AP News in Brief at 9:04 p.m. EDT


Clinton’s pledge: Steady hand at ‘moment of reckoning’

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Confronting a “moment of reckoning,” Hillary Clinton is casting herself as a unifier for divided times and a tested, steady hand to lead in a volatile world.

“We are clear-eyed about what our country is up against,” she said in excerpts released ahead of her speech Thursday accepting the Democratic presidential nomination. “But we are not afraid. We will rise to the challenge, just as we always have.”

Clinton’s national convention address follows three nights of Democratic stars, including a past and present president, asserting she is ready for the White House. Thursday night she was making that case for herself on the convention’s final night.

Acknowledging Americans’ anxieties, Clinton is vowing to create economic opportunities in inner cities and struggling small towns. She also says terror attacks around the world require “steady leadership” to defeat a determined enemy.

The first woman to lead a major U.S. political party toward the White House, Clinton will be greeted Thursday by a crowd of cheering delegates eager to see history made in the November election. But her real audience will be millions of voters who may welcome her experience but question her character.

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Minority Dem delegates frustrated with ‘Bernie or Bust’

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — As most Democrats rally around Hillary Clinton, the lingering “Bernie or Bust” movement is stirring frustration at the party’s convention among delegates of color, who say they’re upset at the refusal of the Vermont senator’s most fervent backers to fall in line.

“I am so exhausted by it,” said Danielle Adams, a black Clinton delegate from North Carolina. “I think there are undercurrents of privilege that concern me.”

Adams is among those who say the “Never Hillary” crowd, a group that is largely younger and white, isn’t considering the struggles black Americans still face every day. And, they argue, how the nation’s ethnic and racial minorities may be affected by a Donald Trump presidency.

Rep. Cheryl Brown, a California delegate from San Bernardino who is black, condemned what she called the “aggressive” behavior of some Sanders delegates, saying they jumped on tables and shoved people at the state’s hotel the night that Sanders moved that the convention nominate Clinton by acclamation.

“I think here at the convention, it’s been exacerbated by the way they are treating people,” she said. “I haven’t had that happen with any of the African-American Bernie supporters.”

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10 Things to Know for Friday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:

1. AS CONVENTION WRAPS, DEMOCRATS GIRD FOR TIGHT CONTEST

Even as Clinton and her supporters argue Trump is unqualified for the Oval Office, they recognize the businessman connects with some voters in a way she does not.

2. CLINTON’S HISTORIC NOMINATION CAUSES LITTLE STIR OUTSIDE US

After all, dozens of female leaders have served across Europe, Africa, Asia, South America and Australia.

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Police and protesters credited with restraint at convention

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bernie Sanders’ devoted followers were careful to pick up after themselves and wore hats embroidered with a dove to remind everyone to remain peaceful. And the police, instead of hauling demonstrators off to jail, issued them $50 tickets for disorderly conduct and released them with a complimentary bottle of water.

As the Democratic National Convention drew toward a close Thursday afternoon, Philadelphia police reported making a four-day total of only 11 arrests, and officers and protesters alike were credited with showing restraint and courtesy.

The rallies and marches that some feared would result in violence and mass disruptions instead brought a festival-like atmosphere at times to City Hall and Broad Street.

“I’m very happy so far with everyone,” Police Commissioner Richard Ross said. He said his officers “took pride in what they did all week. Very patient, tolerant and courteous is what I was hearing from a lot of people.”

Mary Catherine Roper, deputy legal director of Pennsylvania’s American Civil Liberties Union, said the department’s hands-off approach helped keep things calm.

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Trump has a record of siding with Putin on key issues

MOSCOW (AP) — Donald Trump has refused to condemn Russia’s military takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, saying if elected he would consider recognizing it as Russian territory, in the latest of a series of statements that have raised eyebrows about the Republican candidate’s intentions toward the Kremlin.

“We’ll be looking at that. Yeah, we’ll be looking,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

Accepting Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea would be a radical departure from U.S. policy. The United States and the European Union worked together to punish Russia by imposing economic sanctions and have shown no willingness to lift them. Even Belarus, Russia’s closest ally and neighbor, did not recognize the annexation.

While Trump has sided with Putin on a wide range of issues, Putin has not openly backed the Republican nominee and the Kremlin denies interfering in the U.S. electoral process. Hillary Clinton’s campaign claimed that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic National Committee computers as part of an effort to undermine her candidacy.

Although the Russians “will keep their mouths tightly zipped until Election Day,” they clearly prefer Trump, said Wayne Merry, a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council and former diplomat who spent six years at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

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Experts confront multiple explanations for surge of killings

NEW YORK (AP) — The relentless series of mass killings across the globe poses a challenge for experts trying to analyze them without lapsing into faulty generalizations. Terms like contagion and copycat killing apply in some cases, not in others, they say, and in certain instances perpetrators’ terrorist ideology intersects with psychological instability.

