Democrats, echoing Trump, put GOP candidates on defense over trade

Republicans have recently come under attack on the issue of trade in several crucial Rust Belt states that will decide control of the U.S. Senate, and they are not helped by the fact that their party’s presidential nominee agrees with their Democratic opponents.

Donald Trump’s antitrade rhetoric in the 2016 campaign is amplifying Democratic criticisms of Republican candidates in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. His approach dramatically contrasts with the way that past Republican nominees for president have defended the merits of free trade.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the Republican incumbent, has grappled with the trade issue for months and has so far weathered the storm. He currently leads Democrat Ted Strickland and is in a good position to win that race.

But in Pennsylvania and Indiana, two Republicans who are closely trailing Democratic candidates have distanced themselves in recent days from free trade positions, under pressure from their opponents. Like Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, both Republicans have been supporters of the TransPacific Partnership but have now said they do not support it.

Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican incumbent in Pennsylvania, has been a big booster of free trade. But on Aug. 17, he announced that he was opposed to the TPP, a trade agreement being negotiated by the Obama administration with 11 other nations.

“In the TPP, the Obama administration has not gotten a good enough deal for Pennsylvania workers,” Toomey wrote in an op-ed for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We should dump the TPP and return to the negotiating table to get an agreement that would create jobs and economic growth here at home.”

Toomey spent much of his op-ed defending trade as a good thing that provides 200,000 jobs for Pennsylvanians and is “often demonized.” But he said he did not think the TPP protected the pharmaceutical or dairy industries well enough from unfair trade practices by other countries.

Politifact noted that in 2015, Toomey gave a full-throated defense of the TPP as a “very constructive” deal that would actually protect the pharmaceutical industry, and voted in favor of giving President Obama expedited authority to seal trade agreements, known as Trade Promotion Authority.

Democrat Katie McGinty, an environmental expert who served in Bill Clinton’s White House and under former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, is now lambasting Toomey for flip-flopping on the issue.

And in Indiana, the situation is similar. GOP congressman Todd Young said at the end of August that he is “not prepared to support” the TPP because of a lack of protection in the deal for pharmaceuticals as well. Drugmaker Eli Lilly is headquartered in Indianapolis.

Like Toomey, Young was a vocal supporter of giving Obama fast-track trade authority, though he did express concerns over parts of the TPP deal back in early 2015. But under pressure from former Sen. Evan Bayh, the Democrat who retired in 2010 and is now seeking to come back to the Senate, Young has taken a definitive step away from a key trade deal.

An Indiana company has been one of the biggest targets of Trump’s antitrade rhetoric. He has blasted air-conditioner manufacturer Carrier for closing a plant in Indianapolis that employs 1,400 people and moving it to Mexico and said he would impose steep financial penalties on any U.S. company that followed suit. A cellphone video taken by an employee of the announcement to employees went viral earlier this year.

And Trump clinched the Republican nomination in early May after winning the Indiana primary. He has promised to impose steep tariffs on imports from other countries and has said he would negotiate “better trade deals.”

Indiana is also an example of where Trump’s rhetoric on trade is contradicted by reality. The Hoosier state’s economy has benefited from international trade, and its manufacturing sector is healthier than many other states’.

But Trump has made trade one of his top issues, claiming that he can bring jobs back to the U.S. that have been outsourced, without providing much in the way of details.

A Bayh spokesman, Ben Ray, said that trade is one of Bayh’s top three issues as well. Asked if it was strange that Bayh’s position coincided so closely with Trump’s, Ray said: “When Republicans are right on an issue [Bayh will] be with them, and when they’re not he won’t be.”

Donald Trump waged a ‘personal’ social media crusade against Anthony Weiner for over 5 years

On Monday morning, Donald Trump released a statement on former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s latest sexting scandal. But it was far from the first time the Republican presidential nominee had weighed in on the explicit messages Weiner is accused of sending to women online.

In his statement, Trump praised Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, a top aide to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, for deciding to separate from the former Queens congressman. Trump also suggested that Weiner’s closeness to Clinton could have posed a threat to national security.

