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Death toll rises to 12 as search and rescue operation continues in Florida building collapse

As of Tuesday evening, at least 12 people have been confirmed dead, with 149 others unaccounted for, after a 12-story residential building partially collapsed in South Florida’s Miami-Dade County last week. A massive search and rescue operation entered its sixth day on Tuesday, as crews continued to comb through the pile of debris in hopes of finding survivors. So far, 125 people who were living or staying in the condominium at the time of the disaster have been accounted for.

The partial collapse occurred at around 1:15 a.m. local time last Thursday at the Champlain Towers South condominium in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach. Approximately 55 of the oceanfront complex’s 136 units were destroyed, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said during a press conference in Surfside on Tuesday: “Nobody is giving up hope here. Nobody is stopping. We are dedicated to getting everyone out of that pile of rubble.”

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Surfside on Thursday, according to a statement from the White House. Last week, the president approved an emergency declaration in Florida and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts in the wake of the partial building collapse.

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President Biden travels to promote his $1.2T infrastructure deal

President Joe Biden traveled to Wisconsin on Tuesday to promote a bipartisan infrastructure proposal that would spend $1.2 trillion on various upgrades and repairs across the United States, including work on roads and bridges.  Biden told an audience in La Crosse that “America has always been propelled into the future by landmark national investments. This is a generational investment to modernize our infrastructure, creating millions of good-paying jobs, and position America to compete with the rest of the world in the 21st century.”

The investment includes $48.5 billion for public transportation, $109 billion for road and bridge projects, as well as funding to replace lead water pipes in the state and expand access to broadband Internet. The bipartisan proposal was reached last week among a group of centrist Democratic and Republican senators. The bipartisan agreement is effectively a compromise to Biden’s original infrastructure proposal, the American Jobs Plan, which was estimated to cost far more and had no Republican support.

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Seattle pitcher Hector Santiago suspended 10 games for foreign substance on glove

Seattle Mariners pitcher Hector Santiago has been suspended 10 games and fined an undisclosed amount for a foreign substance found on his glove against the White Sox on Sunday. Santiago, who plans to appeal the ruling, will be allowed to play until the appeal process is complete.

The 33-year-old Santiago is the first player to be ejected for pitch doctoring since MLB began enforcing the new rules against foreign substances. The new rules included umpire checks on pitchers every few innings.  Umpire Phil Cuzzi found a sticky substance on Santiago’s glove when he was checked after being taken out in the fifth inning on Sunday. The glove was then put in a plastic bag by an MLB authenticator for testing.

Santiago has denied using any illegal substance, saying he was using rosin on his pitching hand, which is allowed. However, it’s only allowed on a pitcher’s throwing hand, not their glove. Santiago said on Sunday: “Once they take it back and check it, it’s just sweat and rosin. If they’re going to do all this science stuff, it’s going to be sweat and rosin. We’ll be all right.

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Wimbledon 2021: Serena Williams withdraws after injury, Roger Federer’s advances on Day 2

Serena Williams sustained a knee injury during her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus at Wimbledon 2021 on Tuesday. Williams, a twenty-three time Grand Slam champion, slipped on the wet grass court at the All England Club in the first set of her match against Sasnovich. She attempted to play through the injury, but could not reach returns and broke into tears when she tried to serve. She later fell for a second time, waved to the crowd and walked off the court. Williams is a seven-time Wimbledon singles champion.

Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty advanced, beating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-7, 6-1 in 1 hour, 44 minutes.“She is a hell of a competitor and a hell of a fighter,” Barty told reporters, when asked about Suarez Navarro. “It was a privilege to share the court with her today.”  Barty will face Russian Anna Blinkova or Hungarian Timea Babos in the second round.

Men’s No. 8 Roger Federer advanced, as well as No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, No. 6 Alexander Zverev of Germany and No. 12 Denis Shapovalov of Canada. Federer said he was “lucky” to advance out of the first round against opponent Adrian Mannarino of France. Federer and Mannarino were tied at two sets apiece when Mannarino retired in the fifth set due to what appeared to be a knee injury. “I wish him all the best and I hope he recovers quickly so we see him back on the court,” Federer said in his on-court interview. “He could have won the match at the end obviously. He was the better player. I definitely got a bit lucky.”  Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, will face France’s Richard Gasquet in the second round.

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Supreme Court refuses appeal for transgender bathroom ban at Virginia school

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from a Virginia school board that sought to reinstate a ban on transgender students using any public restroom other than the one of their birth sex.  The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal and left in place the lower court decision; and only two dissenting justices, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, voted to hear the appeal. The court did not give a reason for refusing to hear the case.

