Could Brexit vote be a preview of US presidential race? – Reuters


Britain’s stunning vote to leave the European Union, buoyed by a frenzy of nationalism and populist anger, was a crushing rejection of the political elite. Republican Donald Trump hopes it is also a preview of November’s U.S. presidential election.

The referendum result reverberated immediately in a U.S. presidential campaign dominated by Trump’s rapid rise to capture the nomination, fueled by a similar brew of anti-establishment and anti-globalization sentiment.

The vote in Britain reinforced the notion that the insurgent campaign launched by the wealthy real estate developer had tapped into a global political movement that might be hard to stop.

“This is a protest vote against globalization and there is one presidential candidate who won the nomination who has put globalization in his crosshairs – and that’s Donald Trump,” Republican strategist John Feehery said.

Trump, who has spent much of his campaign warning of the dangers posed by immigrants who illegally enter from Mexico and proposing a temporary ban on U.S. entry for Muslims, has matched the global mood with his rhetoric.

“There are swaths of the population around the world who are struggling economically in the current economy, and groping for targets of blame,” said Katherine Cramer, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Trump and the Brexit vote offer up tangible targets, and it is not surprising that people grab onto them. The vote yesterday is a reminder that Trump could very well win the presidential election,” she said.

A Brexit supporter, Trump was happy to note the parallels to his own campaign when he reopened his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, on Friday. Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton bemoaned the result.

The referendum, which most British opinion polls had predicted was headed to defeat, was a wake-up call for Democrats who have been heartened by Clinton’s lead over Trump in opinion polls of late.

“I woke up this morning a little dismayed,” said Democratic strategist Dane Strother. “The question is whether Trump is similarly underperforming in the polls here. If that under-polled anger was present in Britain, as a Democrat you have to hope it isn’t mirrored here.”

Global stock markets wobbled immediately after the vote, which experts warned could trigger a global recession and weaken the U.S. economy.

CAUTIONARY TALE

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said after the vote he could step down by October, presents a cautionary lesson for Clinton as she prepares to face Trump. British voters ignored repeated warnings from Cameron about the dire consequences of a departure from the European Union.

Clinton can take advantage of the unsettled global mood without indulging in predictions of doom or the over-the-top rhetoric that sometimes has set back Trump, Republican strategist Rich Galen said.

“She can reflect some of the same sentiment that Trump and the Brexit forces tapped into but use it to her advantage,” Galen said. “She is not going to, and doesn’t want to, out-Trump Trump, but the idea is to say, ‘I understand these concerns.'”

Clinton adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters after the vote that she has “a real confidence that Americans are generous, tolerant, big-hearted people” who believe that the country is stronger together.

“They’re going to watch what impact (the Brexit vote) ends up having on the U.K. and on the British economy and come November, they are going to make their own decision about the kind of leadership that they’re looking for,” he said.

Differences between the electorates in the United Kingdom and the United States are one reason the Brexit sentiment may not translate fully into success for Trump.

About 30 million votes were cast in the last British general election in 2015, with about 10 percent of those cast by minority voters. Polling in the UK ahead of the Brexit vote suggested broad support for staying in the EU among those voters.

By contrast, according to the Pew Research Center, nonwhite voters constituted 26 percent of all voters in the 2012 U.S. general election — and by a huge margin they backed Democratic President Barack Obama. Pew projects that by November, nearly one in three voters will be a minority, and opinion polls show Trump struggling with those blocs.

Just being more mature, experienced and sympathetic than Trump may not be enough for Clinton.

“The argument is you need a responsible grownup, but a large part of the world doesn’t want a responsible grownup,” said Tom Rath, a New Hampshire-based Republican strategist. “I don’t think it’s enough to say I know all the stuff he doesn’t or he’s rash, because right now people aren’t filtering that through.”

(Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson, Adam DeRose, Alana Wise and James Oliphant; Editing by Howard Goller and Mary Milliken)

A combination photo shows U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) in Los Angeles, California on May 5, 2016 and in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. on May 6, 2016 respectively.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (L) and Jim Urquhart/File Photos
A combination photo shows U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (L) and Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump (R) in Los Angeles, California on May 5, 2016 and in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. on May 6, 2016 respectively.

Reuters/Lucy Nicholson (L) and Jim Urquhart/File Photos

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Donald Trump's Scottish golf swing: A chaotic two-day trip across the green – Washington Post

By ,

BALMEDIE, Scotland — Donald Trump capped off his two-day overseas tour in a golf cart Saturday afternoon, zooming around the golf course he built on top of sand dunes. Running the country won’t be much different than building a resort like this, he told the pack of political reporters who followed in maintenance carts — “just a lot bigger.”

Amid the chaos of the day, Trump seemed to dramatically shift on two of his major policy proposals, although it was unclear if he meant to do so and his staff provided no clarification.

Some of Trump’s comments led his spokeswoman to confirm via email that Trump’s ban on U.S. entry by foreign Muslims would only apply to those from countries rife with terrorism, instead of all Muslims. Later, over fish and chips at the clubhouse, Trump told a Bloomberg Politics reporter that he doesn’t consider “mass deportations” a part of his immigration plan, although he didn’t specify what that meant.

Trump’s goal for the trip was to promote two of his golf courses, not wade into foreign-policy discussions. But as Trump’s plane crossed the Atlantic, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union — and the swarm of political reporters who traveled there with him wanted to know how he would address the situation.

When Trump arrived at his newly opened resort in Turnberry on Scotland’s western coast on Friday morning, it seemed like an image reboot was in the works. After weeks of struggling to implement a general-election strategy, he fired his campaign manager on Monday, gave a carefully scripted speech attacking Hillary Clinton on Wednesday and suddenly adopted a more polished voice on Twitter.

There was great anticipation as Trump stepped up to the microphone at a press conference on the ninth hole of the course, close to a cliff. Before he could say anything, a man wearing a Turnberry sweater jumped up to apologize for having forgotten to hand out golf balls to the crowd— then tossed dozens of red golf balls featuring a black swastika in Trump’s direction. Secret Service agents surrounded the man, British comic Simon Brodkin, and escorted him away.

