Clinton says veep pick Kaine is everything GOP ticket isn’t
MIAMI (AP) — Hillary Clinton debuted running mate Sen. Tim Kaine on Saturday as a can-do progressive committed to social justice and equality — “everything Donald Trump and Mike Pence are not” — at a boisterous rally ahead of next week’s Democratic National Convention.
“He is qualified to step into this job and lead from Day One. And he is a progressive who likes to get things done,” Clinton declared at Florida International University.
Kaine, a bilingual former Virginia governor, detailed his life in public service. “I like to fight for right,” he said.
And, as Clinton smiled broadly at her choice for vice president, Kaine greeted the largely Hispanic audience in Spanish. “We’re going to be ‘compañeros de alma,’ in this great ‘lucha’ ahead,” he said, or “soul mates in this great fight ahead.”
Trump, in a text to his own supporters, said President Barack Obama, Clinton and Kaine were “the ultimate insiders” and implored voters to not “let Obama have a 3rd term.”
DNC rules meeting agrees to a compromise on superdelegates
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The role of superdelegates could be significantly reduced in future Democratic presidential primaries under a compromise deal struck at the Democratic National Convention rules committee Saturday.
Efforts by Bernie Sanders supporters to pass amendments eliminating or limiting the power of superdelegates failed to win approval at the committee meeting in Philadelphia. But campaigns for Sanders and Hillary Clinton worked out an agreement to create a “unity commission” to revise the nominating process, including changing superdelegate rules, which won near-unanimous support.
The 21-member commission will study a number of issues, including how to improve access to caucuses and how to broaden the party’s appeal. For superdelegates, the commission’s recommendation is that Congress members, governors and other elected officials should remain as unpledged delegates, but that other delegates would be bound proportionally to the primary results of their state.
Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver endorsed the plan, saying it would “result in the reduction of superdelegates as we know them by two-thirds.” The Clinton campaign also expressed support for the commission.
Any changes to superdelegate rules would still be subject to DNC approval. A report by the commission is due by Jan. 1, 2018.
Trump: France, others hit by terror may face more screening
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is asserting that countries like France that he says are compromised by terrorism may be subjected to the “extreme vetting” he proposes as a deterrent to attacks in the U.S.
When asked if his proposal might lead to a point when not a lot of people from overseas are allowed into the U.S., Trump said, “Maybe we get to that point” and added: “We have to be smart and we have to be vigilant and we have to be strong.”
In an interview to air Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump also rejected suggestions that his stance on requiring NATO members to pay their share was a mistake; defended Fox News founder Roger Ailes, who left the network amid accusations of sexual harassment; criticized rival Hillary Clinton’s newly named running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, for accepting gifts while Virginia’s governor; dismissed descriptions of his nomination acceptance speech as “dark,” instead calling it “optimistic”; and expressed disapproval of David Duke, the former Ku Klux Klan leader who is seeking a Senate seat from Louisiana.
For months Trump has called for a temporary ban on foreign Muslims seeking to enter the United States and criticized the Obama administration for continuing to admit refugees from Syria. In his speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention, he said the U.S. “must immediately suspend immigration from any nation that has been compromised by terrorism until such time as proven vetting mechanisms have been put in place” — notably leaving out any reference to Muslims or to Syria, Iraq and other Mideast nations.
In the NBC interview, Trump noted “specific problems” in Germany and France — both countries have been rocked by fatal attacks in public places in recent weeks — and “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked if his proposal would limit immigration from France. “They’ve been compromised by terrorism,” Todd said.
IS attacks protest in Afghan capital, kills 80 people
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on a peaceful protest in the Afghan capital on Saturday that killed at least 80 people and wounded more than 200, marking the first time the extremists have struck Kabul and raising fears of their growing strength and capability in Afghanistan.
The attack was the deadliest to hit Kabul in 15 years of civil war. It struck a demonstration by Afghanistan’s Hazara ethnic community, who were marching for a major regional power line to be routed through their home province. The Hazaras are Shiite Muslims, most Afghans are Sunnis.
Footage on Afghan television and photographs posted on social media showed a scene of horror and carnage, with numerous bodies and body parts spread across the square. Bloodied survivors were seen being dragged clear for help, others walked around dazed or screaming.
Two suicide bombers had attempted to target the demonstrators, but one of them was shot by police before he could detonate his explosives, according to Haroon Chakhansuri, a spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. He said that three city district police chiefs were injured and another three security personnel were killed.
Witnesses said that immediately after the blast, security forces shot in the air to disperse the crowd. Secondary attacks have been known to target people who come to the aid of those wounded in a first explosion.
After Obama’s green light, Afghan forces on the offensive
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — After two years of heavy casualties, the Afghan military is trying to retake the initiative in the war against militants with a new offensive next week against Islamic State group loyalists, an assault that will see American troops back on the battlefield working more closely with Afghan soldiers.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani recently announced a major assault against fighters loyal to the Islamic State group, who over the past year captured positions along Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan, mainly in Nangarhar province. That goal to uproot IS from Afghanistan has taken on new urgency in the wake of a deadly suicide bombing of a protest march Saturday in Kabul that killed at least 80 people.
