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Terror Attack Targets French City Of Nice, Scores Dead

The aftermath of Thursday night's attack
The aftermath of Thursday night's attack

SPOTLIGHT: TOLL RISES IN NICE ATTACK, AS TERROR HITS FRANCE AGAIN

Terror struck the French Riviera last night, as revellers and tourists gathered on Nice's famous Promenade des Anglais to watch the fireworks display on Bastille Day. Around an hour before midnight, a truck drove through frantic crowds for almost two kilometers, killing more than 80 people and injuring dozens in what French authorities are calling a terrorist attack. The tragic events on France's national day came after a month of heightened security for the Euro 2016 football championships and eight months since last November's shootings in Paris killed 130.

  • The current official death toll in Nice is 84, with more than 50 injured and 18 in critical condition.

  • According to local daily Nice-Matin, the man driving the truck has been identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a Tunisian-born resident of Nice. He was shot dead by police last night and his home is being searched for clues to connections and motives.

  • While no group has yet claimed responsibility, French President François Hollande called it an act of "Islamist terrorism" and promised renewed French strikes in Syria and Iraq.

  • French authorities announced they would seek a three-month extension of the state of emergency, first declared after November's Paris attacks, which had been set to end on July 26.

  • Police and intelligence services are investigating the attacker's ties to any known terror organization and whether he acted alone, after several guns and grenades were found in the truck.

  • President Hollande declared three days of national mourning to last until July 18.

  • This is the third major terror attack on French soil in the past 18 months. The November 13 attacks targeted a football stadium just outside Paris, as well as restaurants and the Bataclan concert hall in the city. In January 2015, Islamic terrorists attacked the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine and a Kosher supermarket in Paris.

  • Here are front pages of newspapers in France and around the world.


    WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow for talks today on Syria.

  • Leaders from Asian and European countries to gather in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar for the 2016 Asia-Europe Summit.

  • Republican Party convention opens Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio.


REPORT: TRUMP PICKS MIKE PENCE AS RUNNING MATE

After weeks of speculation, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears set to announce Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his running mate. The Indianapolis Star reports that Trump had been holding meetings with potential picks for the vice president slot all week on a campaign visit to Pence's home state, but plumped for the Governor in the end. Trump postponed the expected announcement today, citing the terrorist attack in Nice. At least one report says that Trump's grown children still prefer former House Speaker Newt Gingrich as VP.

DEADLY SHOOTOUT IN KENYA

An eight-hour siege ended this morning in northwestern Kenya when police special forces killed a rogue colleague in a shootout. The gunman, a police officer suspected of belonging to the Somali terror group al-Shabaab, had shot dead six colleagues in an attack yesterday.

— ON THIS DAY

Gianni Versace and the Rosetta Stone are linked to January 15, see more in our 57-second video shot of history.

PETITION FOR BREXIT DO-OVER REJECTED

An online petition calling for a rerun of the British referendum on EU membership under new rules, which garnered a record 4.1 million signatures, was rejected by the British government. Petitions that reach 100,000 signatures must be debated in parliament, but Westminster reminded signatories the referendum was a "once in a generation" event.

— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Since the start of the country's civil war in 2011, more than 2.7 million Syrians have registered as refugees in neighboring Turkey. Now, Istanbul daily Cumhuriyet columnist Mine Sogut notes, the Turkish government has promised citizenship to Syrian refugees. "For a person who thinks it's an accomplishment to govern a country like a company, it is customary to attempt major moves at the expense of the public alongside his own position and power. Our leader President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is busy writing his subjective history. With the simplest calculation, he dreams of turning the Syrian population into an electoral advantage with this impromptu offer of citizenship. For years, he played with the fate of those people, and his own, without any sign of humanitarianism or ethics, but only with profit and loss calculations. He is still playing the same game..." Read the full article: Erdogan's Cynical Call To Grant Citizenship To Syrian Refugees

EL SALVADOR AMNESTY LAW STRUCK DOWN BY COURT

The Salvadoran Supreme Court struck down a 1993 law that provided amnesty for human rights violations committed during the country's civil war, which ran from 1980 to 1992. La Prensa Gráficareports the court found the law unconstitutional as it denied citizens the right to justice, opening the way for prosecution of war crimes.

EU REJECTS BAILOUT FOR TROUBLED ITALIAN BANK

A meeting of European Union finance ministers rejected the Italian government's plan to bailout the troubled Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest bank. Italian business dailyIl Sole 24 Ore reports the finance ministers rejected Rome's argument that the country's shaky banks are in "acute crisis" requiring a deviation from EU bailout rules.

MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Off-Peak Art, Madrid - July 1963

— MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

SEGWAY BAN BEGINS IN BARCELONA

Barcelona's municipal government finally implemented a long-announced ban on segways on the city's popular beachfront, imposing 90 euro fines on violators. Local businesses renting segways, popular among tourists, are up in arms over the decision according to La Vanguardia.

-Crunched by Giacomo Tognini

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Geopolitics

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023

Before heading to South Sudan to continue his highly anticipated trip to Africa, the pontiff was in the Democratic Republic of Congo where he delivered a powerful speech, in a country where 40 million Catholics live.

Minerals And Violence: A Papal Condemnation Of African Exploitation, Circa 2023
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — You may know the famous Joseph Stalin quote: “The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” Pope Francis still has no military divisions to his name, but he uses his voice, and he does so wisely — sometimes speaking up when no one else would dare.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (the former Belgian Congo, a region plundered and martyred, before and after its independence in 1960), Francis has chosen to speak loudly. Congo is a country with 110 million inhabitants, immensely rich in minerals, but populated by poor people and victims of brutal wars.

That land is essential to the planetary ecosystem, and yet for too long, the world has not seen it for its true value.

The words of this 86-year-old pope, who now moves around in a wheelchair, deserve our attention. He undoubtedly said what a billion Africans are thinking: "Hands off the Democratic Republic of the Congo! Hands off Africa! Stop choking Africa: It is not a mine to be stripped or a terrain to be plundered!"

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