Trump then spoke to the world, standing in a sea of Nazi golf balls.

“This is an amazing honor; it’s an amazing day — very historic day for a lot of reasons, not only Turnberry,” Trump said in a monotone voice, with a white campaign hat pulled down low, just above his eyes. “This is one of the big votes in the history of Europe and Scotland and everywhere . . . I think that it is purely historic, and what is happening is historic.”

He didn’t dwell on that history. Instead, Trump told the crowd that his mother was born in Scotland and adored the queen. He promoted his hotel suites, alluded to zoning changes and let everyone know that the golf course’s new sprinkler system is of “the highest level.” Trump recognized the previous owners of the resort, “friends of mine from Dubai” who he said “didn’t understand this golf thing.” He also marveled at his son Eric Trump’s ability to oversee the project.

[Trump’s top example of foreign experience: A Scottish golf course losing millions]

He may have been jetlagged or unnerved by the swastika-covered golf balls at his feet, but Trump appeared to lack his usual energy that morning. He leaned heavily on the lectern, rarely seeming excited about the words coming out of his mouth. At one point, he accidentally mixed up “Scotland” and “Florida,” the critical swing state where he owns a number of golf courses and where Clinton just passed him in a poll.

He couldn’t avoid the day’s headlines, as reporters pressed him to weigh in on the day’s developments beyond Turnberry.

“People want to take their country back,” Trump said of the Brexit vote. “They want to take their borders back. They want to take their monetary [sic] back. They want to take a lot of things back. They want to be able to have a country again. So, I think you’re going have this happen more and more. I really believe that, and I think it’s happening in the United States.”

Trump said that as president he would “embrace” Britain leaving the E.U., but also “see how it plays out.” He mused that the falling value of the pound “could very well turn out to be a positive,” benefitting the travel industry and his resort. He wouldn’t take a position on Scotland’s renewed quest for independence — as its voters sharply disagreed with England and Wales, voting to stay in the E.U. — and he criticized President Obama for taking a stance on the referendum, breaking the informal tradition of not taking aim at a sitting president from overseas. He also mentioned his foreign-policy advisers.

“I’ve been in touch with them,” he said, “but there’s nothing to talk about.”

At one point, Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian listed prominent British leaders who refused to meet with Trump because he is “regarded as toxic.” Trump called the reporter a “nasty, nasty guy.”

The next day Trump flew to Scotland’s opposite coast, to the golf course he built on sand dunes north of Aberdeen, then had dinner with media giant Rupert Murdoch. At the gate of the Trump International Golf Links, security turned away journalists from The Washington Post, which has been banned from all of Trump’s events for nearly two weeks, BuzzFeed and Politico, along with MacAskill.

Those who were allowed inside followed Trump on a tour of the course, stopping at holes 10, 13, 14 and 18 for questions.

Speaking on the green, Trump was asked if a Scottish Muslim would be welcome in the United States under his restrictive entry policy. For the first time, he said that his proposed ban on Muslim entry only applied to those from “terror states.” His spokeswoman confirmed in an email that Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country would apply just to those coming from countries with heavy terrorism, although she didn’t provide any additional clarification on precisely which countries. In an interview with Bloomberg Politics after he left the course, Trump criticized Obama for deporting “vast numbers of people” and seemed to retreat somewhat from his own plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants.

“I would not call it mass deportations,” Trump said of his immigration plan.

A spokeswoman did not respond to a request for clarification.

The Brexit vote came up again. “There’s always turmoil” in the markets, said Trump, who added that Americans have nothing to worry about.

“This shouldn’t even affect them,” Trump said. “I mean, frankly, if it’s done properly. If we had proper leadership.”

When asked about George W. Bush treasury secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., a Republican, endorsing Clinton, Trump responded: “Don’t know anything about him.”

Three of the Trump golf course’s five immediate neighbors in Aberdeen were flying Mexican flags on Saturday in protest of his visit and his controversial comments about immigrants. For years, Trump and his associates have tried unsuccessfully to buy these properties or force the residents out.

“Most neighbors love us — I have one or two that are a little contentious, which is fine because they lost,” Trump said. “It’s like some of the people I beat in the primaries — they’re not exactly in love with me. Well, I have one or two neighbors that we beat, and they’re not exactly in love with me.”

He again brushed away questions about foreign-policy advisers, saying that “most of them are no good.”

He then abruptly changed the topic back to golf.

“Let’s go to the 14th,” he said.

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'No need to write, David,' impatient EU tells Cameron – Reuters

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends an Armed Forces Day National Event (AFDNE) at Cleethorpes in Britain June 25, 2016. Owen Cooban/MOD Crown Copyright/Handout via REUTERS
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron attends an Armed Forces Day National Event (AFDNE) at Cleethorpes in Britain June 25, 2016. Owen Cooban/MOD Crown Copyright/Handout via

Reuters


Britain need not send a formal letter to the European Union to trigger a two-year countdown to its exit from the bloc, EU officials said, implying British Prime Minister David Cameron could start the process when he speaks at a summit on Tuesday.

“‘Triggering’ … could either be a letter to the president of the European Council or an official statement at a meeting of the European Council duly noted in the official records of the meeting,” a spokesman for the council of EU leaders said.

A second EU official, asked about mounting frustration among leaders with the British prime minister’s delay in delivering the formal notification required to launch divorce proceedings, said: “It doesn’t have to be written. He can just say it.”

Cameron will brief the other 27 national leaders over dinner at a European Council summit in Brussels on Tuesday on the outcome of Thursday’s referendum at which Britons voted to leave the EU, prompting him to announce he will resign.

On Friday, he said he would leave it to his successor as Conservative party leader and premier to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty, which sets out a two-year process to quit the bloc. That appeared to be a reversal of a pledge to launch the process immediately after the vote. It has angered EU leaders who want a quick settlement to limit uncertainty.

Some European leaders still expect Cameron himself to start the process in the coming days or weeks, officials said on Saturday. British officials were not immediately available.

