AP News in Brief at 6:04 p.m. EDT


Clinton steps into history as 1st woman White House nominee

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Taking her place in history, Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night will become the first woman to lead a major party toward the White House, a triumphant moment for Democrats to relish before plunging into a bruising general election against Republican Donald Trump.

After the roll call of states formalizing Clinton’s nomination, former President Bill Clinton will take the stage for a history-making appearance of his own at the Democratic convention. Former presidents often vouch for their potential successors, but never before has that candidate also been a spouse

By night’s end, the Clinton campaign hopes to have moved past the dissent that somewhat tarnished the convention’s opening day. Supporters of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary rival, repeatedly interrupted Monday’s proceedings with boos and chants of “Bernie.”

Before Clinton’s nomination became official, Sanders’ supporters had one more opportunity to voice their fierce loyalty to the Vermont senator. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard vowed that the movement Sanders’ sparked “can never be stopped or defeated.”

Sanders sat in the arena soaking in the cheers and waving to the crowd.

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First lady’s apolitical image big part of her political draw

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Sorry, Democrats. #ElectMichelle will never be more than a wishful hashtag.

The same thing that made Michelle Obama such a powerful voice for Hillary Clinton at the Democratic convention makes it unlikely she’ll spend a huge amount of time on the campaign trail or, heaven forbid, run for president: She’s just not a political animal.

That’s sorry news to delegates who were moved to tears by the first lady’s nailed-it speech at the convention Monday night, where she delivered a compelling argument for Clinton’s election from the perspective of Sasha and Malia’s mom and also managed to skewer Donald Trump without uttering his name.

Democrats were still enthusing over Mrs. Obama’s speech the next day — and hoping the first lady’s message would help win over those who have yet to commit to Clinton.

“Imagine yourself being a Bernie-or-Bust person listening to that,” said Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., a prominent Bernie Sanders supporter during the primaries. “You’ve gotta kind of say, ‘Well, I guess Michelle has an important point to make here.’ This is how we get to unity.”

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Clinton, Dems put gun control at center of convention stage

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With mothers of police violence victims on the stage and anti-gun protesters in the streets, Hillary Clinton and Democrats are giving gun control and efforts to curb police violence a starring role at their summer convention.

“They’re too easily accessible to everyone, even children. You can go out on the street and get a gun,” said Terrez McCleary of Philadelphia, who lost her 21-year-old daughter to gun violence in 2009 and was among a few hundred people held a rally against gun violence Tuesday in Philadelphia’s Logan Square.

“I think they need to pay more attention to the pain we go through when we lose our children and to us when we ask them to make the laws stricter,” she said.

Clinton has made gun safety one of the foundations of her presidential campaign, vowing to overcome the legendary resistance of gun-rights advocates and their GOP allies to push for expanded criminal background checks and a renewal of a ban on assault weapons.

Her search for a breakthrough comes as Donald Trump has repeatedly touted the benefits of access to firearms as a way to counter to acts of violence. The Republican nominee promoted a law-and-order message at his convention, where speakers routinely expressed solidarity with police officers and decried the recent slayings of officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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IS group claims attack that killed 85-year-old French priest

SAINT-ETIENNE-DU-ROUVRAY, France (AP) — The Islamic State group crossed a new threshold Tuesday in its war against the West, as two of its followers targeted a church in Normandy, slitting the throat of an elderly priest celebrating Mass and using hostages as human shields before being shot by police.

It was the extremist group’s first attack against a church in the West, and fulfills longstanding threats against “crusaders” in what the militants paint as a centuries-old battle for power. One of the attackers had tried twice to leave for Syria; the second was not identified.

“To attack a church, to kill a priest, is to profane the republic,” French President Francois Hollande told the nation after speaking with Pope Francis, who condemned the killing in the strongest terms.

The Rev. Jacques Hamel was celebrating Mass for three nuns and two parishioners on a quiet summer morning in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray when the attackers burst in and forced the 85-year-old priest to his knees before slicing his throat, according to authorities and a nun who escaped.

The nun described seeing the attackers film themselves and give a sermon in Arabic around the altar before she fled. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the other hostages were used as human shields to block police from entering. One 86-year-old parishioner was wounded.

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Wish granted: Six-year-old boy is garbage man for a day

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Ethan Dean has always dreamed of being a garbage man. Tuesday, the 6-year-old lived that fantasy: riding shot gun in a booster seat through Sacramento in a truck labeled “Ethan’s Garbage Truck.”

Ethan, garbage man for the day, made a series of stops in Sacramento to collect trash and recyclables from places like the fire station and CalEPA, where his father works. It wasn’t a chore for Ethan, who has cystic fibrosis. When asked at one stop what his favorite part of the day had been, he said it was “cleaning up garbage.”

Throughout his trip, he wore a cape that said “Hero Ethan” and a big smile.

When Ethan visited the Make-A-Wish Foundation in February, he was asked a series of questions: What do you want to be? Who do you want to meet? What do you want to have? Where do you want to go?

