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The Latest: Thousands mourn for Puerto Rico at May Day rally
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The Latest: Thousands mourn for Puerto Rico at May Day rally

The Latest: Thousands mourn for Puerto Rico at May Day rally
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa
A boy dressed in a military uniform salutes from his father's shoulders during the annual May Day parade at Revolution Square in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

The Latest: Thousands mourn for Puerto Rico at May Day rally

The latest on May Day events and rallies around the world (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

Thousands of Puerto Ricans marched to the rhythm of traditional music and tambourines while opposing austerity measures, with many demanding the ouster of a federal control board overseeing the U.S. territory's finances.

Protesters in San Juan also called Wednesday for much faster federal help in the island's recovery from September 2017's Hurricane Maria.

Many in the crowd waved Puerto Rican flags made in black and white rather than red, white and blue to symbolize mourning for the territory's plight.

Participants also urged the local government to save a public pension system that faces nearly $50 billion in payments it doesn't have funds to cover.

A protester dressed as comic book superhero Spiderman was arrested after jumping over a street barrier and hugging a police officer.

___

7 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of Cubans have taken part in the country's annual May Day march, filing past former President Raúl Castro and successor Miguel Díaz-Canel in an event dedicated to denouncing new restrictions and sanctions announced by the U.S. government.

The crowd held an enormous white banner that read, "Unity, Commitment and Victory" in red letters.

The U.S. recently said it would place a new cap on the amount of money that families in the United States can send relatives in Cuba and moved to restrict "non-family travel."

Loudspeakers blared the words of a march leader: "No foreign or extra-territorial law will take decisions in our country."

___

4:30 p.m.

Italian news agency ANSA says two protesters and a police officer were injured when police blocked a demonstration to oppose construction of a high-speed rail tunnel between France and Italy.

ANSA said none of the injuries on Wednesday were reported to be serious.

The group of protesters who assembled on a street in Turin included members of the 5-Star Movement, which opposes the tunnel through the Alps. Torino city councilor Damiano Carretto said on Facebook he was hit on the head and hand with a police truncheon.

The movement's partner in governing Italy, the League, has supporters that consider the tunnel vital. The 35.7-mile (57.5-kilometer) long Turin-Lyon High-Speed Train link is a key part of a European Union project linking southern Spain with eastern Europe.

A deputy with the Democratic Party has accused the rival 5-Stars of pushing and verbally abusing Democrats at May Day celebrations.

___

4:15 p.m.

French police and some violent protesters have clashed again during a May Day march in Paris.

Some of the troublemakers, wearing masks and black hoods, could be seen throwing rocks and other objects at riot police, who responded with tear gas and flash grenades near the Place d'Italie square.

More than 7,400 police officers were deployed on Wednesday for May Day events in Paris. More than 200 people had been arrested by mid-afternoon.

Authorities had warned against the presence of "radicalized protesters."

The masked protesters clashed with police earlier at the starting point of the main march, near Montparnasse train station.

Activists with France's yellow vest movement joined the traditional march to show solidarity with labor unions in rejecting French President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies.

___

4:00 p.m.

An activist group says more than 100 people have been arrested at May Day rallies across Russia, with over half of the detentions taking place in St. Petersburg.

The OVD-Info group said Wednesday that at least 68 people were detained in St. Petersburg, Russia's second-largest city, in an anti-government contingent that authorities had sanctioned as part of the main May Day demonstration. Two people reported injuries.

Police brutally manhandled people in the opposition contingent, including local lawmaker Maxim Reznik. He was released quickly because of his status as a public official.

Reznik told the Dozhd TV station that officers detained almost everyone in his protest group and would not give the reason for the arrests.

Some of them were carrying placards saying "Putin is not immortal" in reference to President Vladimir Putin who has been at the helm of the country since 2000. Most of them are supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

___

3:35 p.m.

Police have briefly clashed with protesters in Goteborg, Sweden's second-largest city, and in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, as May Day rallies were being held.

In Sweden, protesters threw cobblestones and fireworks at police as they were being kept away from reaching a rally by a neo-Nazi movement that had received official permission to march.

In Copenhagen, helmeted police circled their vans around a group of hooded people in black who were shouting anti-police slogans, trying to keep them away from other May Day demonstrations.

A handful of people were detained in both countries.

The heaviest May Day clashes in Europe took place in France, where police clashed with stone-throwing protesters as tens of thousands of people started marching in Paris on Wednesday under tight security. More than 200 arrests were made.

