Kealoha’s former subordinate says she didn’t reveal money feud

Katherine Kealoha also didn’t disclose that Gerard Puana was her uncle

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

The Associated Press

HONOLULU — An ex-Honolulu prosecutor testified Thursday that his former supervisor assigned him her uncle’s criminal case without telling them they were related and at odds over money.

William Awong’s supervisor was Katherine Kealoha, who is on trial with her husband Louis Kealoha, a now-retired police chief. The Kealohas abused their power and framed her uncle for a mailbox theft in an attempt to discredit him in a financial dispute and to keep him from revealing fraud that financed the couple’s lavish lifestyle, U.S. prosecutors say.

In 2013, Katherine Kealoha asked Awong to file a motion seeking to restore a conviction against Gerard Puana for entering a neighbor’s home in 2011. He had pleaded no contest in an arrangement that allowed him to keep the conviction off his record.

In making the request, Katherine Kealoha didn’t disclose that Puana was her uncle, that he was suing her over money he said she stole from him and that the Kealohas accused him of stealing their home mailbox, Awong said.

Puana and his now-99-year-old mother — Katherine Kealoha’s grandmother — filed a lawsuit claiming Katherine Kealoha stole money from them in a reverse mortgage scheme.

At first Awong thought Puana was her “Hawaii uncle, where everybody is somebody’s uncle,” he said, but later learned they were blood relatives.

Awong said if he knew about Puana’s lawsuit against his niece and the mailbox theft allegation, it would have been a potential conflict of interest.

Under questioning by Katherine Kealoha’s defense attorney, Cynthia Kagiwada, Awong said that before filing the motion, he researched it and believed he had a legal basis for doing so.

The Kealohas are on trial with current and former officers in what has been described as Hawaii’s biggest corruption case.

Jurors earlier this week heard from a state deputy sheriff who said that as a favor to Katherine Kealoha, he arranged for private meetings with her and her jailed uncle. Deputy Sherriff Thomas Cayetano said he brought Puana to Kealoha at a courthouse even though Puana didn’t have a court meeting scheduled.

There was also testimony from several of her relatives, including an aunt who said she was angry when she learned Katherine Kealoha took out a reverse mortgage on her mother’s home but that she loves her niece.

Whitmer on road fixes: No time to waste

By DAVID EGGERT
Associated Press
MACKINAC ISLAND — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that talks with Michigan’s Republican-led Legislature on her proposed fuel tax increase can “start in earnest” following the enactment of a bipartisan auto insurance overhaul, and there is no reason why a road-funding deal cannot be struck within a month.
Her 45-cents-a-gallon tax hike, the centerpiece of her budget proposal, has languished in the Capitol for three months.
“A lot can happen in a short period of time,” the Democrat said after signing the insurance bill at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference. She said she expects to see legislative movement soon.
“We can’t waste time. Our roads are downright dangerous,” she said. “I’m going to continue to push the gas tax and if someone has an alternative way of doing that, I’m eager to have that conversation. I think it’s going to start in earnest now.”
Whitmer again signaled that she will not sign the next state budget without a road-funding deal, due to how her $2.5 billion proposal would free up general funds that have been shifted to address deteriorating roads but which could be used for other priorities such as schools and her proposed scholarship program for college students. Budget legislation, she said, can be finished by the end of July.
GOP legislative leaders have rejected a 45-cent increase that would make Michigan’s gasoline and diesel the highest in the country.
But they have not laid out their own plans except to support spending an additional $132 million a year earlier than planned and potentially ensuring that sales tax paid at the pump funds roads. The revenue mostly goes to schools and local governments under the state constitution.
House Speaker Lee Chatfield of Levering said he will not box himself in with an “artificial” deadline to complete the budget, noting that the next fiscal year does not start until Oct. 1.
“I think the first priority needs to be (to) have a responsible budget, and that’s going to be our focus,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey of Clarklake was reluctant to say how much additional road spending is necessary but agreed that “substantially more” is needed. He suggested working to finish the budget by July 1 and passing supplemental spending legislation in September if a broader roads agreement is reached.
“It’s got to balance between the appetite of taxpayers and the capacity to deploy assets,” he said, referring to concerns about how quickly road-construction projects could be ramped up at a time that a 2015 transportation-revenue plan is still being phased in.
Later Thursday, Whitmer delivered a keynote speech in which she urged the conference’s crowd of business, civic and other leaders to press legislators to act. She said a gas tax hike is preferred because the revenue would be constitutionally dedicated to roads. Generating $2.5 billion also could be done by more than tripling the 6% corporate income tax, boosting the 4.25% personal income tax to 5.3% or raising the 6% sales tax to 7.4%.
“The solution I put on the table truly is I think the best solution to actually fix the problem,” said Whitmer, who showed video of a pothole-ridden road in northern Michigan that she took to the conference. She also displayed photos of bridges, the deadly 2007 collapse of a bridge in Minnesota and charts indicating that the 2015 roads plan slowed the decline of roads but will not improve them. Bridge conditions, she said, “keep me up at night.”

