Political News from Yahoo

S.Africa president Zuma discharged from hospital

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma left hospital late Sunday, the day after he was admitted for routine tests following a bout of exhaustion, this office said. "President Jacob Zuma has been discharged from hospital this evening," his office announced in a statement late Sunday. The 72-year-old leader checked into hospital on Saturday after officials from his party had asked him on Friday to take a break because "the punishing election programme was taking its toll, not on him only, (but) on many of us," ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe had earlier said. Following the discharge from hospital, Zuma will "continue to rest for a few days and will work mainly from home during the rest period," said Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe in the statement.


Kurdish rebels ramp up pressure ahead of Turkey vote

Kurdish rebels in Turkey's southeast are ramping up attacks in a bid to pressure Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to speed up reforms ahead of presidential elections, analysts say. A recent spate of ambushes, kidnappings and roadblocks by Kurdish militants threatens to further erode the fraught relationship between Ankara and the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) ahead of Turkey's first direct presidential election in August. The PKK declared a ceasefire in March 2013, but peace talks stalled in September after the rebels said they were suspending their retreat from Turkish soil, accusing the government of failing to deliver on promised reforms. The upsurge in violence in the southeast is seen as a sign that the PKK -- blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Ankara and much of the international community -- is raising the stakes in order to secure greater concessions.


China minister to meet India's Modi in reset of tense ties

China's foreign minister is expected to meet newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday as the nuclear-armed rival giants attempt to reset decades of tense relations. Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to call on Modi as part of a two-day visit to New Delhi to build relations with the new right-wing government that swept to power last month on a pledge to revive the economy. Wang held talks with his Indian counterpart on Sunday in the first high-level meeting between the two countries since Modi took office. India described those talks as a "productive and substantive" step towards stronger relations between the neighbours whose ties have long been frosty over a border dispute in the Himalayas.


Gun and suicide attack kills 23 near Pakistan-Iran border

Quetta (Pakistan) (AFP) - At least 23 people including several Shiite pilgrims were killed in a gun and suicide attack on the restive Pakistan-Iran border late Sunday night, Pakistani officials said, in the latest assault on the beleaguered minority sect. The attack came when a bus carrying Pakistani pilgrims returning from a visit to holy Muslim sites in Iran stopped at a restaurant in the Pakistani town of Taftan in Baluchistan province, around 700 kilometres (430 miles) southwest of the provincial capital Quetta. Akbar Durrani, the provincial home secretary said: "Twenty-three pilgrims were killed in the suicide attack in Taftan. Addressing a press conference, Durrani said four suicide bombers attacked two restaurants full of pilgrims.


Pakistan's Karachi airport under siege: officials

Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan's busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, forcing the suspension of all flights as the army was called in to repel the gunmen, officials said. Army spokesman Colonel Nayer said that troops had been deployed from the Malir cantonment near their airport. A spokesman for Airport Security Force (ASF) told AFP: "Four to five terrorists have managed to reach the runway, they are heavily armed with ammunition and grenades and ASF commandos have cordoned off the area along with police and rangers. The spokesman said the gunmen had entered the airport by cutting through a barbed-wire fence at the airport's old terminal which is no longer used for passengers but instead has offices, workshops and hangars.


Disarmament drive yields limited haul in C.Africa

Bangui (Central African Republic) (AFP) - The Central African government collected several hundred weapons in a disarmament drive on Sunday but admitted it was a modest amount after months of rampant arms proliferation in the crisis-hit country. The voluntary disarmament day called by Prime Minister Andre Nzapayeke was focused on eight districts in the capital Bangui and two neighbouring areas. In the PK-5 districts, the last hold-out for the capital's Muslims after months of sectarian attacks, French and African peacekeepers collected 69 grenades, 13 bows, 62 arrows, 15 guns and some 200 munitions from around 192 individuals.


Kosovo PM Thaci's party claims victory in polls

Pristina (AFP) - The Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK) of Prime Minister Hashim Thaci claimed victory Sunday in snap legislative elections, saying its count showed the party gained "a convincing and solid majority."


Kerry defends US soldier swap with Taliban

Secretary of State John Kerry defended Sunday the prisoner swap that freed US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, said to have been sometimes kept in a metal cage and in total darkness while in captivity. Kerry doubled down on President Barack Obama's controversial decision to release five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay a week ago in exchange for the freedom of Bergdahl, who the top US diplomat said was at risk of being tortured by his captors.


Militants kill five in attack on Pakistan's Karachi airport

Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan's busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, killing at least five people as flights were suspended and the army was called in, officials said. The assault on Jinnah International Airport has raised fears about the possibility of a prolonged siege similar to other brazen attacks on key installations in recent years. A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, Abid Qaimkhani told AFP: "Four to five terrorists have managed to reach the runway, they are heavily armed with ammunition and grenades and Airport Security Force commandos have cordoned off the area along with police and rangers. A paramilitary ranger engaged in the operation said the militants had entered through the Engineering Section of the Pakistan International Airlines near the airport's old terminal.


