Political News from Yahoo

Libya air strikes show UAE willing to 'go it alone'

UAE air strikes on Libya aim to prevent Islamists from controlling the violence-stricken country and sends a message to Washington that it is capable of protecting its own interests, experts say. United States officials said that United Arab Emirates warplanes secretly bombed Islamist militia targets in Libya from bases in Egypt last week, but Abu Dhabi has not publicly acknowledged involvement. On Tuesday, Egypt denied any "direct" role in the raids. Libya has plunged into chaos since the overthrow in 2011 of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with deadly clashes between Islamist and nationalist militias.

S.African minister accused of ordering Marikana massacre

A South African minister who once told police to shoot criminals dead without warning was on Tuesday accused of involvement in the deaths of 34 striking miners at Marikana. The survivors' lawyer, Dali Mpofu, said former mines minister Susan Shabangu had labelled the violent labour dispute a criminal act, paving the way for heavy-handed police action, an accusation she denied. The 34 strikers were gunned down by police at the Lonmin platinum mine north of Johannesburg during a work stoppage on August 2012. Years earlier, in 2008, Shabangu, then a deputy minister of safety and security, told the police to kill criminals.

Algeria president dismisses Islamist-leaning ex-premier

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika dismissed regime veteran Abdelaziz Belkhadem as his special adviser on Tuesday, the presidential office announced, capping a dramatic downfall for the Islamist-leaning former premier. Belkhadem, 68, had long been seen as the regime's go-between with moderate Islamists and his sacking comes after Algeria firmly put itself in the anti-Islamist camp alongside Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The president "issued a decree ending Belkhadem's functions" as a minister and "all of his activities related to the state", said a source cited by the Algeria Press Service. The president also asked that Belkhadem, who served as prime minister from 2006 to 2008, be banned from any involvement in the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN), the source added.

US ship fires warning shot in encounter with Iranian boat

A US Coast Guard vessel had a tense encounter with an Iranian fishing boat in the Gulf on Tuesday and fired a warning shot, the Pentagon said. The Coast Guard cutter Monomoy sent a small, inflatable boat to approach the Iranian dhow and when it got close, the Americans spotted two 50-caliber machine gun, with one of the guns aimed at them, US military officers said. "They saw that one of the machine guns was manned and trained on them," Lieutenant Joseph Hontz, a spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet, told AFP. The Americans pulled back and fired one warning shot, he said, while the Iranian vessel headed off.

US, Russia held secret Ukraine meeting on Finnish island: Helsinki

The United States and Russia met on a small Finnish island in June for confidential talks on the Ukraine crisis, the Nordic nation's foreign ministry said Tuesday. "The foreign ministry confirms that the meeting was organised and the ministry helped at the request of the (US and Russian) parties," the ministry said in a tweet, without giving more specific information. The exact date of the meeting was unclear, but June as a whole was a period of steadily growing tension between Russia and the west amid continued fighting in eastern Ukraine between government troops and pro-Russian separatists.

Leader of Britain's UKIP picked to stand for parliament seat

The leader of the anti-EU UKIP Nigel Farage is to run for parliament in Britain's 2015 election after his party confirmed him as their candidate for an English constituency. MEP Farage will campaign for a seat currently held by the Conservative party, South Thanet, in a south eastern region where UKIP performed strongly in European parliament elections in May. UKIP currently has no seats in parliament, but is hoping to make electoral gains on a platform of curtailing immigration and an exit from the European Union. The Conservative party has chosen a former UKIP leader who defected to their party, Craig MacKinlay, to run for the seat.

UN backs military action against DR Congo rebels

The UN Security Council on Tuesday backed joint military action by the UN force in the Democratic Republic of Congo and government troops against former Hutu rebels who refuse to surrender. In a unanimous statement, the 14-member council said flushing out the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia that includes perpetrators of the 1994 genocide of Tutsis, was a "top priority in bringing stability" to the region. The council "encouraged the DRC government, in coordination with MONUSCO, to actively pursue military action against those leaders and members of the FDLR who do not engage in a demobilization process or who continue to carry out human rights abuses." The 20,000-strong UN force known as MONUSCO has been operating in the DR Congo for 20 years.

FARC negotiator says disarming will be 'long process'

Colombia's FARC guerrillas will not give up their weapons at once, and need guarantees from the government to disarm, a negotiator said Tuesday as the peace process marked two years. Cementing a ceasefire and disarming the leftist rebel group are among the thorniest topics remaining in the talks, the fourth and most promising attempt so far to end the 50-year-old conflict. As a "subcommittee" of army officers and rebels got down to work on the issue, FARC negotiator Andres Paris warned there would be no instant solution. "No one has suggested to the FARC, nor have we ever said to the government, that there would be a single moment when we would hand over our arms.