Some Brexit campaigners have long said that Britain should aim to negotiate a comprehensive new relationship with the EU, seeking access to markets without submitting to EU rules or open migration, before binding itself into the two-year timetable that would be fixed for talks if Article 50 is triggered.

Such talk worries EU officials and leaders who fear that a prolonged haggling with London will further increase the risk of a domino effect of nationalist-led demands for exit from other states. They do not see a legal way to force Britain to start the process but have piled political pressure on Cameron to honor his pledge to launch Article 50 negotiations and respect the popular vote.

MUST BE EXPLICIT

The Council spokesman made clear that leaders cannot simply choose to interpret something Cameron says as the trigger without the prime minister saying clearly he means it to be.

“The notification of Article 50 is a formal act and has to be done by the British government to the European Council,” the spokesman said. “It has to be done in an unequivocal manner with the explicit intent to trigger Article 50.

“Negotiations of leaving and the future relationship can only begin after such a formal notification. If it is indeed the intention of the British government to leave the EU, it is therefore in its interest to notify as soon as possible.”

Since the shock vote on Thursday, won 52-48 percent by the Leave camp in defiance of polls and the bulk of the British establishment, there have been calls in Britain for the result to be reviewed or for parliament to ignore the referendum.

The second EU official, asked whether Britain could launch the process and then ask to stay, said that was not foreseen by the treaty: “Once you trigger it, you cannot take it back.”

If a state fails to agree a departure treaty with the others, EU law simply stops applying to it after two years.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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'No need to write, David,' impatient EU tells Cameron – Reuters

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron attends an Armed Forces Day National Event (AFDNE) at Cleethorpes in Britain June 25, 2016. Owen Cooban/MOD Crown Copyright/Handout via REUTERS
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron attends an Armed Forces Day National Event (AFDNE) at Cleethorpes in Britain June 25, 2016. Owen Cooban/MOD Crown Copyright/Handout via

Reuters


Britain need not send a formal letter to the European Union to trigger a two-year countdown to its exit from the bloc, EU officials said, implying British Prime Minister David Cameron could start the process when he speaks at a summit on Tuesday.

“‘Triggering’ … could either be a letter to the president of the European Council or an official statement at a meeting of the European Council duly noted in the official records of the meeting,” a spokesman for the council of EU leaders said.

A second EU official, asked about mounting frustration among leaders with the British prime minister’s delay in delivering the formal notification required to launch divorce proceedings, said: “It doesn’t have to be written. He can just say it.”

Cameron will brief the other 27 national leaders over dinner at a European Council summit in Brussels on Tuesday on the outcome of Thursday’s referendum at which Britons voted to leave the EU, prompting him to announce he will resign.

On Friday, he said he would leave it to his successor as Conservative party leader and premier to trigger Article 50 of the EU treaty, which sets out a two-year process to quit the bloc. That appeared to be a reversal of a pledge to launch the process immediately after the vote. It has angered EU leaders who want a quick settlement to limit uncertainty.

Some European leaders still expect Cameron himself to start the process in the coming days or weeks, officials said on Saturday. British officials were not immediately available.

Some Brexit campaigners have long said that Britain should aim to negotiate a comprehensive new relationship with the EU, seeking access to markets without submitting to EU rules or open migration, before binding itself into the two-year timetable that would be fixed for talks if Article 50 is triggered.

Such talk worries EU officials and leaders who fear that a prolonged haggling with London will further increase the risk of a domino effect of nationalist-led demands for exit from other states. They do not see a legal way to force Britain to start the process but have piled political pressure on Cameron to honor his pledge to launch Article 50 negotiations and respect the popular vote.

MUST BE EXPLICIT

The Council spokesman made clear that leaders cannot simply choose to interpret something Cameron says as the trigger without the prime minister saying clearly he means it to be.

“The notification of Article 50 is a formal act and has to be done by the British government to the European Council,” the spokesman said. “It has to be done in an unequivocal manner with the explicit intent to trigger Article 50.

“Negotiations of leaving and the future relationship can only begin after such a formal notification. If it is indeed the intention of the British government to leave the EU, it is therefore in its interest to notify as soon as possible.”

Since the shock vote on Thursday, won 52-48 percent by the Leave camp in defiance of polls and the bulk of the British establishment, there have been calls in Britain for the result to be reviewed or for parliament to ignore the referendum.

The second EU official, asked whether Britain could launch the process and then ask to stay, said that was not foreseen by the treaty: “Once you trigger it, you cannot take it back.”

If a state fails to agree a departure treaty with the others, EU law simply stops applying to it after two years.

(Reporting by Alastair Macdonald; Editing by Bill Rigby)

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Britain's Vote To Leave – Huffington Post

The British people have voted to leave the European Union. It was not by an overwhelming majority at 52 percent, but it couldn’t have been imagined 10 years ago. We have been seeing this fragmentation throughout Europe, but we now have the first case of a nation deciding to leave. I doubt that it will be the last. But as the first, we should try to understand clearly why the British voted as they did. We should also be thankful that we will never hear the word Brexit again. I really hated that term.

The issue is what prompted this outpouring of votes to leave. There were three reasons, in my view, that drove it.

The first was simple. Supporters of remaining in the EU made the case that there would be substantial economic costs. Opponents of the EU noted the obvious, which is that the EU is a dysfunctional economic entity that has been unable to address the economic problems that have developed since 2008. It has not addressed the condition of southern Europe, where unemployment has remained at more than 20 percent for years, nor the high unemployment in France. The profound difference between the lives of southern Europeans, including the middle class, and Germans, who enjoy 4.2 percent unemployment, is profound. Europe as a whole has stagnated economically.

The argument for remaining in the EU was that the alternative was economic disaster. It made little sense to the opponents of membership to try to solve British problems through a close link to an organization experiencing regional economic disaster and organization-wide stagnation. These voters were not persuaded by the idea that leaving the EU would lead to economic disaster. Their sense was that remaining in the European Union would force Britain to share Europe’s fate.