Record flooding causes levee breach in western Arkansas

DARDANELLE, Ark. (AP) — A levee breached Friday along the Arkansas River, prompting a flash flood warning and evacuation of a rural area in western Arkansas.
Officials said the levee breached at Dardanelle, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock. Yell County officials had anticipated the breach and urged residents in the nearby Holla Bend area to evacuate Thursday.
Emergency management officials say crews are going door to door to recommend evacuation for about 160 homes.
National Weather Service data showed a dip in the water level at Dardanelle, likely due to the breach. A flash flood warning was issued early Friday for the area, and forecasters said residents should be prepared for rapidly rising water.
The levee breached because of ongoing flooding along the Arkansas River, which began in Oklahoma.
Earlier this year, about two dozen levee systems were breached or overtopped during Missouri River flooding that devastated parts of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri.

Trump prompts protests with promise of new Mexican tariffs

By JILL COLVIN and COLLEEN LONG Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a surprise announcement that could derail a major trade deal, President Donald Trump says he is placing a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective June 10, to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.
He said the percentage will gradually increase — up to 25% — “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.”
The decision showed the administration going to new lengths, and looking for new levers, to pressure Mexico to take action — even if those risk upending other policy priorities, like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement , a trade deal that is the cornerstone of Trump’s legislative agenda and seen as beneficial to his reelection effort. It also risks further damaging the already strained relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, two countries whose economies are deeply intertwined.
Trump made the announcement by tweet after telling reporters earlier Thursday that he was planning “a major statement” that would be his “biggest” so far on the border.
“On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP,” he wrote. “The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.”
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador responded in a public letter late Thursday, telling Trump that “social problems are not solved with duties or coercive measures” and alluded to the United States’ history as a nation of immigrants. “The Statue of Liberty is not an empty symbol,” he wrote. He also said he was dispatching his foreign relations secretary to Washington on Friday to try to negotiate a solution.
In his growing fury over an increase in border crossings that he has likened to an “invasion,” Trump has blamed Mexico for failing to stop the flow of asylum seekers from countries like El Salvador and Honduras who pass through its territory. And he has been itching to take increasingly radical, headline-grabbing action on the issue, which he sees as critical to his 2020 campaign because it energizes his base.
But the sudden tariff threat comes at a peculiar time, given how hard the administration has been pushing for passage of the USMCA, which would update the North American Free Trade Agreement. It comes less than two weeks after Trump lifted import taxes on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum, a move that seemed to clear an obstacle to its passage, and the same day that both Trump and López Obrador began the process of seeking ratification. The deal needs approval from lawmakers in all three countries before it takes effect.
“The tariffs certainly put the USMCA on ice,” said Gary Hufbauer, an expert in trade law at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who panned the move but said Trump does have the legal authority to impose the tariffs under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act by citing a national emergency.
“The drama is legal, but it’s preposterous,” he said.
Daniel Ujczo, a U.S.-based international trade lawyer, said the threat would likely slow the deal’s progress in Mexico and put U.S. lawmakers who want to vote “yes” in a difficult position because companies in their districts will end up paying the tariffs.
Still, Ujczo and others wondered whether Trump — who has a habit of creating problems and then claiming credit when he rushes in to solve them — would go through with the threat.
“This seems more theater and tactics than a strategy to solve the migration crisis and rebalance North American trade,” Ujczo said.
It wouldn’t be the first time Trump has punted on an immigration threat. In late March, Trump threatened to shut the entire U.S.-Mexico border if Mexico didn’t immediately halt illegal immigration. Just a few days later, he backed off the threat, saying he was pleased with steps Mexico had taken in recent days. It was unclear, however, what Mexico had changed.
Indeed, on a briefing call with reporters Thursday evening, administration officials said Mexico could prevent the tariffs from kicking in by securing their southern border with Guatemala, cracking down on criminal smuggling organizations, and entering into a “safe third country agreement” that would make it difficult for those who enter Mexico from other countries to claim asylum in the U.S.
“We fully believe they have the ability to stop people coming in from their southern border and if they’re able to do that, these tariffs will either not go into place or will be removed after they go into place,” said acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
He also insisted that tariffs were “completely” separate from the USMCA because one pertained to immigration and the other trade.
Still the threat drew a withering response from Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, a usual Trump ally, who slammed it as “a misuse of presidential tariff authority” that would burden American consumers and “seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA.”
Mulvaney said the White House had briefed a number of Republicans on the plan and acknowledged that some — particularly in the Senate — had raised concerns about the president invoking such powers.
The threat comes at a time when Mexico has already been stepping up its efforts to crack down on migrants, carrying out raids and detaining thousands of people traveling through the country en route to the U.S.
The crumbling city of Tapachula, near the Guatemalan border, has become the epicenter of the crackdowns, with thousands of migrants stranded because the Mexican government isn’t providing them visas to travel. In addition, the Mexican government has allowed the U.S. to send back hundreds of asylum seekers from Central America and other countries, forcing them to wait out their cases in Mexico.
But that hasn’t satisfied Trump, whose White House laid out an escalating schedule of tariff increases if his demands are not met: 10% on July 1, 15% on Aug. 1, 20% on Sept. 1 and 25% on Oct. 1.
After that, the White House said, “tariffs will permanently remain at the 25% level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory.”
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Associated Press writer Kevin Freking and Paul Wiseman in Washington and Maria Verza in Mexico City contributed to this report.
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Follow Colvin and Long on Twitter at https://twitter.com/colvinj and https://twitter.com/ctlong1

