Tuesday, December 07, 2021

July 5, 2021 SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — Rescuers searched for victims of a collapsed South Florida condo building through fresh rubble Monday after crews set off a string of explosives that brought down the last of the structure and allowed search efforts to resume.

Three more victims were discovered in the newly accessible pile, Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told family members, raising the death toll to 27 people. More than 115 people remain unaccounted for.

The demolition opened up a previously unreachable area for rescuers, though the chances of finding any survivors there waned, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on NBC’s “Today.”

“We understand that families realize the fact that time has gone by, they realize that the chances are growing all dimmer,” she said. “They are with us, they know what we’ve been doing every step of the way.”

Crews could be seen climbing a mound of debris at the site Monday alongside a piece of heavy equipment that was picking up rubble.

Workers immediately began clearing some of the new debris after the demolition late Sunday so rescuers could start making their way into parts of the underground garage that is of particular interest. Officials said the search effort resumed before midnight. It had been called off Saturday to allow specialists to drill holes for explosives needed for the demolition.

Rescuers were hoping to get a clearer picture of voids that may exist in the rubble as they search for those believed to be trapped under the fallen wing of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside that collapsed June 24.

No one has been rescued alive since the first hours after the collapse. On Sunday, Miami-Dade police identified David Epstein, 58, as one of the 27 people known to have perished in the fallen tower. His remains were recovered Friday.

During the demolition, a loud rat-at-tat of explosions echoed from the structure. Then the building began to fall, one floor after another, cascading into an explosion of dust. Plumes billowed into the air, as crowds watched the scene from afar.

Levine Cava told the Associated Press that the demolition went “exactly as planned” around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

“It was picture perfect. Exactly what we were told would happen,” she said in an interview shortly after the demolition.

Some residents had pleaded to return to their homes one last time before the demolition to retrieve belongings left in haste, but were denied. Others wondered about the pets left behind, even though officials said they found no signs of animals after making three final sweeps, including the use of drones to peer into the abandoned structure.

Levine Cava said teams are working to save any personal items they can. “We have been asking them to go ahead and catalog all of their precious belongings so that as soon as they are recovered, we’ll be able to make a match.”

The decision to demolish the remnants of the building came after concerns mounted that the damaged structure was at risk of falling, endangering the crews below and preventing them from operating in some areas. Parts of the remaining building shifted on Thursday, prompting a 15-hour suspension in the work.

Approaching Tropical Storm Elsa had added urgency to the demolition plans with forecasts suggesting the system could bring strong winds. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Florida because of the storm, making federal aid possible.

The latest forecasts have moved the storm westward, mostly sparing South Florida, but the area could still feel effects.

Authorities had gone door-to-door to advise nearby residents of the timing of the demolition, and to ask them to keep windows closed. They were told to stay inside until two hours after the blast to avoid the dust raised by the implosion.

The method used for Sunday night’s demolition is called “energetic felling,” which uses small detonation devices and relies on the force of gravity. The goal was to bring the building down in place, containing the collapse to the immediate surroundings.

Officials used tarps to visually mark the search area, in case new debris scattered unexpectedly.

State officials said they hired the BG Group, a general contractor based in Delray Beach, Florida, to lead the demolition. They did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how the firm was selected, but a contract for the project calls for the state to pay the company $935,000.

A spokesperson for the state’s Division of Emergency Management said the company subcontracted with Maryland-based Controlled Demolition Inc., which experts say is among only a handful of companies in the U.S. that demolishes structures using explosives.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

“Representation Is the Bare Minimum”: Modeling’s Biggest Stars Speak Out