___

2:30 p.m.

Car-sharing companies are urging customers in Berlin not to park vehicles in areas where May Day protests are expected.

Miles, which has a fleet of cars in the German capital that can be reserved with an app, warned customers against leaving them in parts of the Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain district s until Thursday.

Rallies and May Day celebrations are planned in both areas and have in the past erupted into violence, with protesters torching vehicles.

___

1:10 p.m.

French protesters and police have clashed briefly in Paris as thousands of people gather for a May Day march.

Authorities fear some troublemakers could join anti-government protesters and union workers.

Police used some tear gas to control a crowd near Paris' Montparnasse train station.

AP reporters observed groups of hooded people in black shouting anti-police slogans, mixing with other protesters wearing yellow vests or waving union flags.

French authorities warned "radical activists" may join the Paris demonstration and renew scenes of violence that marked previous yellow vest protests and May Day demonstrations in the past two years.

More than 7,400 police have been deployed in Paris.

Yellow vests have joined traditional May Day union march to show their common rejection of French President Emmanuel Macron's economic policies.

___

1 p.m.

Spain's workers are marching on May Day in major cities to make their voices heard days before acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez starts negotiating with other parties to form a new government.

Spain's leading labor unions are pressing for Sánchez to roll back business-friendly labor and fiscal reforms that have remained in place since the previous conservative administration.

Sánchez's Socialist party won Sunday's election on Sunday, but will still need other parties to form a government and pass laws. Sánchez will meet with the leaders of the three other top vote-getters next week. The far-left United We Can party is offering to enter the new Socialist government.

Unai Sordo, leader of Spain's CCOO union, says in Madrid that "the result of the general elections gives us the possibility for a progressive political majority."

___

12:30 p.m.

Activists say more than a dozen people have been detained in Russia's second-largest city for participating in an unsanctioned political protest on May Day.

The OVD-Info group that monitors detentions of political activists says that at least 15 people were detained at the May Day rally in St. Petersburg. Most of them are supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The activists were marching with the main May Day demonstration through central St. Petersburg. Some of them were carrying placards saying "Putin is not immortal" in reference to President Vladimir Putin who has been at the helm of the country since 2000.

___

12:15 p.m.

An opposition party in South Africa is using May Day to rally voters a week before the country's national election.

Economic Freedom Fighters members, wearing their signature red shirts and berets, gathered at a stadium in Johannesburg to cheer in support of populist stances that have put pressure on the ruling African National Congress to address issues like economic inequality and land reform.

The EFF has made some South Africans uncomfortable, however, with comments about foreigners and whites.

___

12 p.m.

Greece has been left without national rail, island ferry and other transport services for a day as unions hold strikes and rallies to celebrate May Day.

Hundreds of people gathered in central Athens Wednesday for three separate rallies and marches to parliament organized by rival unions and left-wing groups.

The Greek capital was left without public bus, trolley bus and urban rail services all day due to a 24-hour transport union strike, although the city's metro trains were running most of the day.

The national train and island ferry services are set to resume Thursday.

___

11:55 a.m.

Russian authorities say that about 100,000 people are taking part in a May Day rally in central Moscow.

Moscow police said on Wednesday that the rally organized by Kremlin-friendly trade unions on Red Square attracted around 100,000 people.

Over the years, the May Day in Russia has transformed from the occasion for rallies for workers' rights to an official event carefully orchestrated by Kremlin-controlled groups.

Opposition activists, however, often try to use the May Day to promote their agenda.

The respected activists' group OVD-Info which compiles police reports on detentions of political activists said that six political activists have been detained in Moscow before the morning rallies. Separately, in the remote Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in Russia's Far East, police have detained at least 10 people who showed up at the local May Day rally wearing yellow vests in an apparent nod to the protest movement in France.

___

11:45 a.m.

Turkish police detained May Day demonstrators who tried to march toward Istanbul's symbolic main square in defiance of a ban.

Turkey declared Taksim Square off-limits to May Day celebrations citing security concerns. Roads leading to the square were blocked Wednesday and police allowed only small groups of labor union representatives to lay wreaths at a monument.

Still, small groups chanting "May Day is Taksim and it cannot be banned," attempted to break the blockade. The official Anadolu news agency said more than two dozen were detained.

Trade unions and political parties will mark the day with rallies at government-designated areas in Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.