The Gloucester County School Board had asked the Supreme Court to reverse a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals last year in student Gavin Grimm’s favor. That court decided that the school’s policy segregating transgender students was unconstitutional and violate Title IX. Grimm, who was born female but identifies as male, was initially told by his high school principal that he could use the boys restroom — but the school board later adopted a ban against using any public school restroom that doesn’t correspond to a student’s assigned gender at birth. The Gloucester School Board argued that its issue was about weighing the privacy rights of other students against the rights of transgender students. It contended that the rights other students were at-risk if transgender students are allowed to use restrooms opposite from their biological sex.

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2 killed, 2 injured in northeast Texas gas explosion

Two people were killed and multiple others were injured Monday in a gas explosion at a site in rural northeastern Texas, authorities said.  The Collin County Sheriffs Department said in a tweet that the incident happened in Farmersville, Texas, located about 45 miles northeast of Dallas.

Local police and firefighters, Texas state troopers and the FBI were on the scene to investigate the explosion; they confirmed the scene was safe but urged residents to stay away. Aerial television footage showed the explosion site to be gas pipeline station. Contractors for Atlas Energy were at the station servicing the pipeline when the explosion happened, according to Farmersville police officials.No other information was immediately available on the incident as of press time.

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Stanley Cup Finals: Tampa Bay Lightning beat Montreal Canadiens 5-1 in Game 1

The Montreal Canadiens faced the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals from the Amalie Arena on Monday night.

Tampa Bay’s Yanni Gourde scored to help the Lightning take a 1-0 series lead in the championship round against the Canadiens, giving the Lightning a dominating 5-1 in Game 1.  The Lightning also got two goals from Nikita Kucherov, and a goal apiece by Erik Cernak and Steven Stamkos.

The Lightning are looking to become the first team to repeat as champions since the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins.  Game 2 will take place on Wednesday at 8:00 p.m in Tampa.

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Wimbledon 2021: Americans Sloane Stephens, Frances Tiafoe score upsets on Day 1

Americans Frances Tiafoe and Sloane Stephens began Day 1 at Wimbledon with upsets Monday. Tiafoe upstaged men’s No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Stephens ousted women’s No. 10 Petra Kvitova.

Tiafoe earned the first upset of the day with a straight-sets win over Tsitsipas in 2 hours, 2 minutes. Tiafoe has never advanced past the quarterfinal of a Grand Slam; he next faces Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena or Canadian Vasek Pospisil in the second round. World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Czech Jiri Vesely were among the other men’s players to advance through early first-round matches Monday.

Stephens, holds one Grand Slam title, defeated Kvitova in just 77 minutes. The 73rd-ranked American beat the Czech 6-3, 6-4. Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion. No. 6 Sofia Kenin, Madison Keys, Danielle Collins and Lauren Davis were among the other American women to advance early Monday.

The final slate of openers air from 6 to 11:30 a.m. EDT Tuesday on ESPN and from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday on ESPN2. The women’s singles final is set for July 10, and the men’s final will be held on July 11.

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President Biden orders U.S. airstrikes on Iran-backed militias in Iraq-Syria border region

President Joe Biden has directed airstrikes on Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region in response to unmanned aerial vehicle attacks.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement

Sunday that U.S. military forces conducted the “defensive precision airstrikes” against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the region on Sunday evening. Kirby, who stressed the U.S. strikes were legal and in self-defense, said, “the targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.”

The airstrikes come at a time of heightened tension between the U.S. and Iran, as the two nations hold talks on returning Tehran to the 2015 nuclear deal. Biden declined to comment to reporters on the latest airstrikes after returning to the White House Sunday evening from a weekend at Camp David, telling reporters: “I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

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Death toll rises to nine in Florida condo collapse as search continues

Nine people have been confirmed dead in the aftermath of the collapse of a 12-story condominium complex in Surfside, Florida three days ago.

Miami-Dade Mayor Danielle Levine Cava announced during a Sunday morning news conference in Seaside, that four additional bodies had been recovered from the rubble and one person had died at a hospital after four bodies had previously been recovered from the scene. The remains of four had been identified early Sunday, according to Miami Dade Fire Rescue, and Levine Cava said they have notified next of kin.

At least 152 people remained unaccounted for and 134 others were accounted for as crews continue to search after more than half the building, about 55 units, collapsed. Levine Cava added that families of those announced dead or unaccounted for will be allowed to visit the site, ad said officials are having “very frank conversations” with the families about the possibility of finding no more survivors.

Crews have been searching through the rubble since the sudden collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers in Surfside, about 3 miles north of Miami Beach. The City of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency on Sunday noting that Champlain Towers is “steps away from the city’s northernmost border” with Surfside. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said residents in the condominium’s sister building would be provided support to relocate in light of the collapse.

Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com