Police, protesters clash in Turkey after two Kurds killed

Lice (Turkey) (AFP) - Police and demonstrators clashed in Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey on Sunday as tensions mounted the day after two Kurdish men were killed in protests that turned violent. Police fired tear gas and water cannon at demonstrators who threw stones and burnt barricades following the funeral of one of the victims killed Saturday in the Lice district of Kurdish majority Diyarbakir province, an AFP reporter on the scene said. Sunday's confrontation came after the two Kurdish protesters, aged 24 and 50, died of gunshot wounds sustained during fierce clashes between soldiers and demonstrators angry at government plans to build military barracks in Lice. Police also briefly clashed with Kurdish protesters in Bagcilar, a working-class district of Istanbul and in Hakkari, another Kurdish-majority southeastern city, Dogan news agency reported.


Italy, Malta say 'forgotten' by EU over migrant influx

Italy and Malta on Sunday said they had been "forgotten" by Europe amid a massive influx of migrants -- an accusation rejected by Brussels which admitted however that other countries could do more to help. Thousands of migrants -- mainly from Eritrea and Syria but also sub-Saharan Africa -- have arrived or are on their way in what Malta said was the "biggest" search and rescue operation in recent years. Italy said that more than 50,000 migrants have landed since on its shores the start of the year -- around the same numbers as for the whole of last year. Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat criticised the European Union in an interview with One Radio saying: "Europe has forgotten everyone.


Former UN envoy warns Syria becoming 'another Somalia'

Former UN envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has warned that the war-torn country was heading toward becoming "another Somalia" ruled by warlords, in an interview published in a German weekly this weekend. Brahimi, the former special representative on Syria for the United Nations and the Arab League, resigned in frustration last month after making little progress towards ending the brutal civil war, now in its fourth year. When asked what he predicted would ultimately become of Syria, the veteran Algerian diplomat told der Spiegel: "It will become another Somalia. Brahimi also painted a grim picture for the countries neighbouring Syria.


Palestinian unity should be 'supported': Europe's Barroso

Herzliya (Israel) (AFP) - A Palestinian unity deal with the Islamist Hamas movement must be supported, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso told an Israeli security conference on Sunday. His remarks came just days after a Palestinian unity government, comprised of political independents but backed by Hamas, was sworn in -- a move welcomed by the international community but rejected by Israel as a major stumbling block to peace. "In the interest of a future peace deal and of a legitimate and representative government, intra-Palestinian reconciliation... should be supported," Barroso told delegates at a conference in the coastal city of Herzliya. Any Palestinian government should uphold the principle of non-violence, be committed to a two-state solution and a negotiated settlement of the conflict, which would imply accepting existing agreements as well as recognising Israel's right to exist, he said.


One dead in Khartoum protest over water cuts

One person was killed Sunday in the Sudanese capital as police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration over water shortages, police and witnesses said. Hanan Omar Jadallah, a demonstrator, said that men, women and children took part. Several areas of Khartoum have been hit by water cuts for the past month, a situation exacerbated by rising summer temperatures.


Pakistan's Karachi airport under attack: officials

Heavily armed militants attacked Pakistan's busiest airport in the southern city of Karachi Sunday night, forcing the suspension of all flights, officials said. Senior police official Rao Muhammad Anwar said the militants were armed with automatic weapons and grenades and were exchanging gunfire with security personnel. Abid Qaimkhani, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed the attack, adding all flights had been suspended. There has so far been no claim of responsibility, but Pakistan has been battling a homegrown Islamist insurgency for more than a decade that has claimed thousands of lives.


S.Africa's Zuma expected to leave hospital Sunday: ANC

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma is "doing very well" after being admitted to hospital for exhaustion, one of his four wives said on Sunday. A senior official of the ruling ANC earlier said Zuma was expected to be discharged on Sunday, a day after he was admitted for tests following reports of exhaustion. But there was no update from Zuma's office by Sunday evening.


'Foreign forces' behind S.Africa's platinum strike: ANC

South Africa's ruling party claimed "foreign forces" may be behind a lengthy platinum strike that has battered the continent's most developed economy, a top party official said on Sunday. The ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, said a meeting of the party's highest decision-making body had looked into the causes behind the wage dispute, now in its fifth month. "It is a signal, small as it may sound, of foreign forces taking an active interest in destabilising South Africa and its economy," he said. He also alleged that a senior official of the opposition leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, led by former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, had been directly involved in the wage negotiations between the platinum mine owners and the union.


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