Taksim holds symbolic value for Turkey's labor movement. In 1977, 34 people were killed there during a May Day event when shots were fired into the crowd from a nearby building.

___

11 a.m.

Ahead of a May Day rally in over a dozen German cities, Germany's biggest trade unions are urging voters to participate in this month's European elections and reject nationalism and right-wing populism.

The DGB, a confederation of unions with almost 6 million members, said Wednesday that the European Union has helped ensure peace on the continent for decades and brought significant benefits to millions, from paid holidays to maternity protection.

The unions called for ambitious EU-wide investments to boost employment and growth, saying "people must feel that the EU improves their lives in a lasting and tangible way."

The unions warned that the political and economic turmoil in Britain following its vote to leave the European Union nationalism "shows what happens if those who stoke fear but have no plan for the future gain the upper hand."

___

10 a.m.

Thousands of trade union members and activists are marking May Day by marching through Asia's capitals and demanding better working conditions and expanding labor rights.

A South Korean major umbrella trade union has issued a joint statement with a North Korean workers' organization calling for the Koreas to push ahead with engagement commitments made during a series of inter-Korean summits last year.

Many of the plans agreed between the Koreas, including joint economic projects, have been held back by a lack of progress in nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.

May Day rallies are also being held in the Philippines, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and elsewhere in Asia.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

