Political News from Yahoo

Peace-loving Sweden 'arms dictators' as defence exports soar

Linköping (Sweden) (AFP) - Alongside a global reputation for peacemaking and generous foreign aid, Sweden has become a major world supplier of weapons counting a number of regimes criticised for human rights abuses among its customers.

Tea Party faces uphill battle in latest round of U.S. Republican primaries

By John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Voters in six states will choose candidates on Tuesday for some of November's top congressional election races, including another round of crucial U.S. Senate primaries between the Republican establishment and Tea Party favorites in Kentucky, Georgia and Oregon. Tea Party candidates are fighting an uphill battle in all three U.S. Senate contests, which could be vital to Republican hopes of picking up the six seats they need to recapture control of the chamber from Democrats in November. Idaho, Arkansas and Pennsylvania also will hold primaries on the campaign's biggest day of voting so far. The most closely watched contest is in Kentucky, where Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell is a heavy favorite to beat Tea Party challenger Matt Bevin, setting up one of November's top Senate races against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

US on martial law in Thailand: must be 'temporary'

The Thai military's declaration of martial law must be temporary and not undermine democracy, the United States said. The United States is concerned about the political crisis in Thailand and urges "all parties to respect democratic principles, including respect for freedom of speech," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement, released late Monday. "We understand the Royal Thai Army announced that this martial law declaration is not a coup. "The United States firmly believes all parties must work together to resolve differences through dialogue and find a way forward.

Sea level rise forces US space agency to retreat

Sea level rise is threatening the majority of NASA's launch pads and multi-billion dollar complexes famous for training astronauts and launching historic missions to space, scientists said on Tuesday. From Cape Canaveral in Florida to mission control in Houston, the US space agency is busily building seawalls where possible and moving some buildings further inland. Five of seven major NASA centers are located along the coast. Many NASA centers have already faced costly damage from encroaching water, coastal erosion and potent hurricanes, said a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Credit Suisse pleads guilty in US tax evasion case

WASHINGTON (AP) — European bank Credit Suisse AG pleaded guilty Monday to helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes through secret offshore accounts and agreed to pay about $2.6 billion to the U.S. government and regulators.

White House vows CIA will not use vaccine programs for covert ops

The White House promised on Monday that the CIA will not use immunization programs for its operations following a complaint that the spy agency used such a campaign in its hunt for Osama bin Laden. The deans of 12 public health schools had complained about a reported vaccination program conducted by a Pakistani doctor, who used a hepatitis immunization survey in the Pakistani city where bin Laden was later killed in a secret U.S. mission. It said the effort failed and the surgeon, Shakil Afridi, was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said Obama homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco had assured the deans in a letter that CIA policy as of August 2013 makes clear "the CIA will make no operational use of vaccination programs, which includes vaccination workers." "Similarly, the agency will not seek to obtain or exploit DNA or other genetic material acquired through such programs.

NSA data-gathering may run into California roadblock

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - The federal government would need a warrant from a judge if it wants the cooperation of California officials in searching residents' cellphone and computer records, under a bill making its way through the state legislature. The bill, which passed the state Senate with just one opposing vote on Monday, was introduced in the wake of information leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden showing massive internal surveillance of U.S. citizens by the NSA. It says the government shall not engage in unreasonable search and seizure," said the bill's author, Democratic State Senator Ted Lieu, of Torrance. "The National Security Agency's massive and indiscriminate collecting of phone data on all Americans, including more than 38 million Californians, is a threat to our liberty and freedom." The California bill is the farthest along of several such measures that have been introduced in eight states, according to Lieu's spokesman Jeff Gozzo, including Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma.

Obama criticizes Republicans for focusing on Benghazi, Obamacare

By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama chastised his Republican opponents on Monday for focusing criticism on the events surrounding the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and on his signature healthcare law. "The debate we're having now is about what, Benghazi? It's not speaking to the real concerns that people have," Obama said. He was speaking to more than 60 people at a fundraising dinner for Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives.

CIA: Will not use vaccination programs for spying

WASHINGTON (AP) — A top White House official has pledged that the CIA will no longer use vaccination programs as cover for spying operations. The agency used the ruse in targeting Osama bin Laden before the U.S. raid that killed him in 2011.

Longtime Illinois statehouse leader tested anew

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — On a golden plaque in the state Capitol that commemorates Illinois' long history of House speakers, one name takes up three entire rows: Michael Madigan.

#ShotsFired in U.S.-China Cyberwar

The high-profile rollout of Monday’s indictment of Chinese military officers for cyber espionage shows the Obama administration wanted to admonish China publicly.

Thai army invokes martial law to quell unrest

Thailand's army on Tuesday declared martial law across the crisis-gripped kingdom to restore order following months of anti-government protests that have left 28 people dead and hundreds wounded. An announcement on military-run television said martial law had been invoked "to restore peace and order for people from all sides", stressing that the move "is not a coup". The dismissal of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra earlier this month in a controversial court ruling has sent tensions soaring in the kingdom, which has endured years of political turmoil. The country's embattled government was not consulted in advance about the imposition of martial law, said Paradorn Pattanatabut, chief security adviser to Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan.

Credit Suisse charged in tax evasion case

WASHINGTON (AP) — Swiss bank Credit Suisse AG pleaded guilty Monday to helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes through secret offshore accounts and agreed to pay about $2.6 billion.

Nunn skirts question on health care vote

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn in Georgia declined to answer questions Monday about whether she would have voted for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, as candidates in six states went through the final paces of bruising primary campaigns for congressional and statewide offices.

Tuareg rebels free hostages seized in northern Mali

Tuareg rebels on Monday released 32 civil servants taken hostage in a deadly siege at government offices in northern Mali, the United Nations' MINUSMA peacekeeping force said. The release of the hostages came as 1,500 Malian troops poured into the town, sent to restore government control to the bastion of Mali's Tuareg separatist movement, 1,500 kilometre (900 miles) northeast of the capital. A firefight between the army and separatists from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) outside the regional governor's headquarters on Saturday left eight Malian soldiers and 28 insurgents dead. "After negotiations that took place during the night of Sunday May 18 and Monday May 19, MINUSMA recovered 32 prisoners from the MNLA and transported them to the MINUSMA camp in Kidal where a medical check-up was offered," the force said in a statement.

Thai government not consulted about martial law: PM's aide

Bangkok (AFP) - Thailand's embattled government was not consulted in advance by the military about the declaration of martial law but it is still in power, said the chief security adviser to Prime Minister Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan.