Top news stories for today – July 15, 2016
Truck attack kills 84 in Nice, France
Eighty-four people were killed, including two Americans, when a truck rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera town of Nice on Thursday night. Several of the victims are children and more than a dozen people are critically injured.
Officials say the truck drove at a high speed into the crowd as it gathered on the city’s Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks, and the driver was shot and killed by police. “Everyone was calling run, run, run, there’s an attack, run, run, run,” a witness told BFM TV. “We heard some shots. We thought they were fireworks because it’s the 14th of July.”
A source told French media the suspect is a 31-year-old man who lived in Nice and was a French national of Tunisian descent. French President Francois Hollande called the incident a terrorist attack and announced that the state of emergency France was put under following the November terrorist attacks in Paris, which was due to expire this month, will be extended for another three months. BBC, Reuters, The Week
Hollande calls for national mourning for truck attack
During a press conference early Friday morning, French President Francois Hollande called the truck attack in Nice “obviously a terrorist attack,” and said “several children” were among the 84 people killed.
“Nothing will shake us and will make us renounce the fight against terrorism,” Hollande said. “In fact, we are going to strengthen our action in Syria and Iraq and continue to hit those who are attacking us on our own territory and will hit them in their own locations.”
He also called for three days of national mourning. The truck driver was shot and killed by police, he said, and investigators are searching for any accomplices. “I can assure you,” Hollande added, “we will always be stronger than the fanatics that are attacking us.” The Week
European tighten security following France attack
After declaring the incident a terrorist attack, French President Francois Hollande extended the country’s existing state of emergency for another three months, and deployed military personnel throughout the country for added security.
Leaders in Belgium, Germany, and the Czech Republic have all said they will review security procedures and boost border control. In London, new British Prime Minister Theresa May called for more counter-terrorism funding, and said Britain stands “shoulder to shoulder” with France. BBC, The Associated Press, The Week
US Navy Sailor sentenced for Okinawa rape
A US Navy sailor has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for raping a Japanese tourist in Okinawa. Japan’s Kyodo News service reports that Justin Castellanos was sentenced Friday in district court in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
Kyodo, citing the ruling, says the 24-year-old sailor took the woman to his hotel room and raped her after finding her asleep in the hallway in the early hours of March 13. His arrest inflamed anti-US base sentiment on Okinawa, a southern Japanese island that is home to about half of the 50,000 US troops in Japan.
It was followed by the arrest in May of an American military contractor in Okinawa for allegedly raping and killing a 20-year-old woman who had gone missing. VOA
Hackers steal millions from ATM machine
Police said several people wearing masks attacked dozens of ATMs operated by Taiwan’s First Bank on Sunday. They spent a few minutes at each of the machines before making off with the equivalent of $2 million stashed in a backpack.
They didn’t use bank cards but rather appeared to gain control of the machines with a “connected device,” possibly a smartphone, the police said in a statement Thursday. Authorities are now hunting the thieves, who they say came from Russia and Eastern Europe.
The ATMs were made by German manufacturer Wincor Nixdorf (WNXDY). The company confirmed that several of its machines in Taiwan were hacked in a “premeditated attack.” Wincor Nixdorf said Thursday it had sent security experts to support local investigators in Taiwan.
Prosecutors said the machines were infected with three different malware files that instructed them to “spit out cash” and then deleted evidence of the crime. They described the case as the first of its kind in Taiwan. CNN
US Presidential election
Donald Trump postpones VP news conference in wake of Nice truck attack: Donald Trump announced Thursday he is postponing a Friday news conference concerning his vice presidential pick, in light of the “horrible attack” in Nice, France. Earlier Thursday, The Indianapolis Star reported Trump has selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) to be his running mate. Pence was one of Trump’s top three choices, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Twitter, Indianapolis Star, The Week
Clinton, Senate Democrats Proclaim Unity Ahead of Party Convention: Hillary Clinton proclaimed unity of vision and purpose after meeting with Senate Democrats — a caucus that is in the minority but hopes to capture the majority in November. She said Thursday’s meeting at the Capitol was “focused on the very positive difference that Democrats want to make in the lives of Americans, particularly when it comes to economic opportunity.” Republicans won a Senate majority in 2014 that is now widely believed to be in jeopardy, as they are defending more than twice as many seats as Democrats in this election cycle. VOA
US Supreme Court Justice calls Trump criticism ill-advised: US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was engaged in an unprecedented war of words with Donald Trump, said “On reflection, my recent remarks in response to press inquiries were ill-advised and I regret making them,” she said in a statement. “Judges should avoid commenting on a candidate for public office. In the future I will be more circumspect.” US Supreme Court justices almost never voice their opinions about U.S. political campaigns, adhering to long-standing legal ethical standards against such commentary and because they could be called on to help decide an election, as occurred in 2000. VOA
Kaine auditions for Clinton VP by ripping into Trump: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine auditioned for Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nod by immediately tearing into Donald Trump. Instead of being a job creator and a principled world leader, Trump would be the “you’re-fired president,” a “trash talker” and the “me-first president,” Kaine said in introducing Clinton during a rally in this Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Kaine would be considered a safe vice presidential pick — a swing state moderate and former governor — and he was already vetted by President Obama’s team in 2008. He is also fluent in Spanish — a skill he showcased at the top of his remarks — an asset for Clinton, who is counting on a strong Hispanic voter turnout. VOA
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