“Huma is making a very wise decision. I know Anthony Weiner well, and she will be far better off without him. I only worry for the country in that Hillary Clinton was careless and negligent in allowing Weiner to have such close proximity to highly classified information,” Trump said. “Who knows what he learned and who he told? It’s just another example of Hillary Clinton’s bad judgment. It is possible that our country and its security have been greatly compromised by this.”

The statement was the culmination of more than five years of social media attacks Trump has launched against Weiner. Based on a fairly intensive search online, Trump recorded videos on multiple social media platforms and sent at least 75 tweets about Weiner since his sexting habit was revealed in 2011. One member of Trump’s inner circle told Yahoo News the issue is “personal” for Trump.

Trump weighed in each time there was a new revelation about the sexting or reports on a potential Weiner political comeback. In his commentaries, Trump repeatedly predicted that Weiner could “never be healed.” Trump also hurled a wide variety of insults at Weiner, including calling him a “sick puppy,” “sleazebag,” “unwanted porn star,” “sexual pervert,” a “whacko sicko sexter” and many more. Weiner did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Weiner’s intimate Internet messages first emerged in 2011, when he accidentally tweeted a lewd photo he meant to privately send to a woman. The fallout eventually caused Weiner to resign from his seat in the House of Representatives. Trump’s first post about Weiner was a YouTube video posted on June 7, 2011, the day after Weiner admitted to sending the picture after initially lying and attempting to blame the photo on a hacker.

In the video, which he also tweeted, Trump claimed, “Many people have been asking me about Anthony Weiner.” He also provided some insight into their existing relationship.

“I know him very well. He called me all the time looking for campaign contributions. It would never stop,” Trump said, later adding, “The fact is Anthony Weiner is a bad guy. He’s a psycho, and when this came out, I was not surprised at all.”

According to Trump, “One thing good came out of Anthony’s mess.”

“I’ll never have to give him campaign contributions, and that’s really wonderful,” he said.

Federal Election Commission reports show Trump donated to Weiner’s campaign account in 2007 and 2010 for a total of $4,300. While the donations may have sparked Trump’s fascination with the former congressman, they clearly aren’t the only factor behind his fixation on Weiner. In a conversation with Yahoo News on Monday, Michael Cohen, a longtime attorney at Trump’s real estate company, said Weiner may have earned Trump’s ire by firing back with his own insults. Cohen suggested Trump lets no slight go unanswered.

“This is personal to him because Anthony Weiner has continuously attacked Mr. Trump,” Cohen said. “You know it just doesn’t work that way.”

Weiner initially stayed out of the public eye following his departure from Congress. However, in 2012 there was a smattering of reporting that he was planning to mount a comeback.

The reports got Trump’s attention. Throughout 2012, in his tweets and another YouTube video, Trump suggested that Weiner was a “sick [and] perverted man” who would not change. Trump also advised Abedin to “drop him before it happens again.” At multiple points in 2012, Trump’s tweets described Weiner as a public menace.

“Scary thought–what is the pervert Anthony Weiner doing with all the free time he has. Does he collect unemployment?” Trump asked on Aug. 15.

During the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., Trump worried that Weiner could be a danger to the attendees.

Gloria Steinem on woman managing Trump campaign: ‘Like seeing an anti-Semitic candidate being managed by a Jewish person' [Video]

Feminist trailblazer Gloria Steinem was not much impressed by Donald Trump’s appointing a woman to manage his presidential campaign.

“It’s like seeing an anti-Semitic candidate being managed by a Jewish person. It’s not heartening at all. I can’t imagine why she’s doing it,” Steinem told Yahoo News Wednesday, after the Trump campaign announced that Republican strategist and pollster Kellyanne Conway had been promoted to campaign manager.

Steinem, 82, addressed the latest Trump campaign shakeup during a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. They discussed Trump’s appeal, political correctness and her memoir, “My Life on the Road,” among other topics.

“He’s a bully and also he’s not a successful businessman. He inherited his money. He calls Hillary cowardly and I think to myself, ‘Have you ever given birth?” Steinem continued. (Steinem, who married for the first time when she was 66, has one stepson.) “It is unprecedented that we have had someone with so little experience, so little accuracy, so much bombast, such a bully.”

According to Steinem, Trump is the candidate of discontent, hatred and nostalgia for a past that never existed.

