Wednesday morning news: May 1, 2019

Guaidó calls on military to join opposition in final push to oust Maduro » Soldiers loyal to disputed Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro fired tear gas canisters at demonstrators on Tuesday. Thousands gathered outside an air base and elsewhere in the nation’s capital of Caracas to demand Maduro’s ouster.

AUDIO: [Sound of Venezuela protest] 

A video posted online showed an armored vehicle intentionally plowing into protesters leaving at least one person lying on the pavement as it drove away. How many were hurt or extent of the injuries is unclear.

But the director of a medical center in Caracas said doctors had treated more than 50 patients injured during protests by the afternoon.

Demonstrators gathered after National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets Tuesday morning…

AUDIO: [Sound of Guaido]

… after posting a 3-minute video online. In that video, Guaidó appeared against the backdrop of a military vehicle and a group of soldiers loyal to the opposition.

AUDIO: [Sound of Guaido]

He called on Venezuelan forces to join a final push to topple Maduro’s regime.

The United States is one of more than 50 nations recognizing Guaidó as Venezuela’s rightful interim president. And U.S. national security adviser John Bolton on Tuesday rejected Maduro’s claim that Guaidó’s appeal to the military is an attempted coup.

BOLTON: Just as it’s not a coup with the president of the United States gives an order to the Department of Defense, it’s not a coup for Juan Guaidó to try and take command of the Venezuelan military.

The Trump administration maintains that it hopes for a peaceful transfer of power, but all options remain on the table.

President directs officials to draw up changes to asylum process » President Trump is proposing changes to the nation’s asylum process in an effort to stem the flow of migrants overwhelming the southern border. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The president directed the attorney general and acting homeland security secretary to take more action to overhaul the asylum process. He signed the memo on Monday.

He’s giving officials 90 days to draw up new regulations to ensure applications are processed within 180 days of filing—except under special circumstances.

And he’s directing officials to begin charging a fee to process asylum and employment authorization applications. The memo says the price would not exceed the cost of the work but no word yet on what that is.

President Trump also wants to bar anyone who has entered or tried to enter the country illegally from getting a work permit.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Mueller voiced frustrated with Barr portrayal of Russia report » Attorney General William Barr is on Capitol Hill this morning. He’s answer questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Lawmakers will undoubtedly ask about a letter special counsel Robert Mueller sent to Barr a little over a month ago expressing some frustration over the attorney general’s March summary of the Russia report.

Prior to releasing the report earlier this month, the attorney general delivered a four-page summary of its findings to lawmakers on March 24th. He said the investigation found no evidence of collusion while reaching no conclusion on whether President Trump obstructed justice.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said when Barr received Robert Mueller’s letter, he called the special counsel the next day “to discuss it.” She added that Mueller “emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage.

President, Democrats agree on infrastructure spending target » Democratic leaders huddled with President Trump at the White House on Tuesday to talk about one of the few things they agree on—infrastructure spending.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer emerged from the meeting in high spirits. He told reporters that Democrats and the president are on the same page.

SCHUMER: We agreed on a number, which was very, very good. Two-trillion dollars for infrastructure. Originally we had started a little lower. Even the president was eager to push it up to $2 trillion. 

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said an infrastructure package should go beyond repairing roads and bridges. They want it to include provisions to enhance broadband, water systems, energy, schools, and housing.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the president is happy to work together with Democrats on a common cause.

SANDERS: I think it is a big step that both sides that have frankly had a lot of hostility towards one another over the last couple months are sitting down at the table and discussing an issue that has to be addressed. 

The sticking point, of course, is how to pay for it. Some labor unions and business groups support increasing the 18 cent per gallon federal gasoline tax. But presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway dismissed that idea, saying—quote, “Trump is the guy who lowers taxes.”

Flooding continues to devastate northern Mozambique » Relentless rain and flood waters continue to devastate parts northern Mozambique. WORLD Africa reporter Onize Ohikere has more.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Days after Cyclone Kenneth slammed the coast of Mozambique, floodwaters still cover homes and farm land. And heavy rain is causing landslides.  

At least 38 people have died so far. But several areas are completely cut off by flooding, and officials don’t know how many may have died there.

The cyclone and ongoing rainfall continues to destroy vital crops the people of Mozambique rely on for food.  

Authorities are also bracing for the outbreak of disease amid a shortage of clean drinking water.

The destruction comes only six weeks after Cyclone Idai struck the central part of the country, leaving 600 people dead.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.

(AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File) In this Jan. 23, 2019 file photo, Juan Guaido, head of Venezuela’s opposition-run congress, declares himself interim president of the nation.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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