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Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Powerless Cargo Ship Rams Into Support Column; 6 Presumed Dead

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BALTIMORE — A cargo ship lost power and slammed into a major bridge in Baltimore early Tuesday, demolishing it in seconds and dumping it into the river in a horrifying collapse that might shut down a vital maritime port for months. Six persons were missing, probably dead.

Maryland’s governor said the ship’s crew issued a mayday call moments before the collapse that brought down the Francis Scott Key Bridge, allowing officials to restrict car traffic on the span.

The spacecraft hit one of the bridge’s supports, causing the structure to fall like a doll. A part of the span came to rest on the vessel’s bow, which caught fire and emitted dense, black smoke.

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said that with the ship approaching the bridge at “a very, very rapid speed,” officials had barely enough time to prevent automobiles from crossing.

“These people are heroes,” Moore remarked. “They saved lives last night.”

On the 1.6-mile (2.6-kilometer) bridge, which 12 million vehicles used last year, the incident happened in the middle of the night, well before the hectic morning commute.

bridge

Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Powerless Cargo Ship Rams Into Support Column; 6 Presumed Dead

According to Paul Wiedefeld, the state’s transportation secretary, the six unaccounted-for persons were part of a construction crew fixing potholes on the bridge.

A top executive at the company that employed the workers stated Tuesday afternoon that they were considered dead due to the depth of the water and the time since the collision.

Jeffrey Pritzker, executive vice president of Brawner Builders, said the crew was working in the middle of the bridge when it collapsed. No bodies have been found, and rescue workers resumed their search into the late afternoon.

“This was completely unexpected,” Pritzker remarked. “We do not know what more to say. We take great satisfaction in our safety measures, which include cones, signs, lights, barriers, and flaggers. But we never expected the bridge to collapse.”

Jesus Campos, who has worked on the bridge for Brawner Builders and knows several of the team, said he was told they were on break and some were sitting in their vehicles when it collapsed.

“I was there a month ago, and I know what it feels like when the trailers pass,” he said. Imagine being aware that you are falling. It is so difficult that one doesn’t know what to do.”

Rescuers plucked two persons from the water. One person was treated in a hospital and released several hours later. Although authorities believed no one was inside, multiple automobiles also entered the river.

“It looked like something out of an action movie,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, who described it as “an unthinkable tragedy.”

According to Maryland Transportation Authority first responder radio communications acquired from the Broadcastify.com archive, a police dispatcher called immediately before the collapse to inform officers that a ship had lost its steering and requested that all traffic be stopped.

One cop who had stopped traffic said he would drive onto the bridge to notify the construction crew. But seconds later, a frightened cop exclaimed, “The entire bridge just collapsed. “Start, whoever, everybody… the entire bridge just collapsed.”

On a second radio channel for maintenance and construction personnel, someone reported that cops were blocking traffic because a ship had lost steering. There was no follow-up evacuation order, and the bridge collapsed 30 seconds later, leaving the waterway silent.

The World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure reports that between 1960 and 2015, ship or barge collisions led to 35 significant bridge collapses.

The collapse is expected to cause a logistical nightmare for months, if not years, throughout the East Coast. It will halt ship movement at the Port of Baltimore, a major shipping hub. The accident will also cause congestion in cargo and commuter traffic.

Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Powerless Cargo Ship Rams Into Support Column; 6 Presumed Dead

“Losing this bridge will devastate the entire area and the entire East Coast,” Maryland State Sen. Johnny Ray Salling said.

Speaking at a news conference near the site, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said it was too early to determine how long it would take to clear the channel, approximately 50 feet (15 meters) deep.

“I do not know of a bridge that has been constructed to withstand a direct impact from a vessel of this size,” he said.

Synergy Marine Group, which runs the Dali, said that the ship collided with a bridge pillar around 1:30 a.m. while piloted by one or more local specialists who assist in securely guiding vessels into ports. Grace Ocean Private Ltd. owns the ship.

Synergy said all crew members and the two pilots were safe, and no injuries were reported.

The governor said the ship was going at 8 knots, or around 9 mph (14.8 kph).

Jagged portions of the bridge could be seen protruding from the water’s surface. The on-ramp abruptly halted where the span had begun.

