Top news stories for today – July 11, 2016
Dallas shooter likely had bigger attack planned
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said Sunday that Micah Johnson, the gunman who killed five police officers Thursday night, appeared to have been planning a bigger attack. Brown told CNN that, during a search of Johnson’s home, authorities found evidence of bomb-making materials and a journal that indicated he had practiced detonations.
“We are convinced that the suspect had other plans and thought that what he was doing was righteous and believed that he was going to make law enforcement … pay for what he sees as law enforcement’s effort to punish people of color,” he said.
Brown also said police believe the deadly officer-involved shootings of Alton Sterling Tuesday in Louisiana and Philando Castile Wednesday in Minnesota caused Johnson to “fast track” his plans to attack law enforcement, and before he died, he used his own blood to write the letters “R” and “B” on the walls of the parking garage where he died. “We’re trying to figure out through looking at things in his home what those initials mean,” Brown said. Reuters, The Week
UK’s Leadsom drops out of the election
Leadsom’s exit clears the way for the sole remaining finalist, Theresa May, to succeed current Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his resignation following the Brexit vote. Leadsom said she decided to drop out after she felt “under attack, under enormous pressure” from senior party colleagues following comments she made about May not having any children. It is not yet clear whether Leadsom’s decision will allow May to automatically become the next prime minister. The Independent, CNN, The Week
N Korea cuts diplomatic communication with US
North Korea says it is closing one of the last lines of communication with the United States in retaliation for Washington placing sanctions on leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses. Pyongyang said Monday it has told the US the North is effectively ending all diplomatic communications with Washington that have been conducted through the UN offices in New York.
Last week, the US placed personal sanctions on Kim and several other North Korean officials, in addition to sanctions already in place on the country for Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program. Earlier Monday, North Korea threatened to take “physical action” after the US and Seoul announced plans for deployment of a sophisticated missile defense system in South Korea.
China, as North Korea’s key ally, has urged the government of President Kim to return to international talks and dismantle its nuclear program in return for economic assistance and security guarantees. Pyongyang is already under various UN and US sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. VOA
Venezuelans stream into Colombia to buy basic goods
Thousands of Venezuelans streamed across the border into Colombia Sunday to purchase essential goods that have become impossible to find or purchase in their home country because of a severe economic crisis that has caused critical shortages.
Many drove hours to take advantage of the 12-hour opening of the border between Tachira, Venezuela and Cucuta, Colombia. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro closed the border last year for security reasons, but ordered Sunday’s temporary lapse.
Venezuelans were able to stock up on items in Colombia that have become almost impossible to find or afford in Venezuela, like flour, oil, toilet paper, shampoo and medicines amid triple-digit inflation. Last week, hundreds of Venezuelans illegally crossed into Colombia in search of basic goods. The shortages are mainly blamed on the drop in oil revenues in Venezuela, a country that imports almost everything it consumes. VOA
US Defense Secretary visits Iraq
Defense Secretary Ash Carter arrived in Iraq Monday to talk to Iraqi leaders and the US commander on the ground about the next plays in the campaign, now that Qayyarah Airbase West, located about 60 kilometers south of Mosul, is under the control of Iraqi Security Forces.
“The point of seizing that airfield is to be able to establish a logistics and air hub in the immediate vicinity of Mosul,” Carter told reporters before entering Iraq. “Qayarrah was definitely the big fish on that list because of its strategic importance,” a senior official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
In his fourth trip to Iraq as defense secretary, Carter will meet with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi in Baghdad, and will speak by phone with Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan. VOA
Andy Murray wins Wimbledon title
The second seeded Murray cruised to a 6-4,7-6,7-6 victory on the grass at center court just outside London to clinch his third career Grand Slam title. Roanic, seeded sixth, was seeking to become the first Canadian player to win a major tennis championship.
It was Murray’s first Wimbledon championship since 2013. He had lost his last three Grand Slam title matches. VOA
US Presidential election
Sanders will join Clinton on campaign trail: Bernie Sanders will join Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in New Hampshire on Tuesday, with the candidates announcing that they would “discuss their commitment to building an America that is stronger together and an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top.” Although Sanders has not yet conceded to Clinton, nor endorsed her, some expect such language at the rally as Sanders was successful in including causes like climate change and $15 minimum wage on the Democratic platform over the weekend. In the February primary, Sanders beat Clinton in New Hampshire by 22 points. Politico, The New York Times, The Week
Clinton is playing women’s card and Donald Trump is helping her: As the Democratic National Convention prepares to make history by nominating a woman for president, women in national polls are giving Clinton the highest level of female support of any candidate in more than four decades and the widest gender gap ever recorded. Clinton’s lead of a yawning 24 percentage points in the latest Pew Research Center Poll — not only among Democratic partisans but also from women who typically vote Republican — is an electoral challenge for the GOP that imperils Trump’s ability to win the White House.
Alarm over Trump’s provocative policies and rhetoric also is costing him support among some white women who typically vote Republican. White women without a college degree have backed GOP nominees by double-digits in each of the past three presidential elections, but in the Pew survey they support Trump over Clinton by just three percentage points, 48%-45%. USA Today
Republicans seek identity in an era of Trump: No, this is not your father’s Republican Party — or your brother’s, or your sister’s. It is Donald Trump’s shape-shifting Republican Party that gathers in Cleveland over the next two weeks, preparing for a contentious convention featuring a novice candidate, a new agenda and a nervous future. “Win or lose, the Trump candidacy has inflamed the divisions within the Republican Party,” said Ryan Williams, a Republican strategist who served as spokesman for 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “Even if Trump does not become the president, these rifts will remain.” USA Today
Potential Trump VP slams Clinton, indicates support for abortion rights: The latest name to surface in Donald Trump’s vice presidential search criticized Democrat Hillary Clinton on Sunday for what he called a lack of leadership in the wake of last week’s shootings involving police and African Americans. Retired Gen. Michael Flynn, speaking on ABC’s This Week, also indicated he supports abortion rights and downplayed the significance of the same-sex marriage issue, saying the election should be about national security. USA Today