ELIZABETH WARREN KICKS Off RUN for Prez, ignoring ancestry row
The Democrat field is already the party’s most diverse ever in gender, age and ethnicity
LAWRENCE (US): Democrat Elizabeth Warren has officially kicked off her 2020 White House run with a full-throated pledge to defend working Americans, unbowed by a row over her Native American ancestry that has threatened to nip her campaign in the bud.
“This is the fight of our
lives,” she told cheering supporters in gritty Lawrence, Massachusetts, against “a rigged system that props up the rich and powerful and kicks dirt on everyone else.”
“Millions of families can barely breathe,” Warren said Saturday, in a feisty speech that struck aggressively populist and unapologetically left
“It is not right.” The Massachusetts senator -- who had announced her intention to run on New Year’s Eve -- is among the highest-profile of the growing pool of Democrats hoping to unseat President Donald Trump in 2020.
The Democratic field is already the party’s most diverse ever -- in gender, age and ethnic background -- and one of its more progressive. It includes several well-known women
lawmakers, with Senator Amy Klobuchar expected to join their numbers on Sunday.
Warren’s past battles with Wall Street have brought her a
large following, and her cam- paign team has drawn the grudging respect of its rivals. Hoping to ride the momentum of her Lawrence speech, she heads next to early-voting Iowa and New Hampshire, followed by five other states.
But for now it is unclear how badly damaged Warren is by the stubborn controversy over her claim to Native American roots -- a claim Trump has seized upon to belittle her, mocking her as “Pocahontas.”
Hoping to put the controversy to rest, Warren released DNA tests in October -- but this backfired when they showed her to have only negligible amounts of Native blood, dating back generations. Warren ultimately apologized to the Cherokee Nation.
The matter reared its head again this week when The Washington Post published what it said was an official 1980s document in which Warren listed her race as “American Indian.”
‘Exposed as a fraud’: Trump’s re-election campaign issued a dismissive statement ahead of Warren’s announcement, saying she had “been exposed as a fraud by the Native Americans she impersonated and disrespected to advance her professional career.” It said her “socialist ideas” would hurt workers.
“This is a story that she did not want in this launch,” said John Cluverius, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts-lowell.
But he also cautioned that “it’s still very, very early” to speculate on “how it harms her, or doesn’t harm her.”
Lawrence, the scene of Warren’s announcement, is a former mill town where a group of women workers, including many immigrants, launched a strike in 1912 that spread across the region and came to be seen as a historic victory for women and for labor, with improved wages and working conditions.
The 69-year-old senator has made the protection of middleclass rights the central pillar of her political message.
Lawrence, once part of a bustling US textile industry, has for years fallen on hard times, with the loss of thousands of factory jobs.
But Warren showed nothing but pride in Lawrence’s proworker history.
“I will never give up on you,” she said. “I am in this fight all the way.” -
She called for “big, structural change” in America that would reach beyond new US leadership -- though she called the Trump administration “the most corrupt in living memory.”
Warren said she would press for steeper taxes on the rich, strong anti-corruption
legislation, curbs on lobbyists and a defense of the climate. She also supports universal health care.
She pointed to her own rise from humble origins -the daughter of a janitor, she started her schooling in a 50-a-semester community college and ended up teaching law at Harvard -- arguing that she can help bring a revival of the American Dream.
Warren tried in her speech to appeal to a broad ethnic coalition, saying, “We must not allow those with power to weaponize hatred and bigotry to divide us.”
Cluverius says Warren will need strong Hispanic support since two popular African Americans -- Democratic senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker -- are also in the crowded field.
She will also need to win over female voters, which might explain the highly unusual -- and somewhat risky -- decision to include a story about potty-training her baby daughter.
Warren recounted her decision to go to law school when Amelia was not quite two years old, but said the only day care she could find -- with five days before classes were to start -would take the child only if potty-trained.
A determined Warren accomplished the task, she told a laughing crowd, “courtesy of three bags of M&MS.” “Since that day, I’ve never let anyone tell me that anything is ‘too hard,’” she quipped. DUBAI: A record investment package being prepared by Saudi Arabia for Pakistan will
likely provide welcome relief for its cash-strapped Mus
lim ally, while also addressing regional geopolitical challenges, analysts say.
At the heart of the investment is a reported USD 10 billion refinery and oil complex in the strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea, the ultimate destination for the massive multibillion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which lies not far from the Indo-iranian port of Chabahar.
Two Saudi sources have confirmed to AFP that heir apparent to the Gulf kingdom’s throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will visit Islamabad shortly, without giving a date.
And a number of major investment deals are expected to be signed during a visit, officials from both countries have told AFP.
Riyadh and Islamabad, decades-old allies, have been involved for months in talks to hammer out details of the deals in time for the high-profile visit.
“The outcome of the talks so far has been very positive and this is going to be one of the biggest-ever Saudi investments in Pakistan,” a Pakistani senior finance ministry official told AFP.
“We hope that an agreement to this effect will be signed during the upcoming visit of the Saudi crown prince to Pakistan,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Islamabad’s biggest trading partner in the Middle East, have offered Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan some USD 30 billion in investment and loans.
Riyadh investments are expected to provide a lifeline for Pakistan’s slumping economy which was downgraded in early February by S&P ratings agency from a B to a B-, Saudi economist Fadhl al-bouenain said.
“Saudi investment to Pakistan comes within an economic aid package aimed at relieving the stress of external debt and a shortage of foreign currency, besides boosting the sluggish economy,” Bouenain told AFP.
The OPEC heavyweight also aims to achieve strategic and commercial goals with investments in infrastructure and refinery projects, he said.
Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partner, the UAE, have already deposited USD 3 billion each in Pakistan’s central bank to help resolve a balance of payments crisis and shore up its declining rupee.
They have also reportedly deferred some USD 6 billion in oil imports payments as Islamabad has so far failed to secure fresh loans from the International Monetary Fund.
Khan has already visited Riyadh twice since taking office in July and in October attended a prestigious investment conference widely boycotted by other political and economic figures after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Khan also visited Saudi rivals Qatar and Turkey, as well as China seeking investments.
“One of the goals for Saudi Arabia expanding investments in refining worldwide is to secure market share and sustainable exports in the face of international competition,” Bouenain said.
Saudi Energy Minister Kha
lid al-falih visited Gwadar in January and inspected the site for the proposed oil refinery at the deep sea port, just 70 kilometres away from its Iranian competitor, Chabahar.
He was quoted by local media as saying the kingdom was studying plans to construct a USD 10 billion refinery and petrochemicals complex in Gwadar.
Like most oil suppliers, the world’s top crude exporter has been investing heavily in refinery and petrochemicals projects across the globe to secure longterm buyers of its oil. A pipeline from Gwadar to China would cut the supply time from the current 40 days to just seven, experts say. Developed as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative with investments worth some USD 60 billion, Gwadar is being billed as a regional industrial hub of the future, easily accessible for Central Asia, Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa.