as silly as that is, because the United States supports a strong, democratic Ukraine."


Rand Paul's Maine Man

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) issued an endorsement last week in a state senate race in Maine of all places. What does this mean about his plans for 2016?


Iran claims 4mbpd oil output possible if sanctions lifted

Iran's oil output could reach 4.0 million barrels per day in "less than three months" if Western sanctions are lifted over its nuclear energy programme, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tuesday. "After lifting the sanctions, (in) less than three months we can produce four" million barrels of oil per day, Zanganeh told reporters upon his arrival in Vienna on the eve of an OPEC output meeting. That compares with Iran's current production of approximately 2.7 million bpd, according to OPEC data which cites secondary sources. Zanganeh added Tuesday that the nation's oil exports currently stand at 1.5 million bpd.


Obama calls for national 'soul searching' over gun violence

US President Barack Obama Tuesday called for national "soul searching" over gun violence, warning that mass shootings were "off the charts" in a way no other advanced country would tolerate. Obama vented frustration and disbelief that there was no momentum for gun reform in the wake of a new spate of mass shootings, in impassioned remarks likely to touch off a new row with the powerful firearms lobby. "We are the only developed country on earth where this happens, and it happens now once a week," Obama said at the White House, hours after a gunman shot and killed a student at an Oregon High School in the latest shooting incident. Obama said the "biggest frustration" of his presidency so far was that Washington had not even taken "basic steps" to keep guns out of the hands of people that can do "unbelievable damage."


Russia, Ukraine seek to build peace momentum

Russia and Ukraine resumed talks in Brussels on Tuesday to end a bitter gas price dispute and build on a tentative push by Kiev's new president towards peace after months of conflict. Ukraine's new Western-backed president Tuesday ordered the creation of humanitarian corridors in the separatist east that could save civilians and advance his plan to end nearly two months of fighting by the end of the week. Petro Poroshenko's initiative meets a major demand put forward by Moscow and helps address growing concern among rights groups about Kiev's use of firepower in heavily populated areas to suppress the pro-Russian insurgency.


Kuwait opposition declares war against rife corruption

The Kuwaiti opposition on Tuesday declared "war" against rife corruption, alleging that tens of billions of dollars of public funds have been stolen by former senior officials. "The real open war will start after the end of this rally and we will announce its end after we achieve victory against forces of corruption," prominent opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak told thousands of people at a public rally. Barrak, a former MP, also charged that a number of former senior officials have stolen around $50 billion and deposited them in foreign banks including an Israeli bank. To substantiate his claims, Barrak showed what he said were copies of their accounts and huge transfers to the rally through a large screen.


US urges Ukraine to work with UN on civilian corridors

The United States called on Kiev's new leaders Tuesday to work with the United Nations and other aid groups as it seeks to allow civilians to flee eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met demands from Moscow and ordered the establishment of humanitarian corridors to provide safe passage out of the areas caught up in fighting. "Their goal here is to explore options to remove civilians from harm's way," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, adding Kiev's top priority was "the safety of its citizens." "We are encouraging them with this or any other related effort to work closely with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and other international organizations to plan for any internally displaced persons," she added.


House votes to give veterans access to private care to ease delays

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives voted unanimously on Tuesday to give thousands of veterans emergency access to private care to address a crisis that has embarrassed the Obama administration and worried lawmakers in the run-up to November's mid-term elections. The Senate is considering a similar bill after the government found clinics run by Veterans Affairs were hiding long wait times, during which some veterans are said to have died. Both measures would allow veterans access to private healthcare providers at VA expense if they face a long wait or if they live more than 40 miles (64 km) from a VA facility. The House measure had initially specified a wait-time trigger of more than 30 days, but the passed bill allows the VA to decide, making it consistent with the Senate bill.

US denounces 'horrific' Egypt sex assault video

Washington on Tuesday slammed an "horrific" video of a woman being sexually assaulted in Cairo and urged the new government to stand by a vow to stamp out such attacks. The video "shocked and appalled us as much as it did the Egyptian people," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. "The prevalence of sexual assaults against Egyptian women is a cause of great concern, not just to the Egyptian people but to the United States and the international community," Psaki said.


Obama congratulates next Israeli president

President Barack Obama on Tuesday congratulated Israel's newly elected next president, the hawkish Reuven Rivlin, and poured praise on his friend, outgoing President Shimon Peres. "President-elect Rivlin has a long and dedicated record of public service and we look forward to continued strong ties, to the benefit of both our nations, under Mr. Rivlin's presidency," Obama said in a statement. The State Department sought to play down concerns, stressing that now stalled talks coordinated by the United States between the Palestinians and Israel were not within the purview of the Israeli president. "He has dedicated his extraordinary life to the cause of peace, and I look forward to welcoming him in Washington later this month where he will receive the Congressional Gold Medal."