Trump attacks Mueller, denies that Russia helped him win

By DEB RIECHMANN Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has angrily assailed special counsel Robert Mueller’s motives, after Mueller bluntly rebuffed Trump’s repeated claims that the Russia investigation had cleared him of obstructing justice.
The president also offered mixed messages on Russia’s efforts to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 campaign. Early in the day, Trump tweeted he had “nothing to do with Russia helping me get elected.” That was the first time he seemed to acknowledge that Russia tried to help his campaign. Then on the White House South Lawn, Trump told reporters: “Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all.”
Mueller’s report said Russia interfered in the election in hopes of getting Trump elected, but his findings and intelligence officials have stopped short of saying the efforts contributed to Trump’s victory.
Attorney General William Barr, meanwhile, is defending his short summary of Mueller’s report, telling CBS on Friday he was “just trying to state the bottom line.” Critics have accused Barr of spinning the report’s findings to favor Trump.
Trump’s 20-minute eruption Thursday underscored that he remains deeply distressed over the probe that has shadowed his presidency for nearly two years, even after Mueller announced his resignation and the closure of his office. Democrats are mulling the possibility of impeachment proceedings.
Trump insisted that he’s been tough on Russia and that Moscow would have preferred Clinton as president. But that’s not what Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. When asked last year in Helsinki whether he wanted Trump to become president, Putin replied: “Yes, I did.”
On Wednesday, Mueller, in his first public remarks on the Russia investigation, pointedly rejected Trump’s claims — repeated almost daily — that the special counsel’s investigation cleared him of criminal activity and was a “witch hunt.” Mueller emphasized that he had not exonerated Trump on the question of whether he obstructed justice, but said charging Trump with any crime was “not an option” because of Justice Department rules.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller declared.
Attorney General William Barr, however, said Mueller could have reached a decision on whether Trump obstructed justice. Barr said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” that though Justice Department rules prevent the indictment of a sitting president, Mueller nonetheless could have decided whether Trump had committed a crime.
Trump repeated his baseless claims that Mueller is “conflicted,” contending that Mueller, who served as FBI director under President George W. Bush, wanted his old job back, but that he had told him no. He said Mueller, a Republican, was “a true never Trumper” and “didn’t get a job that he wanted very badly.”
Mueller had been considered for the FBI director position shortly before being named as special counsel. But then-White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has said that while the White House had invited Mueller to speak to the president about the FBI and thought about asking him to become director again, Mueller did not come in looking for a job.
Trump also said Mueller should have investigated law enforcement officials who the president claims tried to undermine him. Mueller’s mandate, however, was to investigate Russian election interference, possible coordination with the Trump campaign and any obstruction of that investigation.
Among those whom Trump says Mueller should have investigated were members of the special counsel’s own team, including Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent who helped lead the investigation and exchanged anti-Trump text messages during the 2016 election with ex-FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Strzok was removed from Mueller’s investigative team following the discovery of the texts and later was fired from the FBI. Page has left the bureau. Strzok told Congress that there was “no conspiracy” at the FBI to prevent Trump from becoming president.
Trump, asked about impeachment by Congress, called it a “dirty word” and said he couldn’t imagine the courts allowing him to be impeached. “I don’t think so because there’s no crime,” he said.
Mueller made clear that his team never considered indicting Trump because the Justice Department prohibits the prosecution of a sitting president. He and others have indicated that the next move, if any, is up to Congress, which has the power of impeachment. Trump has blocked House committees’ subpoenas and other efforts to dig into the Trump-Russia issue, insisting Mueller’s report has settled everything.
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Associated Press writers Eric Tucker, Chad Day, Mike Balsamo, Mary Clare Jalonick and Lisa Mascaro contributed to this report.