The Islamic State group’s Aamaq online news agency quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, the first IS attack in the Afghan capital and one of the deadliest ever to hit Kabul. Ghani, in a live televised address after the bombing, told the nation, “I promise you I will take revenge against the culprits.”
The inexperienced Afghan forces have largely stalled in the fight against Islamic militants ever since most international combat troops withdrew in 2014. American forces that remained shifted to a supporting role and U.S. airstrikes diminished, letting the Afghan military take the lead in carrying out the war.
Taliban forces have dominated the battlefield and the Islamic State group has been building a foothold — and that has meant mounting losses among Afghan troops. Casualty numbers are not officially released, but according to figures provided by military officials, at least 5,000 troops were killed in 2014, rising to more than 6,000 last year. So far in 2016, Afghan troop deaths are 20 percent higher than the same point last year.
Decision time: IOC poised to rule on Russia’s status for Rio
LONDON (AP) — As the clock ticks down to the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, international Olympic leaders are facing a seminal moment.
With the credibility of the fight against doping on the line and the image of the Olympic movement at stake, the IOC will hold a crucial meeting Sunday to consider whether to ban Russia entirely from the Rio Games because of systematic, state-sponsored cheating.
Short of a blanket ban, the International Olympic Committee could leave it to individual sports federations to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to allow Russian athletes in their events.
The doping crisis represents one of the Olympic movement’s biggest challenges since the boycott era of the 1980s, and how it plays out may well define Thomas Bach’s IOC presidency.
The IOC’s ruling 15-member executive board will meet via teleconference to weigh the unprecedented step of excluding Russia as a whole from the games. Bach and others have spoken of a need to balance “individual justice” versus “collective punishment.”
Energized white supremacists cheer Trump convention message
CLEVELAND (AP) — They don’t like to be called white supremacists.
The well-dressed men who gathered in Cleveland’s Ritz-Carlton bar after Donald Trump’s speech accepting the Republican nomination for president prefer the term “Europeanists,” ”alt-right,” or even “white nationalists.” They are also die-hard Trump supporters.
And far from hiding in chat rooms or under white sheets, they cheered the GOP presidential nominee from inside the Republican National Convention over the last week. While not official delegates, they nevertheless obtained credentials to attend the party’s highest-profile quadrennial gathering.
Several gathered in the luxury hotel well after midnight following Trump’s Thursday address, a fiery appeal they said helped push the Republican Party closer to their principles.
“I don’t think people have fully recognized the degree to which he’s transformed the party,” said Richard Spencer, a clean-cut 38-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, who sipped Manhattans as he matter-of-factly called for removing African-Americans, Hispanics and Jews from the United States.
Burned body found as wildfire burns near Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A burned body was found Saturday at the scene of a brushfire north of Los Angeles that has scorched 31 square miles and prompted the evacuation of 1,500 homes, authorities said.
The body was discovered outside a home on Iron Canyon Road in Santa Clarita, and detectives are trying to determine whether the person was killed by the blaze or another cause, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Rob Hahnlein said.
The home also may have burned, he said.
The area was one of several neighborhoods ordered evacuated as the fire raged through bone-dry canyons and ranchlands. The fire burned through the area Saturday evening. Firefighters reported that some buildings had been engulfed, but it was not immediately clear whether they were homes, outbuildings or garages, said Nathan Judy, a spokesman for the U.S. Fire Service.
The area was still unsafe because of smoldering debris and trees that might fall because their roots had burned, Judy said.
Police: Munich suspect was obsessed with mass shootings
MUNICH (AP) — The gunman whose rampage at a Munich mall left nine people dead was a depression-plagued teenager who avidly read books and articles about mass killings and apparently tried to lure young victims to their deaths through a faked Facebook posting, authorities said Saturday.
Information from witnesses indicated that his hatred of foreigners might have played a role in the mass shooting, even though he himself was the German-born son of Iranian asylum-seekers.
Most of the dead were youths and all were Munich residents of varied ethnic backgrounds. Hueseyin Bayri, who witnessed one boy’s death, told The Associated Press the shooter screamed a profanity about foreigners and said “I will kill you all” as he pulled the trigger. A video shot of the perpetrator also showed him yelling anti-foreigner slurs.
The 18-year-old high-school student from Munich with Iranian and German citizenship also wounded more than two dozen others Friday night before turning his illegal Glock 17 pistol on himself, ending a shooting rampage that could have become even more tragic.
Police told reporters that a search of the red backpack lying next to his black-clad corpse revealed that the shooter was carrying more than 300 rounds for the 9-millimeter handgun he used to kill his victims.
AP EXPLAINS: For 69 years, Kashmir is torn by deadly strife
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — When news spread that Indian troops had killed 22-year-old Burhan Wani, a charismatic commander of Indian-controlled Kashmir’s biggest rebel group on July 8, the public response was spontaneous and massive. Tens of thousands of angry youths poured out of their homes in towns and villages across the Himalayan region, hurling rocks and bricks and clashing with Indian troops.
A curfew and a communications blackout has failed to stop the protests. The violence has left 48 civilians dead as government forces fired live ammunition and pellets to try to quell the unrest. About 2,000 civilians and 1,500 police and soldiers have been injured in the clashes.
But Kashmir’s fury at Indian rule is not new. The stunning mountain region has known little other than conflict since 1947, when British rule of the subcontinent ended with the creation of India and Pakistan.