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Happening Today: Russia Sanctions, Hot Car Deaths, Nicotine, Angelina Jolie

What to Know

  • Child advocates are pushing for a law for back seats alarms to help prevent kids from dying in hot cars
  • The federal government is proposing cutting the nicotine level in cigarettes so they aren't so addictive, the FDA says
  • Angelina Jolie says accounts of her casting process for children to appear in her film "First They Killed My Father" are false and upsetting

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Driver Arrested After Van Strikes Crowd; 9 Injured

A van plowed into a crowd of people in the Mid-Wilshire area, injuring at least nine people, Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Margaret Stewart said. The driver of the white van ran a red light, collided with another vehicle, lost control and jumped a curb, landing on a crowded restaurant patio. He tried to flee the crash scene, but witnesses stopped him and he was arrested for felony hit and run, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Eight of the nine people injured were taken to the hospital, Stewart said. One person was in critical condition, three people were in serious condition and four others were in fair condition, she added. All of the victims were expected to survive as of Sunday evening.

Car Bombing Targets Iraq Embassy, Afghan Police Say

A car bombing targeted the Iraqi Embassy in central Kabul, followed by gunfire, Afghan police officials said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The attack was still underway as witnesses reported hearing gunshots around the site of the explosion. Details were sketchy as police cordoned off the area of the firefight. Two police officials told The Associated Press that the car bomb exploded outside the embassy, followed by an attempt by gunmen to enter the building, which is located in the center of the Afghan capital. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. It was not immediately clear how many gunmen were involved in the attack. A police officer in the area, who identified himself only as Abdullah, said the gunfire was initially intense but was now sporadic. The area was surrounded by armored vehicles and a large contingent of police and Afghan soldiers.

Putin Says He’s Ordering 755 American Diplomats out of Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the United States would have to cut its embassy and consulate staff in Russia by 755, heightening tensions between Washington and Moscow three days after the U.S. Congress approved sanctions against Russia. In response, the U.S. State Department deemed it "a regrettable and uncalled for act." Russian's Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction by Sept. 1 in the number of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Russia. It said it is ordering the U.S. Embassy to limit the number of embassy and consular employees in the country to 455 in response to approval of the new package of American sanctions. The White House has said U.S. President Trump would sign those sanctions into law. The legislation, which also targets Iran and North Korea, seeks to punish Moscow for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

Child Advocates Urge Back Seat Alarms As 2 Baby Boys Die

A proposed law that would require carmakers to build alarms for back seats is being pushed by child advocates who say it will prevent kids from dying in hot cars. The law also would streamline the criminal process against caregivers who cause the deaths — cases that can be inconsistent but often heavier-handed against mothers. The latest deaths came in Arizona on triple-digit degree days over the weekend, with two baby boys found forgotten in vehicles in separate incidents. More than two dozen child and road safety groups are backing the U.S. Senate bill aimed at preventing those kinds of deaths by requiring cars to be equipped with technology that can alert drivers if a child is left in the back seat once the vehicle is turned off. It could be a motion sensor that can detect a baby left sitting in a rear-facing car seat and then alert the driver, in a similar way that reminders about tire pressure, open doors and seat belts now come standard in cars.

FDA to Target Addictive Levels of Nicotine in Cigarettes

For the first time, the federal government is proposing cutting the nicotine level in cigarettes so they aren't so addictive. U.S. Food and Drug Administration chief Scott Gottlieb directed the agency's staff to develop new regulations on nicotine. The FDA has had the power since 2009 to regulate nicotine levels but hasn't done so. Stocks of cigarette makers plunged after the announcement. As part of the new strategy, the FDA is giving e-cigarette makers four more years to comply with a review of products already on the market, Gottlieb said. The agency intends to write rules that balance safety with e-cigarettes' role in helping smokers quit, he said. Tar and other substances inhaled through smoking make cigarettes deadly, but the nicotine in tobacco is what makes them addictive. Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable heart disease, cancer and death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths annually. Smoking rates, though, have been falling for decades and are at about 15 percent.

Child Casting Story Is False and Upsetting, Angelina Jolie Says

Angelina Jolie says accounts of her casting process for children to appear in her film "First They Killed My Father" are false and upsetting. An excerpt from a Vanity Fair profile of the director sparked backlash online earlier this week from people who criticized the methods as being cruel and exploitative. Adapted from Loung Ung's memoir, the biographical drama centers on her childhood under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Jolie co-wrote and directed the film, which she talked about in a recent Vanity Fair profile. The article described a scene in which casting directors in their attempt to find a child actress to play the lead role presented money to impoverished children only to take it away from them as an acting exercise. Jolie and producer Rithy Panh issued joint statements responding to the outrage and refuting claims that the production was exploitative through a representative from Netflix, which is producing and distributing the film.

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