Political News from Yahoo

Egypt court to give verdict in Al-Jazeera trial

A court is to deliver its verdict Monday in the trial of Al-Jazeera journalists accused of aiding Egypt's blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood in a case that has sparked an international outcry. Since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, the authorities have been incensed by the Qatari network's coverage of their deadly crackdown on his supporters. They consider Al-Jazeera as the voice of Qatar, and accuse Doha of backing Morsi's Brotherhood, while the emirate openly denounces the repression of the Islamist movement's supporters which has killed more than 1,400 people. Australian Peter Greste, Egyptian-Canadian Mohamed Fadel Fahmy and producer Baher Mohamed, who work for Al-Jazeera English, have been tried with 17 others on charges of "spreading false news" and having Brotherhood links.

G20 lagging on growth targets, Australia says

Reforms proposed to lift global growth in line with a target set by the world's biggest economies earlier this year are so far falling short, Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey said on Monday. In February, the G20 economies vowed to boost global growth by more than US$2 trillion over five years, shifting their focus away from austerity as a fragile recovery takes hold. "The submissions are not meeting our ambitious target at the moment and I expect that a number of jurisdictions will improve their effort," Hockey told the broadsheet. G20 finance ministers and central bank governors said in February they aimed to lift their collective gross domestic product by more than two percentage points over the next five years.

Cameron to meet van Rompuy over Juncker appointment

Prime Minister David Cameron will meet with EU Council President Herman van Rompuy in London on Monday to press his case against the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as head the European Commission. Cameron is ready to force fellow EU leaders to vote on who should head the Commission, the EU's executive arm, in a last ditch attempt to block Juncker, Downing Street sources said Sunday. Cameron views the former long-serving Luxembourg prime minister as a federalist who will not adopt the modernising reforms he says the European Union badly needs, and has vowed to "fight this right to the very end".

Border Patrol shelves plans for California flights

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The U.S. Border Patrol on Sunday canceled flights scheduled to bring nearly 300 Central American migrants from south Texas to California for processing, but the plans could be reinstated, an official said.

Israel launches air raids on Syrian positions in Golan

Israel carried out retaliatory air raids on Syrian army positions in the Golan Heights overnight after a teenager on the Israeli side was killed in an attack from Syria, the army said early Monday. "The IDF (Israeli army) targeted nine Syrian army positions in response to the earlier attack that originated in Syria killing an Israeli teenager and injuring two other Israeli civilians," an army spokesman said. Sunday's action marked the most serious escalation along the ceasefire line with Syria since the 1973 Middle East War, with Israel's defence minister warning Damascus would pay a "high price" for helping militants bent on harming the Jewish state. The targeted sites of Israel's retaliatory raids included "Syrian military headquarters and launching positions", and "direct hits were confirmed", said the statement by Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, the army's foreign press spokesman.

US missile defense system strikes target in test

The Boeing-managed ground-based system intended to shield the continental United States intercepted a simulated incoming missile over the Pacific Ocean for the first time Sunday, the Pentagon said. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, with a $40 billion price tag, aims to protect against long-range ballistic missiles from so-called rogue states such as North Korea and Iran. The successful test followed the system's failure to hit a simulated missile in five of eight previous tests since president George W. Bush's administration launched the program in 2004. President Barack Obama's administration has announced it plans to spend about $1.3 billion on 14 more interceptors, but only if the closely-watched test was successful.

US hits target over ocean in missile defense test

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, California (AP) — The U.S. military intercepted a target over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday in a test of the nation's Ballistic Missile Defense System.

New York City mayor leads push to reduce inequality

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who came into office six months ago promising to take on economic inequality in the nation's largest city, is now enlisting other big-city mayors to join in the fight.  De Blasio and the mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, announced the creation of a year-long task force to "leverage the power of municipal governments to advance a national, common equity agenda" at the U.S. Conference of Mayors' annual meeting in Dallas on Sunday. "We are living in a time of rising inequality and declining opportunity – this is a threat to our fundamental values and an obstacle to the nation’s economic growth," de Blasio said in a statement. The idea that the nation's mayors can be a potent political force was shared by de Blasio's predecessor at New York City Hall, Michael Bloomberg, who founded the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns to push for expended background checks for gun purchases and other forms of stricter gun control.

Mayors call on Congress to tackle illegal immigration

By Lisa Maria Garza DALLAS (Reuters) - U.S. mayors on Sunday called for Congress to draw up bipartisan legislation to address a surge of illegal immigrants into the United States and asked for help to ease the resulting financial burden on local governments. The U.S. Conference of Mayors said at their annual meeting in Dallas they are asking congressional Democrats and Republicans for legislation to increase border security and support city and state governments whose finances are being strained by costs associated to illegal immigration. This is an American issue," said Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, a Republican and co-chair of the Immigration Reform Task Force, a bipartisan group within the United States Conference of Mayors. Since October, 52,000 unaccompanied children have arrived on the U.S. border with Mexico, the Department of Homeland Security said on Friday, underscoring an immigration problem seen by the White House as a humanitarian crisis.