Nigeria rapped for forced eviction of slum-dwellers

Nigeria was on Tuesday ordered to pay nearly $70,000 (50,000 euros) in damages after at least one person was killed and 12 seriously injured during the military's forced eviction of a slum five years ago. The case relates to an incident on October 12, 2009, when families in the the southern city of Port Harcourt were forced out of their make-shift homes by the military. The 40 waterfront settlements in Port Harcourt are thought to be home to more than 200,000 people and tens of thousands have been forcibly evicted in recent years. But the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) ruled there was no justification for the shootings and said Nigeria's government had breached its obligation to protect the right to peaceful assembly.


Obama stresses rights in Sisi call

President Barack Obama Tuesday stressed the need for political freedoms in Egypt, as he spoke to the country's new president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew his freely elected predecessor and crushed his party. Obama spoke by telephone to Sisi, as the United States resumed its uncomfortable balancing act between retaining influence with Egypt, a key regional power, despite discomfort with a political regime that conflicts with its own values. Sisi "expressed appreciation" for the call and welcomed US support for his new government, following his swearing-in on Sunday, the statement said.


S.Sudan warring leaders agree deadline for new govt: Ethiopian PM

South Sudan's president and rebel chief met Tuesday in a bid to end six months of civil war, agreeing to forge a transitional government within a 60-day deadline, Ethiopia's prime minster said. "They agreed to complete the dialogue process within the coming 60 days on what how, when and who... (for) the formation of the transitional government," Ethiopia's Hailemariam Desalegn said, after the rare meeting between President Salva Kiir and rebel chief Riek Machar alongside regional leaders. Kiir and Machar met on the sidelines of a regional leaders' summit in Addis Ababa organised by the East African IGAD bloc, which is brokering the slow-moving negotiations.


Venice Wedding Bells For Clooney?

Hot on the heels of Kimye’s Florentine extravaganza, reports have surfaced that George Clooney and fiancee Amal Alamuddin will wed in the City of Bridges in September.


Possible to prosecute Syria crimes, despite veto: prosecutors

International prosecutors said on Tuesday it is still possible to go after those responsible for war crimes in Syria despite Russian and Chinese efforts to block cases being referred to the International Criminal Court. "Just because we have had one veto in the (UN) Security Council should not stop any of us from moving forward and seeking justice for the people of Syria," said David Crane, the former international prosecutor who indicted Liberian president Charles Taylor. China and Russia last month vetoed a draft UN Security Council resolution to refer Syria to the ICC for crimes committed by both sides in the three-year civil war. "All options are on the table," he insisted to an event on the sidelines of a UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.


Three Malian armed groups say ready to talk peace

Three armed movements from northern Mali have signed a joint statement in Algiers declaring that they are ready to work for peace with the Bamako government, Algeria's foreign ministry said. The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) signed the "Algiers Declaration" late Monday, demanding "inclusive" peace and political talks in their troubled country. The top leaders of the MNLA and HCUA, formed by ethnic Tuareg who have since 1962 launched four uprisings to fight Mali's army over the territory they claim as their homeland and call Azawad, have been in the Algerian capital since Thursday.


Boehner: 'We're Going to Pay' for Bergdahl Deal

House Speaker John Boehner predicted today that the release of five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay will cost U.S. lives, as criticism rises over the prisoner swap involving Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “We’re going to pay for this. There is not any doubt in my mind there...


Clinton 'dead broke' remark prompts partisan pushback

By Gabriel Debenedetti NEW YORK (Reuters) - Accused of being out of touch after making comments about her finances, likely presidential candidate Hillary Clinton headed for a speaking engagement on Tuesday that could earn her up to $250,000. Clinton's address to food trade groups in Chicago comes as she takes heat for comments that her family was "dead broke" when it left the White House in 2000, despite the considerable income she and former president Bill have earned subsequently along with the luxury real estate assets they have managed to acquire. "Between their million-dollar mansions in New York and Washington and her ridiculously expensive speaking fees, it's clear nobody could be more out of touch than Hillary Clinton," said Republican National Committee spokesman Jahan Wilcox. The fuss over her comments in an ABC News interview released Monday overshadowed the launch in New York on Tuesday of Clinton's latest book, "Hard Choices," seen as a prelude to a campaign for the 2016 presidential election.


Rand Paul Calls Hillary's Benghazi Explanation A 2016 'Deal Killer'

Congressional Republicans were unimpressed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s primetime interview with ABC News, knocking the perceived frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and questioning her ability to serve as president. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, who also is considered a presidential contender,...


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