8 more dead pulled from rubble of collapsed Florida condo
SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The search for victims of the collapse of a Miami-area high-rise condominium reached its 14th day on Wednesday, with the death toll at three dozen, more than 100 people still unaccounted for and authorities sounding more and more grim.
Crews on Tuesday dug through pulverized concrete where the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside once stood, filling buckets that were passed down a line to be emptied and then returned.
The up-close look at the search, compliments of video released by the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department, came as eight more deaths were announced — the most for a single day since the search began. It also came as rain and wind from Tropical Storm Elsa disrupted the effort, though the storm was on track to make landfall far across the state.
Searchers have found no new signs of survivors, and although authorities said their mission was still geared toward finding people alive, they sounded increasingly somber.
"Right now, we're in search and rescue mode," the county's police director, Freddy Ramirez, said at a news conference Tuesday evening. He soon added: "Our primary goal right now is to bring closure to the families."
Elsa weakens to a tropical storm as it takes aim at Florida
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Elsa weakened to a tropical storm as it threatened Florida's northern Gulf Coast on Wednesday after raking past the Tampa Bay region with gusty winds and heavy rain.
The storm was moving northward, almost parallel to the west coast of the state, according to forecasters.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said forecasts called for the cyclone to come ashore sometime between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. A tropical storm warning was in effect for a long stretch of coastline, from Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay to the Steinhatchee River.
"We ask that you please take it seriously," the Republican governor told reporters Tuesday in Tallahassee. "This is not a time to joyride because we do have hazardous conditions out there."
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries in the Tampa Bay area, which is highly vulnerable to storm surge. The most powerful winds were forecast to remain just offshore from the beach towns west of St. Petersburg.
In Illinois, Biden to push money for families and child care
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is turning his focus to pitching his proposed investments in families and education, using a visit to a community college in a key Illinois swing district to highlight how his spending on so-called human infrastructure would boost the economy.
The president on Wednesday will visit McHenry County College in Crystal Lake, a community college with a workforce development program and a child care center. He'll promote his vision to invest in child care, health care, education and other important aspects of everyday life for Americans. His plans were shared by a White House official who insisted on anonymity to preview remarks that have not been made public.
The visit marks a fresh focus on the portions of Biden's economic agenda that didn't make it into the bipartisan infrastructure deal that the president signed onto in June. That package includes hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in roads and bridges, transit systems and broadband, but it constitutes only a fraction of the $4 trillion in spending Biden has proposed as part of a broader plan to reinvigorate the economy and boost the middle class.
On Wednesday, the Democratic president will highlight the rest, including his plans to invest in child care and workforce development programs and provide two years of free community college, universal prekindergarten and paid family and medical leave. He'll make the case that investments in such programs are needed to maintain America's economic growth and competitiveness globally.
He'll also highlight his proposals to establish a clean energy standard and invest in home care for seniors and affordable housing. And he'll speak about his plans to make permanent the expansion in the child tax credit and expanded health care premium subsidies from the COVID-19 aid bill.
Australia's largest city Sydney locks down for third week
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Sydney's two-week lockdown has been extended for another week due to the vulnerability of an Australia population largely unvaccinated against COVID-19, officials said on Wednesday.
"The situation we're in now is largely because we haven't been able to get the vaccine that we need," New South Wales state Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
The decision to extend the lockdown through July 16 was made on health advice, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
"The reason why we've extended the lockdown is because of a number of cases still infectious in the community and we extended the lockdown to give us the best chance of not having another lockdown," Berejiklian said.
The extension of the lockdown, which covers Australia's largest city and some nearby communities, means most children will not return to school next week following their midyear break.
Costly and critical: the battle for a key Yemeni city
MARIB CITY, Yemen (AP) — The two fighters stand shoulder-to-shoulder on a mountain overlook, with a clear view below of the enemy's position. They are part of the last lines of defense between the government's last stronghold in Yemen's north, and the Houthi rebels trying to take it.
Hassan Saleh and his younger brother Saeed, both in their early 20s, have been fighting alongside other government fighters and tribesman outside the oil-rich city of Marib, against the months-long offensive by the Iranian-backed rebels. They say they need more weapons to push the attackers back.
"We need sniper rifles," said Hassan, who was taking a position in a sandbagged trench in the mountainous Kassara region. All that most battalions have are old Kalashnikovs and machine guns mounted on the rear of pickup trucks.
This is the most active frontline in Yemen's nearly 7-year-old civil war, where a steady stream of fighters on both sides are killed or wounded every day, even as international pressure to end the war intensifies. Amid another round of peace talks, this time led by Oman, the desert city of Marib remains the crucible of one of the world's most bogged-down conflicts.
The Houthis have for years attempted to take Marib to complete their control over the northern half of Yemen. But since February, they have waged an intensified offensive from multiple fronts, while hitting the residential city center with missiles and explosive-laden drones, killing and wounding dozens of civilians.
Building collapse shows town's rich, middle-class division
SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The condo tower collapse in Surfside could exacerbate the division that already exists between the tiny Florida town's new luxury buildings built for the global elite and those constructed decades ago for the middle class. It is already creating headaches for some small businesses.
