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.
US elections: No proof of Russian meddling
MOSCOW: Russia on Friday once more dismissed the Mueller report, saying that it failed to present evidence of any meddling by Moscow in the 2016 US election.
“As a whole, the report as before does not present any reasonable proof at all that Russia allegedly meddled in the electoral process in the US,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, saying it contained “no new information”.
Works of 100 writers to be published in the year 2114
SEOUL: International award-winning South Korean author Han Kang has been named the fifth author in a Norwegian government-sponsored project to collect the works of 100 renowned writers, one author a year, and publish them in 2114.
Han, a 2016 Man Booker International Prize winner for her novel The Vegetarian, is also the first Asian writer to be selected as a contributor to the Future Library project, which aims to connect current and future generations through writing.
The project was launched in 2014 by a Scottish artist with the concept of conveying the meaning of hope and trust by connecting time and life. The previously selected writers are Margaret Atwood of Canada, David Mitchell of Britain, Sjon of Iceland and Elif Shafak of Turkey.
A thousand trees have been planted in a forest near Oslo to supply paper for the special anthology of books, which will be printed in a century’s time, according to the Future Library. Han will donate her unpublished text in a handover ceremony due to be held in Oslo on May 25. Her manuscript will be disclosed in 2114.
Countering Indian hybrid warfare techniques
KARACHI: Security analysts Friday warned people to be wary of the content on social media, as the Indian hybrid war against Pakistan was trying to cause discontent and confusion among the masses.
Addressing a seminar “Post Pulwama-Threat of Hybrid Warfare and What Next,” organized by Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) speakers including former Ambassador Najmuddin A. Shaikh, former Foreign Secretary, Dr. Asif Mahmood, Dr. Huma Baqai, Associate Dean at IBA and senior defence analyst Ikram Sehgal were unanimous in their opinion that India has been seen piling up and imposing instruments of hybrid warfare on Pakistan. The situation demanded that the nation must be cautious in expressing their views on social media that may not only counter the national cause but also lead to manipulation of a national perspective.
Mentioning that hybrid warfare is a blend of conventional and irregular warfighting techniques that may also employ other non-kinetic means to undermine an enemy’s strength, speakers said Pulwama incident was a manifestation of their very technique. Modi Government was said to have taken advantage of it by blaming Pakistan for the terrorist act hence not only attempting to gain world sympathy but also affecting issues involving the two neighbors and taking up the issue at international level.
Hybrid Warfare, the elaborated was more catastrophic in essence as it pervades into multifaceted frontiers of the enemy’s territory; psychologically undermining its decision-making capabilities. I also have ability to systematically crippling its financial and information networks using cyber technology, economic strangulation via coercive economic diplomacy and leveraging its influence over international actors and institutions meanwhile, developing and maintaining a robust defense posture.
It was emphasized that Pakistan needed to get around the world and show the Indian intelligence agency’s vile face and its role in getting innocent human beings, getting killed in and outside India. Mumbai carnage, attack on Indian Parliament, attack on Pathankot Brigade Headquarters were cited to have been already proven as False Flag Operations conducted by RAW and other covert agencies of India to promote and protect their interests.
The speakers were firm in their suggestion that Pakistan must continue its support, morally and politically so that Kashmiris were essentially allowed to exercise their right to a plebiscite as narrated in UNSC Resolutions. On the occasion 12 of the UN Security Council resolutions starting in April 1948 were extensively discussed explaining as how much important it was to get Kashmir issue resolved in a democratic manner through a free and impartial plebiscite.