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  • Former White House counsel Don McGahn agreed to follow President Donald Trump’s directive Monday to ignore a Congressional subpoena to testify in a scheduled hearing before the House Judiciary Committee. >> Read more trending news Update 10:45 p.m. EDT May 20: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler warned former White House counsel Don McGahn  that if he fails to appear at a hearing Tuesday morning “the Committee is prepared to use all enforcement mechanisms at its disposal.” In a letter to McGahn’s attorney, William Bruck, Nadler called Trump’s order for McGahn to ignore the subpoena from the committee to testify “unprecedented.” He also said Trump’s order “does not excuse your (McGahn’s) obligation to appear before the Committee.” “Although the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has produced an opinion purporting to excuse you (McGahn) from testifying, that opinion has no support in relevant case law, and its arguments have been flatly rejected by the courts,” Nadler said. Nadler said the committee hearing will convene Tuesday morning, whether McGahn chooses to appear or not. Update 8:40 p.m. EDT May 20: Despite a subpoena, former White House counsel Don McGahn has informed the House Judiciary Committee that he will not  appear at a hearing Tuesday, according to a report from The Hill. >> Jamie Dupree: Former White House counsel refuses to testify about Mueller probe McGahn’s lawyer, William Bruck, sent a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler informing him that McGahn would not comply with the subpoena and would not attend to the hearing, The Hill Reported. The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn and four other White House officials as part of an investigation into possible obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power charges, according to CNN. Update 7:00 p.m. EDT May 20: President Donald Trump told reporters on his way to a rally in Pennsylvania Monday afternoon that he ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to ignore a Congressional subpoena for the greater good of the presidency. “As I understand it they're doing that for the office of the presidency for future presidents. As I understand it it's a very important precedent. The attorneys say they're doing it not for me, they're doing it for the future,” Trump said. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said in a statement that the hearing will convene as planned, even though McGahn has been ordered not to testify Nadler said McGahn witnessed 'egregious' acts of obstruction to the Mueller investigation by Trump and that the president “clearly does not want the American people to hear firsthand about his alleged misconduct.” “This move is just the latest act of obstruction from the White House that includes its blanket refusal to cooperate with this committee. It is also the latest example of this administration’s disdain for the law,” he said. Original report: The committee is scheduled to hold a hearing starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday about the report submitted earlier this year by special counsel Robert Mueller, who spent 22 months investigating Russian election interference and its possible ties to Trump and his campaign officials. In the report, Mueller said his team found no evidence of collusion, but he declined to make a decision on whether there was enough evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice. >> Trump: 'We're fighting all the subpoenas' In an opinion released Monday, Justice Department officials said the president’s “immediate advisors” can’t be compelled to give congressional testimony due to the “fundamental workings of the separation of powers.” “Because Congress may not constitutionally compel the former Counsel to testify about his official duties, he may not be civilly or criminally penalized for following a presidential directive not to appear,” the opinion stated. >> Read the opinion released by the DOJ  In a statement released Monday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to a newly issued opinion and noted that “McGahn has been directed to act accordingly.” “This action has been taken in order to ensure that future Presidents can effectively execute the responsibilities of the Office of the Presidency,” she said. >> Former White House counsel Don McGahn subpoenaed by House Judiciary Committee House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., issued a subpoena last month to compel McGahn’s testimony. The committee was looking particularly at bringing in a member of Trump’s staff with direct knowledge of his efforts to undermine the Mueller probe, CNN reported last month, citing an unidentified source.
  • Joshua Randall Harmon went to a friend’s house one night in May 1988 to see if his friend could come outside to play. It was the last time the 8-year-old Georgia boy was seen alive. Joshua’s 55-pound body was found two days later. He had been struck on the head, strangled to death and discarded under some loose dirt and pine straw in a wooded area a few hundred yards from the Roswell apartment where he lived with his mother and stepfather.  Logs had been placed over his body to delay detection. The boy’s murder remains unsolved and last week, 31 years to the day after his brutal death, Roswell police officials pleaded with the public for information that could help solve the long-cold case.  Joshua vanished Sunday, May 15 while playing near his apartment complex, then known as the Roundtree Apartments. The complex still stands on Raintree Way in Roswell, but is now known as River Crossing at Roswell, according to the Roswell Police Department.  >> Read more trending news Joshua’s family had moved to the apartment complex about three weeks before he was killed, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the day his body was found. Police officials initially thought he might have run away, even unwittingly, and was trying to get back to their former home.  A newspaper clipping shows Joshua’s mother, then known as Cherie Laws, told a reporter her son, a special education student at the now-shuttered Kimball Bridge Elementary School, was not one to wander from home. “He was easily frightened and intimidated,” Laws said of Joshua, who had a learning disability.  Douglas Laws echoed his wife’s sentiments just hours before his stepson’s body was found.  “Joshua was too frightened of everything, too dependent on his mother to be away from her long,” Douglas Laws told the newspaper. “He would not leave in any stressful situation.” Joshua had spent the day of his disappearance playing outside, both alone and with friends, police officials said.  “Joshua regularly played outside in the area of his apartment building and the other buildings in the immediate vicinity,” a post on the department’s Facebook page read. “He searched for turtles around the lake in the complex and played in the ‘fort’ in the woods behind his building.” Cherie Laws told the Journal-Constitution she first grew uneasy when, around 7 p.m. that evening, she heard the ice cream truck’s bell ringing outside, but her son never came running in for the dollar she had set aside for him to get himself a treat.  “I wondered then why he didn’t come in and ask for money to buy ice cream,” Laws said, according to the clipping.  Douglas Laws also could not find the boy when he went out to tell him to stay close to home because dinner would be ready soon, police officials said. The couple called police around 7:30 p.m. to report him missing. Neighbors told Joshua’s family he had stopped by their apartment around 7 p.m. to see if their son, a friend of his, could come outside to play, according to police. Because the boy’s family was having their own dinner, he could not.  Joshua told his friend he would wait for him at the fort, where they often played together.  “This is the last reported sighting of Joshua alive,” the police’s Facebook post read. Roswell police officers spent the next 48 hours searching the 60 acres of woods surrounding the apartment complex but did not find Joshua’s body in the first search, the Journal-Constitution reported at the time. His body was eventually discovered the afternoon of May 17, 1988, in a gully in the woods where the boy, described as a “nature nut,” loved to play.  See images of newspaper clippings covering the 1988 death of Joshua Harmon below. A police lieutenant involved in the search stumbled upon Joshua’s body by accident, authorities said.  Cherie Laws was so devastated when her son’s body was found that she was hospitalized. She and her husband later moved to Woodstock, too overcome by grief to stay in the apartment from which Joshua vanished.  “I keep hoping it will all turn out to have been a mistake that the body they found wasn’t really his and I’ll wake up one morning and find him back at home,” Laws told the Journal-Constitution a year after Joshua died. “I know that’s not going to happen, but I can’t help wishing.” Cherie Laws, who now goes by Cherie Harmon, wrote in an online memorial to her son that she and his father, Larry Harmon, later got back together. “I see a lot of you in him, and he sees a lot of you in me,” she wrote to her son. “It helps us keep you with us.” She described her son as the “most incredible and amazing child in the world.”  “He had a truly unconditional love for all people, and more so for all of God's creatures,” she wrote on the memorial page, which she created in 2007. “It was as if he was one with them, and would spend hours with any creature, however, his favorite were rabbits.  ‘We are looking for anything’ There were plenty of potential suspects in the early days of the investigation. Authorities told the Journal-Constitution a convicted child molester had escaped from the North Fulton County Jail in Alpharetta the day he disappeared. Joshua had also had a run-in earlier in the day with some teenage boys who his family said “roughed him up” after he’d thrown a rock at the apartment where one of the boys lived.  All the potential suspects were ruled out.  “Evidence was collected during the investigation that is still available,” police officials said last week. “There have been incredible advancements in forensic technology since 1988 but science is not all that can be used to catch this killer.” Cold case detectives are reaching out to witnesses interviewed in the initial investigation. They are also looking for new witnesses who may have obtained knowledge about Joshua’s death, either from the time frame of his killing or information obtained in the intervening years.  “In the last 31 years, we believe that the killer may have spoken to someone about this incident and disclosed their involvement,” authorities said.  Roswell police spokeswoman Sgt. Britney Rodgers told the Journal-Constitution Friday that nothing has specifically triggered a reexamination of the case.  “We are looking for anything,” Rodgers told the newspaper. “Maybe this will help jog somebody’s memory.” Anyone with information on Joshua’s murder is asked to call Roswell police Detective Jennifer Bennett at 770-640-4380 or contact her via email at jbennett@roswellgov.com. Information can also be submitted anonymously to the Crime Stoppers Atlanta tip line at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or online at StopCrimeATL.com. 
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Washington Insider