In the eye of the storm, Baghdad’s Green Zone remains sealed

By BASSEM MROUE Associated Press
BAGHDAD (AP) — Baghdad’s Green Zone has been a barometer for tension and conflict in Iraq for nearly two decades.
The 4-square mile (10-square kilometer) heavily guarded strip on the banks of the Tigris River was known as “Little America” following the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It then became a hated symbol of the country’s inequality, fueling the perception among Iraqis that their government is out of touch.
The sealed-off area, with its palm trees and monuments, is home to the gigantic U.S. Embassy in Iraq, one of the largest diplomatic missions in the world. It has also been home to successive Iraqi governments and is off limits to most Iraqis.
Various attempts and promises by the Iraqi government to open the area to traffic over the past years have failed to materialize, because of persistent security concerns.
Here’s a look at the Green Zone, past and present:
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BEFORE THE INVASION
Although not visible, security was always tight around the area, as Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace complex was located inside. So were the homes of some of Iraq’s top government officials. The road leading to the presidential palace had been closed for decades before the war.
The zone is also home to important Baghdad landmarks including the “Victory Arch” — a 40-meter (131-feet) tall arch of two swords held by bronze casts of Saddam’s hands to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. The area is also home to the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, Baghdad’s famous clock tower and the renowned Rasheed Hotel, where entering guests had to tread over a mosaic of former U.S. President George Bush placed on the floor after the 1991 Gulf War.
Every year in July, Iraq’s army held a massive parade marking the 1968 coup that brought Saddam’s Arab Socialist Baath Party to power and ruled the country until the U.S. invasion in 2003.
The first strike by the U.S.-led coalition in the early hours of March 20, 2003 struck Saddam’s Republican Palace inside what later came to be known as the Green Zone.
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THE GREEN ZONE POST INVASION
The area was seized by U.S. military forces in April 2003 in some of the heaviest fighting as American troops swept into Baghdad. The neighborhood became home for the Coalition Provisional Authority, a transitional government established following the invasion.
The first step taken to set up the area was taken by Jay Garner, who at the time headed the reconstruction team and set up its headquarters at Saddam Hussein’s main palace.
The official name under the interim government was the International Zone, but the name Green Zone, al-Mintaqa al-Khadraa in Arabic, was more commonly used, because the area was safer than the rest of Baghdad, where explosions, kidnappings, sectarian killings and shootings soon became common. Blast walls and checkpoints were soon set up, and only people with special cards could enter.
Despite the blast walls, Shiite militiamen in eastern neighborhoods of the city commonly fired rockets into the Green Zone. Suicide attacks repeatedly struck at its gates, killing hundreds of people, including Americans.
At the height of the attacks, men reaching the gates of the area had to open their jackets and raise their shirts so that the guards knew they were not wearing explosive belts. Vehicles were thoroughly searched and bomb-sniffing dogs deployed.
One of the biggest security breaches occurred in April 2007, when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the cafeteria of the parliament building, killing eight people including three legislators.
In April 2016, supporters of populist Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr launched an anti-government protest, angrily scaling up the blast walls, tearing down some of the Green Zone’s walls and stormed the parliament building in a major escalation of a political crisis that had simmered for months.
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“LITTLE AMERICA”
During America’s military occupation of Iraq, parts of the Green Zone were referred to by some as “little America” because of the U.S. troops deployed around it, and American brands available inside. At one point, the Green Zone had at least seven bars, including a Thursday night disco, a sports bar, a British pub, a rooftop bar run by General Electric and a bare-bones trailer-tavern operated by the contractor Bechtel.
Then, the plushest tavern was the CIA’s watering hole, known as the “OGA bar.” OGA stands for “Other Government Agency,” the CIA’s low-key moniker. The OGA bar had a dance floor with a revolving mirrored disco ball and a game room. It opened to outsiders by invitation only.
There was also the Green Zone Cafe, a tent erected in the parking lot of a former gas station. On a typical evening, one could see U.S. soldiers smoking from 4-foot-tall hookahs and security contractors laughing over beers, their machine guns by their sides.
A tiny back room at the cafe also held the green zone’s chief liquor store, where bottles of whiskey, vodka and wine were sold at approximately double the price charged outside the green zone’s blast walls.
The sealed-off zone also boasted gyms, a pizza parlor and a makeshift casino that had a glorified game room.
Its name was adapted for the 2010 Matt Damon action thriller “Green Zone,” about a U.S. army officer hunting for weapons of mass destruction.
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ALL IN THE PAST?
There has been talk for years that restrictions would be lifted in the Green Zone, first by then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in 2015.
In March, Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi removed thousands of grey cement blast walls, easing the snarling traffic around Baghdad, and public access to the “Victory Arch” was restored.
The U.N. envoy to Iraq, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, told a U.N. Security Council meeting earlier this month that “very soon the Green Zone will no longer exist.”
Only a few days earlier, a rocket was fired into the Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling U.S. Embassy.
Eager to show the war-scarred nation is returning to normal, Abdul-Mahdi is now promising to open it to the public on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, the upcoming holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
“Once the area is fully opened, all Iraq will be green,” said Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamid Kadhim.