Obviously they did not think that Europe would throw up trade barriers against Britain. The U.K. is Germany’s third most important export target; The last thing Germany wants is a trade war with Britain. Similarly, the threat that London’s banks would decamp for Frankfurt is not only logistically implausible, but doesn’t take the banks’ clients into account. Clients from around the world like visiting London and it is the clients that matter in finance. By moving to Frankfurt, New York would become a unique magnet. Frankfurt, not so much. In the end, the Europeans need the financial services London provides. They will not lock it out. The European Union did not create the financial relationships that exist. Britain’s financial role goes back almost two centuries. The EU is a system that aligns with financial reality. It does not create it. The threat of consequences was not persuasive.

Sovereignty

The second reason had to do with a global trend toward nationalism. There is a sense that the multinational financial, trade and defense organizations created after World War II have ceased to function effectively. The EU is an example, but the International Monetary Fund and NATO are other examples. More than not serving any purpose, these institutions do harm in malfunctioning and most important, take control away from the nation. For supporters of remaining, such organizations are self-evidently valuable and may need to be tweaked but not abandoned. For those voting to leave, these organizations take away sovereignty from the nation, and therefore the nation loses control over its own fate. Lacking trust in these entities and fearing the consequences of losing control, nationalism becomes a powerful attraction.

The immigration crisis in Europe was a trigger. While leaders of some countries and of the EU argued that aiding the refugees was a moral obligation, opponents of the EU saw this as a national issue, as it affected the internal life of the country. The attempt to take control of this issue away from Britain was a particularly important driver for the “leave” vote. The EU has trouble understanding the power of nationalism. It attempts to retain nationality as a cultural right, but deprive the nation of power to make many decisions. This strategy was embraced before 2008, but became difficult to accept after.

Political Elitism

Finally, there was a profound loss of the political leadership of Britain, with the leaders of both the Conservative and Labour parties rejected by the “leave” voters. Both parties had endorsed remaining with the EU, and both parties saw many of their members go into opposition on the issue. Indeed, in many ways this was a three-way struggle, with the two established parties wanting to remain in the EU and a third faction, drawn from both parties, opposing it. People in this third group saw both establishment parties as hostile to their interests.

This should be considered in the broader sense. The financial markets panicked at the possibility of an anti-EU vote. They said so loudly. What they did not grasp was the degree to which they had lost legitimacy in 2008. It appeared to this third group that the financial industry’s recklessness and incompetence had created a disaster for many. In addition, many of the voters saw no benefit to themselves in the success of the financial industry or its location in London. While in Britain, the financial industry would have disproportionate influence, that would harm the voters.

The degree to which this was a vote that was directed against the British elite is vital to understand. Politicians, business leaders and intellectuals were all seen as having lost their right to control the system. The elites had contempt for their values – for their nationalism and their interests. This is not a new phenomenon in Europe, but it is one that the EU had thought it had banished.

This is not a British phenomenon by any means. It is something that is sweeping Europe and China. It is also present in the United States, in the figure of Donald Trump whose entire strategy is to attack both the Democratic and Republican leadership and the elite who have contempt for the nationalism and moral principles of those beneath them. It is a general process the West is undergoing, and it came to London yesterday.

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‚ÄčAt least 150 homes destroyed in deadly California wildfire – CBS News

LAKE ISABELLA, Calif. — A voracious and deadly wildfire in central California has destroyed 150 homes and the toll may rise, fire officials said Saturday.

The tally rose from 80 homes as firefighters began going through neighborhoods to count houses and mobile homes incinerated by the blaze. Another 75 homes were damaged, authorities told CBS affiliate KBAK in Bakersfield.

Play Video

CBS Evening News

California wildfires turn deadly

California has been dealing with explosive wildfires for much of the last week, but a new one near Bakersfield has killed at least two people. Th…

The inferno of destruction tore through rural mountain communities near Lake Isabella, about 40 miles northeast of Bakersfield, overwhelming firefighters as home after home went up in flames.

Entire blocks were reduced to rubble, and at least 2,500 homes remained threatened.

“It was my grandparents’ home, I grew up in that house,” Morgan Rivers told CBS News. “It’s not the things inside of it, it’s something you can’t replace.”

Since it began Thursday, the Erskine Fire has swept through more than 35,000 acres — nearly 56 square miles — of parched brush and timber. It moved so quickly that some residents barely had time to escape — and two didn’t.

“Two people who we believe were trying to escape the fire — they had actually gotten out of their home and were apparently overcome with smoke,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.

The names of the victims, described as an elderly couple, were not released. Cadaver dogs were being used to search the rubble of other homes for other possible fatalities.

Weather conditions that drove the fire through small southern Sierra Nevada communities with terrifying speed remained a worry, with low humidity and 30-mph steady winds forecast.

california-wildfire-4.jpg

Flames from the Erskine Fire engulf a home near Weldon, California, on June 24, 2016.

REUTERS/Noah Berger

“That’s something we have to keep an eye on. It could spark another disaster,” Kern County fire Engineer Anthony Romero said.

More than 1,100 firefighters were battling the blaze, but Louie Garcia saw no one when the flames closed in on his home.

Play Video

CBS This Morning

California wildfires destroy homes as threat rages on

A fast-moving California wildfire destroyed dozens of homes overnight. The Erskine fire is burning out of control about 150 miles north of Los An…

“The house next door was already burning, it was engulfed,” Garcia told CBS News. “It was just a wall of fire, it was hot, couldn’t hardly breathe, couldn’t hardly see.”

His neighbors came to the rescue, climbing on his roof with garden hoses. Without their help, Garcia said, “Well, I don’t think I’d have a house today.”

Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, freeing up money and resources to fight the fire and to clean up in the aftermath. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also authorized the use of funds for firefighting efforts.

Everett Evans, 45, fled Thursday as the fire came down a mountain with a roar toward his South Lake mobile home.

“When you hear a freight train, it’s time to leave. You could hear it, you could see it, you could smell it,” he said.

Evans said he knocked on doors to get neighbors to leave. Evans and his father, son and his son’s girlfriend were in the convoy.

But he has nothing left to come back to. Virtually no homes survived in his neighborhood. A reporter visiting on Saturday found only a burned flag blowing in the wind on a flagpole above the rubble of Evans’ home.

