Political News from Yahoo

Debunking The ‘Marijuana Insomnia’ Myth

A new study showing a link between poor sleep and marijuana use convinced some that smoking pot early can cause a lifetime of sleepless nights. Time to wake up and smell the facts.

Germany opens criminal probe over Merkel phone tapping

Germany's federal prosecutors said Wednesday they had opened an investigation over alleged snooping on Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone by the US National Security Agency (NSA) in a case that has soured relations. The long-anticipated probe, which follows an explosive allegation last year that US spies had eavesdropped on Merkel's mobile phone conversations in the past, is against persons unknown, chief federal prosecutor Harald Range said. "I informed parliament's legal affairs committee that I have started a preliminary investigation over tapping of a mobile phone of the chancellor," he said after addressing the committee.

APNewsBreak: Data discrepancies in health sign-ups

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 2 million people who got health insurance under President Barack Obama's law have data discrepancies that could jeopardize coverage for some, a government document shows.

AP Exclusive: Western couple held in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AP) — The family of a pregnant American woman who went missing in Afghanistan in late 2012 with her Canadian husband received two videos last year in which the couple asked the U.S. government to help free them from Taliban captors, The Associated Press has learned.

Sudan’s Pregnant Death-Row ‘Apostate’

Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian condemned to death in Sudan for “apostasy,” will soon suffer 100 lashes. Her husband is American. Her infants imprisoned with her, too. Why is Obama silent?

U.S. Senate clears way for Burwell's health secretary confirmation

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday cleared the way for lawmakers to decide on Thursday whether to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell as President Barack Obama's new health secretary. Senators voted 67-28 to approve a procedural measure limiting debate on Burwell's nomination to no more than 30 hours, allowing a final confirmation vote to move forward sometime on Thursday. A confirmation vote allowing Burwell to take over implementation of Obamacare from departing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius could help open a new chapter for Obama's healthcare law just five months before November's midterm congressional elections. Burwell, a skilled technocrat who is widely respected by both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, had been serving as Obama's budget director.

Kerry calls on Russia, Iran, Hezbollah to end Syria war

Beirut (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry called on key backers of President Bashar al-Assad to end the three-year war in Syria, during an unannounced visit to neighbouring Lebanon on Wednesday.

Palestinian PM wants Israel pressed over E.Jerusalem vote

Palestinian prime minister Rami Hamdallah called Wednesday for international pressure on Israel to let Palestinians in annexed east Jerusalem vote in an upcoming general election. Hamdallah's new unity government is tasked with organising parliamentary and presidential elections in the Gaza Strip and West Bank by the end of the year. But voting in east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 and later annexed, would require Israeli authorisation. Meeting foreign delegates in Ramallah Wednesday, Hamdallah urged "the international community to intervene and exert pressure on Israel to hold the elections in east Jerusalem," his office said.

Response to Syria refugee crisis 'disappointing': World Bank

World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim said on Wednesday international support for Jordan and Lebanon to help them cope with hosting more than 1.6 million Syrian refugees was "disappointing." "So far the support for Jordan and also Lebanon... has been frankly disappointing. We need donor countries and all who care about peace and stability in this region to step up...," Kim told a joint news conference in Amman with Jordan's planning minister Ibrahim Seif. "Jordan is bearing too much of a burden of a really global issue.

Critics should wait for facts before condemning Bergdahl, Hagel says

Critics should wait for the facts before rushing to judge released Taliban detainee Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday. Bergdahl, held for nearly five years in Afghanistan, was freed last week in a controversial prisoner-swap deal with the Taliban brokered by the Qatari government. Some former comrades have accused Bergdahl, who was captured in unknown circumstances on June 30, 2009, of walking away from his unit and prompting a massive manhunt they say cost the lives of at least six fellow soldiers. "I do not know of specific circumstances or details of U.S. solders dying as a result of efforts to find and rescue Sergeant Bergdahl," Hagel told a news conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

Rocky road ahead for Egypt president-elect Sisi

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who romped home in Egypt's presidential election after crushing Islamists, faces a tough task to restore stability and revive a battered economy amid fears of a return to autocracy. On Tuesday, the electoral commission declared Sisi won 96.91 percent of the vote on turnout of 47.5 percent, nearly a year after he toppled the country's first freely elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Morsi. The crushing victory over leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi had never been in doubt, with many lauding the retired field marshal as a hero for ending Morsi's year of divisive rule 11 months ago. The United States said it looks forward to working with Sisi but expressed concerns about the "restrictive political environment" in which last week's vote took place.

Iraq, Iran Top World's Unhappiest Countries List

Do you live in one of the world’s unhappiest places? A new study released this week by Gallup cited Iran as the country with the highest negative emotions — a close second behind Iraq. Just last month, six Iranians were arrested in the country for...

US to review Europe troop presence to reassure allies

The United States will review its troop presence in Europe as it seeks to reassure allies they will not be left unprotected after Russia's intervention in Ukraine, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday. President Barack Obama's $1 billion US 'reassurance plan' for eastern Europe announced Tuesday is a key part of such efforts and will involve Washington "reviewing the US force presence in Europe," Hagel said. "In light of the new regional security environment, it would be irresponsible for us not to," he added, in an apparent reference to Ukraine. This is a sensitive issue at the heart of the NATO-Russia treaty that formalised the end of the Cold War and set the parameters for security in Europe with Moscow.

Conflicting reports on death row woman reflect Sudan 'confusion'

Conflicting comments by Sudanese officials over whether a Christian woman sentenced to hang for apostasy will be freed reflect confusion within the Islamist government, hit by international outrage over the verdict, analysts say. Khartoum is torn between hardline Islamists, who demand the execution of the 27-year-old mother of two, who just gave birth to a daughter in prison, and foreign pressure to free her, Sudanese analyst Khaled al-Tijani al-Nur says. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, who was born to a Muslim father, was sentenced to death on May 15 under the Islamic sharia law that has been in place since 1983, and which outlaws conversions under pain of death. Ishag was raised an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, married a Christian man originally from South Sudan and already had a 20-month-old son before she gave birth last week.

Sisi to be sworn in as Egypt president Sunday

Ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted Egypt's first freely-elected leader, will be sworn in as president on Sunday after he overwhelmingly won last week's election, state media reported. The electoral commission on Tuesday said Sisi won 96.91 percent of the vote with a turnout of 47.5 percent, nearly one year after he overthrew Islamist Mohamed Morsi. His crushing victory over sole rival, leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, had never been in doubt, with many lauding the retired field marshal as a hero for ending Morsi's year of divisive rule 11 months ago. Sisi will be sworn in at 0730 GMT on Sunday before the general assembly of the Supreme Constitutional Court, state news agency MENA reported on Wednesday, quoting Maher Sami, deputy head of the court.

Miss. GOP Senate candidates face likely runoff

WASHINGTON (AP) — Locked in a squeaker of a race, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party-backed challenger Chris McDaniel pointed toward a possible June 24 runoff after battling to a near-draw Tuesday in a primary that underscored Republican differences.

Hagel says rush to judgment on Bergdahl 'unfair'

BRUSSELS (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says it is unfair to the family of released captive Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to leap to conclusions about his behavior in uniform.