Sex assault claim against top court pick should be heard: Trump aide

Christine Blasey Ford “should be heard,” Conway said. (AFP)
Updated 17 September 2018
0

Sex assault claim against top court pick should be heard: Trump aide

  • “This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” said Conway
  • Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh “was trying to attack me and remove my clothing” at a teenagers’ party one summer in the early 1980s

WASHINGTON: The woman accusing US President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick of sexual assault should be allowed to testify before a Senate committee, Trump’s top female aide said on Monday.
Kellyanne Conway’s comment came as the lawyer for the accuser, college professor Christine Blasey Ford, said Ford is willing to testify publicly about the decades-old incident which she already described to The Washington Post.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is due to vote on the nomination of conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh on September 20, but in light of Ford’s comments a number of committee members have urged holding off on a vote.
“She should be heard,” Conway said on “Fox and Friends.
“This woman should not be insulted and she should not be ignored,” said Conway, who added that Kavanaugh should also have an opportunity under oath to address Ford’s allegations.
He is “a man of character and integrity” who has been widely lauded by other women, she said.
The testimonies “would be added to the very considerable mountain of evidence and considerations that folks will have when they weigh whether or not to vote for Judge Kavanaugh to be on the Supreme Court.”
But Conway said such testimony “should not unduly delay the vote.”
Asked on CNN whether Ford would be willing to testify publicly before the Judiciary Committee, her lawyer Debra Katz said: “The answer’s yes.”
Lawmakers have not, however, made any such request for her testimony, the lawyer said.
After initially guarding her anonymity, Ford “decided to take control of this and tell this in her own voice” after the allegations were leaked, Katz said.
Ford told the Post that Kavanaugh “was trying to attack me and remove my clothing” at a teenagers’ party one summer in the early 1980s.
Kavanaugh has flatly denied the allegation, saying he did not do this “at any time.”


Over 50,000 Afghan troops deployed to secure election

Updated 16 October 2018
0

Over 50,000 Afghan troops deployed to secure election

  • The Taliban has threatened to disrupt the poll, which has been delayed by more than three years and is viewed as crucial for the country’s stability
  • More than 2,000 polling centers will remain shut on election day due to security threats, the government said

KABUL: The Afghan government has deployed more than 50,000 troops to secure parliamentary elections that will be held on Saturday, officials said on Monday. 

The Taliban has threatened to disrupt the poll, which has been delayed by more than three years and is viewed as crucial for the country’s stability. Afghanistan’s last elections were marred by allegations of widespread rigging. 

“All security arrangements have been made,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danesh.

“We have enough troops to deal with any security threat, and more than 50,000 security personnel — including police, army and intelligence — have been deployed and put on high alert.”

US-led troops will have no direct role in providing security during the voting, but will advise and assist Afghan forces if necessary, officials said.

A wave of attacks have hit election rallies and claimed scores of lives, including at least nine candidates.

More than 2,000 polling centers will remain shut on election day due to security threats, the government said.

Watchdogs and candidates say with the expansion of Taliban control and the spread of Daesh activities, even regions in the north and northeast that were safe during previous polls are now under threat.

“Almost two-thirds of voters in (the northern province of) Faryab will not be able to vote… after insecurity prevented them from registering,” the Afghan Analyst Network (AAN), a foreign-funded think thank, said in a recent report. “In 2014, Faryab province had one of the highest audited turnouts in the country.” 

Voting cannot take place in the central province of Ghazni due to political and tribal tensions, and turnout will be very low in at least four provinces in the southwest that have seen a rise in deadly Taliban attacks in recent days, tribal elders said.

“This year’s parliamentary elections were never going to be easy,” AAN said. “Nationwide, disenchantment with elections themselves, after the disastrous 2014 poll, has been coupled with a resurgent Taliban, who by controlling more districts than four years ago have been able to prevent millions of Afghans from even registering to vote.”

The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said all sensitive and non-sensitive materials have been dispatched to more than 5,000 polling stations, and the transportation of biometric devices will be completed in the coming days.

But some observers and candidates say the biometric devices are not connected to a data center, allowing people to vote multiple times.

Under pressure from political parties, the government bought the devices from abroad in order to hinder election fraud.

They “will make fraud a little harder, but it is still possible,” said civil rights activist Ahmad Shuja.

IEC spokesman Sayed Hafizullah Hashimi said watchdogs, observers and the media will monitor election day.

The Taliban last week urged its fighters to “halt this American-led process throughout the country… while taking… care of civilian Afghan lives and their properties.”

The new US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, held his first direct talks with the Taliban in Doha on Friday.