Donald Heinbuch, a former Baltimore fire chief, claimed he awoke to a powerful rumble that shook his house for several seconds. “It felt like an earthquake,” he explained.

bridge

Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Powerless Cargo Ship Rams Into Support Column; 6 Presumed Dead

He drove to the river’s edge and could not believe what he saw.

“The ship was there, and the bridge was in the water, like it was blown up,” he said.

The bridge, which opened in 1977, crosses the Patapsco River at the entrance to a thriving harbor that connects to the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is named for the author of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Wiedefeld stated that all vessels that travel into and out of the port will be suspended until further notice. However, the facility would remain available to trucks.

President Joe Biden said he plans to visit Baltimore and that the federal government will cover the entire cost of reconstruction.

“This is going to take some time,” Biden explained. “The people of Baltimore can count on us, though, to stick with them at every step of the way until the port is reopened and the bridge is rebuilt.”

According to Marine Traffic, the Dali was on its way from Baltimore to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and was flying the Singapore flag. According to the website, the container ship is around 985 feet (300 meters) long and 157 feet (48 meters) broad.

bridge

Baltimore Bridge Collapses After Powerless Cargo Ship Rams Into Support Column; 6 Presumed Dead

Inspectors discovered a fault with Dali’s machinery in June, but a more recent inspection revealed no deficiencies, according to the maritime tracking system Equasis.

The Danish shipping company Maersk said it had rented the vessel.

According to the state, the Port of Baltimore handled a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo worth $80 billion last year.

The president of a supply chain management firm said Americans can expect commodity shortages due to the fall in ocean container shipping and East Coast transportation.

“It’s not just the Baltimore port that will be affected,” said Ryan Petersen, Flexport’s CEO.

The collapse, however, is unlikely to impact global trade because Baltimore is not a significant container port, but its facilities are more vital for products such as farm equipment and automobiles, according to Judah Levine, head of research for global freight booking platform Freightos.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

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President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree empowering Russia to seize assets from US corporations and individuals to compensate for any Russian assets confiscated in the US.

The mandate was published on the Russian government’s legal web on Thursday, as senior finance officials from the Group of Seven industrialized nations began a summit where the issue of what to do with Russian assets frozen in the West was at the forefront of the agenda.

Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

Ukraine and several of its allies have asked for the confiscation of $260 billion in Russian assets held outside of the nation following Russia’s invasion on February 24, 2022. However, European officials have refused, citing legal and financial stability concerns.

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Putin | Reuters Image

Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

However, in April, US President Joe Biden signed the Rebuilding Economic Prosperity and Opportunity for Ukrainians Act, which authorizes the administration to collect around $5 billion in Russian state assets in the United States. The legislation was included in a US aid package for Ukraine and other countries, which includes approximately $61 billion for Ukraine’s defense.

However, the United States will likely seize the assets with the approval of the other Group of Seven nations and the European Union.

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Putin | Poltico Image

Putin Signs Decree Allowing Seizure Of Americans’ Assets If US Confiscates Russian Holdings

According to Putin’s directive, Russian firms, the central bank, and individuals can appeal to Russian courts to have the seizure of property in the United States declared unreasonable. If the court approves, a government commission will give assets as compensation, which might include property owned by US people or companies in Russia and equities and interests in Russian enterprises.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

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Harvard | Harvard.com Image

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Harvard University planned to host its commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a weeks-long pro-Palestinian encampment that closed off Harvard Yard to save individuals with university links and heightened campus tensions.

Those tensions were heightened on Wednesday when school authorities revealed that 13 Harvard students who participated in the encampment would not be permitted to graduate alongside their classmates.

Those in the encampment demanded a cease-fire in Gaza and Harvard’s divestment from firms that support the war.

Also on Thursday, Northwestern and Rutgers University presidents are scheduled to speak before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on concessions they made to pro-Palestinian protesters to cease campus rallies. The Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, was also due to attend the most recent hearings looking into how universities have responded to the protests and charges of antisemitism.

Harvard

Harvard | AP News Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

The decision by the school’s top governing board comes after faculty members recommended on Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the encampment.

However, Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, stated that each 13 had been determined to have violated university standards during the camping protest.

“In coming to this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the company stated in a written statement.

The statement did not rule out the possibility of an appeals procedure, stating that the corporation knows “that the inability to graduate is consequential for students and their families” and supports the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ goal to accelerate the examination of appeal requests.

