Political News from Yahoo

FBI head: Cyber crime posing 'enormous challenge'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Law enforcement faces an "enormous challenge" in preventing state-sponsored cyber crimes, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday, days after the Justice Department charged five Chinese military officials with hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.

House Dems to participate in Benghazi probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats will participate in the special, Republican-led select committee investigating the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, despite serious concerns within the party that the inquiry is an election-year ploy to energize core GOP voters.

Past violence in Nigeria's restive Jos

A double car bombing that killed at least 118 people in Jos, central Nigeria, was not just the country's deadliest bombing but an attack on a city that has seen more than a decade of unrest. Most of the violence in the religiously divided city and the wider state of Plateau has been linked to a long-running sectarian conflict between Christian farmers and Muslim herdsmen. But officials and experts said Tuesday's deadly strikes bore the hallmarks of Boko Haram, the Islamist militant group that has previously targeted the city. In resuming attacks far from their northeastern base, Boko Haram may be trying to show its strength given increased international attention following its mass abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in April, experts say.

Judge: Produce Gitmo videotapes, medical records

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Wednesday brushed aside the Justice Department's objections and ordered the government to produce 34 videotapes of a hunger-striking prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay naval base.

Your guide to navigating confusing airline fees

NEW YORK (AP) — The Department of Transportation on Wednesday proposed a new set of rules aimed at protecting airline passengers by requiring more disclosure of airline fees. Here are some common questions regarding the plethora of fees that fliers face today:

Obama vows action over veterans hospital scandal

President Barack Obama voiced outrage at an alleged cover-up of delays in treatment at US military hospitals on Wednesday, vowing to punish anyone guilty of wrongdoing in the scandal. Speaking after a meeting with Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki, Obama told reporters he would not tolerate any evidence of malpractice. "When I hear allegations of misconduct ...whether it's allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books, I will not stand for it," Obama said. Veterans have had to wait months to see a doctor at some hospitals, and allegations have arisen that administrators at a VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona covered up the delays there.

Sisi gets 94.5% of expat vote in Egypt presidential race

Ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has picked up 94.5 percent of votes cast abroad in Egypt's presidential election, officials said Wednesday, five days before polling opens in the North African country. The retired field marshal, riding a wave of popularity after he ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last year, is widely expected to win the election that takes place in Egypt on May 26-27. In the ballots already cast abroad, Sisi won the backing of 296,628 expats in 124 countries during voting on May 15-19, electoral committee chief Abdel Aziz Salman told a news conference. Only 17,207 votes of the total 318,033 cast went to Sisi's sole rival, leftist leader and longtime opposition figure Hamdeen Sabbahi.

Sen. Thad Cochran, challenger in spat over photo

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's campaign said Wednesday that his Republican primary challenger in Mississippi failed to report a potential crime to authorities after learning someone briefly posted an online video with an unauthorized photo of Cochran's bedridden wife in a nursing home.

Comoros bans '#bringbackourgirls' march

Moroni (Comoros) (AFP) - The majority Muslim island nation of the Comoros has banned a march over the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamic extremists, amid accusations the government wants to dodge religiously sensitive issues. The non-governmental Solidarity Association of the Indian Ocean Islands had appealed to the government to speak out on the kidnapping by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, but met a wall of silence. Boko Haram, whose name loosely translates as "Western education is forbidden", kidnapped the girls from their dormitory on April 14, has claimed they converted to Islam and has threatened to sell them. "No verse in the Koran, no religious principle justifies this kidnapping," said the rights group's Nasser Assoumani.

Fatah official's Gaza visit postponed indefinitely

Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - A visit set for Wednesday by a senior Fatah official to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip to put the finishing touches on a Palestinian unity government has been postponed indefinitely, a Palestinian official said. Last month, Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, dominated by Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah party, signed a reconciliation deal aimed at ending years of political division. Under the terms of the deal, the two sides would form an "independent government" of technocrats, to be headed by Abbas, that would pave the way for long-delayed elections.

Moscow will veto UN resolution on ICC for Syria

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - Russia will veto a draft UN Security Council resolution that calls for bringing Syria before the International Criminal Court, Moscow's ambassador said Wednesday.

Jordan hopes papal visit would push for regional peace

Jordan expressed hope Wednesday that Pope Francis's visit to the Holy Land would help the cause of regional stability, including the advancement of the stalled Middle East peace talks. "The pope's May 24-26 visit carries a lot of meanings of peace," government spokesman Mohammad Momamni told a news conference. "We hope the visit will push for achieving peace and stability in the region, including the Israeli-Palestinian peace process," said Momamni, who is also information minister. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur told a group of journalists that "the pope's visit will show Jordan's civilised image and will show that the kingdom is an oasis of peace and security in a turbulent region with a sea of blood, wars and repression."

Key Senator Leahy drops patent reform bill for now

By Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday a controversial patent bill backed by major technology companies was being taken off the committee's agenda for now. The committee had been attempting to reach agreement on changes to a bill aimed at reducing patent litigation brought by patent assertion entities, often called "patent trolls" by their critics. The measure is similar to legislation passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives in December. "Because there is not sufficient support behind any comprehensive deal, I am taking the patent bill off the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda," Leahy said in a statement.

Jihadists seek Islamic state on Syria-Iraq border

"Their name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Their goal is to link together the two areas (Syria, Iraq) to set up their state and then to continue spreading," said activist and citizen journalist Abdel Salam Hussein. Speaking from Albu Kamal on the Iraq border, Hussein said ISIL seeks to crush Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate, and control the eastern, energy-rich province of Deir Ezzor bordering Iraq.

Tense calm after Malawi election riots as voting extended

Blantyre (Malawi) (AFP) - Voting was extended into an unscheduled second day in Malawi's riot-tainted election Wednesday, as the country waited to see if a massive corruption scandal would scupper Joyce Banda's bid for a second term. In Blantyre's volatile Ndirande township, camouflage-clad riot police clutched automatic rifles as they helped direct as many as 15,000 voters queing at a polling centre to cast their late ballots.

Senate backs Fischer for Fed board

By Howard Schneider and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved Stanley Fischer's nomination to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, adding a potentially influential voice to the developing debate over Fed policy in the post-crisis era. Fischer, 70, was approved on a 68-27 vote, with all the opposition coming from Republicans. The Senate could have considered both nominations back-to-back, but Republicans blocked the more rapid procedure to protest a rules change that allows Democrats to more easily move President Barack Obama's nominees, according to a Senate Democratic aide. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid likely will move this week to set a vote on Fischer's vice chairmanship for when the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess the week of June 1.

Mali crisis: UN's Ban demands ceasefire in Kidal

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon demanded an immediate ceasefire on Wednesday after a deadly new outbreak of fighting in Mali around the former rebel stronghold of Kidal. The secretary general made the call even as a UN source on the ground in Mali told AFP that Tuareg militants had killed or captured a number of government soldiers in the town. "The secretary general is deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating situation in Kidal," Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Soldiers killed, taken prisoner by rebels in Mali

Tuareg militants killed several Malian soldiers during clashes in the rebel bastion of Kidal on Wednesday, a United Nations source told AFP, as the insurgents claimed to have taken control of the town. The fighting shattered an uneasy calm which had held since the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) took 32 civil servants hostage during a battle which left eight Malian soldiers and 28 rebels dead. "The noise of gunfire has stopped... There are prisoners and deaths among the Malian army's ranks," a source from the MINUSMA, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali, told AFP, adding that the rebels appeared to have the upper hand. Mohamed Ag Rhissa, one of the leaders of the separatist MNLA, told AFP by telephone his group had taken "control the whole town of Kidal", adding that "we have prisoners".