Evans hadn’t been allowed back to the home but said he lost mementos and photos from his former marriage and years in the Marine Corps.

“That’s all memories. You get to keep your life but you lose your memories,” he said.

california-wildfire-5.jpg

Amy Nelson, 30, breaks down as she goes through the remains of her home devastated by a wildfire, Saturday, June 25, 2016, in South Lake, Calif.

Jae C. Hong, AP

Shiela McFarland, 67, from Mountain Mesa, left her home three days ago, taking her computer, cellphone, papers and her miniature poodle, Snuggles.

At an evacuation center, she slept on a cot outdoors next to his kennel.

McFarland said she didn’t know whether her home survived, but she was philosophical.

“It doesn’t matter if I’ve lost everything,” she said Saturday. “I’ve got my little dog, my kids and my grandkids. I’ve seen other people in worse shape.”

The fire tore through small communities of houses and mobile homes that surround the lake — actually a reservoir — and the Kern River, a popular spot for fishing and whitewater rafting. The communities are nestled in foothills of the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range that runs hundreds of miles north and south through eastern California.

Scorching heat and tinder-dry conditions across the West have contributed to massive wildfires in the past week that have destroyed properties and sent residents to seek shelter and hope for the best.

Laura Rogers was one of those who thought she’d never see her home or her brother’s home again. Instead, she was lucky to find both standing in a neighborhood of mobile homes that was devastated.

“I was sure this place was gone last night,” Rogers said through tears Friday as she gestured at the destruction around her. “I mean look at this, I can’t believe it. It’s like a scary movie.”

The downspout of her brother’s home was melted on the ground, but the structure was intact.

Dozens of other homes were gone, left in piles of charred sheet metal and cinderblock foundations. Scorched tricycles, air conditioners and TV dishes littered the landscape. Burned-out cars sat on tireless rims and leafless trees poked from barren, blackened dirt.

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2.1 million Brits signed a petition for another EU referendum. They shouldn't hold their breath. – Washington Post


A laptop screen displays a parliamentary petition on the website of the British government, calling for a second referendum on Britain’s inclusion within the European Union. (Justin Tallis/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Yes. It’s actually happening. People in Britain are talking seriously about the possibility of another referendum.

A petition calling for another referendum on whether Britain should stay in the European Union has now received at least 2.1 million signatures — a level that means it must now be debated by British politicians. It was apparently so popular that the British Parliament’s website, where the petition was hosted, briefly crashed.

[U.K. Parliament debate: Donald Trump gets pummeled by the British]

London residents gave mixed reactions after Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union sent shockwaves around the world. (Reuters)

The drive for a new referendum is coming from those who had hoped to “remain” in the E.U. Thursday’s referendum was fairly close — the “leave” vote won with just 51.9 percent. And so the petition for a new referendum suggests there should be a rule that in referendums with less than 75 percent turnout (Thursday’s vote was 72.2 percent), there should be another referendum unless a decision is reached by more than 60 percent of those voting.

Could this plan actually work? Might Britain actually vote again and decide to stay in the E.U.? Well, it’s certainly possible. But that doesn’t mean its not completely daft.

Why it is (kind of) possible

It would be an odd move to have a referendum immediately after a previous referendum on the same subject provided a clear outcome. But, frankly, this entire situation is odd.

Britain has only ever had three nationwide referendums. Generally, major policy decisions are decided by the country’s elected officials. As many have noted, this referendum was only called in a bid by Prime Minister David Cameron to calm tensions over the E.U. within his own Conservative Party ahead of a general election. Cameron thought he could win. Obviously he was completely mistaken.

[This is the untested E.U. process that will control Britain’s future]

Thursday’s referendum wasn’t actually legally binding — Cameron could have set it up to be so (a nationwide 2011 referendum was set up to be), but he apparently decided better of it. This means that, in theory at least, the British government could completely ignore the results and do whatever it thinks is best.

Of course, doing that would anger the majority of the country who voted to leave the E.U. But a new referendum could provide some democratic justification to the decision.

The close result does help the argument somewhat. Britain’s 1975 referendum on membership of the European Economic Community was decided by a 67.2 percent vote to stay in. In the 2011 vote (on whether to use the Alternative Vote electoral system) was decided by 67.9 percent of the vote. Nigel Farage, a key Brexit supporter, unwittingly provided support for this argument by saying that if “remain” won by a “52 to 48” margin, there would be “unfinished business” and an argument for another vote.

[This map shows Britain’s striking geographical divide over Brexit]

Another additional factor is the various reports of those who voted “leave” but now say they are dismayed at what has happened. Many of these accounts seem to suggest that the “leave” voter in question thought their vote would serve as a protest vote. “I didn’t think my vote was going to matter too much because I thought we were just going to ‘remain,'” one man told the BBC on Friday, adding that he was “quite worried” about the effect.

Why it’s completely daft

Okay. There are a few things to unpick here, so we’ll go through them step by step.

  • Ignoring the clear result of a referendum is unfair. Sure, the results of Thursday’s vote were close, but they were pretty conclusive. 51.9 percent is a better mandate than most governments win for a general election, for example. It would also be political suicide for Britain’s government to effectively say “your vote didn’t count” to half the country. And more than 2.1 million may want a new referendum, but 17 million already voted in one to leave.
  • You can’t retroactively legislate like this. The proposal outlined in the petition would require setting up laws and then retroactively applying them to Thursday’s vote. To put it simply, that’s not how laws work. It’s worth noting that the petition appears to have been set up in May, ahead of the vote, in a bid to change the rules before Britons voted. However, in practice this doesn’t matter – it’d still be retroactive legislation if it happened now.
  • Petitions don’t mean much. Now that the petition has over 100,000 votes it will be debated by Parliament, but British members of Parliament have no imperative to act on it. Petitions get lots of signatures all the time and nothing happens: Remember the debate on whether to ban Donald Trump from Britain earlier this year?
  • “Remain” might still lose anyway. For those who supported “remain,” the idea that “leave” voters are regretful voters who didn’t know what they were doing is heartening. However, we only have anecdotal evidence of a few regretful pro-Brexit voters who have talked to media outlets. Until there is a vigorously conducted poll that shows otherwise, its fair to conclude that “leave” would win a second referendum anyway.

