Political News from Yahoo

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.

Court rules against strike snarling World Cup city

A court on Sunday ordered Sao Paulo subway workers to pay a daily fine if they continue a strike threatening to disrupt the World Cup's opening game in Brazil's biggest city. The ruling came as more teams arrived in Brazil, with Germany greeted by several hundred people at its northeastern base and England landing in the picturesque city of Rio de Janeiro. Eighteen of the 32 teams are now on the ground, including the hosts, but the chaos gripping Sao Paulo -- the latest in a wave of strikes and protests ahead of the tournament -- has distracted the usually passionate footballing nation from the World Cup build-up. "The court ruled the strike was abusive," said union spokesman Thiago Marcelino Pereira.

Top US diplomat Kerry defends soldier swap with Taliban

Secretary of State John Kerry defended Sunday the swap of five Guantanamo detainees for American Bowe Bergdahl, amid reports the captive US soldier was kept at times in a metal cage and in total darkness. Kerry doubled down on President Barack Obama's controversial decision to make the trade in exchange for the release of Bergdahl, who the top US diplomat said was at risk of being tortured by his captors. Bergdahl was released to US troops in Afghanistan last Saturday in exchange for the five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Bulgaria halts work on South Stream gas pipeline

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria's prime minister has ordered on Sunday a halt to construction work on the Gazprom-led South Stream pipeline project planned to bypass Ukraine as a transit country and consolidating Russia's energy grip in Europe.

No decision on White House run before year's end: Clinton

Hillary Clinton won't make her intentions known about a possible White House bid before year's end, she said in an interview broadcast Sunday. Clinton's remark came as she embarks on a sweeping book tour for her latest memoir "Hard Choices." Clinton, 66, who lost to President Barack Obama in their 2008 battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, is mulling a second White House run.

Spanish police detain ETA fugitive at Madrid airport

Spanish police on Sunday arrested a member of the armed Basque separatist group ETA suspected of belonging to a unit that killed several police officers in the 1980s, the interior ministry said. Police detained Maria Jesus Elorza Zubizarreta, 66, at Madrid's Adolfo-Suarez Barajas airport under a European arrest warrant issued by France in 2006, the ministry said in a statement.

Spanish king presides over final military ceremony

Spain's Juan Carlos, who announced plans to abdicate last week, presided Sunday over his last military ceremony as king before he cedes the throne to his more popular son Prince Felipe. Hundreds of onlookers applauded and chanted "Long live the king!" as the 76-year-old monarch, dressed in a brown military uniform, reviewed troops at Spain's annual armed forces day ceremony in central Madrid. The king, who walks with a cane after multiple hip operations, was flanked by his wife Queen Sofia, and Felipe, who wore a white navy uniform, and his wife Princess Letizia, a former TV news reader.

Israel joins key EU research programme

Israel on Sunday signed a key European-funded scientific research programme despite guidelines barring funding to settlement-linked projects, officials said. The signing of the Horizon 2020 agreement took place at a ceremony in Jerusalem presided over by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Under terms of the agreement, Israel will have the same access to the programme as EU member states," the European Commission said. Signing the deal, which makes Israel the only non-European country to benefit from the programme, was made possible after the sides reached a compromise over guidelines which bar all funding for entities operating on land seized during the 1967 Six Day War.