  • The struggle between Democrats in the House and President Donald Trump over the Russia investigation intensified on Monday with the White House telling former Counsel Don McGahn not to honor a subpoena for  his testimony on Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, as Democrats said it was all part of a broad effort the President and the Trump Administration to stonewall Congress about the Mueller Report and other investigations. In a letter to Democrats, McGahn's lawyer William Burck said, 'the President has unambiguously directed my client not to comply with the Committee’s subpoena for testimony.' 'Under these circumstances, and also conscious of the duties he, as an attorney, owes to his former client, Mr. McGahn must decline to appear at the hearing,' the letter added. Democrats said they would still convene the hearing at 10 am EDT on Tuesday, as they held out the possibility of finding McGahn in contempt, just as the same committee voted to find Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to honor a subpoena for an unredacted version of the Mueller Report. Democrats wanted testimony from McGahn because of the information he gave to investigators for the Mueller investigation, in which McGahn detailed repeated demands by President Trump to oust the Special Counsel. While President Trump has sternly denied that he ever ordered McGahn to get rid of Mueller, the evidence offered by the Special Counsel painted a different picture. McGahn testified that the President called him on June 17, 2017 - about a month after Mueller had been named as Special Counsel - and pressed for Mueller to be ousted, an order that McGahn repeatedly ignored. On page 300 of the Mueller Report, 'McGahn recalled the President telling him 'Mueller has to go' and 'Call me back when you do it.''  The Mueller Report described McGahn - who reportedly answered questions for 30 hours over multiple interviews - as a 'credible witness with no motive to lie or exaggerate.' McGahn also claimed in his testimony that once news of the President's request was reported in the press, Mr. Trump then pressed McGahn to dispute the veracity of the story that the President had pressed for Mueller's ouster. McGahn refused to do what the President had asked. The White House based its refusal for McGahn to testify on a new 15 page legal opinion from the Justice Department, which said McGahn - as a former top adviser - was under no requirement to testify before Congress. 'The President's immediate advisers are an extension of the President and are likewise entitled to absolute immunity from compelled congressional testimony,' the Office of Legal Counsel opinion stated. In summary, the Justice Department said simply, 'we conclude that Mr. McGahn is not legally required to appear before the Committee.' Democrats denounced the decision, and charged it was just adding more evidence to what they say is a cover up, focused on obscuring obstruction of justice by President Trump. 'This move is just the latest act of obstruction from the White House that includes its blanket refusal to cooperate with this Committee,' said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. 'The President is intimidating witnesses and stonewalling the American people and the rule of law. Congress and the American people deserve answers from Mr. McGahn,' said Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA). '(T)he White House Counsel serves interests of the American people, not the President, and their conversations do not have the protection of blanket attorney-client privilege,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'It’s pretty clear what the Trump Administration is doing here,' said Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), 'they’re trying to hide the facts from the American people.' Democrats have promised to move forward to hold McGahn in Contempt of Congress - but there has also been discussion of other penalties, from what is known as 'inherent contempt' - which could involve levying fines against those who refuse to cooperate with investigations by Congress. 'The cover-up continues,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). 'And we will fight it.