Political News from Yahoo

Germany warns of regional 'proxy war' in Iraq

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned Sunday that the bloody conflict in Iraq could quickly spin into a regional "proxy war". Steinmeier, speaking to the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, called on Turkey, the Gulf Arab states and Iran to do their part to stabilise Iraq. "We have to prevent a proxy war of the regional powers breaking out on Iraqi soil," he said. Steinmeier said these countries "could not have an interest in, beyond Syria, an enormous, ungoverned space developing in their backyards as a hotbed of mercenary groups, Islamists of every stripe, and terrorists".

Yemen troops encircle ex-president mosque amid coup fears

Yemeni troops were on Sunday surrounding a Sanaa mosque controlled by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh amid concerns he is plotting a coup, a source close to the presidency said. Saleh had ruled Yemen for 33 years before he was forced to resign in February 2012. He was replaced by his longtime deputy President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi under a UN and Gulf-sponsored deal. Presidential guard troops backed by armoured vehicles blocked access to the large Al-Saleh mosque in Sanaa's southern district, an AFP correspondent reported.

Qaeda suspect kills 8 Yemen military hospital staff

A suspected Al-Qaeda gunman opened fire on a minibus carrying staff members from a military hospital in Yemen's main southern city of Aden on Sunday, killing eight people, an army official said, Two women were among the dead while 12 other staff members were wounded. The official accused Al-Qaeda of plotting and executing the attack, which comes as the army presses an all-out offensive it launched against jihadist strongholds in Yemen's southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan in late April. The army says 500 Al-Qaeda militants have been killed in the army's latest operation, while 40 soldiers died and 100 others were wounded.

Afghan election workers among 11 killed in blast

A roadside bomb killed 11 people including five election workers in northern Afghanistan, officials said Sunday, as a prolonged vote count began after the presidential run-off election. Election officials were sifting through fraud complaints from both candidates, and analysts said the lengthy count could be the trickiest phase in the country's first democratic transfer of power. More than 50 people were killed on polling day Saturday by militant attacks, including the 11 whose bus was hit by a roadside bomb in Samangan province and five members of one family who died when a Taliban rocket hit a house near a polling station. But despite the Taliban attacks, Saturday's election drew a high turnout of about seven million voters in a contest between former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and ex-World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani.

Spain readies legal shield for King Juan Carlos

Spain's government is crafting a new legal shield for King Juan Carlos after he steps off the throne and loses the absolute royal immunity that has protected him for 39 years. The 76-year-old king, hurt by royal scandals in the twilight of a reign that steered Spain from dictatorship to democracy, is handing the crown to his son Felipe who will be sworn in on Thursday. But when King Felipe VI is crowned, his father Juan Carlos will cease to be covered by Spain's 1978 constitution, which states that the person of the king "is inviolable and shall not be held accountable". In October 2012, that immunity thwarted two legal suits demanding that Juan Carlos undergo paternity tests to show whether he was the father of two extramarital children.

Iran warns against military intervention in Iraq

Iran warned on Sunday that "any foreign military intervention in Iraq" would only complicate the crisis, after the US said it was deploying a warship in the Gulf. "Iraq has the capacity and necessary preparations for the fight against terrorism and extremism," foreign ministry spokesman Marzieh Afkham was Sunday quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency. "Any action that complicates the situation in Iraq is not in the interests of the country nor of the region," Afkham said, adding, "The people and government of Iraq will be able to neutralise this conspiracy." Iraq is battling an offensive by Sunni militants who have advanced to within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of Baghdad's city limits after seizing a swathe of the country's north.

Kurd forces 'hold Iraq border crossing with Syria'

Sulaimaniyah (Iraq) (AFP) - Kurdish forces are in control of one the two official border crossings with Syria, which they seized after Iraqi forces withdrew, a senior Kurdish security official said on Sunday.

Six killed as Iraq civilian volunteer centre shelled

Baquba (Iraq) (AFP) - Mortar rounds on Sunday smashed into a central Iraq recruitment centre for civilians volunteering to fight a militant offensive, killing six people, police and a doctor said. Faced with a militant offensive sweeping south toward Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced the Iraqi government would arm and equip civilians who volunteer to fight, and thousands have signed up. And on Friday, influential Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a call to arms for people to fight "terrorists," a move that will boost recruitment.

Brahimi says world neglect of Syria behind Iraq unrest

Former UN and Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said Sunday the unrest sweeping Iraq stemmed from the international community's negligence of the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Jihadist-led militants launched a lightning offensive on Monday, advancing to within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of Baghdad's city limits and bringing Iraq's security forces to the brink of collapse. Brahimi said that the international community's inaction on the conflict in Syria had precipitated the crisis in Iraq.