In 2013, Make-A-Wish transformed San Francisco into Gotham for a 5-year-old boy who had battled leukemia for years and dreamed of being Batkid. Miles Scott traveled from one crime scene to another, rescuing a damsel in distress and thwarting the plans of The Riddler and The Penguin, as crowds of people cheered him on.

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Homes on edge of the wilderness complicate wildfire efforts

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) — When Pat Telleria saw the wind-driven flames sweeping across the grass foothills toward his dream home, he picked up the phone.

In the middle of the night, he called 911. “I’m next. It’s coming right at me!’ he told dispatchers. “And they said, ‘You’re out of luck. All the resources are allocated.'” That’s when the wall of fire came at them “and it was humming.”

Telleria’s home near Boise stands on the edge of the wilderness in a landscape that offers pastoral serenity but is also susceptible to wildfires. Some 44 million homes have been built in similar areas of the lower 48 states, making the properties expensive to protect from flames and draining resources that might otherwise be used to defend forests, rangeland and wildlife habitat.

“I fly back and forth across the country and I see it,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the nation’s top wildfire managers during a meeting in May at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. “We should be holding these people accountable, and we’re not.”

Most of the homes have been erected in recent decades. More examples can be found in Santa Clarita, California, where a wildfire in mountains north of Los Angeles recently forced 20,000 people from their homes. Most residents were cleared to return on Tuesday, but the flames kept burning in the rugged terrain where many houses are tucked into canyon lands.

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Many factors make France the top IS terror target in Europe

PARIS (AP) — When militants loyal to the Islamic State group seek to inflict pain on Europe, France is their preferred target, a grim reality borne out yet again with Tuesday’s knife slaughter of a Catholic priest.

Since January 2015, IS-inspired attackers have killed at least 235 people in France, by far the largest casualty rate of any Western country. French citizens or French-speaking residents have committed the overwhelming majority of strikes, often employing suicide tactics alongside command of their home surroundings.

President Francois Hollande argues that France is their top enemy on the continent because of his homeland’s reputation as a cradle of human rights and democracy.

“If terrorists strike us, it is because they know what France represents,” Hollande said after this month’s Bastille Day truck attack that killed 84 people on Nice’s crowded waterfront.

Analysts agree that Islamic State propagandists particularly target France as a land anchored in secular values, liberal freedoms and life’s pleasures. But its colonial history, demographic tensions and interventionist policies against militant Muslims abroad point to deeper reasons why anti-Western killers seek so ruthlessly to bring grief to France’s door.

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Rare mass killing raises questions about security in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — The killing of 19 people at a home for the mentally disabled raised questions about whether Japan’s reputation as one of the safest countries in the world is creating a false sense of security.

The deadliest mass killing in Japan in the post-World War II era unfolded early Tuesday in Sagamihara, a city about 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of central Tokyo, when authorities say a former employee broke into the facility and stabbed more than 40 people before calmly turning himself in to police.

The suspect, identified as 26-year-old Satoshi Uematsu, had worked at the facility from 2014 until February, when he was let go. He wrote to Parliament outlining the bloody plan and saying all disabled should be put to death.

While not immune to violent crime, Japan has a relatively low homicide rate of well under one per 100,000 people. Mass killings usually are seen half a world away on the nightly news, although seven Japanese were among the dead in a recent hostage-taking in Bangladesh that targeted non-Muslims.

Because such massacres are rare, Japan has become overconfident about its safety, a Japanese criminologist said.

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Video captures lightning bolt striking Empire State Building

NEW YORK (AP) — A stunning video shows a lightning bolt striking the Empire State Building during a storm passing through New York City.

A frame of the video shared by journalist Henrik Moltke shows the bolt striking near the top of the skyscraper Monday.

Moltke says he saw the storm approaching from his office window and captured the strike by balancing his phone against the glass. He says he “was just lucky.”

Lightning strikes on the Empire State Building aren’t unusual. The building’s website says the structure serves as a lightning rod for the surrounding area and is hit by lightning 23 times a year on average.

Heavy rains and high winds knocked down trees and powerlines in the New York City area Monday evening.

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Violence at club signals changing city in southwest Florida

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — A couple of doors down from Club Blu, where a young man and a 14-year-old boy were killed while attending a teen party, shop owner Idis Edouard hoisted a rod above his head to gently move a girl’s blue dress aside.

“The bullet was there,” he said, pointing to a spot on the ceiling. “And there. It shattered that window.”

The pock-marks were from another mass shooting, not connected to the club, a couple of years ago. Both shootings remind Edouard, a Haitian immigrant, that the city he has called home for several decades may be increasingly unsafe. In the past year, there have been at least six shootings in the area, a place known more for its stunning Gulf beaches than for gun violence.

On Sunday, Club Blu hosted a swimsuit-themed party in hopes of providing a safe place for kids in an alcohol-free venue with security. As the club was closing around 12:30 a.m. Monday and parents were arriving to pick up their children, gunfire erupted. Two were slain and 17 others, ranging in age from 12 to 27, were wounded.

Police have not released a motive, saying only that it wasn’t terrorism. Three persons of interest were booked on unrelated charges.

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