Pompeo: Humanitarian aid plan for Iran “unproblematic”

By DAVID RISING Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday that Washington will not stand in the way of a system that Europeans are developing to shield companies dealing with Iran from American sanctions, so long as the focus is on providing humanitarian and other permitted goods.
Pompeo, making his first visit to Germany as secretary of state, said the U.S. does not take issue with the development of the system known as INSTEX, so long as it deals with the trade of goods not subject to sanctions, as the Europeans contend it will.
“We’ve been pretty clear about trade with Iran — there are items that are sanctioned and there are items that are not,” Pompeo told reporters after meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at a government villa in suburban Berlin.
“When we think about INSTEX, if it’s aimed at facilitating the movement of goods that are authorized to move, it’s unproblematic,” he said.
Since withdrawing unilaterally from the landmark 2015 deal with Iran that offered economic incentives in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, the U.S. has been at odds with the other nations involved that have been trying to keep the deal alive — Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China.
As the U.S. has increased sanctions and companies have been pulling business out of Iran, the Europeans have been developing INSTEX, a complicated barter-type system to skirt direct financial transactions with Iran and so evade possible U.S. sanctions.
The system is not yet up and running, but they hope to have it functioning by this summer.
Maas emphasized that even though the U.S. is no longer party to the Iran agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, its goal is the same.
“We both agree that Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons,” Maas said. “It’s no secret that we differ on how to achieve that.”
In other comments, Pompeo praised Germany for granting asylum to Chinese dissidents and reiterated Washington’s position that China’s telecommunications giant Huawei should be excluded from helping develop 5G networks in Germany and elsewhere due to security risks.
He said the U.S. worries that sensitive data could “end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party” and that in the case of Huawei, “it is not possible to mitigate” the risks.
He suggested that if countries do use Huawei in their 5G systems, they could find themselves shut off from American information.
There is a “risk that we will have to change our behavior in light of the fact that we can’t permit private citizen data from the United States or national security data from the United States to go across networks that we don’t … view as trusted,” Pompeo said.
Maas reiterated that Germany was not prepared to exclude any company from bidding but said any firm that could not meet security standards would be rejected.
The U.S. has also been critical of Germany for going ahead with a joint project with Russia to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would take Russian natural gas directly to Germany under the Baltic, arguing it is a security issue because it would increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia.
Pompeo refused to comment, however, on whether the U.S. was prepared to sanction German companies involved in the project.
“We never discuss sanctions before we roll them out,” he said.
Following the meeting with Maas, Pompeo held brief talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had just returned from a trip to the U.S. to give a commencement speech at Harvard.
In a speech that echoed her past criticisms of President Donald Trump without directly naming him, Merkel told Harvard graduates Thursday that they should “tear down walls of ignorance” and reject isolationism as they tackle global problems. Merkel also said leaders should not “describe lies as truth and truth as lies.”
Before Friday’s meeting, Merkel said she and Pompeo would discuss how to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons and “how we prevent other aggressive actions by Iran.” She stressed the importance of decades of German-U.S. friendship — a theme echoed by Pompeo, who said “Germany is a great, important partner and ally of the United States.” They took no questions.
Pompeo was traveling from Berlin to Switzerland, which has long represented Washington’s interests in Tehran.
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Geir Moulson contributed to this story.

