Nation and World briefs for May 1

Dems say Trump agrees to $2 trillion infrastructure tab

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Democratic congressional leaders agreed Tuesday to work together on a $2 trillion infrastructure package — but put off for later the difficult question of how to pay for it.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said there was “good will in the meeting” — a marked departure from the last meeting between Trump, Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which ended with Trump walking out in a huff. Schumer said the two sides agreed that infrastructure investments create jobs and make the United States more competitive economically with the rest of the world.

Most importantly, Schumer said, “we agreed on a number.”

“Originally, we had started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion, and that is a very good thing,” Schumer said.

Added Pelosi: “We did come to one agreement: that the agreement would be big and bold.”

France ramps up security measures for May Day protests

PARIS — French authorities announced tight security measures for May Day demonstrations, with the interior minister saying there was a risk that “radical activists” could join anti-government yellow vest protesters and union workers Wednesday in the streets of Paris and across the country.

More than 7,400 police will be deployed, aided by drones to give them an overview of the protests and a quicker way to head off potential violence.

“Tomorrow, there is a risk,” said Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, adding that the goal is to protect demonstrators with “legitimate aspirations” and defend Paris from calls on social media to make it “the capital of rioting.”

Authorities fear that 1,000 to 2,000 “radical activists” could descend on the May Day marches, bolstered by people from outside France, he told a news conference. He said other cities around France were also on alert.

French police have banned demonstrations on the Champs-Elysees Avenue, around the presidential palace in Paris and near Notre Dame Cathedral, which was gutted by devastating fire on April 15.

Among a raft of other security measures, French police ordered over 580 shops, restaurants and cafes on the Paris protest route to close and plan to search demonstrators’ bags and carry out identity checks at departure points into Paris, including train and bus stations.

The main union protest on Wednesday runs from Montparnasse train station in Paris to the Place d’Italie station in southern Paris.

US searches of phones, laptops at airports rising, suit says

WASHINGTON — U.S. government searches of travelers’ cellphones and laptops at airports and border crossings nearly quadrupled since 2015 and are being conducted for reasons beyond customs and immigration enforcement, according to papers filed Tuesday in a federal lawsuit that claims going through electronic devices without a warrant is unconstitutional.

The government has vigorously defended the searches, which rose to 33,295 in fiscal 2018, as a critical tool to protect America. But the newly filed documents claim the scope of the warrantless searches has expanded to enforce tax, bankruptcy, environmental and consumer protection laws, gather intelligence and advance ongoing law enforcement investigations.

Agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement consider requests from other government agencies in determining whether to search travelers’ electronic devices, the court papers said. They added that agents are searching the electronic devices of not only targeted individuals but their associates, friends and relatives.

The new information about the searches was included in a motion the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

“The evidence we have presented the court shows that the scope of ICE and CBP border searches is unconstitutionally broad,” said Adam Schwartz, senior staff attorney for the EFF, based in San Francisco.

‘Privacy-focused’ Facebook puts the spotlight on groups

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Facebook is launching a major redesign of its app and website built around letting people connect with groups that share their interests — an attempt to shift its focus away from the untrammeled public sharing that has helped spread hate speech, extremism, misinformation and livestreamed video of massacres.

The new features, announced Tuesday at the company’s annual F8 developer conference, are part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s broader strategy for countering Facebook’s growing array of critics, emboldened regulators and competitors.

Zuckerberg, who at one point stood in front of a giant display reading “The future is private,” acknowledged widespread skepticism of his plan to turn Facebook into a “privacy-focused” social network.

“Look, I get that a lot of people aren’t sure that we are serious about this,” he said to laughter from the crowd. “We are committed to doing this well and to starting a new chapter for our products.”

The redesign isn’t without risks of its own. When Snapchat rolled out major changes in late 2017, people hated them so much the service lost 3 million users in a single quarter ; analysts think it still hasn’t recovered.

Jury reaches verdict in officer’s trial for 911 caller death

MINNEAPOLIS — Jurors reached a verdict Tuesday in the trial of a Minneapolis police officer charged in the fatal shooting of an unarmed woman who approached his squad car minutes after calling 911 to report a possible rape behind her home.

Mohamed Noor was charged with two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in the July 2017 death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond , a 40-year-old dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia.

Jurors deliberated about five hours Monday and six on Tuesday before reaching a decision. The verdict was expected to be read about 5 p.m. CDT.

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Noor and his partner were rolling down the alley behind Damond’s home and checking out the 911 call just before the shooting. Noor testified that a loud bang on the squad car scared his partner and that he saw a woman raising her arm appear at his partner’s window. He said he fired to protect his partner’s life.

Prosecutors attacked Noor for shooting without seeing a weapon or Damond’s hands. They also questioned whether the loud bang was real. Neither Noor nor his partner, Matthew Harrity, mentioned it to investigators at the scene, with Harrity first mentioning it three days later in an interview with state investigators. Noor refused to talk to investigators.

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