Political News from Yahoo

Report: Gov't files lacking for $6B in contracts

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government investigation has found that the State Department has incomplete files or is missing files for more than $6 billion in contracts over the last six years.

Tension growing between ranchers, mustang backers

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Tensions are growing on the range in a turf battle that has been simmering for decades over one of the icons of the American West and scant forage on arid, high desert lands from Nevada to Wyoming.

Obama hails 'critical' Afghan vote

US President Barack Obama welcomed the completion of Afghanistan's presidential vote, set to usher in the country's first democratic transfer of power, saying it was critical to ensure more international support. Afghan voters lined up outside polling stations en masse -- with a final turnout expected to exceed 50 percent, or seven million -- to pick a successor to President Hamid Karzai for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2001. Karzai has refused to sign a security agreement that would allow the US to keep around 10,000 troops in Afghanistan to train local forces and hunt Al-Qaeda, and relations with Washington have dropped to a new low. "Millions of Afghan men and women took to the polls today with courage and commitment," US Secretary of State John Kerry said in a statement.

US seeks to reassure Japan amid Ukraine crisis fallout

Yokota Air Base, Tokyo (Japan) (AFP) - US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday vowed America would stand by its security commitments to Tokyo, after Russia's intervention in Ukraine raised concerns in a region plagued by its own territorial disputes. Hagel, on a two-day visit to Japan as part of a tour of Asia, said Russia's annexation of Crimea had sparked worries among allies in the Pacific and elsewhere. Japan is locked in a bitter dispute with China over islands in the East China Sea, and some analysts have warned that Russia's move in Ukraine could embolden Beijing or other powers to take unilateral action to settle territorial claims.

ZunZuneo: the new sound of US-Cuban discord

ZunZuneo, a Twitter-style application designed to get Cubans talking among themselves on their cell phones, has become the latest obstacle to improved relations between Washington and Havana. The US Agency for International Development has (USAID) admitted to building the application so that Cubans, who face strict curbs on expression, could "talk freely among themselves." White House spokesman Jay Carney described the program as a "development assistance" scheme. He bristled at suggestions that USAID was being used to mount a covert operation aimed at inciting political unrest against Cuba's communist leaders.

'Cuban Twitter' a new hurdle for bloggers, exiles

MIAMI (AP) — The revelation that a U.S. government-funded program set up a cellphone-based social network in Cuba is likely to pose new challenges for independent bloggers and exile groups that work to increase access to technology.

Newark after Booker: City faces takeover threat

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey's largest city is hitting some roadblocks just months after its rising-star mayor went off to Washington. A bold reform plan for the state-run school system has hit a snag, the police department is facing federal oversight over citizen complaints, and the state is threatening a takeover of the city's finances after several key deadlines were missed.