“He’s big. He’s simple. He’s a brand. He’s not a person. He’s a brand,” she said. “He makes impossible promises and he appeals to people who legitimately are having a hard economic time. … He’s the candidate of unnamed resentments, and everybody knows his name.”

Couric pointed out that bashing political correctness has almost become a mantra for Trump and that it’s been resonating with many Americans — even among people who aren’t supporting him. Many today feel that others are hypersensitive and that it’s too difficult nowadays to speak freely or discuss difficult issues.

“We invented political correctness to make fun of ourselves,” Steinem said, “because we were inventing new words and trying to be inclusive and so on, and doing it with a sense of humor. But the whole point is inclusion, so it doesn’t make sense to me that being incorrect and exclusive is desirable. We’re trying to think of more creative, humane, kind-hearted ways to be inclusive.”

Eventually, the conversation circled around to the fact that many Americans are not particularly excited about Trump or Clinton and lament what they consider the absence of really good candidates on the ballot.

Couric asked Steinem why she thought more people were not embracing public service enthusiastically and going into politics.

“Well, first of all you take a lot of punishment,” Steinem replied. “Look what’s happening to Hillary.”

Secondly, she said, the image of politics as a hotbed of corruption and ineffectiveness has been around since the Nixon administration.

“We’ve been told consciously ever since Nixon that politics is dirty, your vote doesn’t count, which was the campaign he launched to depress the voter turnout,” Steinem said. “That is absolutely untrue. It happens that the voting booth is the only place on Earth where the least powerful and the most powerful are equal.”

Related video:

Where Do the World’s Tallest and Shortest People Live?

The tallest men in the world live in the Netherlands, and the tallest women call Latvia home, according to the largest study ever done on people’s heights.

The vast project included data from more than 1,400 previous studies that had the heights of more than 18.6 million people in 200 countries. These studies included the heights of people who were 18 during every year between 1914 and 2014, allowing the researchers of the new study to track changes in average heights over time.

They found, for instance, that South Korean women and Iranian men showed the largest increases in average height over the past 100 years, with South Korean women gaining an average of 8 inches (20.2 cm) between 1916 and 2014, and Iranian men growing an average of 6.5 inches (16.5 centimeters) taller. [Know Your Roots? Human Evolution Quiz]

Men and women in the United States also experienced a growth spurt, but to a lesser degree. In 1914, U.S. men were the third tallest in the world, and U.S. women were the fourth tallest. But despite increases in height of 2.2 inches and 2 inches (6 cm and 5 cm), respectively, U.S. men are now ranked 37th and women are ranked 42nd, the study found.

In the United Kingdom, both men and women have gained about 4.3 inches (11 cm) over the past 100 years, jumping from 57th to 38th place (for women) and 36th to 31th place (for men). In China, the stature of men and women has increased about 4.3 and 3.9 inches (11 cm and 10 cm), respectively, from 1914 to 2014.

In the modern world, the top 10 tallest nations are all in Europe, and none of them are English-speaking nations, the researchers found.

Roller-coaster trends

Some countries hit plateaus over the past 30 to 40 years, although they showed increases in height during the first half of the century, the researchers found.

For instance, the United States plateaued, as did the United Kingdom, Finland and Japan. However, other countries, such as Spain, Italy and several Latin American and East Asian countries, are still increasing in height, they found.

In contrast, other countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, have actually seen declines in height over the past 30 to 40 years.

In these countries, the stagnation or decreases in height could be due to a mix of the wealthy people already receiving the maximum amount of nourishment and health care, and lower-class people getting subpar nutrition, especially during pregnancy, study co-author James Bentham, a research associate at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, told Live Science.

Why height matters

People’s height is partly determined by genetics, but nutrition and environmental factors also play a role, the researchers said. Because conditions such as childhood illness and poor nutrition during pregnancy and childhood can stunt growth, the average height of people can serve as a proxy for how healthy their nation is, the researchers said.

Moreover, being taller is associated with longevity, higher education and better earnings, the researchers wrote in the study. Tall people are also less likely to experience heart disease and stroke, and taller women and their children are less likely to have complications before and after childbirth, they said. [Blossoming Body: 8 Odd Changes That Occur During Pregnancy]

But it’s not all rosy for tall people. Research shows that tall people are more likely to get some cancers, including colorectal, breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly pancreatic and prostate cancers, they said. 

