WASHINGTON: Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, an Iraq war veteran who met dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria during that country’s devastating civil war, said Friday that she is launching a US presidential bid.
“I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week,” Gabbard told CNN.
If elected, the 37-year-old lawmaker, who is known to surf the waters of her native Hawaii, would be the youngest president in US history.
She is the first Hindu member of Congress and its first Samoan American member, and she sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision. There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I’m concerned about and that I want to help solve,” she said.
Gabbard’s announcement comes ahead of what is expected to be a wave of high-profile candidates throwing their hats in the ring.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has formed an exploratory committee for a presidential bid, and last week took a high-profile trip to the early voting state of Iowa.
Former vice president Joe Biden and progressive Senator Bernie Sanders, whom Gabbard supported over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primaries, are also mulling entering the race.
Julian Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio who served in Barack Obama’s cabinet as housing secretary, says he will announce his 2020 plans on Saturday.
Trumps delays speech until government shutdown ends
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump backed down late Wednesday in a spat with Democrats over his State of the Union address, agreeing to delay it until a government shutdown ends, although the more than month-long impasse dragged on.
The US Senate prepared meanwhile Thursday to hold two showdown votes on measures to reopen the shuttered federal agencies, but Trump’s toxic sparring with House speaker Nancy Pelosi essentially assured no solution was at hand.
An intensifying war of words between the president and Pelosi came to a head Wednesday with the top Democrat effectively blocking Trump from delivering his annual address in Congress until the partial government shutdown, now in its 34th day, is brought to an end.
But in a tweet sent after 11:00 pm, Trump wrote, “As the Shutdown was going on, Nancy Pelosi asked me to give the State of the Union Address. I agreed.”
“She then changed her mind because of the Shutdown, suggesting a later date. This is her prerogative – I will do the Address when the Shutdown is over.”
As acrimony in Washington grew, lawmakers across the political spectrum were left searching in vain for an exit strategy for the longest-ever halt to federal operations, as furloughed government employees and contractors vented their fury on Capitol Hill.
The prospects for Trump getting to deliver his national address in Congress next Tuesday as planned were dim, with the Senate votes — one on Trump’s proposal that includes money for his border wall and changes to immigration policy, the other by Democrats seeking to reopen government before negotiating border security — bound to fail.
Traditionally the president’s annual speech is delivered before a joint session of Congress in the ornate chamber of the House of Representatives.
Volvo recalls 219,000 cars to check for fuel leaks
STOCKHOLM: Volvo Cars, owned by the Chinese group Geely, has recalled 219,000 diesel-engine cars to fix potential fuel leaks in the engine compartment, a spokesman said Wednesday.
“Volvo preventatively recalls the cars to avert any possible future problems,” the spokesman told media.
“There are no reports alleging injuries or damages related to this issue.”
The action concerns 11 models, including the upscale XC60 and XC90, that were sold in 2015 and 2016, he added.
Around 37,000 vehicles are to be recalled in Sweden, 31,000 in Great Britain and 26,000 in Germany, the group’s three biggest European markets.
“Some vehicles may have small cracks inside one of the fuel lines in the engine department.
This, in combination with a pressurised fuel system may over time lead to fuel leakage in the engine compartment,” the spokesman explained.
The Swedish car company, which has now begun to focus on autonomous vehicles and those powered by electric or hybrid motors, is to release 2018 results on February 7.
Kenya to use smartphones to conduct 2019 census
NAIROBI: Kenya plans to use smartphones to conduct the 2019 national population and housing census, a senior government official said on Wednesday.
Henry Rotich, cabinet secretary in the National Treasury, told journalists in Nairobi that the government plans to acquire approximately 165,000 mobile devices for use by the census enumerators for the exercise that will take place in August.
“We are going to use mobile technology which will enhance quality of the data as it has in built checks and can correct inconsistent responses as well as cross validate data with other records,” Rotich said.
He said that Kenya seeks to follow in the steps of other African countries such as Egypt, Senegal and Ethiopia which have conducted paperless census.
He noted that the last census which was conducted on 2009 indicated that the east African country had a population of slightly less than 39 million people.
He said that the census will provide statistical information on the size, distribution and the characteristics of the Kenya population that will be used to describe and assess the socio-economic and demographic status of the country.