The town has seen the construction of numerous new condos in recent years, where large oceanfront units exceeding 3,000 square feet (280 square meters) with modern amenities can fetch $10 million and up. Meanwhile, small units of 800 square feet (75 square meters) in neighboring condo buildings constructed decades ago can be had for $400,000.
Ana Bosovic, a South Florida real estate analyst, said the June 24 collapse of the 40-year-old, middle-class Champlain Towers South will exacerbate this division. At least 36 people were killed and more than 100 remain missing.
Bosovic said many buyers will now avoid older buildings, not just because they fear they might also fall but because of repair costs the Champlain South owners faced before the collapse: $80,000 to $300,000 per unit. These factors will decrease older condos' value, while prices in luxury buildings will continue to skyrocket.
"The holders of capital who are moving here were never considering older buildings. They are buying newer structures and preconstruction, so I don't see this putting a damper on their appetites," said Bosovic, founder of Analytics Miami. "What this will do is further depress sales of older structures and further bifurcate the market."
Eric Adams wins Democratic primary in NYC's mayoral race
NEW YORK (AP) — Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has won the Democratic primary for mayor of New York City after appealing to the political center and promising to strike the right balance between fighting crime and ending racial injustice in policing.
A former police captain, Adams would be the city's second Black mayor if elected.
He triumphed over a large Democratic field in New York's first major race to use ranked choice voting. Results from the latest tabulations released Tuesday showed him leading former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by 8,426 votes, or a little more than 1 percentage point.
"While there are still some very small amounts of votes to be counted, the results are clear: an historic, diverse, five-borough coalition led by working-class New Yorkers has led us to victory in the Democratic primary for mayor of New York," Adams said in a statement.
He said he was running to "deliver on the promise of this great city for those who are struggling, who are underserved, and who are committed to a safe, fair, affordable future for all New Yorkers."
Philanthropies eagerly back ex-UNC professor Hannah-Jones
NEW YORK (AP) — Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones used major philanthropic donors to build her future as a tenured professor at Howard University, just as other major donors sought to stymie the Pulitzer Prize-winning Black investigative reporter at the University of North Carolina.
Backed by $20 million in donations, Hannah-Jones announced Tuesday that she will establish the Center for Journalism and Democracy at Howard to increase diversity in journalism. She also said that political interference from Arkansas newspaper publisher Walter Hussman, who pledged $25 million to UNC's journalism school and whose name adorns its building, resulted in questions about her receiving tenure, which she was belatedly offered last week following an outcry from students and faculty members.
"How could I believe I'd be able to exert academic freedom with the school's largest donor so willing to disparage me publicly and attempt to pull the strings behind the scenes?" Hannah-Jones wrote in a statement. "Why would I want to teach at a university whose top leadership chose to remain silent, to refuse transparency, to fail to publicly advocate that I be treated like every other Knight Chair before me?"
The donations announced Tuesday — $5 million each from the MacArthur, Knight and Ford foundations and an anonymous donor — will also bring award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates to Howard, a historically Black school in the nation's capital and his alma mater, as the Sterling Brown Chair in the Department of English.
It's a large gift for journalism, and one that points to a growing philanthropic effort to diversify news organizations and strengthen journalistic standards.
Dutch crime reporter shot, badly wounded in Amsterdam street
AMSTERDAM (AP) — One of the Netherlands' best known crime reporters was shot Tuesday evening in a brazen attack in downtown Amsterdam and was fighting for his life in a hospital, the Dutch capital's mayor said.
Peter R. de Vries, who is widely lauded for fearless reporting on the Dutch underworld, was shot after making one of his regular appearances on a current affairs television show. It was an unusually brutal attack on a journalist in the Netherlands.
"Peter R. de Vries is for all of us a national hero, an unusually courageous journalist, tirelessly seeking justice," Mayor Femke Halsema said at a hastily convened news conference at the city's police headquarters.
"Today, justice in our country appears a long way off. A brutal, cowardly crime has been committed," Halsema added.
Police Chief Frank Paauw said two suspects were detained, "including a possible shooter" in a suspected getaway car stopped on a highway some 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the city. A third suspect was detained in Amsterdam, he said.
Dilip Kumar, Bollywood's great 'Tragedy King,' dies at 98
NEW DELHI (AP) — Bollywood icon Dilip Kumar, hailed as the "Tragedy King" and one of Hindi cinema's greatest actors, died Wednesday in a Mumbai hospital after a prolonged illness. He was 98.
The "Tragedy King" title came from Kumar's numerous serious roles. In several, his character died as a frustrated lover and a drunkard. He also was known as Bollywood's only Method actor for his expressive performances identifying a character's emotions.
Kumar was hospitalized twice last month after he complained of breathlessness, and his family tweeted "with a heavy heart and profound grief" the announcement of his passing.
"Dilip Kumar will be remembered as a cinematic legend. He was blessed with unparalleled brilliance, due to which audiences across generations were enthralled. His passing away is a loss to our cultural world," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a tweet that also offered his condolences to Kumar's family and admirers.
"An institution has gone," Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan tweeted. "Whenever the history of Indian Cinema will be written, it shall always be 'before Dilip Kumar, and after Dilip Kumar' .."