Israel air raids target Syrian positions in Golan

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israel carried out retaliatory air raids on Syrian army positions in the Golan Heights overnight, after a teenager on the Israeli side was killed by mortar fire, local media said early Monday.

New York governor endorses Rangel in tight congressional primary

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo threw his support behind U.S. Congressman Charlie Rangel's re-election on Sunday, just two days before Democrats in Rangel's Harlem and Bronx district vote on whether to give him a 23rd term. Rangel, who at 84 is among the longest-serving and best-known lawmakers in Congress, faces an aggressive challenge from state Senator Adriano Espaillat, who came within 1,000 votes of ousting him two years ago after the district boundaries were redrawn. A Siena College poll released last week found Rangel leading Espaillat 47 percentage points to 34 points among likely voters in the district. In this liberal bastion of New York City, the winner of the Democratic primary on Tuesday is all but guaranteed to win the general election in November.

House Republican leader opposes Export-Import Bank renewal

By Eric Beech WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The newly elected No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives said on Sunday he opposed renewing the charter for the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which helps finance exports of U.S. goods and services. Representative Kevin McCarthy, the incoming House majority leader, told "Fox News Sunday" the bank's role should be taken over by the private sector. Asked if he would allow the bank's charter to expire at the end of September, McCarthy said: "Yes, because it's something that the private sector can be able to do." The Export-Import Bank, which was established 80 years ago, backed $37.4 billion in exports in 2013.

Key Republican wants to kill US Export-Import Bank

The next Republican majority leader in the House of Representatives said Sunday he favors shuttering the US Export-Import Bank, which helps finance the export of American goods and services abroad. The government agency supports exporters like Boeing or General Electric with export credit insurance, and provides loan guarantees as well as direct loans. "One of the problems with government is they take hard-earned money so others do things that the private sector can do," Congressman Kevin McCarthy told "Fox News Sunday." "I think Ex-Im bank is one that government does not have to be involved in."

Libya adopts budget after delays over crisis

Libya's interim parliament on Sunday adopted the 2014 budget worth some $48 billion, after long delays due to political chaos and unrest that has plagued the oil-rich nation. The official Lana news agency said the budget approved by the outgoing General National Congress was based on an oil price of $100 per barrel, with production of 800,000 barrels per day. Libya's oil-dependent economy, which has been struggling since the 2011 uprising that toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi, took a severe beating when rebels blockaded export terminals last year. Libya, which relies on oil for 96 percent of its gross domestic product, says the blockade has cost the country more than $14 billion (10.1 billion euros) in lost revenues.

Sotomayor: Affirmative action options don't work

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejected on Sunday the notion that alternatives to affirmative action such as income or residency could achieve similar results in diversifying the nation's colleges and universities.

Suicide blast kills three in northeast Nigeria

A suicide bomber on Sunday rammed his car into a military checkpoint in northeast Nigeria's Borno state near the border with Cameroon killing three soldiers in an attack blamed on Boko Haram Islamists, residents said. Three other soldiers were also injured in the early morning attack in Gwoza town, a resident, Dahiru Yunusa, told AFP. "It was a suicide attack by a man believed to be a Boko Haram (member) who drove his car into the checkpoint and killed three soldiers," Yunusa said.

Blasts target Iraq mourners, six killed

A suicide attack and a car bomb Sunday targeted people mourning an Iraqi police officer who died in clashes two days before, killing six people, police and a doctor said. The suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a building near the city of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, where people had gathered to pay their condolences to the family of Colonel Majid al-Fahdawi. Later a car bomb exploded nearby. Iraqi security forces are battling a major militant offensive that is advancing east through Anbar province, of which Ramadi is the capital.

Violence in flashpoint Kosovo town over bridge blockade

Kosovo police fired tear gas on Sunday to disperse stone-throwing protesters who set alight police cars demanding the removal of a barricade on a bridge linking ethnic Albanians and Serbs in the divided town of Mitrovica. At least 10 protesters were also slightly injured while several people were detained for questioning, the statement said. The protesters later set on fire two Kosovo police cars and two vehicles belonging to the European Union rule of law mission, EULEX. They were angry over a three-year-old barricade put up by ethnic Serbs on the bridge over the river Ibar that separates the two communities.

Sotomayor makes case for affirmative action

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor rejects the notion that using alternative measures to affirmative action such as income or residency could achieve similar results in diversifying the nation's colleges and universities.