Political News from Yahoo

Touch and go on Bergdahl release until very end

WASHINGTON (AP) — Right up until the moment Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was freed, U.S. officials were not sure the Taliban would really release the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan in exchange for high-level militants detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Obama to name first US envoy to Somalia in 20 years

Turning a new page in their troubled ties, President Barack Obama is set to name the first American ambassador to Somalia since the civil war erupted over 20 years ago, a US diplomat said Tuesday. "As a reflection both of our deepening relationship with the country and of our faith that better times are ahead, the president will propose the first US ambassador to Somalia in more than two decades," Undersecretary Wendy Sherman told a US think tank. Although the US never formally severed ties, the embassy in Mogadishu was closed in 1991 as Somalia descended into chaos amid a bloody power struggle among brutal warlords. "Almost overnight the very word 'Somalia' became a synonym for chaos," Sherman told the US Institute for Peace.

The Supreme Court and The 1 Percent

How the High Court’s conservative majority has helped ensure that we have a government of, by, and for the very wealthiest Americans.

Pentagon: Russian fighter intercepted US plane

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Russian fighter jet intercepted an American reconnaissance plane in international airspace over the Pacific in late April, prompting top officials to complain to senior Russian military officials, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday.

NY Times case 'not acceptable': OSCE media advocate

The OSCE's media rights advocate urged US authorities on Tuesday not to take action against a US journalist who refuses to testify in a trial against a former CIA officer. New York Times journalist James Risen was summoned by a federal appeals court to testify about confidential information leaked to him by ex-CIA official Jeffrey Sterling. "It is not acceptable to force a journalist to testify and disclose their sources when reporting on matters of public interest," OSCE media freedom representative Dunja Mijatovic said in a statement Tuesday.

Palestinian PM reassures EU over new government

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah assured European diplomats Tuesday that his new unity government would respect past agreements with Israel, after chairing the cabinet's first meeting. The new 17-member cabinet was sworn in on Monday before president Mahmud Abbas, in line with a surprise reconciliation deal reached in April between Gaza's Islamist rulers Hamas and the PLO, which dominates the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. "Hamdallah stressed that the government is committed to all international agreements signed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation... international political initiatives and peaceful solutions," his office said. Hamdallah was briefing EU representatives to the Palestinian territories on his new government, telling them also that his cabinet would focus on service provision and resolving pressing water issues in the Gaza Strip.

US, Tunisia sign $500 mn loan guarantee

The United States and Tunisia on Tuesday signed a $500 million loan guarantee agreement that will help Tunis raise money at affordable rates from commercial capital markets. The US Treasury said that the guarantee is aimed at helping the country rebuild its economy in the wake of the 2011 popular uprising that overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. "The loan guarantee agreement is designed to support Tunisia as it pursues important reforms that will provide the foundation for economic growth and prosperity," the Treasury said. It was the second US loan guarantee for the North African country.

Sisi declared Egypt president-elect with 96.9% of vote

Ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won 96.9 percent of votes in Egypt's presidential election, the electoral commission announced Tuesday, almost a year after he overthrew elected Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi. Turnout in last week's election, hastily extended to three days amid fears of low turnout, was 47.45 percent, said commission chief Anwar Rashad al-Asi. Sisi's lopsided victory had been certain, with many lauding the retired field marshal as a hero for ending Morsi's divisive rule in July. Yet the lower-than-expected turnout -- Sisi himself had urged more voters to come out -- signalled a wide segment of the population was apathetic or boycotted the election.

U.S. Senate to vote on Burwell as health chief this week

President Barack Obama's choice of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the next U.S. health secretary will be debated in the Senate this week with votes expected on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a Senate Democratic aide. On Wednesday, the Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote on whether to limit debate on Burwell, who would replace outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. If a majority of the 100-member Senate votes to limit debate, a final vote on Burwell's confirmation likely would come on Thursday.

Anti-World Cup protesters inflate giant footballs in Brasilia

Brasília (AFP) - Activists angry over Brazil's spending on the World Cup inflated 12 giant footballs in front of Congress Tuesday, the latest protest in the build-up to the June 12 kick-off match. One, painted with the Brazilian flag, was slowly deflating -- a symbol of the deflating performance of Brazil's government, said protest organizer Antonio Carlos Costa. Brazil has been hit by a wave of protests and strikes ahead of the World Cup and a presidential election in October.

France hits back at mooted US mega fine on BNP Paribas

France, trying to minimise US penalties against BNP Paribas on charges of breaking sanctions, said on Tuesday that a reported $10 billion fine was excessive and warned it could damage trans-Atlantic trade talks. The remarks from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius ramp up French concern at the size, manner and likely effects of the expected fine that could be imposed on the French bank. The New York Times newspaper reported that the governor of the Bank of France, Christian Noyer, had visited top US officials on the case in New York last week to warn that such a fine, equivalent to 7.4 billion euros ($10.1 billion), could have grave effects on the financial system. President Francois Hollande has also recently raised concerns about a plea deal with the White House, the paper wrote.

US shuts Afghan transit base in Kyrgyzstan

Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) (AFP) - The United States on Tuesday shut its airforce base in Kyrgyzstan that had been the main transit hub for troops going to Afghanistan, a move expected to boost Russia's influence in Central Asia. Washington was forced to shut the Manas Transit Centre north of Bishkek after Kyrgyzstan, an ex-Soviet country seeking closer ties with Moscow, refused to extend its lease last year. US ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Pamela Spratlen said all military personnel would leave the base in a week.

Boston Marathon Suspect Told Mom He Expected to Die

Hours before he and his older brother exchanged fire with police in Massachusetts, Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote to his mother that he expected to die. According to court records, Tsarnaev “sent an email to his mother in which he told her he...

70 years after parachuting into Normandy, WWII vet plans to jump again

As a 23-year-old private in the 101st Airborne, Jim Martin parachuted into Normandy, France, and helped the Allied Forces liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny. Now, 70 years later, Martin intends to make the same jump, this time without the bullets whizzing past his head, the risk of his airplane exploding, and the fate of the free world resting on his shoulders.