Protesters in Iran, Iraq burn Israel, US flags on ‘Quds Day’

By AMIR VAHDAT Associated Press
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranians in the capital Tehran set fire to effigies of U.S. President Donald Trump, while in the Iraqi capital, Iran-backed militiamen marched over a large Israeli flag as part of rallies Friday marking Quds, or Jerusalem Day. The annual protests come as the Trump administration tries to market its long-awaited Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
Held each year on the last Friday of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, Iran has marked Quds Day since the start of its 1979 Islamic Revolution by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem, and Iran says the day is an occasion to express support for the Palestinians.
Israel views Iran as its archenemy in the Mideast. Iran does not recognize Israel and supports the militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
This year’s protests took place as the White House is promoting the June 25-26 meeting in the Gulf state of Bahrain as the first phase of its Mideast peace plan. That plan, whose specifics have yet to be released, supposedly includes large-scale investment and infrastructure work in the Palestinian territories, much of it funded by wealthy Arab countries. The plan’s political vision has not been outlined, but glimpses of the plan suggest it sidelines or ignores the longstanding goal of independence and has already been rejected by Palestinian leaders and much of the Arab world.
Palestinian leaders say they won’t attend the summit in Bahrain. American officials say the Bahrain conference will not include the core political issues of the conflict: borders of a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees or Israeli security demands.
As rallies began across the Iranian capital, demonstrators set fire to American and Israeli flags, as well as effigies of President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The rallies all headed to Tehran University, where the ceremony ended at Friday’s noon prayers. Similar rallies took place in 950 cities and towns across the country.
Many high-ranking Iranian officials attending the rally in Tehran, including President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Both men derided the Trump administration’s so-called “Deal of the Century” peace plan, saying it would end in failure.
During the rally in Tehran, Zarif said: “It is unfortunate that some Arab leaders have this illusion that if they stand beside Netanyahu, they can reach their goals.” The remarks were carried by a Telegram channel affiliated with Iran’s state TV.
Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency said police in the western province of Kordestan had blocked a terrorist operation ahead of the Quds Day rally in Sanandaj city. Three alleged militants were arrested, though the report did not specify where they were captured or their affiliation.
In Iraq, hundreds of Shiite militiamen held a military parade on Palestine Street in central Baghdad, some of them setting fire to Israeli and U.S. flags.
“The people in our region and the world are harassed by Trump’s and the United States’ polices, which are trying to dominate the will of the people. Today, there is a broad rejection of Trump’s decision to annex Jerusalem and consider it the capital of Israel,” said Moin al-Kazemi, leader of the Iranian-backed Badr movement.
The rally was organized by Iranian-backed militias collectively known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Militiamen in uniform marched with yellow flags, escorted by Iraqi federal police cars. “We will pray in Quds,” read some of the banners.
In the Syrian capital Damascus, a few hundred Syrians and Palestinians marked Quds Day by marching from the Hamidiyeh bazar in the old city to the landmark Umayyad Mosque, some of them shouting anti-Israel slogans and waving Syrian and Palestinian flags.
“No to the deal of the century,” a banner read. “Our Palestinian people and the freemen of the Arab nation will thwart the deal of the century.”
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Associated Press writers Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Baghdad and Albert Aji in Damascus contributed reporting.