Israel PM says Hamas responsible for teens' kidnapping

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused militants from the Islamist movement Hamas of kidnapping three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. His remarks were made after troops arrested 80 Palestinians overnight, many of them Hamas members, in what was the widest arrest operation in years. "This morning I can say what I could not say yesterday before the broad wave of arrests of Hamas people in Judaea and Samaria," he said, using the biblical term for the West Bank. "Those who carried out the kidnapping of our youngsters are Hamas people -- the same Hamas with whom Abu Mazen has forged a unity government, which has very serious implications," he said referring to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas.

Iraq air strike on Kurdish forces 'kills six'

Baquba (Iraq) (AFP) - An Iraqi air strike hit a convoy of Kurdish forces which have moved into an area of eastern Iraq during a militant offensive, killing six fighters, officers and a doctor said Sunday. Parts of Khanaqin, located 150 kilometres (95 miles) northeast of the Iraqi capital, were held by militants while others were controlled by Kurdish forces as of Saturday, officers said.

California budget would fund high-speed rail, free preschool

California lawmakers are expected to approve a $156.4 billion budget plan on Sunday that includes funding for a controversial high-speed rail project as well as money for pre-K education for low-income children while also chipping away at the state's debt, officials said. The budget, a compromise deal that sets aside money for a so-called rainy day fund in line with Governor Jerry Brown's vision of fiscal restraint, follows months of political wrangling among Democrats seeking to restore spending on social programs cut during the recession. "For years California's budgets were about getting out of a hole," Democratic Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, of San Diego, said after a budget deal was reached on Friday. On Friday, he praised the legislature for "a solid and sustainable budget" barely bigger than the $156.2 billion he had proposed in May. California faces the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1, in good financial shape, thanks to new taxes approved by voters and the resurgent economy.

S.Sudan crisis 'deteriorates' after six months of war

Aid agencies warned Sunday that starvation and diseases like malaria and cholera were set to intensify the crisis in South Sudan, which has been devastated by six months of conflict. War in the young nation has already killed thousands and forced more than 1.5 million people from their homes, and aid agencies warn of the risk of famine should fighting continue. "The conflict has taken thousands of lives and destroyed the livelihoods of millions," Oxfam’s South Sudan chief Emma Jane Drew said Sunday. "The people of South Sudan have been exposed to a triple crisis -- conflict, hunger and disease -- and with the rains now in full swing, the situation only stands to deteriorate."

Australian minister to meet ambassadors over East Jerusalem row

Australia's foreign minister will meet ambassadors angered by the country's decision to stop referring to East Jerusalem as "occupied", Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday as he stressed there was "no change in policy". Australia has been warned of possible Arab trade sanctions after last week's move, which Attorney-General George Brandis said was made because the term "occupied" carried pejorative implications and was neither appropriate or useful. But the decision has sparked fury in the Arab world, and on Thursday 18 diplomats from countries including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia protested to Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs in Canberra. Israel seized East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move never recognised by the international community.

Ships move into Gulf as US lays out goals for Iraq

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. aircraft carrier was ordered to move into the Persian Gulf on Saturday as the United State laid out specific ways for Iraq to show it is forging the national unity necessary to gain assistance in its fight against Islamic insurgents.

Three Massachusetts Democrats to compete in gubernatorial primary

By Jim Finkle Boston (Reuters) - Massachusetts Democrats nominated state Attorney General Martha Coakley, state Treasurer Steven Grossman and former U.S. health care official Donald Berwick to run against each other in the state's September primary for the governor's race. The winner will run against a Republican in November to succeed Democrat Deval Patrick, who is stepping down after two terms running the liberal-leaning state. Coakley, who lost a 2010 U.S. Senate race to Republican Scott Brown in a major upset, holds a 49 percent to 14 percent lead over Grossman in a Boston Globe poll of state voters conducted in early June.

This Drink Helped Maya Angelou Write

She usually had a glass at eleven a.m., and—along with a Bible and Roget’s Thesaurus—sherry was a vital writing accessory of Maya Angelou’s. What makes it so good, and where should the sherry virgin begin?

4 in 10 higher risk wells aren't inspected by feds

NEW CASTLE, Colo. (AP) — Four in 10 new oil and gas wells near national forests and fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks escape federal inspection, unchecked by an agency struggling to keep pace with America's drilling boom, according to an Associated Press review that shows wide state-by-state disparities in safety checks.

States with wells at higher risk of pollution

Four in 10 oil and gas wells drilled between fiscal years 2009 and 2012 escaped federal inspection even though they are near national forests, fragile watersheds or otherwise identified as higher pollution risks. Here are the states with wells on federal or Indian lands that were deemed "higher priority" for drilling inspection by the Bureau of Land Management, and the number that were not checked: