On Thursday evening a large-scale rescue operation was continuing at the site of a collapsed 12-story apartment block in Surfside, a small oceanfront town just north of Miami Beach. Authorities said at least one person was killed, 10 injured and 99 people unaccounted for. Police have launched a homicide inquiry.
Crews reported hearing noises from inside the rubble as they searched for survivors at the Champlain Towers South condo, a block that came crashing down at about 1.30am. Authorities said they expected the number of deaths to rise. The cause of the collapse was not known, said the Miami-Dade police chief, Alfredo Ramirez.
Fifty-three condo residents were rescued or otherwise accounted for by Thursday afternoon, and an estimated 55 of the block’s 130 apartments are affected.
A video showed how a boy was pulled from the rubble by firefighters, one of 35 people rescued alive so far.
Other terrified residents were rescued from their shattered balconies with the help of cherrypickers.
Derek Chauvin: ex-cop who murdered George Floyd to be sentenced today
The former Minneapolis police officer who murdered George Floyd will be sentenced on Friday and is facing a maximum of 40 years in prison.
Derek Chauvin’s sentencing comes two months after he was convicted in a trial watched by millions around the world for putting Floyd in a fatal knee-to-neck restraint for nine minutes and 29 seconds on 25 May 2020. He was found guilty on all three counts of second- and third-degree murder as well as manslaughter.
Legal observers say the maximum sentence is unlikely and prosecutors have argued for a 30-year custodial sentence.
Meanwhile, Chauvin’s defence attorney, Eric Nelson, has argued his client should receive only probation, an outcome that is also highly unlikely, Oliver Laughland writes.
Britney Spears speaks out after shocking testimony: ‘Sorry for pretending I’ve been OK’
Britney Spears opened up to her fans on Thursday, saying in an Instagram post she was sorry for “pretending like I’ve been OK the past two years”, her first public statement since her disturbing courtroom testimony on her father’s “abusive” conservatorship.
The 39-year-old explained she had kept silent about her ordeal until now because “I was embarrassed to share what happened to me”. Spears had testified the day before that she has been forced to work against her will, and that her conservators had prevented her from getting married, seeing friends and removing her birth control as they did not want her to have another baby.
In court, Spears said she was forced to perform on tour when she did not want to, comparing it to sex trafficking.
Despite the severity of her allegations, the pop superstar could remain stuck in her conservatorship for months or years, experts say.
Backlash after Florida governor signs bill against ‘indoctrination’ at colleges
Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, sparked outrage this week when he signed off on legislation cracking down on so-called educational “indoctrination” at colleges and universities, soon after the state banned critical race theory in its public schools.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas. Unfortunately now, the norm is really these are more intellectually repressive environments,” DeSantis said during a press conference.
The new law requires colleges and universities to conduct an annual survey measuring “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” on their campuses.
Critics fear the assessment will instead end up intimidating teachers, hampering free speech and disproportionately representing the perspectives of those who feel aggrieved, Alexandra Villarreal writes.
In other news …
A number of Black creators on TikTok are protesting against the appropriation of their moves by white users by refusing to choreograph dances on the app. The indefinite “strike” action has focused on Megan Thee Stallion’s new song Thot Shit, with not a single trending dance to it found on TikTok.
A new report shows that Yellowstone, the oldest national park in the US, is under threat from global heating. Researchers say temperatures, already the highest in the past 20,000 years, could increase by up to 10F by 2100, Katharine Gammon writes.
Stat of the day: blood test that finds 50 types of cancer is ready to be rolled out, scientists say
A simple blood test that can detect more than 50 types of cancer before a person has any symptoms of the disease is accurate enough to be rolled out as a screening test, according to scientists. The test, which is also being piloted by the UK’s National Health Service in the autumn, targets people at higher risk of the disease including patients aged 50 or older and is able to identify many types of the disease such as head and neck, ovarian, pancreatic, oesophageal and some blood cancers.
Don’t miss this: New Yorkers fled to the Hamptons during the pandemic – and caused a major sewage crisis
Across the New York coastal community better known as the Hamptons, the residents face dangerously declining water quality, which has shut down recreation in many freshwater ponds. What happened? As Covid hit, wealthy New Yorkers flocked to their second homes in the area, pushing a water quality and sewage problem that’s been festering for decades over the edge.
Last Thing: why macho culture and gender stereotypes prevented the wheelie suitcase from being invented sooner
Yup, you’ve read right. After the invention of the wheel, it took humanity 5,000 years to come up with the wheelie suitcase, a fact that has become something of a classic mystery of innovation. While various thinkers pondering why the bag on wheels rolled around so late see it as a parable of how humans often tend to ignore the simplest solutions, there is another piece to the puzzle: suitcases with wheels existed decades before they were officially “invented” in 1972, but were considered niche products for women, and likened to children’s prams.
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