Top news stories for today – July 8, 2016
Snipers kill 5 police officers in Dallas
Dallas Police Chief David Brown said early Friday that 12 police officers and two civilians were shot by as many as four snipers late Thursday evening at the end of a peaceful protest against officer-involved shootings. Five officers have died, including four from the Dallas Police Department and one from the Dallas Area Rapid Transit police.
During a press conference, Brown said authorities believe the four people “triangulated” the protest’s procession route and were “working together with rifles … at elevated positions at different points of the downtown area.” One civilian was also wounded in the shooting. Police had three people in custody and had been negotiating with a fourth, who was reported dead early Friday morning. Before Thursday night, no Dallas police officer had been killed in the line of duty since 2009. NBC, WFAA
Obama comments on Dallas shootings
President Obama on Friday called the Dallas sniper attacks that killed five police officers at a protest against officer-involved shootings Thursday night “vicious, calculated, and despicable.”
Speaking from Warsaw, Poland, where he is involved with the NATO summit, the president said that, while we don’t know all the facts about the shootings, “there is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks, or any violence against law enforcement.”
He said the FBI has been in touch with Dallas police and will offer any assistance necessary, and asked Americans to say a prayer for the victims, “keep them in their thoughts and as a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women in blue, not just today, but every day.” The Week, CNN
Suicide bombers Kill 35 in Baghdad
IS terrorists killed at least 35 people and wounded scores of others late Thursday in an attack on a Shi’ite shrine north of Baghdad, Iraqi security officials said Friday. The attack on the Sayyid Mohammed shrine included several suicide bombers, guns and mortar fire, and came just days after hundreds of people were killed and wounded in an attack on a crowded Baghdad shopping center; the deadliest bombing in Iraq’s history.
The attack on the shrine in Balad, 75 kilometers north of Baghdad, started with mortar fire before three IS militants arrived and began shooting people inside. Two of the bombers later blew themselves up in a market near the shrine. Another would-be bomber attempted to blow himself up, but was killed before he had the opportunity, according to police officials.
In another development, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has fired the head of security in Baghdad and other security officials following last Sunday’s massive bombing in the capital. VOA
Taiwan explosion and typhoon Nepartak
Authorities in Taiwan say an explosion and fire on a commuter train has wounded 25 passengers, some seriously. Police say what appears to be a pipe bomb exploded on one of the cars lat Thursday, setting off a fire. Firefighters extinguished the blaze within minutes.
Reuters news agency quotes a police official as saying the explosion does not appear to be connected to terrorism, and is likely a deliberate “act of malice.” There has been no claim of responsibility for the incident.
In another news from Taiwan, at least two people are dead and 66 others injured after super typhoon Nepartak slammed into Taiwan’s eastern coast Friday. More than 15,000 people had to be evacuated in preparation for the storm’s landfall Friday morning and more than 500 flights had to be canceled, according to emergency authorities. VOA
Obama Presidential Center begins to take shape
The Obama Foundation announced that the New York architecture firm headed by the husband and wife team of Williams and Tsien will lead a group that includes Interactive Design Architects from Chicago to create the Obama Presidential Center.
Author Anthony Clark, former congressional staffer and author of the book The Last Campaign: How Presidents Rewrite History, Run for Posterity & Enshrine Their Legacies, said the expectation is to have the facility completed by 2021, so the archives can begin public access requests for presidential records and documents on the first day they are available to the public, which is five years from the day Obama departs the White House in January 2017. VOA
US Presidential election
Clinton, Biden to campaign together after police-related shootings: Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden will hit the campaign trail together Friday, following the week’s multiple police-related shootings and just hours after 12 police officers were shot, five of them fatally, during a protest in Dallas. Clinton and Biden will be taking the stage in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Biden’s hometown and the place where Clinton’s father was raised and where her grandparents once lived. Clinton will reportedly address criminal justice reform and ways to crack down on gun violence in light of the recent shootings. Biden’s presence is a move to boost party unity, and also to help Clinton snag the support of the city’s working-class population. The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press
Ted Cruz to speak at RNC following Trump meeting: Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump’s former chief rival for the GOP nomination, will speak at the Republican National Convention later this month, the Texas senator told reporters after the two met Thursday in Washington. Cruz told reporters Thursday that the real estate mogul offered his former primary rival a speaking slot during the meeting and he accepted. He added that he and Trump did not discuss an endorsement. CNN
State Department reopens internal Clinton email probe: The US State Department is reopening an internal investigation into whether Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her top aides mishandled classified information when she was secretary of state under President Barack Obama. The move comes a day after Attorney General Loretta Lynch agreed with the FBI recommendation that no criminal charges should be filed in relation to the incident. Republicans, including Donald Trump, have cried foul over the lack of charges, alleging that Clinton’s influence as a prominent politician helped her escape criminal proceedings. VOA
Trump meet Congressional Republicans: Top congressional Republicans claimed party unity after meeting Thursday with presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, even though dozens of lawmakers shunned the encounter and others withheld endorsing the candidate less than two weeks before the Republican National Convention. Trump met behind closed doors with House and Senate Republicans at separate venues near the Capitol. It was Trump’s second pilgrimage in the last three months to reach out to lawmakers of his own party, many of whom plan to skip the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, that begins July 18. VOA
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