Some of the attacks, such as the coordinated assault on multiple targets in Paris last November, were elaborately planned operations by Islamic State adherents. However, they may have contributed to some of the other attacks by troubled individuals with no established ties to the militant group.

J. Reid Meloy, a San Diego-based forensic psychologist who has served as a consultant to the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program, said some of the attackers appear to have identified with Islamic State as an outlet for their own seething emotions.

“In virtually every one of these cases, there was a deeply held personal grievance — loss, anger, humiliation,” Meloy said. “When they come across Islamic State material, they’re stimulated by that. They can take their personal grievance worldwide.”

Meloy said two different syndromes could be surfacing in the series of attacks — contagion, in which one attack rapidly inspires imitation attacks, and copycat incidents, in which an individual seeks to emulate a previous perpetrator.

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Wounded officers struggle with news of Hinckley’s release

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Hinckley Jr. shot four people outside a Washington hotel on March 30, 1981, but two of his victims understandably got most of the attention: President Ronald Reagan and his press secretary, James Brady.

Two other men — Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty — each took a bullet to protect the president. Thirty-five years later, they’ve lived to see Hinckley freed.

On Thursday, both were still coming to terms with the news that Hinckley, now 61, will soon be released from a Washington psychiatric hospital to live full-time with his 90-year-old mother in Williamsburg, Virginia. A judge ordered Wednesday that Hinckley can leave the hospital as soon as Aug. 5, with numerous restrictions.

The would-be assassin was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and he has gradually gained more freedom. For the past two-plus years, he has spent more than half his time at his mother’s house in a gated community overlooking a golf course.

McCarthy, 67, the longtime police chief in Orland Park, Illinois — about 25 miles southwest of Chicago — has long followed developments in Hinckley’s case through news accounts, so he wasn’t surprised to hear about his release. He accepts it, he understands it, but that doesn’t mean that he agrees with it.

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Syria Nusra Front leader claims to cut ties with al-Qaida

BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Syria’s Nusra Front said in recording aired Thursday that his group is changing its name, claiming it will have no more ties with al-Qaida in an attempt to undermine a potential U.S. and Russian air campaign against its fighters.

The announcement is the first time that an entire branch of al-Qaida has said it is leaving the terror network. But the move took place with the endorsement of al-Qaida’s central leadership, and its ideology remains the same, raising questions whether the change really goes beyond the new name, the Levant Conquest Front.

The United States, which considers Nusra a terrorist organization, immediately expressed its skepticism. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Thursday the U.S. continues to assess that Nusra leaders intend to attack the West and said the U.S.-led military campaign is focused on a number of extremist groups, including Nusra and the Islamic State group.

But the step could complicate U.S. efforts in Syria.

Without the al-Qaida name, the group will now seek to expand its alliances with other Syrian rebels, including relative moderates backed by Washington and its allies. Those factions may then oppose international airstrikes against Nusra fighters, arguing that they are now simply fellow rebels against President Bashar Assad, not an al-Qaida affiliate.

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Man convicted in Chandra Levy’s death won’t be retried

Prosecutors announced Thursday that they will not retry a man convicted of killing Washington intern Chandra Levy, saying they can no longer prove their case in the 15-year-old slaying that thrust former congressman Gary Condit into the national spotlight.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia issued a statement saying it has moved to dismiss the case charging Ingmar Guandique with Levy’s 2001 killing.

According to the statement, prosecutors concluded they can no longer prove the murder case against Guandique beyond a reasonable doubt, “based on recent unforeseen developments that were investigated over the past week.” The statement does not elaborate, and Bill Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney, declined comment.

“After investigating this information and reviewing all of the evidence in this case, the government now believes it is in the interests of justice for the court to dismiss the case,” prosecutors wrote in a one-page motion.

Within hours of prosecutors’ motion, a judge officially dismissed the case.

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Elephant sedative emerges as new threat in overdose battle

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A drug used to sedate elephants and other large animals, 100 times as potent as the fentanyl already escalating the country’s heroin troubles, is suspected in spates of overdoses in several states, where authorities say they’ve found it mixed with or passed off as heroin.

The appearance of carfentanil, one of the most potent opioids known to investigators, adds another twist to the fight against painkillers in a country already awash in heroin and fentanyl cases.

Each time authorities start to get a handle on one type of drug, another seems to pop up, said Joseph Pinjuh, chief of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and narcotics unit for the U.S. attorney in Cleveland.

“You feel like a kid with his finger in the dike, you know?” he said. “We’re running out of fingers.”

A man suspected of selling carfentanil as heroin was indicted this week in central Ohio on 20 counts, including murder, in connection with a July 10 death and nine other overdoses that happened within hours of one another. Some of the surviving users told investigators they thought they were buying heroin, but testing found none, Franklin County prosecutor Ron O’Brien said. The suspect, Rayshon Alexander, pleaded not guilty.

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