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At least 84 people are dead in Nice, France, after an attack on a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day. Witnesses said a man in a truck deliberately ran over dozens of people before opening fire. Police then killed the man. One resident of Nice described no longer feeling secure anywhere.
Milos Colic: “Really early, I was in bed, and just when I wake up this morning I had like 100 missed calls from my friends asking what happened. And then I saw the videos. And, well, doesn’t seem safe anymore in France. I mean, I came just a couple of months to start working here, and it’s not really—Nice is not a big city, and it does not attract that much attention. So, if this can be a target, anywhere can be a target.”
Witnesses described bodies strewn for as long as a mile down a seaside promenade where people had gathered to watch fireworks. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the French government has described it as an act of terrorism. It is the second major attack in France since November, when the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria took credit for killing 130 people in Paris. French police have identified the attacker as a 31-year-old Tunisian-born French citizen named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. France has been under a state of emergency since November. Only hours before the attack, French President François Hollande had said that the state of emergency would be lifted by the end of next week. But early this morning, Hollande said he was calling up reserve police and military forces and that the state of emergency would be extended for another three months.
In Washington, D.C., U.S. lawmakers have said 28 classified pages from the congressional report on the 9/11 attacks will be released today. The pages focus on any role the government of Saudi Arabia may have had in the attacks. In May, the Senate passed a bill giving families of 9/11 victims the right to sue Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 men who hijacked planes on 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has previously threatened to sell off up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other U.S. assets if the measure passes.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked Saudi Arabia to prove it is taking precautions to avoid killing civilians in Yemen. With U.S. backing, Saudi Arabia has led a bombing campaign in Yemen for more than a year. The U.N. has said the Saudi-led bombing campaign has killed the majority of the thousands of civilians killed in the last year.
Presidential hopefuls from both parties characterized the attacks in France as a declaration of war. Donald Trump spoke to Bill O’Reilly shortly after the attack last night.
Bill O’Reilly: “I believe it’s a world war now. We’re in a world war scenario. It’s no longer just isolated ISIS attacks. Do you agree with that?”
Donald Trump: “I certainly do, and I’ve been saying it for a long time. And it’s out of control. And we don’t call it what—and we have a president that doesn’t want to call it what it is. And, you know, you look at World Trade Center, you look at San Bernardino, you look at Paris, 130 people killed and so many injured in Paris from that attack, and you look at Orlando. It’s out of control. And, Bill, unless we get strong and, you know, really strong and very, very smart leadership, it’s only going to get worse.”
Hillary Clinton had similar words for CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Hillary Clinton: “It’s clear we are at war with these terrorist groups and what they represent. It’s a different kind of war, and we need to be smart about how we wage it and win it.”
This comes as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is reportedly one of the people on Donald Trump’s short list for vice-presidential running mate, also spoke out after Nice attacks. He spoke to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, saying, “We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported.” Donald Trump was expected to name his vice-presidential pick today, but he said he is delaying in light of the Nice attacks.
Another person on Trump’s short list is Indiana Governor Mike Pence. As governor, Pence oversaw a cut in Planned Parenthood funding in the state and signed legislation, since blocked, that would have restricted abortion access statewide. Pence was also a co-sponsor of the bill that authorized the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Last month, a federal judge blocked an Indiana law Pence had signed that would have further restricted abortions in the state. Both the ACLU and Planned Parenthood sued the state to block the law. Critics of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a state law Spence supported last year, said it would protect people who discriminated against the LGBT community.
In Cleveland, students at Case Western Reserve University are protesting the administration’s plan to house nearly 2,500 police officers and National Guardsmen in campus dorms during the Republican National Convention next week. Students say the plan puts their own safety at risk, in light of the recent fatal police shootings of African Americans Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota.
Case Western Reserve University student: “There is an essential shutdown of all buildings. All employees are asked to stay home. Students are being essentially evacuated from campus, because Case didn’t seem to realize that housing 1,700 officers and 200 National Guards might have complicated the university’s situation quite a bit.”
The NGO Oxfam has issued a call to lift the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima said the group had previously avoided taking up the issue but will now campaign to have it removed “sooner rather than later.” In March, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president in 88 years to visit Cuba, as diplomatic relations were restored and the U.S. Embassy there reopened. However, the 57-year-old embargo remains in place.
Tens of thousands of Iraqis have defied a ban on demonstrations and gathered in Baghdad to demand governmental reforms. The demonstrations were called for by Muqtada al-Sadr, a popular cleric and politician. Sadr’s supporters have held regular demonstrations in Baghdad and other parts of the country for months. In April, they overran the Green Zone, a heavily fortified neighborhood in central Baghdad that is home to the country’s Parliament and strictly off limits to most Iraqis. A second attempt to enter the Green Zone in May ended when troops opened fire on demonstrators. In 2015, Transparency International said the U.S.-backed Iraqi government was one of the 10 most corrupt in the world.
And as the Republican National Convention is slated to open in Cleveland next week, a billboard depicting presidential candidate Donald Trump kissing Republican Senator Ted Cruz has been erected near the RNC site. The billboard reads “Love Trumps Hate” and is located near the convention center where Republicans will hold their convention. An organization called Planting Peace paid for the message. The group said it is a response to reports the draft platform Republicans will ratify next week includes language opposing same-sex marriage. Another provision in the draft text promotes state laws to restrict which restrooms transgender people can use. Planting Peace President Aaron Jackson said, “Planting Peace calls for immediate change in the Republican party platform with regard to our LGBT family and LGBT rights. Never again shall a negative, hateful message be uttered in the name of 'religious freedom.'”
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