White Sox beat Indians 10-4 for season-high 4th straight win

By JAY COHEN AP Sports Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — Yonder Alonso is dealing with his tough start by staying positive and trying to make the most of every day.
A successful performance against his former team certainly helps.
Alonso and José Abreu each hit a two-run homer, and the Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 10-4 on Thursday night for their season-high fourth straight victory.
Alonso also doubled and scored on Eloy Jiménez’s two-run double, helping Chicago move within one game of Cleveland for second place in the AL Central. Jiménez and Leury García each had three hits, and Manny Bañuelos (3-4) pitched 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball for his first win in a month.
“We have a good atmosphere here,” Abreu said through a translator. “We go out every day, try to win games, try to do our best. Try to fight, and at the same time, try to have fun.”
With two outs and Abreu on first in the third, Alonso drove a 1-1 pitch from Carlos Carrasco over the wall in right-center to give the White Sox a 4-2 lead. It was Alonso’s first homer since May 12 and No. 7 on the year.
The 32-year-old Alonso was acquired in a December trade with Cleveland for minor league outfielder Alex Call. Alonso hit .250 with 23 homers and 83 RBIs last season, but is batting a career-low .180 through 54 games in his first year with Chicago.
“I know the type of player that I am. I know the type of hitter that I am,” Alonso said, “and I know eventually it will turn.”
Carrasco (4-6) matched a season high by allowing six runs and 10 hits over 6 1/3 innings in his third consecutive loss. The right-hander had enjoyed great success versus Chicago since 2017, going 7-1 with a 1.09 ERA in his previous 10 appearances against the White Sox, including a 2-0 record and 12 scoreless innings over two starts this year.
“We’re going to have some ups and downs, a lot,” Carrasco said. “This is a long season. I have, maybe like 24 more starts, but at least we learn something from each start. It’s frustrating. I worked so hard to get in every start and everything is going a different way.”
Carrasco allowed García’s leadoff single in the seventh and struck out Yoán Moncada before he was replaced by Dan Otero. Abreu greeted the reliever with a drive to left for his team-high 15th homer , making it 7-3 White Sox.
Jordan Luplow went deep for Cleveland, and Carlos Santana drove in two runs in the opener of a four-game series. Jason Kipnis finished with two hits after he was robbed by Ryan Cordell’s diving play on his sinking liner to right in the ninth.
Luplow led off the sixth with a drive to center for his fourth homer off Bañuelos this season. Five of Luplow’s seven homers this year have come against the White Sox.
“I just think my approach plays into what he’s throwing,” Luplow said of his success against Bañuelos.
WINNING AGAIN
Bañuelos allowed five hits, struck out three and walked three in his first win since April 29. The left-hander was 0-4 with a 14.40 ERA in his previous four starts.
“Manny did a nice job for us,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Kept us in the ballgame. He had a few walks there but that’s a pretty good club and he did a nice job of maneuvering through some traffic.”
LOST IN THE SHUFFLE
Indians catcher Roberto Pérez threw out two runners attempting to steal second. It was the fourth time in his career that he cut down at least two runners attempting to steal in a single game.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Indians: LF Oscar Mercado was shaken up after he was hit on his right leg by a pitch in the third, but he stayed in the game. … OF Tyler Naquin (left calf strain) continued his rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus, homering for the second straight day during the Clippers’ 12-5 victory over Norfolk. He is expected to play again Saturday and then take Sunday off.
UP NEXT
Cleveland right-hander Trevor Bauer (4-4, 3.99 ERA) looks to get back on track when the series resumes Friday night. Bauer has struggled this month, going 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA in his last five starts. Dylan Covey (0-4, 5.47 ERA) pitches for Chicago. The 27-year-old right-hander is 0-3 with a 5.75 ERA in his last four outings.
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Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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Moore’s 65 leads by 1 at Memorial as Woods rallies for 70