“This study gives us a picture of the health of nations over the past century, and reveals the average height of some nations may even be shrinking while others continue to grow taller,” study lead researcher Majid Ezzati, a professor at the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said in a statement. “This confirms we urgently need to address children and adolescents’ environment and nutrition on a global scale, and ensure we’re giving the world’s children the best possible start in life.”

Ezzati added that the English-speaking world, especially the United States, “is falling behind other high-income nations in Europe and Asia Pacific.” These differences in height, when combined with reports about increased obesity, could be a red flag about people’s health, and emphasizes the need for better nutrition throughout life, he said.

Quick facts

  • The average height of 18-year-old men has dropped by as much as 2 inches (5 cm) over the past 40 years in parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, including Sierra Leon, Uganda and Rwanda.
  • Australia was the only non-European country to be in the top 25 in 2014; its men ranked No. 18 and its women ranked No. 15.
  • In East Asia, South Korean and Chinese men are now taller than Japanese men.
  • Adults in the South Asian countries of Bangladesh and India have heights that are plateauing, at about 2 to 4 inches (5 cm to 10 cm) shorter than adults in Japan and South Korea.
  • The smallest men in 1914 lived in Laos, with an average height of 5 feet (153 cm), which is similar to the height of a well-nourished 12-year-old boy today.
  • In 1914, the shortest women lived in Guatemala, with an average height of 4 feet 7 inches (140 cm), the same height as a well-nourished 10-year-old girl today.

The nations with the tallest men in 2014 (with their 1914 rankings given in brackets):

  1. Netherlands (12)
  2. Belgium (33)
  3. Estonia (4)
  4. Latvia (13)
  5. Denmark (9)
  6. Bosnia and Herzegovina (19)
  7. Croatia (22)
  8. Serbia (30)
  9. Iceland (6)
  10. Czech Republic (24)

The nations with the tallest women in 2014 (1914 ranking in brackets):

  1. Latvia (28)
  2. Netherlands (38)
  3. Estonia (16)
  4. Czech Republic (69)
  5. Serbia (93)
  6. Slovakia (26)
  7. Denmark (11)
  8. Lithuania (41)
  9. Belarus (42)
  10. Ukraine (43)

Original article on Live Science.

Editor’s Recommendations

  • 7 Diseases You Can Learn About From a Genetic Test
  • Beyond Vegetables and Exercise: 5 Surprising Ways to Be Heart Healthy
  • The World’s Happiest and Least-Happy Countries of 2016 (Infographic)

Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tammy Duckworth: I didn’t put my life on the line so Trump could invite Russia to interfere in U.S. elections [Video]

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who lost her legs as an Army helicopter pilot in Iraq, delivered a pointed critique of Donald Trump on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.

The Democratic Senate candidate began her address by recounting the 2004 attack that wounded her.

“Twelve years ago, I was co-piloting a Black Hawk helicopter over Iraq,” she recalled. “A rocket-propelled grenade ripped through our cockpit, and I’m only here tonight because of the miracles that followed. Some I can explain, like the bravery of my crew determined not to leave me behind. Some I can’t, like the shrapnel from the explosion passing through the spinning rotor blades without destroying them, allowing us to land.”

She continued: “What I do know is that I started that day doing what I loved. I ended it knocked down, surviving only because my buddies refused to leave me and wouldn’t stop, even as they struggled to carry my body, with its missing limbs. Eleven days later, I woke up with a debt I can never repay.”

Duckworth then denounced the Republican nominee’s statement earlier this week encouraging Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email from her tenure in the State Department. Many experts suspect that Russia is behind the trove of leaked Democratic National Committee emails leaked last weekend, and the Clinton campaign said the leak was an attempt to tip the election in favor of Trump. He later insisted he was joking.

“By the way, Donald Trump, I didn’t put my life on the line to defend our democracy so you could invite Russia to interfere in it. You are not fit to be the commander in chief,” Duckworth said.

Up there: Netherlands, Latvia lead world for people's height

NEW YORK (AP) — If you want to see a tall population of men, go to the Netherlands. Tall women? Latvia.

