Political News from Yahoo

Tiananmen leader: US didn't care about crackdown

An exiled leader of the Tiananmen Square protests deplored Friday the US stance 25 years ago, saying the ambassador confided to her that Washington didn't "care" about the crackdown. Chai Ling, who was commander-in-chief of the students agitating for democracy in Beijing, said that she had hoped the United States would intervene as Chinese troops crushed the uprising on the night of June 3-4, 1989. "We stood at Tiananmen Square until 6:00 am in the morning. We were hoping Americans would come to help us, and America never came," Chai told a congressional hearing ahead of the 25th anniversary of the uprising.

US confirms American carried out Syria suicide bombing

An American citizen fighting for a hardline Islamist group carried out a deadly suicide bombing in Syria, US officials confirmed Friday, in the first such case in the war. The State Department did not identify the man, said to have been behind a truck bombing on Sunday in the northern province of Idlib, but acknowledged concerns about the flow of foreign fighters into Syria. "I can confirm that this individual was a US citizen involved in a suicide bombing in Syria.

Two aid workers killed in Mali landmine blast

Two Malian aid workers were killed when their vehicle drove over a landmine in restive north-west Mali, officials told AFP Friday. "Two Malian humanitarian workers, who were on board a UNHCR vehicle, were killed when their vehicle blew up Thursday on a landmine in the north-west of Mali," an official from the governorate of Timbuktu told AFP. The blast took place near Goundam, about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Timbuktu, said local police officer Nouhoum Diabate. "I saw two bodies blown to smithereens," he said, adding that the two aid workers were employees of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Power Couple

Samar Badawi has done jail time to advance women’s rights, and now husband Walid Abulkhair will represent himself in court against the kingdom.

Thousands rally for Libya ex-general in Tripoli, Benghazi

Thousands rallied Friday in Libya's two main cities to a rogue general who has been pressing an offensive against jihadist militias in the east of the country for two weeks. The crowds chanted slogans criticising new Prime Minister Ahmed Miitig, whose cabinet is already mired in a political standoff with its predecessor. Khalifa Haftar, head of the so-called National Army, launched his assault on Islamist militias in the eastern city of Benghazi on May 16, and has won the support of units from the regular army and air force, as well as some militias who fought to oust dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. In Benghazi, hundreds of people gathered outside the Tibesti Hotel, where they chanted slogans in support of Haftar's offensive and against terrorism.

IMF frees $4.6 billion in aid for Greece

The International Monetary Fund released $4.6 billion in aid to Greece Friday, after a yearlong delay to ensure Athens was meeting targets set by bailout lenders. The Fund said the Greek government had surpassed targets on closing its budget gap, but warned of a number of challenges still facing the country in fully stabilizing its finances and returning to sustainable growth. "The Greek authorities have made significant progress in consolidating the fiscal position and rebalancing the economy," said Naoyuki Shinohara, IMF deputy managing director.

Erdogan urges young to ignore Taksim protest anniversary

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged young Turks on Friday to ignore a call to mark the anniversary of last-year's Taksim Square protests that mushroomed into a revolt against his rule. Turkish police were already mobilising to face down marches announced for Saturday as opposition sympathisers mourned the death of a 64-year-old Turkish woman who had fallen into a coma during a crackdown on protesters in December. "One year later, people, including so-called artists, are calling for demonstrations, but you, Turkey's youth, you will not respond to the call," Erdogan told a crowd of a thousand young people in Istanbul. Despite a government ban on gatherings at Taksim Square, a symbolic rallying point, activists have called for a demonstration there to mark the one-year anniversary of the unrest, which left eight people dead and thousands wounded when police cracked down on peaceful protesters.

Romney returns to Iowa to campaign for Ernst

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Mitt Romney returned to Iowa Friday for the first time since he lost the presidential election in 2012 in an effort to showcase U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst to mainstream Republicans, and said he's opening his campaign donor list to the little-known farmer and national guard officer.

News Guide: What Benghazi means in US politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — To congressional Republicans, "Benghazi" is shorthand for incompetence and cover-up. Democrats hear it as the hollow sound of pointless investigations.

Prosecutors: Misleading testimony in Blackwater

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prosecutors say a witness in the criminal case against four former Blackwater Worldwide security guards gave misleading testimony to a jury investigating the 2007 Baghdad shooting that killed 14 Iraqi civilians and injured at least 18 others.

