Facing long odds in California, Cruz courts state’s Republicans

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz. (AFP)
Updated 01 May 2016
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Facing long odds in California, Cruz courts state’s Republicans

BURLINGAME, California: US presidential candidate Ted Cruz made a plea to the California Republican Party on Saturday to line up behind him in the state’s June primary in his uphill battle to stop front-runner Donald Trump from grabbing the nomination.
At the same party convention that was the backdrop for chaotic protests against Trump on Friday, Cruz tried to woo party members with support for their long-time issues, like lower taxes and a harder line on immigration. Former California Governor Pete Wilson gave Cruz his endorsement as he introduced the US senator from Texas.
Cruz received more applause at the convention than either Trump or the third-place candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich, who also spoke on Friday.
“If we’re fractured and we’re divided, Hillary Clinton wins and the campaign is lost,” he said, referring to the Democratic Party’s front-runner in the Nov. 8 election for the White House.
Now mathematically eliminated from securing the nomination on the first ballot at the party’s convention in Cleveland in July, Cruz aims to stop Trump from receiving the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright, forcing a contested convention.
However, the prospect of him being able to do so has grown increasingly slim. Trump, a billionaire businessman and former reality TV star, has continued to notch up wins in the nation’s nominating contests, including a five-state sweep of the latest string of contests last Tuesday. .
Cruz has downplayed the severity of the losses and in his speech Saturday looked forward to upcoming contests, which he has said will put him on the path to thwarting Trump.
“California is going to decide this Republican primary,” he said, referring to the state’s June 7 contest.
Trump has been at odds with the party’s establishment and has called the system for nominating its candidate “rigged.”
Critics say he has played on the fears of his supporters, especially on immigration, by proposing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country and accusing illegal Mexican immigrants of being rapists and criminals.
On Thursday and Friday, anti-Trump protests erupted outside the candidate’s California events. On Friday, he was forced to halt his motorcade and go through a back entrance to a hotel to give a speech to the convention and avoid several hundred loud protesters gathered outside.
Cruz hopes to slow Trump’s march toward the nomination in Indiana’s primary on Tuesday. The state awards its 57 delegates on a winner-take-all basis by congressional district, possibly granting Cruz a windfall of pledged delegates.
A Real Clear Politics polling aggregation in the state shows Cruz just behind Trump, 35.2 percent to 37.5 percent.
Polls show Cruz has more of a challenge in delegate-rich California, where he lags Trump 28.3 percent to 45.7 percent.
In an indication of efforts to court the state, Cruz on Wednesday made the unusual move of naming a vice presidential running mate, onetime presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina, who was formerly a chief executive of the California technology company Hewlett-Packard Co.
Fiorina ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate in the state in 2010, losing to the Democratic incumbent.


UK’s Hunt to make first visit to Iran

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt leaves 10 Downing Street in London on November 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 41 min 5 sec ago
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UK’s Hunt to make first visit to Iran

  • Jeremy Hunt: “The Iran nuclear deal remains a vital component of stability in the Middle East by eliminating the threat of a nuclearised Iran. It needs 100 percent compliance though to survive”

LONDON: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will visit Iran for the first time on Monday for talks with the Iranian government on issues including the future of the 2015 nuclear deal, his office said in a statement.
In May, US President Donald Trump abandoned the deal, negotiated with five other world powers during Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration, and earlier this month the United States restored sanctions targeting Iran’s oil, banking and transportation sectors.
Hunt’s office said he would meet Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and would stress that the UK is committed to the nuclear deal as long as Iran sticks to its terms. He will also discuss European efforts to maintain nuclear-related sanctions relief.
“The Iran nuclear deal remains a vital component of stability in the Middle East by eliminating the threat of a nuclearised Iran. It needs 100 percent compliance though to survive,” Hunt said in a statement ahead of the visit.
“We will stick to our side of the bargain as long as Iran does. But we also need to see an end to destabilising activity by Iran in the rest of the region if we are going to tackle the root causes of the challenges the region faces.”
Hunt will also discuss Iran’s role in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, his office said, and press Iran on its human rights record, calling for the immediate release of detained British-Iranian dual nationals where there are humanitarian grounds to do so.
“I arrive in Iran with a clear message for the country’s leaders: putting innocent people in prison cannot and must not be used as a tool of diplomatic leverage,” he said.