By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Tiger Woods got off to a slower start than he would have liked Thursday at the Memorial.
That had more do with a stopwatch than a scorecard.
Ryan Moore opened with five birdies in seven holes and never missed a fairway after the first one, posting a 7-under 65 for his best start in his 14th appearance at Muirfield Village. He was one shot ahead of Jordan Spieth, who chipped in for birdie, chipped in for par and holed a 35-foot eagle putt.
Woods made a pair of late birdies to salvage a 70 in his first round since missing the cut at the PGA Championship. He played his back nine in a foursome with Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Rose and a rules official in a cart timing them because they were so far out of position.
“We were on the clock most of the back nine,” Woods said. “That made things a little more complicated.”
Getting caught up wasn’t easy with various tee shots in water hazards, though it was obvious how far behind they were. Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas were in the group ahead of them, and McIlroy hit his tee shot on the par-4 second into a backyard. With no official nearby, he had to walk 300 yards back to the tee to hit again. That took time. Still, walking off the fourth green, the group of Woods, DeChambeau and Rose still had not reached the third tee.
DeChambeau, who considers such variables as air density and elevation change in his pre-shot routine, went over his allotted time on No. 5 and was given a warning for a bad time. He made birdie, took double bogey from a fairway bunker on the next hole and began his title defense with a 74.
He was frustrated by being on the clock, and by not getting through to the PGA Tour on how to measure pace of play.
“The time to hurry is in between shots. It’s not the shot,” DeChambeau said. “It’s timing how people walk. You have to add that to the equation. If you’ve got someone walking slow, they get up to the shot, take their 20 seconds. What’s the aggregate time for them to hit that shot in between shots? That’s really what matters. That’s what I believe. The total time it took me — if you were to take my process and walking time — is the exact time as everyone else.”
Golf still is measured by score, and Moore had the lowest on a rain-softened Muirfield Village. Only two of his seven birdies were longer than 10 feet, and the only time he came close to a bogey was on his opening hole, where he saved par with a 6-foot putt.
He was among 22 players who broke 70, and only 44 players broke par despite the soft conditions. Phil Mickelson, using two drivers this week to go after longer tee shots on a half-dozen holes, opened with a 70.
Spieth looked as though he couldn’t miss for the longest time. On his second hole, the par-5 11th, his wedge came up so short on a soft green that it spun off the front. He chipped in from 50 feet for birdie. Another chip from thick rough caught the slope on the back of the par-5 15th green and rolled down to 3 feet for a birdie.
He went out in 32, made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 3 and then had consecutive holes that illustrated how his round was going.
On the par-3 fourth, his tee shot was buried in the slope of a mound above the bunker. With his feet well below the ball, he hooked it out onto and across the green into more rough, and then chipped in for par. On the par-5 fifth, his hybrid caught the right side of the green and he rolled in the long eagle putt.
Spieth took only 22 putts for the round.
And then his luck ran out with a tee shot that plugged into the sand left of the green on the par-3 eighth, leaving him two options: go at the pin and run off the green into rough, or aim away from the flag and leave a 60-foot putt for par. He chose the latter and came inches within making it.
“Sooner or later, it was going bite me,” Spieth said with a smile.
Even so, he had no complaints.
“Six under around Muirfield I’d take any day of the week, no matter what form you’re coming into it with,” he said. “I felt like I hit more fairways today, gave me some more opportunities, and the putter stayed hot.”
Thomas, in his first tournament since the Masters because of a bone bruise in his right wrist, showed plenty of rust in his round of 71. McIlroy had a 75 with two double bogeys, both from tee shots either lost (No. 15) or out-of-bounds (No. 2).
Anirban Lahiri, Marc Leishman and Martin Kaymer were at 67.
Woods made birdies on all but one of the par 5s. His regret was a few loose iron shots that led to bogey, especially on the 13th when he hit 9-iron from the fairway into a bunker that led to a careless bogey. But he finished strong — eventually — and while 10 players from his side of the draw broke 70, he wasn’t too far behind.
At least on the leaderboard.
“That was frustrating, because the last eight holes we were on the clock,” Woods said. “The group ahead of us … JT doesn’t take a lot of time, Rory plays quick and Jordan was 7 under. So they were obviously playing fast. And we were obviously not.”
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