And in the United States, which lags behind dozens of other countries in height, the average for adults stopped increasing about 20 years ago.

That’s the word from researchers who analyzed a century’s worth of height data from 200 countries. Results were released Monday in the journal eLife.

National height averages are useful as an indicator of nutrition, health care, environment and general health that people have experienced from the womb through adolescence, said Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London, who led the research. Genes also influence height.

The researchers calculated average height for 18 year olds, roughly the age when people stop growing. They drew on more than 1,400 studies that covered more than 18.6 million adults who reached that age between 1914 and 2014.

Experts said the results generally agree with what others have reported before.

The tallest men in the new analysis were Dutch, with an average height of about 6 feet (182.5 centimeters). The next nine tallest countries in order for men were Belgium, Estonia, Latvia, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Iceland and the Czech Republic.

Latvia topped the list for women, with an average height of 5-foot-6 (170 centimeters). Rounding out the top 10 were the Netherlands, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia, Denmark, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.

Over the century-long span of the study, the biggest gains appeared in South Korean women and Iranian men, who added 8 inches (20.2 centimeters) and 6 ½ inches (16.5 centimeters), respectively. There was little change in South Asia and some sub-Saharan African countries.

In the U.S., men gained about 2 ½ inches (6 centimeters) over the century, with about 2 inches (5 centimeters) for women. The nation is now the 37th tallest for men and 42nd for women, researchers said.

The analysis estimated that average height for U.S. 18 year olds maxed out at about 5-foot-10 (177.5 centimeters) for men in 1996, and at about 5-foot-5 (164 centimeters) for women in 1988. Since then height has stalled but not decreased significantly, said James Bentham of Imperial College London, a study author.

Most Western countries, including the Netherlands, also have hit a plateau, although the U.S. reached it early, researchers said.

The researchers didn’t investigate the causes of the U.S. stagnation. But John Komlos, a visiting professor of economics at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, said there could be several reasons. He didn’t participate in the new study but has previously studied height.

Komlos suggested such factors as lack of health insurance, shortfalls in medical and prenatal care, underweight and preterm babies from teenage pregnancies, and a rise in obesity, which leads to earlier puberty and so stoppage of growth.

The shortest female population in the study is in Guatemala, at an average of 4-foot-11 (149.4 centimeters). It is followed in order by the Philippines, Bangladesh, Nepal, East Timor, Madagascar, Laos, the Marshall Islands, India and Indonesia.

The shortest male population is in East Timor, at an average of 5-foot-3 (160 centimeters). It is followed by Yemen, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Rwanda, the Marshall Islands, the Philippines and Mauritania.

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Online:

Journal: https://elifesciences.org

Interactive graphics: http://www.ncdrisc.org/v-height.html

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Follow Malcolm Ritter at http://twitter.com/malcolmritter His recent work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/malcolm-ritter

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Trump aides adopt boss’s policy of no apologies in defending Melania against plagiarism allegations

CLEVELAND — If there’s one thing we know about Donald Trump as a political candidate, it’s that he’s never let facts slow him down.

Among other things, the presumptive Republican nominee regularly claims that he opposed the Iraq War “from the beginning,” which is contradicted by a 2002 interview in which he expressed support for the invasion. He continues to trash Hillary Clinton for using a TelePrompTer — even though he increasingly does, too. And on Monday night, Trump bragged to Fox News that the Republican National Convention was being held in Cleveland because he had “recommended” it — even though the GOP officially named the site in 2014, a year before he kicked off his unlikely bid for the White House.

Of the 182 statements considered on Politifact’s “Truth-o-Meter,” the fact-checking organization found that 75 percent of Trump’s remarks ranked as “mostly false,” “false” or “pants-on-fire.” No other politician has ranked so low on the scale, the group says. But Trump’s stretching of the truth or even outright misstatements haven’t hurt him with voters, who praise him as a blunt-talking candidate who doesn’t adhere to a script.

But if Trump has so far gotten a pass from voters on bending the truth, it’s unclear if his campaign operatives will be granted the same leeway. On Tuesday, the Trump campaign aggressively pushed back against charges that Melania Trump’s prime-time speech Monday lifted passages from first lady Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech — insisting that no plagiarism was committed, in spite of their obvious similarities.

