Republican Sen. Rubio ready to step into race for president

Updated 13 April 2015
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Republican Sen. Rubio ready to step into race for president

MIAMI: Sen. Marco Rubio is gathering his strongest supporters in Miami for a flashy political rally expected to serve as his launch into the 2016 Republican presidential race.
The Florida Republican has not said which job he is seeking next year. But given the polish and promotion, it is unlikely the first-term senator will be announcing that he will be seeking a second term in Congress.
His rally comes a day after Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her bid for the Democratic nomination.
That’s likely to take some attention from Rubio’s jump into the race. But his team sees an opportunity to cast the presidential contest as one between a fresh face and a long-familiar figure.
Rubio faces steep challenges to winning the Republican Party nomination, one of them from his mentor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Rubio would become the third major Republican contender to declare himself a candidate, after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul, in a field that could grow to 20 or more candidates.
Rubio, 43, will no doubt hear rivals tell voters he’s not ready for the White House.
A first-generation immigrant whose parents fled Cuba, Rubio could make history as the nation’s first Hispanic president, as could Cruz. Rubio frames his pitch to voters as the embodiment of the American dream, a son of a maid and bartender who worked his way through law school and now sits in Congress.
His is an appealing biography for a party that has struggled to connect with minority and younger voters, who have been solidly behind Democrats in recent presidential elections.
Rubio has been a leading voice against President Barack Obama’s engagement with Cuba and Iran. On Tuesday, he is set to return to the Senate to participate in a hearing about Iran.
But Rubio faces a hurdle with some conservative activists in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina over his work on a failed bipartisan immigration bill that proposed a long and difficult pathway to citizenship for those who were in the country illegally.
Rubio has since shifted how he is approaching the thorny subject, saying his bill does not have the support to become law and the first focus should be on border security, a standard Republican position. Rubio ultimately wants to create a process that leads to legal status and, then, citizenship.


UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan subjected to abuse

Updated 26 May 2019
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UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan subjected to abuse

  • The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says it interviewed 13 detainees from a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban
  • They were mainly members of the Afghan forces but also civilians and government officials captured by the Taliban

KABUL, Afghanistan: The UN says Taliban captives in Afghanistan have been subjected to abuse, ill-treatment and actions that may amount to torture.
The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan says it interviewed 13 detainees from a group of 53 recently rescued from the Taliban. They were mainly members of the Afghan forces but also civilians and government officials captured by the Taliban.
The group was freed on April 25 when Afghan troops raided a Taliban-run detention facility in the Khas Uruzgan district in southern Uruzgan province.
The UNAMA statement, released on Sunday, says most of the captives were held since 2018, with three since 2016. It says they were kept in poor conditions and subjected to forced labor. The statement cites the detainees as saying that the Taliban killed some of their captives.