Political News from Yahoo

From Hakuna Matata to Maleficent

It’s been over 20 years since Linda Woolverton wrote 'Beauty and the Beast.' With ‘Maleficent,’ she’s ditching the Disney princess for something a bit more complicated: the villain.

Despite dustup, NY Gov Cuomo gets liberal backing

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo beat back a challenge from the left Saturday, narrowly winning the nomination of the Working Families Party with a promise to support liberal priorities while taking on state senators who have blocked them.

Tanzania's poor suffer from trade tax theft

Tanzania's mining revenues are touted as a key way to reduce reliance on foreign aid and pull people out of poverty, but experts argue companies are swindling the government out of at least $248 million a year. The East African nation topped the worst of a list of nations across the continent examined by the watchdog group Global Financial Integrity (GFI), with nearly $19 billion (14 billion euros) in illicit flows over the past decade, the equivalent to over seven percent of the country's total government revenue. There are a lot of illegal reasons to do this, including tax evasion and money laundering.

Ethnic minorities in focus in election race

GRAYS (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Feeling "surrounded" by ethnic minorities, retired factory worker Peter Harvey voted for anti-immigration UK Independence Party (UKIP) in last month's European and local polls and plans to do so again in next year's national election. "I'm the only white British person in my area," the 66-year-old said, explaining his voting preference in Grays, a town in southeast England, where UKIP did particularly well amid spectacular gains across the country. Ostensibly fuelled by antipathy to immigration and Europe, UKIP's rise has nonetheless helped bring the issue of race to the fore ahead of the May 2015 general election. At the same time, there is a growing realisation of the importance of the ethnic minority vote, as studies show the numbers of black and Asian Britons growing at a faster rate than whites.

Britain's zero-hour contracts eyed by other countries

Britain is leading the way in so-called "zero-hours" contracts that keep employees available but with no guarantee of work -- and other countries are watching with interest. The latest skirmish is over plans by Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-led government to halt unemployment benefits to those who won't take a zero-hours contract.

Strains building up for China property market

After years of boom that have seen prices rocket, the prospect of a bust is looming over China's vast property sector, with authorities hoping to avoid a meltdown that could send shock waves through the world's second-biggest economy. But in the past two decades that has given way to market-oriented principles as China's economy has opened. New home prices have soared, more than quadrupling in Beijing and Shanghai since 2003, and more than doubling in the country as a whole, according to a report by Jeremy Stevens, Beijing-based Asia economist at South Africa's Standard Bank. The increases have been a key source of wealth for China's rising middle classes, and a major driver of the economy.

France in the spotlight of EU economic review

The EU lays down the law Monday on how member states manage their economies, with struggling France in focus just days after a stunning election breakthrough there for the anti-EU National Front (FN). The Commission has acquired new powers during the economic and ensuing debt crisis to ensure that the 28 member states respect European Union norms on sound finances and growth. Monday's review, to be published around 1200 GMT, will produce a scorecard that is expected to be very good overall for economic powerhouse Germany but much less so for others, such as France and Italy. The focus will be on deficit and debt levels, as well as what governments are doing to secure growth and jobs.

China seeks to wipe Tiananmen from popular memory

China's vast censorship machine does its utmost to wipe the slightest reference to the Tiananmen crackdown from books, television and the Internet, scrubbing the issue from public discussion and even from the minds of its younger generation. In an example of George Orwell's "1984" dictum that "who controls the present controls the past", it reflects both the ruling Communist Party's immense power and its enduring sensitivity about its actions on June 3-4, 1989. The overnight clearing of the square at the heart of Beijing, where student-led protesters had demanded reforms for seven weeks, left hundreds dead -- by some estimates more than 1,000 -- and the party isolated from its people and the world. A third of China's population today was born afterwards, while many of those alive at the time hesitate to broach the sensitive topic -- leaving a huge swathe of those under 25 ignorant of the event.

Ukraine tells Russia to recognise president ahead of gas talks

Ukraine accused Russia of unleashing a massive campaign to persuade global powers not to recognise polls that gave the presidency to a pro-Western tycoon as both sides readied for a new round of talks on disputed gas prices. The United States for its part acknowledged a "fundamental disagreement" with Russia and said President Barack Obama would extend his support to Petro Poroshenko when he meets the winner of the May 25 election in Warsaw on Wednesday. Ukraine's separatist insurgency only intensified after 48-year-old chocolate maker Poroshenko won 54.7 percent of the vote in a poll that was disrupted across swathes of the eastern rust belt.

Text of Obama and Bergdahl statements on soldier

Statements by President Barack Obama and Bob and Jani Bergdahl on the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. They spoke Saturday in the Rose Garden (as provided by the White House):

Released soldier's parents appear with Obama

WASHINGTON (AP) — The father of the lone U.S. soldier held in Afghanistan, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, says the nature of his son's recovery will never really be comprehended.

US soldier released by Taliban in prisoner swap

A US soldier captured nearly five years ago in Afghanistan was freed Saturday in exchange for five Taliban inmates held at the Guantanamo prison in a dramatic deal brokered by Qatar. US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was in "good" condition after Taliban fighters handed him over to "a few dozen" US special operations forces backed up by helicopters at an undisclosed location in eastern Afghanistan, defense officials said. "Sergeant Bergdahl has missed birthdays and holidays, and the simple moments with family and friends which all of us take for granted," President Barack Obama said in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by the soldier's parents Bob and Jani. Obama thanked Qatar's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the government in Kabul for helping to bring home the only American held captive by the Taliban in the 13-year-old war.

Obama: Qatar gave security guarantees on transferred prisoners

President Barack Obama said Saturday the Qatari government had given the United States security guarantees over five Guantanamo Bay prisoners transferred to secure the release of a US soldier in Afghanistan. Obama appeared at the White House with Bowe Bergdahl's parents Bob and Jani, saying "the Qatari government has given us assurances that it will put in place measures to protect our national security." The five prisoners were named by the Taliban as Mohammad Fazl, Norullah Noori, Mohammed Nabi, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Abdul Haq Wasiq.

For GOP, which Reagan legacy is right for 2016?

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Another prominent Republican gathering, more evidence of the dueling legacies of President Ronald Reagan overhanging the party as it tries to widen its reach and avoid extending its presidential losing streak in 2016.

Juncker 'confident' of securing top EU job, but Paris opposed

Luxembourg's former premier Jean-Claude Juncker is confident that he will be elected president of the executive European Commission, despite opposition from some countries, including France, German newspaper Bild reported Sunday. "In the European Council, a large majority of heads of state and Christian-Democrat and Socialist governments back me," Juncker told Bild, according to extracts of the interview released in advance by the newspaper. While he has the backing of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Juncker faces strong opposition from leaders of other major European economies, including Britain's David Cameron, and, according to Bild, French President Francois Hollande. "He put pressure for a large-scale investment programme and put (the name of) his former finance minister Pierre Moscovici on the table," said the newspaper.