What could possibly happen

That said, there is a lot of uncertainty in the air. Cameron has already said he would step down, which will trigger a leadership contest for the Conservatives. There are signs that Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, may also be forced to step down. Some wonder whether there could be another general election before the end of the year.

[Britain’s shock vote brings swift consequences as leader to resign]

Meanwhile, Britain has not yet triggered Article 50 — the procedure for actually leaving the E.U. — and there are signs it may try to delay doing so as long as possible. If there is a general election, how and when to leave the E.U. would probably become a major issue.

Even when Article 50 is invoked, negotiations may take up to two years. Any new deal with the E.U. will have to pass Parliament. Some in Westminster are saying that it should probably be put to referendum again. If that happens, it may well be the last chance for “remain” to have their voice heard.

Read more:

Would break from Brussels also splinter Britain? Probably not.

The British are frantically Googling what the E.U. is, hours after voting to leave it

Anger on the streets of London after Britain votes to leave the European Union

What will happen now that Britain has voted to leave the E.U.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the petition was started on Friday. However, it appears to have been created in May, although it only reached its heights of popularity after the vote on Thursday.

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The Latest: UK lawmaker wants Parliament to overturn EU vote – Miami Herald

The Latest on Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

A British opposition lawmaker says Parliament should stop the “madness” and overturn the result of a referendum calling for Britain to leave the European Union.

Labour legislator David Lammy says Thursday’s national vote was non-binding and “our sovereign Parliament needs to now vote on whether we should quit the EU.”

He says some “leave” supporters now regret their votes and Parliament should vote on Britain’s EU membership. He said “we can stop this madness and bring this nightmare to an end. … Let us not destroy our economy on the basis of lies and the hubris of (‘leave’ leader) Boris Johnson.”

Constitutional experts say Parliament cannot easily ignore the will of the people. Alan Renwick, deputy director of University College London’s Constitution Unit, says “in legal theory that is possible. In practice, that is absolutely not possible.”

6:15 p.m.

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has reverberated through London’s boisterous LGBT pride festival.

The flags of European nations flew at the annual Pride in London parade, which ended with a rally in Trafalgar Square.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told the crowd of thousands that Europeans in London are “our friends, our families and our neighbors.”

Khan says “I recognize the huge contribution you make to our city, you are welcome here. I make you this promise as your mayor. That won’t change.”

Voters in London overwhelmingly supported staying in the EU, but a majority outside the capital voted to leave.

Belgian Georges Peters, who was flying his country’s flag at the parade, said he was “very disappointed about the vote. I think this is bad for the economy and it’s important that we stand together.”

Antaine O’Briain from Ireland said he was “shocked and horrified” at the result of the Thursday’s vote.

5:55 p.m.

France’s economy minister is calling for a new, more transparent plan for the European Union that would be submitted to a popular vote.

Emmanuel Macron is accusing Britain’s Conservative Party of taking the rest of the EU hostage with a referendum staged for domestic reasons that now is threatening to torpedo European unity. His unusually outspoken comments came at a debate Saturday at the Institute for Political Science in Paris on how European can cope with Britain’s vote to leave the 28-nation EU.

Macron says “If we made a mistake … it’s to have let a member state take hostage the European project in a unilateral manner … and therefore to have choreographed these last few months the possibility of the crumbling of Europe.”

4:10 p.m.

Britain’s vote to leave the European Union has spurred a surge in interest in obtaining Irish citizenship from people in Northern Ireland.

The Post Office in Northern Ireland says it has “seen an unusually high number of people in Northern Ireland seeking Irish passport applications.”

Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom, but most people born there can also claim citizenship in the neighboring Republic of Ireland — an EU member. While Britain as a whole voted to leave the EU in Thursday’s referendum, a majority of voters in Northern Ireland opted to remain.

Irish citizenship has generally been taken up by members of Northern Ireland’s Irish nationalist Roman Catholic community, rather than by Protestants who identify as British.

But in a sign of how the referendum has turned politics on its head, one of Northern Ireland’s leading Protestant politicians, Ian Paisley Jr., tweeted: “My advice is if you are entitled to second passport then take one.”

3:50 p.m.

The European commissioner from Latvia, who is now responsible for overseeing the EU’s financial services sector, says his “priority is to maintain financial stability in markets.”

The EU’s euro commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis says he hopes “to live up to tasks entrusted to me.”

Dombrovskis wrote on Twitter that “I highly value the work” of Jonathan Hill, the British representative on the EU Executive Commission who stepped down Saturday, saying he was disappointed by the British referendum result.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker immediately transferred Hill’s responsibilities to Dombrovskis, costing Britain a key voice in a sector that is hugely important to London, whose status as Europe’s financial capital is threatened by Britain’s EU exit.

3:45 p.m.

Italy’s finance minister is urging the European Union to do more than “concern itself only about banks. In an interview with Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera Saturday, Pier Carlo Padoan says it’s time to think the “unthinkable.”

He says “deep dissatisfaction” over immigration, security and slow economic growth could combine for a further push toward disintegration of the EU bloc. Italy has been pushing for more EU action to encourage economic growth.

Padoan says it’s possible Britain’s EU exit could cause smaller growth in Italy.

3:40 p.m.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry says in a statement that the British people’s decision to leave the European Union will have no effect on Tehran’s approach toward the U.K.

The statement, carried by Iran’s English language Press TV on Saturday, said “Iran respects the British people’s vote to leave the European Union.”

An official in President Hassan Rouhani’s office, Hamid Aboutalebi, had called it a “big earthquake” and part of the “domino” collapse of the EU.

Iran’s government is still suspicious of Britain over its role in backing a 1953 coup. A British-Iranian woman held by the Revolutionary Guard faces allegations of working toward the “soft toppling” of the government.

Associated Press writer Amir Vahdat in Tehran, Iran contributed.

3:15 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande is holding exceptional meetings with the leaders of France’s political parties, as EU leaders try to keep the union together after Britain’s vote to leave.

