‘Sex and the City’ actress defeated in NY election

Nixon had hoped to ride the crest of other upset victories by political first-timers in Democratic Party primaries for congressional seats in places like New York and Boston. (AFP)
Updated 14 September 2018
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‘Sex and the City’ actress defeated in NY election

  • Nixon headed into Thursday’s vote trailing Cuomo in every single demographic group
  • Said to harbor presidential ambitions, Cuomo is a long-time political operator who served as a cabinet secretary under Bill Clinton at the tender age of 39

NEW YORK: Cynthia Nixon, the left-leaning “Sex and the City” actress turned education activist, lost her dream of becoming New York governor Thursday, trounced in the Democratic Party primary by the two-term incumbent.
Andrew Cuomo, 60, in office since 2011 and who commanded a huge war chest from powerful donors, batted aside her insurgent bid at 66-34 percent, US media projected not long after the polls closed.
The result puts him on course to win a third term as chief executive of America’s fourth most populous state, which leans heavily Democrat, in the general election on November 6.
The 52-year-old mother of three dived into the race in March, in a bid to become the first woman and first openly gay governor, demanding change and supporting a raft of left-of-center hot-button issues.
Neither Cuomo nor Nixon made any immediate public comment after US media called the race.
Lower down the ticket, the candidate Nixon endorsed as lieutenant governor, Jumaane Williams, a 42-year-old city councilman from Brooklyn, was narrowly ahead of incumbent Kathy Hochul in a race that was considered too close to call by US media.
“He is an experienced man and she is totally inexperienced,” explained Cuomo voter Jack Buchanan, 87, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
“We already have a totally inexperienced guy in the White House, so why put one in Albany?” he added in reference to the state capital and President Donald Trump, who is hugely unpopular in the city.
“I don’t think she’s qualified,” Nixon voter Jill Vexler told AFP in Union Square, confessing it had been “more of a sympathy vote.”
“I don’t think she has enough strategy to get the money to do what she wants to do, but I do like what she wants to do.”
Nixon had hoped to ride the crest of other upset victories by political first-timers in Democratic Party primaries for congressional seats in places like New York and Boston.
The public school advocate and LGBT activist campaigned hard for universal health care, rent controls and fixing the decrepit subway.
Yet she headed into Thursday’s vote trailing Cuomo in every single demographic group, the governor leading 63-22 percent, up from 60-29 percent in late July, according to the latest poll from Siena College.
Winning state-wide is a much tougher gambit than a congressional seat, especially for a first-timer up against the well-oiled and well-funded machinery of a sitting governor.
“To break through, that requires a lot of money and organization,” said Michael Miller, professor of political science at Barnard College. “A lot of people would be surprised if she did pull it off,” he told AFP.
Cuomo, the son of a governor who married a daughter of Robert F Kennedy and had three children before they divorced, traded hard on his record on gun control, gay marriage and the minimum wage.
Said to harbor presidential ambitions, he is a long-time political operator who served as a cabinet secretary under Bill Clinton at the tender age of 39.
“Andrew Cuomo has outspent us 10 to one which says to me that he is really scared,” Nixon told supporters in Union Square earlier on Thursday, where queues formed to take a picture with her.
“Our voters are really pumped to get out and vote today and to get everybody they know out to vote, and in the end that’s what counts.”
The final home stretch of the race degenerated into ugly spats. She denounced as a smear campaign a Democratic Party mailer that implied she was anti-Semitic, to which Cuomo pleaded ignorance.
Then she sailed into controversy and free column inches of her own with a bagel order that incensed almost everyone, an incongruous lox, cream cheese, tomatoes and capers — on a cinnamon and raisin bun.


Indonesian fishermen return home after release from Philippines militants

Updated 20 September 2018
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Indonesian fishermen return home after release from Philippines militants

  • With the release of the trio, all Indonesians abducted by Filipino militants before 2018 have been released
  • Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines wil boost security cooperation in the Sulu Sea, which is a busy maritime area for fishing boats and cargo vessels transporting coal from Indonesia to the Philippines

JAKARTA: After 20 months being held hostage by militants in the southern Philippines, three Indonesian fishermen were finally reunited on Wednesday with their respective families at the Foreign Ministry.

Vice Foreign Minister A.M. Fachir handed them over from the government to their respective family representatives in a ceremony which was held without media presence.
 
"The condition on the field was getting more difficult. But we made the most of our contacts and assets on the field, and with the Philippines government support we were able to get them released,” Fachir said in a statement from the ministry. .
 
Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry’s director for protection of Indonesians abroad, said the handover was held in private because “it was not a cause for celebration.”
 
“We are grateful for their release, but we still have two Indonesians who were abducted on Sept. 11 and we don’t want to hurt their families’ feeling,” Iqbal said.
 
The three fishermen are Hamdan bin Saleng, Sudarling bin Samansunga, and Subandi bin Sattu, who hail from Selayar and Bulukumba in South Sulawesi province. They were freed from their captors on Friday in Sulu province on the southern Philippines.
 
Rudi Wahyudin, a representative of Sattu’s family, said the family members were devastated during the 20 months Sattu was held hostage but they tried to keep their hopes up by keeping in touch with the foreign ministry to get updates of efforts to release him and his fellow fishermen.
 
“It’s normal for people in our village in Bulukumba to migrate and work abroad. Now his wife has asked Sattu to quit working overseas and find another job close to home instead,” Wahyudin said.
 
Indonesian ambassador to the Philippines, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang said the military attache and he flew to Zamboanga City to pick up the three men, after the embassy received information of their release from the West Mindanao Command.
 
“We thank President Duterte and the Philippines government for their attention and cooperation on this matter. It was a long and delicate process to release them and we had to be very careful because we didn’t want anyone to become victim in the process,” Sarundajang said at the press conference.    
 
According to the ambassador, the three men were moved and had to island-hopped to various small islands on the Sulu archipelago as their captors were avoiding the Philippine military operation.
 
The three men were working as crew members in a Malaysian fishing boat when they were abducted in the waters of Sabah in Malaysia on Jan 2017.
 
Iqbal said there are about 6,000 Indonesians working in fishing vessels in Sabah. Since 2016, there has been 34 Indonesian citizens who were kidnapped by armed militants in the southern Philippines and 13 of them were fishermen who were abducted from their vessels in the waters of Sabah.
 
With the release of the trio, all Indonesians abducted by Filipino militants before 2018 have been released.
 
“We are now working to release the two fishermen who were abducted on Sep 11. We have expressed our concerns to the Malaysian authority on the lack of security on their waters,” Iqbal said.
 
He added that Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines would boost security cooperation in the Sulu Sea between the three countries, which is a busy maritime area for fishing boats and cargo vessels transporting coal from Indonesia to the Philippines.
 
The three neighboring countries agreed in May 2016 to launch joint patrols in the area following a series of hijacking and kidnapping of Indonesian vessels and crew members. The initial maritime patrol was launched in June 2017 and was beefed up with air patrols in Oct 2017.