Celebrations and ululations as Gazans fete truce

A cacophony of cheers, ululations and celebratory gunfire filled Gaza's streets on Tuesday night, as elated residents welcomed news of a ceasefire ending a bloody 50-day war with Israel. As the truce went into effect, hordes of people surged onto the streets, clapping and chanting songs of victory as a man swathed in a huge green Hamas flag threw handfuls of sweets into the air. Traffic packed out Gaza's cities, with hundreds of vehicles careering around tooting horns, with flags of Palestinian factions attached -- the green of Hamas, the black and white of Islamic Jihad and the yellow of Fatah. At a UN school in Gaza City, used like scores of others as a shelter for thousands of displaced, Rewa Shamali ululated along with dozens of other women and their families.

DEA payments to Amtrak employee being investigated

WASHINGTON (AP) — The office of the Justice Department inspector general says it is investigating alleged payments by Drug Enforcement Administration personnel to an Amtrak employee.

American woman is being held hostage in Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Islamic State militant group is holding hostage a young American woman who was doing humanitarian aid work in Syria, a family representative said Tuesday. The 26-year-old woman is the third American known to have been kidnapped by the militant group.

Arab strikes in Libya show impatience with US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Egypt and the United Arab Emirates secretly carried out airstrikes against Islamist militias inside Libya, the United States publicly acknowledged Tuesday, another sharp jolt to American-led attempts over the past three years to stabilize Libya after dictator Moammar Gadhafi's overthrow.

Maine Governor LePage embraces candor in campaign

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine Gov. Paul LePage sometimes can't help mouthing off, once telling the NAACP to "kiss my butt," calling the IRS "the new Gestapo" and saying he wouldn't be afraid to tell President Barack Obama to "go to hell."

US rules out coordination with Syria as it spies on jihadists

The United States has begun reconnaissance flights over Syria to track Islamic State jihadists but insisted Tuesday it has "no plans" to coordinate with Syria on targeting the militants. Numerous sources said foreign drones have been seen over Syria, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting that "non-Syrian spy planes" had on Monday carried out surveillance of IS positions in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. The surveillance is seen as a precursor to possible US air strikes on positions of the jihadists, similar to those being carried out in neighbouring Iraq. It comes after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime said on Monday it was willing to work with the international community, including Washington, to tackle extremist fighters.

Gaza celebrates as long-term truce goes into effect

Celebrations erupted in Gaza on Tuesday as a long-term ceasefire agreed by Israel and the Palestinians began, ending 50 days of the deadliest violence in a decade. The agreement, effective since 1600 GMT, involves an immediate halt to the violence in Gaza, which erupted on July 8 and has claimed the lives of 2,143 Palestinians and 69 on the Israeli side. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced hope that the ceasefire in Gaza will set the stage for talks on a final Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. In Gaza itself, thousands flooded on to the streets in celebration, some firing joyfully into the air, among them gunmen from Hamas, AFP correspondents said.

Yemen president urges Huthi rebels to leave Sanaa

Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi urged Shiite rebel leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi on Tuesday to withdraw his militant followers from the capital following the failure of negotiations on their demands. In a letter to the rebel chief, of which AFP has obtained a copy, Hadi also called on the rebels to "complete their exit from Amran province" just north of Sanaa, after temporarily taking control in July. Hadi's letter sets out those conditions for a resumption of talks with the Zaidi Shiite rebels after the president's envoys last week came away without an agreement following three days of discussions with Huthi in Saada province, the rebels' northern stronghold. Huthi's followers want the resignation of the government, seen as corrupt, the cancellation of a recent fuel price rise and a broader political partnership.

Former deputy rips Florida Governor Scott in new book

By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) - Florida's former Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll has slammed Governor Rick Scott's leadership team, describing it in a new book as a "boys' club" that she says sidelined, belittled and betrayed her. Navy lieutenant commander, was the first black woman to serve as the state's lieutenant governor before stepping down last year amid an Internet gambling scandal involving a former consulting client. When she complained to Scott, she said, "he just joked it off, 'Oh, you're going to be bald like me.'" In a brief statement, the governor's office said: "Jennifer Carroll made the right decision for her family by resigning. "The work environment in Governor Scott's administration reminded me, at times, of the male-dominated environment of the military.