Obama press secretary steps down

US President Barack Obama said Friday his press secretary Jay Carney was stepping down after more than three years as the first line of defense for his administration. Obama interrupted Carney's daily press briefing to announce that his spokesman had resigned and would be replaced by his deputy Josh Earnest. "It's bittersweet," Obama said, referring to Carney, a former Time Magazine journalist, as "one of my closest friends in Washington." Earnest goes back a long way with Obama, after serving as his communications director in the state that made his national political career, Iowa, during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Eleven killed in northern Kenya ethnic clashes

At least 11 people have been killed and several others wounded in fighting between rival clans in Wajir in Kenya's remote northeast, police said Friday. I can confirm 11 people dead and seven wounded," police spokeswoman Zipporah Mboroki told AFP. Officials said security has been tightened in the area, one of Kenya's poorest regions.

Death threats made against Mandela during US trip

WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly released documents show the FBI investigated death threats against former South Africa president Nelson Mandela during his 1990 visit to the U.S.

Obama says spokesman Carney to step down, names deputy Earnest as replacement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama interrupted the White House daily press briefing on Friday to announce that his spokesman Jay Carney is stepping down, and named as a replacement Josh Earnest, Carney's deputy. Obama said he would miss Carney and his advice, but called Earnest "a straight shooter and a great guy" who had been part of his team since he first ran for president. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Cyprus tourism revenues plunge 14.5% in March

Optimism that tourism would lift bailed-out Cyprus from recession was dented on Friday as revenues from tourist spending plunged 14.5 percent in March on the same month last year, official data showed. Tourism income in March fell to 56.5 million euros from 66 million euros in the same month of 2013. Last year the debt-ridden island overcame financial meltdown brought on by a banking crisis to record an 8 percent hike in tourism revenues. Despite annual tourist arrivals dipping 2.4 percent to 2.4 million in 2013, revenues generated from holidaymakers increased to 2.08 billion euros –- its highest level for more than a decade -- from 1.92 billion in 2012.

Brazil's World Cup security clampdown

Brazil is to deploy a 170,000-strong security force for the World Cup to deter hooligans from home and abroad. Mass protests against the tournament and deadly fan violence have put authorities on alert ahead of the start of the tournament on June 12. The threat of hardline fans from across the border in Argentina or flying in from England and other European nations has accentuated the sense of urgency. Prresident Dilma Rousseff this week ordered the army to reinforce police guarding the hotels and training camps for the 32 countries taking part, the defence ministry said.

US 'troubled' by Chinese blogger's sacking

The State Department said Friday it was "troubled" by reports that a Chinese blogger who met top US diplomat John Kerry had been fired by his employer. Journalist Zhang Jialong was one of four bloggers who met Kerry in Beijing in February, when he urged the United States to help "tear down the great Internet firewall." "We are deeply concerned by reports that one of the bloggers who met with the secretary has been fired from his job after meeting with secretary Kerry," the State Department said.

Clinton memoir hits out at 'political slugfest' on Benghazi

Hillary Clinton has given her most detailed account yet of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, but said she will not join the "political slugfest" over the tragedy. In excerpts from her forthcoming memoir "Hard Choices" published Friday by Politico, Clinton offered a blunt rebuttal to Republican lawmakers who have repeatedly accused her of bungling the response to the deadly attack on the US mission and of misleading the American public. "Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country," President Barack Obama's first secretary of state said in perhaps the book's most anticipated chapter, "Benghazi: Under Attack." Clinton, who lost out to Obama in their battle for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, is mulling a second White House run, and her upcoming book tour -- following the memoir's release June 10 -- is widely seen as a way to lay the groundwork for a 2016 campaign.

Russia-Ukraine gas talks to go on after Kiev makes payment

Kiev has sent a first gas payment to Moscow, paving the way for further talks next week to avert a Russian gas shutdown to Ukraine, negotiators said Friday. "We don't have a final deal yet but we have made progress," EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said after mediating between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Yuriy Prodan, as well as the CEOs of both national energy companies. The Berlin talks were the third Russia-Ukraine meeting aiming to resolve a bitter standoff between Moscow and its former Soviet satellite, held before a deadline next Tuesday when Russia had threatened to cut off gas to Ukraine. Amid the Ukraine crisis, Russia's energy giant Gazprom has raised gas prices and demanded $5.17 billion (3.79 million euros) from the crisis-hit and cash-strapped country for past gas shipments and June deliveries.