Political News from Yahoo

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,...

CIA disciplines 15 officers in harassment cases

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Ilana Sara Greenstein was a CIA case officer working at headquarters a decade ago, she said, a married senior manager who was responsible for her promotions made sexual advances toward her.

Palestinian official plays down unity disputes

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - A senior Palestinian official Tuesday played down a financial dispute with Hamas, as the Islamist movement criticised authorities for not paying government workers and for "assaulting" members at a rally. The row over pay for Hamas-appointed government workers in Gaza, which flared last week, was the first hitch in a reconciliation deal between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation that began with the formation of a new unity government. "Reconciliation does not need to derail because of money," said Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior member of Fatah, which dominates the PLO, and by extension the Palestinian Authority.

'Qaeda' gunman kills Yemen soldier in southern town

A suspected Al-Qaeda gunman killed a soldier in a Yemeni provincial capital on Tuesday, bringing the death toll in the southern town of Huta to three in as many days. Tensions have run high in Huta since a wave of arrests targeting suspected Al-Qaeda militants prompted a Sunday assault on the police station where they were being held, killing a soldier. Lahij province is home to the Al-Anad air base, north of the main southern city of Aden, where Yemeni officials have said Washington has personnel deployed gathering intelligence for its drone war against Al-Qaeda. In late April, the Yemeni army launched a ground offensive against Al-Qaeda in Abyan and Shabwa provinces farther east.

Bahrain hands heavy jail terms to Shiite protesters

The trial was the latest in a string of prosecutions for protests among the Gulf state's Shiite Muslim majority that prompted Human Rights Watch to warn last month that the Sunni ruling family was using the courts as a tool to maintain a "highly repressive political order." The defendants were detained after protesters clashed with riot police in the Shiite village of Sitra outside the capital Manama on August 6, 2012, the judicial official said. In a report released on May 29, Human Rights Watch charged that the heavy jail terms handed down against scores of Shiite protesters were part of "a highly functional injustice system" operated by the Bahraini authorities.

Afghan poppy crop threatening reconstruction

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. watchdog for spending in Afghanistan says Afghans are growing more opium poppies than ever before and it is threatening to wipe out gains made to help the impoverished country improve health, education and governance.

Senate panel seeks $2.28 billion to aid immigrant children

By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Senate panel, responding to what President Barack Obama calls an "urgent humanitarian situation," on Tuesday advanced legislation significantly increasing funds to handle a surge of foreign children entering the United States illegally. Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski, who chairs the Senate Appropriations Committee, included up to $2.28 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services to feed and shelter the estimated 130,000 minors expected to arrive in the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. That is up from the $868 million that Congress urgently provided this year to handle an estimated 60,000 undocumented children who will leave their homes in Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and other countries and travel to the United States without their parents or other relatives. A Senate aide familiar with the issue told Reuters appropriators also intend to have a "significant" increase in funds for the Department of Homeland Security next year.