“There’s no cribbing of Michelle Obama’s speech. These were common words and values that she cares about her family and things like that,” Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman and chief strategist, told CNN, even after the network, and other media, played a side-by-side comparison of the speeches, highlighting similar words and phrases.

Manafort further implied that the Democrats had an ulterior motive, accusing the Clinton campaign of dirty tricks in attacking Trump’s spouse. He cited this as “an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down.” “It’s not going to work,” Manafort declared, an accusation he repeated in other interviews.

Later, offering a response to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus’ statement that someone should be “fired” for borrowing from the speech, Manafort told AP he agreed, but again denied any wrongdoing. “Frankly, if I knew somebody did it, I would fire them too,” he said.

The response mystified Republicans both inside and outside the Trump campaign, who questioned why staffers were prolonging a story that is personally embarrassing to Melania Trump, who has been a noticeably reticent partner in her husband’s campaign. Monday’s speech was only her second public remarks since her husband announced his candidacy in June 2015 — and according to aides, Mrs. Trump initially pushed back against taking a speaking role at the RNC.

On Tuesday, a Trump staffer who declined to be identified discussing the internal dynamics of the campaign told Yahoo News that aides had been told to echo Manafort’s response to the controversy, which has cast a shadow over the convention, as Trump tries to win over Republicans skeptical about his candidacy.

But some Trump advisers were struggling to stick to those marching orders. In an interview with MSNBC, Sam Clovis, a co-chairman and top policy adviser for the campaign, suggested that the mix-up was a staff error. “I’m sure what happened is the person who was helping write this plucked something in there and probably an unfortunate oversight — and certainly Melania didn’t have anything to do with it,” he said.

For his part, Trump is said to be furious over the handling of the speech, but so far, he has offered no public response to the controversy. That’s uncharacteristic for a candidate who brags of “punching back” when he feels he’s been boxed in — even in the case of a self-inflicted mistake. But it’s an open question whether that will work for Manafort and other campaign operatives, who, so far, have refused to cede any ground on the controversy and who are being blamed by Trump’s allies for mishandling the speech.

Truck attacker kills over 70 in Nice Bastille Day crowd

By Michel Bernouin

NICE, France (Reuters) – An attacker killed at least 73 people and injured scores when he drove a truck at high speed into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice late on Thursday, local media quoted officials as saying.

Police shot and killed the driver, who drove the heavy, long-distance truck at speed for well over 100 meters (yards) along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront, hitting the mass of spectators late in the evening, regional official Sebastien Humbert told France Info radio.

The man had opened fire on the crowd, local government chief Christian Estrosi told BFM TV, and weapons and grenades were found inside the truck after he was killed.

“It’s a scene of horror,” local member of parliament Eric Ciotti told France Info, saying the truck had sped along the pavement fronting the Mediterranean, before being stopped by police after “mowing down several hundred people”.

Local broadcasters quoted officials as saying the preliminary death toll was 73. Other officials put the number of wounded as high as in the hundreds.

Humbert described it as a clear criminal attack, although the driver was not yet identified. Residents of the Mediterranean city close to the Italian border were advised to stay indoors. There was no sign of any other attack.

Almost exactly eight months ago Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13, the bloodiest in a number of attacks in France and Belgium in the past two years. On Sunday, France had breathed a sigh of relief as the month-long Euro 2016 soccer tournament ended without a feared attack.

Police denied rumors on social media of a subsequent hostage-taking. Vehicle attacks have been used by isolated members of militant groups in recent years, notably in Israel, as well as in Europe, though never to such devastating effect.

HIDING IN TERROR

One woman told France Info she and others had fled in terror: “The lorry came zig-zagging along the street. We ran into a hotel and hid in the toilets with lots of people.”

Another woman told the station she was sheltering in a restaurant on the promenade with some 200 other people, where things had calmed down about two hours after the incident.

Nice-Matin journalist Damien Allemand reported from the scene as events unfolded: “People are running. It’s panic. He rode up onto the Prom and piled into the crowd … There are people covered in blood. There must be many injured.”

