In an unsparing critique of Republicans, President Barack Obama accused the GOP of using voting restrictions to keep voters from the polls and of jeopardizing 50 years of expanded ballot box access for millions of black Americans and other minorities. Obama said , "The stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago."
Narendra Modi, widely tipped to become India's next prime minister, suffered a setback on Friday when his closest aide was banned from election rallies and meetings after a series of speeches deemed to have stoked tensions with Muslims. The 63 year-old Modi, a pro-business Hindu nationalist, is the prime ministerial candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which hopes to oust the ruling Congress Party of Rahul Gandhi with its promises of jobs and new infrastructure. The election, the world's largest ever in which 815 million people are eligible to vote, began this week and is staggered over five weeks, ending on May 12. Results are due on May 16.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki Friday criticised Israel's decision to impose economic sanctions on the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as peace talks falter between the two sides. Israel should stop violating the international law," Xinhua quoted Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki as saying. Israeli officials announced Thursday that tax revenues Israel collects from goods imports on behalf of the Palestinians, which exceeds $1 billion each year, would be frozen in response to the PNA's request to join 15 international UN conventions. On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered government offices to halt cooperation with the PNA.
Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation as Health and Human Services secretary -- and President Obama’s nomination of Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell to replace her -- has produced one immediate result: It has thrust the issue of health care back into the political spotlight. Sebelius announced her resignation on Thursday. The Sebelius resignation does enable the Obama administration to argue that the chapter on the botched website rollout has been official closed. Just hours before the resignation news broke, Sebelius announced that 7.5 million Americans had enrolled on the health-care exchanges -- proof that the administration had turned things around from those disastrous days in October and November.