Far right leader Marine Le Pen called for a referendum on France’s EU membership following Thursday’s British vote. Hollande’s administration dismissed the call, but Le Pen is currently more popular in opinion polls and hopes to replace Hollande in presidential elections next year.

Hollande convened a string of meetings Saturday with his own Socialist Party, former President Nicolas Sarkozy’s conservative opposition party The Republicans, the far right National Front, the Greens and parties on the far left and center.

France is a founding member of what is now the EU, but French voters rejected an EU constitution in 2005 that would have enshrined closer unity, and France’s heartland has a lot of the same frustration at economic stagnation and migration that drove the British vote to quit the EU.

2:25 p.m.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen says Britain’s exit “will echo for years to come and change the Europe as we know it.”

He says “the EU must stay away from areas where countries do it best themselves” and pay attention to popular skepticism across the continent.

After a government meeting Saturday to discuss the British vote, he wrote on Facebook that the government’s priority was “to defend Danish interests in the upcoming divorce.”

Loekke Rasmussen said Friday the Scandinavian country that joined the European Union in 1973 at the same time as Britain, has “no plans to hold a referendum on this basic matter.”

2:15 p.m.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says he regrets the resignation of Britain’s EU commissioner, Jonathan Hill.

Hill was responsible for the EU’s oversight of financial services — a hugely important industry to London.

Juncker said that “I wanted the British commissioner to be in charge of financial services, as a sign of my confidence in the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. To my great regret, this situation is now changing.”

He said he would transfer Hill’s responsibilities to Valdis Dombrovskis, European commissioner from Latvia.

2:10 p.m.

The European Union’s six founding nations are urging a quick British departure from the bloc and are pledging to address divergent attitudes toward the EU from its 27 remaining member nations.

Foreign ministers of Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg met in Berlin on Saturday and said in a statement that they want Britain to quickly invoke the article in the EU charter allowing it to start negotiations on departure.

Regarding the other members, they said “We have to find better ways of dealing with these different levels” of commitment to closer European unity. Founding nations want to increase political and economic cooperation but some newer nations are wary of giving up more sovereignty.

“We are aware that discontent with the functioning of the EU as it is today is manifest in parts of our societies. We take this very seriously and are determined to make the EU work better for all our citizens,” it said.

2:00 p.m.

France’s foreign minister is hoping Britain can name a new prime minister in the coming days to speed up its departure from the European Union.

That timeframe is highly unrealistic given the political turmoil in Britain. Instead it is likely to take months to name a replacement to Prime Minister David Cameron, who is resigning and wants his successor to handle the departure negotiations.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Saturday “they must designate a new prime minister, which would certainly require several days.” He was speaking in Berlin alongside counterparts from the five other founding members of the European Union, as EU leaders try to keep the project from falling apart after British voters chose Thursday to leave.

2:00 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it “shouldn’t take forever” for Britain to deliver formal notification that it wants to leave the European Union but is making clear that the matter is in London’s hands.

Merkel said Saturday at a news conference in Potsdam, outside Berlin: “To be honest, it shouldn’t take forever, that’s right — but I would not fight over a short period of time.”

The German leader said she is seeking a “objective, good” climate in talks on Britain’s exit from the EU and that there’s no need to make deterrence a priority.

Merkel said that there is “no need to be particularly nasty in any way in the negotiations; they must be conducted properly.”

1:55 p.m.

An online petition seeking a second referendum on a British exit from the Europe Union has drawn more than 1 million names, a measure of the extraordinary divisiveness of Thursday’s vote to leave the 28-nation bloc.

The online petition site hosted by the House of Commons website crashed Friday under the weight of the activity as officials said they’d seen unprecedented interest in the measure.

Online petitions — which take little effort and are easy to game — are poor measures of popular opinion, but any petition which draws more than 100,000 names must be considered for debate in Parliament.

In the short term, demands for a rerun are likely to go nowhere given that Britain’s “leave” camp won by more than 1 million votes in a high-turnout vote.

1:50 p.m.

Britain’s representative on the EU’s executive body says he is resigning because it would not be right to carry on after the U.K. vote to leave the bloc.

Jonathan Hill, Britain’s EU commissioner, says he’s very disappointed by the referendum result, but “what is done cannot be undone.”

Hill says in a statement that he will work with EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to ensure there is an “orderly handover.”

Hill says he started his job skeptical of the EU but leaves it “certain that, despite its frustrations, our membership was good for our place in the world and good for our economy.”

1:00 p.m.

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn says Britain must react “calmly and rationally” to the divisive EU referendum campaign.

Corbyn, whose Labour Party backed a vote to stay in the bloc, says the areas that voted most strongly to leave are “communities that have effectively been abandoned” by economic change and the austerity policies of Britain’s Conservative government.

He told a meeting in London Saturday that politicians needed to take seriously voters’ concerns about immigration, which led many to back a British exit from the 28-nation EU.

Many Labour lawmakers strongly backed “remain” and accuse the socialist Corbyn, a longtime critic of the EU, of failing to rally party supporters behind staying in the bloc. Several are trying to rally support behind a bid to unseat Corbyn.

12:55 p.m.

Luxembourg’s foreign minister says Britain needs to quickly start negotiations with the European Union on its exit from the trade bloc.

Speaking Saturday in Berlin after meeting with other top European diplomats, Jean Asselborn said he hoped there would be no “cat and mouse” game now and that Britain would invoke Article 50 of the EU charter, which allows for a country to leave.

“There must be clarity,” Asselborn told reporters. “The people have spoken and we need to implement this decision.”

He added that once outside the bloc, Britain would be a “third country” — the EU term for non-members — in terms of trade agreements but emphasized that was “not meant negatively.”

12:50 p.m.

Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland will launch immediate talks with European Union nations and institutions to find a way to remain in the bloc despite Britain’s vote to leave.

Sturgeon says voters in Scotland gave “emphatic” backing to remaining in the bloc. A majority of voters in more-populous England opted to leave.

After meeting with her Cabinet she said “we will seek to enter into immediate discussion” with the rest of the EU.