The paper published a photograph of a damaged, long-distance delivery truck, which it said was riddled with bullets and images of emergency services treating the injured. Social media carried images of those hit lying apparently lifeless in pools of blood, prompting police to ask people to stop such posts.

Regional government chief Estrosi has warned in the past of the risk of Islamist attacks in the region, following Islamic State bloodshed in Paris and Brussels over the past 18 months.

The city, with a population of some 350,000 and a history as a flamboyant but also gritty metropolis in the sun, has seen some of its Muslim residents travel to Syria to fight, a path taken by previous Islamic State attackers in Europe.

French President Francois Hollande, who was in the south of France at the time of the attack but raced back to Paris to the national crisis center, had hours earlier said that a state of emergency put in place after the Paris attacks in November would not be extended when it expires on July 26.

“We can’t extend the state of emergency indefinitely, it would make no sense. That would mean we’re no longer a republic with the rule of law applied in all circumstances,” Hollande told journalists in a traditional Bastille Day interview.

His interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, was expected in Nice overnight, a source in the ministry said.

(Writing by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by James Dalgleish and Sandra Maler)

Police union criticizes Obama shooting response, calls for hate crime investigation

The nation’s largest police union is calling on the Justice Department to investigate the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas Thursday night as a hate crime — and is criticizing President Obama for his response to the shootings so far.

“We’d like to see the president make one speech that speaks to everybody instead of one speech that speaks to black people as they grieve and one speech that speaks to police officers as they grieve,” said Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 330,000 officers. “We don’t need two presidents, we only need one. We need one who works to unify the United States.”

Pasco said the union is looking for stronger voices of support for law enforcement within the administration and elsewhere. On Thursday, Obama addressed two recent police shootings of black men, calling them tragedies that point to entrenched racial disparities in the criminal justice system. “When incidents like this occur, there is a big chunk of our fellow citizenry that feels as if because of the color of their skin, they are not being treated the same,” Obama said, adding that he had respect and appreciation for the “vast majority” of police officers who protect Americans every day. Friday morning, hours after the shooting of police in Dallas, Obama called the shootings a “vicious, calculated, despicable attack” and vowed “justice will be done.”

Pasco said his union would like justice to take the form of a hate crime investigation into the shootings.

“The U.S. Department of Justice is always quick to insert itself into local investigations, sometimes before the preliminary reports are even in,” Chuck Canterbury, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement. “Today we expect action just as swift — we want a federal investigation into those who were motivated by their hatred of police to commit mass murder in Dallas last night.”

The union has pushed unsuccessfully for federal legislation to make killing someone because they are a police officer a hate crime. Some states, including Louisiana, have adopted state-level police hate crime laws. Hate crimes typically carry harsher punishments than regular crimes.

Though no law exists to prosecute the shootings as hate crimes against police, it’s possible that the Department of Justice could decide to investigate them as hate crimes based on anti-white animus. According to Dallas Police Chief David Brown, the suspect in the murders of five police officers said he “wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” The suspect said he was not affiliated with any group and was upset by recent police shootings of black men.

The federal hate crimes statute applies to offenders targeting people based upon their “actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin.” In 2014, 23 percent of federal racial hate crimes were motivated by anti-white bias, with 64 percent motivated by anti-black bias.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch told reporters Friday afternoon that the Justice Department is providing “assistance” in the investigation in Dallas. She implored the country not to resort to violence and praised both police officers for bravely protecting protesters and protesters for trying to improve their country. “To our brothers and sisters who wear the badge, I want you to know that I am deeply grateful for the difficult and dangerous work that you do every day to keep our streets safe and our nation secure,” she said. “Our hearts are broken by this loss. And the Department of Justice will do all that we can to support you in the days ahead.”

The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge Wednesday and says it is “monitoring” the shooting of Philando Castile in Minnesota. Video showed Sterling shot repeatedly by at least one of two white police officers while he was on the ground. Castile’s fiancée said he was shot by an officer while reaching for his license during a traffic stop. The department has also investigated other racially charged police shootings, including the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. In that case, the department cleared the police officer of wrongdoing but offered up a searing indictment of a police department that used racially discriminatory police tactics.

The department also investigated the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin by a volunteer neighborhood watchman as a potential hate crime, but it ultimately decided not to pursue civil rights charges in the case.