She says a new referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom is “very much on the table.”

12:40 p.m.

European foreign ministers are urging quick negotiations on Britain’s departure from the EU to avoid prolonged financial and political insecurity for the continent.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said “there is a certain urgency … so that we don’t have a period of uncertainty, with financial consequences, political consequences.”

He spoke in Berlin on Saturday alongside counterparts from the other five founding members of what has become the EU — Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. They also spoke of the need for a speedy renegotiation.

He also urged the remaining 27 EU countries to return to “the spirit of the founders” of European unity, forged to prevent conflict via trade after World War II. “It is up to us to recreate this spirit,” he said, noting all the European countries that subsequently joined after overthrowing dictatorships and embracing democracy.

12:20 p.m.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says negotiations on British exit should begin “as soon as possible” but adds that “intensive European discussions” are needed.

Speaking after a meeting in Berlin with foreign ministers of the other five founding members of the EU, Steinmeier there is a need to “show the people of Europe that Europe is important, and not only important but able to carry out its work.”

He also called for Britain to engage in talks sooner rather than later. He says: “We understand and respect the result and understand that Great Britain will now concentrate on Great Britain,” but adds that Britain as a responsibility to work with the EU on exit terms.

10:05 a.m.

French President Francois Hollande says the British vote to leave the European Union poses questions “for the whole planet.”

Hollande vowed Saturday to maintain relations with Britain, notably concerning migrants crossing between the two countries and military and economic cooperation.

Speaking after a meeting in Paris with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Hollande said: “For the entire planet there is a question, what will happen?”

He called for an orderly separation between Britain and the EU after Thursday’s historic vote to exit the bloc, formed after two world wars to prevent new conflict via trade cooperation.

Hollande, whose country was a founding pillar of European unity, is holding emergency meetings Saturday with leaders of France’s political parties as EU leaders try to keep the bloc from unravelling after the British vote.

08:30 a.m.

Top diplomats from the European Union’s original six founding nations are meeting in Berlin for hastily arranged talks following Britain’s stunning vote to leave the bloc.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says it is critical to see the vote as a wakeup call. He was heading into meetings Saturday with his counterparts from France, Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Steinmeier says EU politicians must listen “to the expectations of the European governments but also to the expectations of the people.”

He cautioned against rash decisions, saying that “it’s totally clear that in times like these one should neither be hysterical nor fall into paralysis.”

Steinmeier’s office says the meeting is one of many conversations now taking place, and shouldn’t be seen as “an exclusive format.”

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Gunmen storm hotel in Mogadishu; 15 killed, police say – CNN

Story highlights

  • The attackers exploded a car at the hotel gate before a gun battle erupted
  • The hotel is frequented by Somali government officials, lawmakers and security officers
At least 15 people are dead and 25 others are injured as a result of Saturday’s car bombing and gun attack at a hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, according to Somali police Col. Mohamed Abdulkadir.
Most of those killed and injured were civilians who were passersby and customers of nearby shops and a petrol station, police said. Fighting still is happening inside the hotel, Somali police Capt. Aden Dahir said.
[Original story, published at 11:48 a.m. ET]
Gunmen stormed the Naso Hablod hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu Saturday after detonating a car filled with explosives at the hotel gate, police Capt. Aden Dahir told CNN.
The hotel is frequented by Somali government officials, lawmakers and security officers, Dahir said. The blast was followed by a gun battle inside the hotel.
There was no word on casualties but video on Twitter showed an ambulance, sirens blaring, speeding away from scene amid the sound of gunfire.
The attack comes three weeks after suspected Al-Shabaab gunmen set off an explosion and stormed another popular Mogadishu hotel, killing at least 13 people, according to security officials. Three attackers were also killed.
The June 1 siege occurred at the Ambassador Hotel, a popular spot for Somali politicians and Westerners.
Two members of parliament, Mohamed Mohamud Gurre and Abdullahi Jama, were among those killed at the Ambassador, the Somali National News Agency reported at the time. The siege ended early the next day.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for Saturday’s assault, but the Somali news agency blamed Al-Shabaab militants.
The group has used the tactic before in several assaults, including an attack at the Sahafi Hotel in the capital last year that left 15 people dead.
The militants want to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
The group has been blamed for attacks in Somalia that have killed international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and African Union peacekeepers.

CNN’s Ray Sanchez wrote from New York and journalist Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu.

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At least 2 killed in shooting at Texas dance studio – New York Daily News

At least two people were killed in a shooting at a Texas dance studio early Saturday after a group of partiers trespassed into the academy, officials said.

Fort Worth officers responded to reports of gunfire inside Studio 74, a non-profit dance studio, around 1:15 a.m., police spokesman Daniel Segura told the Daily News.

Laura Reyna, owner and artistic director of the studio, said a party was going on inside Studio 74 time — but she had no idea the group had gathered in the space until news of the shooting broke.

“I would consider it trespassing just for the fact that as the owner and operator of this facility I did not know, nor was there an exchange of any formal contract for people to be inside there,” she told the Associated Press.

Texas mom killed by police after shooting dead her two daughters

A Studio 74 employee, Jason Moore, was working inside when the shooting broke out. He said he was unaware the group was not authorized to use the facilities.

Moore used a towel to compress the chest of one of the victims, but the bleeding man died just outside of the studio’s front door.

“He got hit in the lungs, so there was no coming back for him,” Moore said.

Another victim died after being taken to a local hospital, police said. Several more people were injured in the attack.

Horrific health club shooting leaves four dead

Police have not identified the victims or detailed any possible suspect. The motive of the shooting is unclear.

No further information was immediately released. An investigation is ongoing.

The studio provides afterschool dance programs for children in kindergarten through 12th grade and caters to “participants of all ages, abilities, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds,” according to its website.

The art academy’s current schedule includes classes in hip hop, ballet, jazz and other styles of dance. 

“I’m very heartfelt for the family and victims,” Reyna said. “This is a place, it’s a nonprofit organization. We deal in hip hop culture and we cater to our community. It’s a safe haven … we dance, we compete. We try to stay away from events like this that happen.”

With News Wire Services

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