Harvard

Harvard | The Forward Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“We care deeply about every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni — and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” said the statement.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area

Supporters of the students said that the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement violated a May 14 agreement between interim President Alan Garber and the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine alliance, which would have allowed them to graduate.

Protesters opposing Israel’s war with Hamas willingly demolished their tents after university administrators agreed to hear their concerns over the endowment, bringing a peaceful end to the types of demonstrations that were broken up by police on other campuses.

The group issued a statement late Wednesday, claiming that the decision jeopardizes the 13 students’ post-graduate careers.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” claimed the organization.

Harvard

Harvard | Harvard Crimson Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” claimed the organization.

Supporters of the protestors planned a vigil outside Harvard Yard on Thursday to support the 13 and urge for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent encampments on college campuses has resulted in over 3,000 arrests nationally.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

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Biden | NBC Image

Washington — President Joe Biden is greeting Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House for a three-day state visit as the East African country prepares to send troops to Haiti as part of a United Nations-led effort to calm a deteriorating security situation in the Caribbean.

Some 1,000 Kenyan police personnel will soon arrive in Haiti as part of a multilateral security support operation aimed at reducing gang violence. Other countries anticipated to assist the Kenyan military include the Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Bangladesh.

For years, the United States has worked with Kenya on counterterrorism initiatives in Africa, notably the fight against the extremist group al-Shabab. Kenya has joined the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and an international maritime task force established by the Biden administration in December in response to Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

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Biden | AP News Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

A top Biden administration official praised Ruto’s decision to send police personnel to Haiti, calling it an “unprecedented undertaking” and demonstrating Kenya’s international leadership.

Kenya is the first African nation to have a state visit from the United States since 2008.

“This is a deep and broad partnership,” White House principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said last week. He said it begins with combatting terrorism in Kenya’s region of Africa and progresses to “becoming a net security provider in our own hemisphere” with the upcoming deployment to Haiti.

The state visit begins with the two leaders meeting with CEOs at the White House in the afternoon. The goal is to increase relations between the American and Kenyan IT industries. The White House predicts that Teneo, Alphabet, and Semiconductor Technologies Limited executives will attend.

On Thursday, Biden and Ruto will hold formal talks and a joint press conference before attending a state dinner. Ruto is also scheduled to attend a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event with Vice President Kamala Harris this Friday.

Ruto began his journey to the United States in Atlanta, where he visited The King Center, met NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal, and dropped by Tyler Perry Studios.

The United States and Kenya are commemorating their 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. According to White House officials, the leaders’ agenda will include trade and investment, technological innovation, climate and sustainable energy, as well as health and security.

Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell stated that the two countries would make “substantial commitments” to strengthen Kenya’s technical industry. Kenya hosts Google and Microsoft headquarters and established itself as East Africa’s technology hub, the Silicon Savannah.

In December 2022, Biden gathered dozens of African leaders in Washington to make the case that the United States was “all in” on Africa’s future, promising billions of dollars in government and private investment in health, infrastructure, business, and technology. The Democrat also promised to visit Sub-Saharan Africa in 2023.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

But other issues got in the way last year, notably the Israel-Hamas conflict and Biden’s lengthy battle with Republicans to renew financing for Ukraine’s war with Russia. Biden’s projected journey to Africa never occurred.

All the while, Russia has attempted to strengthen its economic and military influence in Africa. The junta in the West African nation recently ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Niger, which should be complete by mid-September. Meanwhile, Russia sent military trainers to Niger.

In addition, the United States needs to catch up to rival China in terms of investment in Africa, which has emerged as a vital battleground in the rivalry between great powers.

Biden and his advisers foresee fierce economic competition with Beijing in Africa but have attempted to argue that Washington is a far more stable partner in the long run

To that purpose, Biden took steps early in his presidency to prioritize Africa over his predecessors, including hosting over 50 leaders for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Conference in December 2022. However, analysts think the administration’s involvement has waned since the summit.

Cameron Hudson, a senior scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa Program, highlighted that Biden has only hosted one African leader, Angola President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, for meetings at the White House since the conference.

“This visit today feels a bit like a fig leaf, not just for the Kenyans but for Africa in general, and a kind of a placeholder for the administration to say: All of those things that we said early on in the administration, they all remain true,” Hudson stated.

According to Macharia Munene, a professor of international relations at the United States International University in Africa, Ruto hopes to use the visit to boost his international reputation. He feels that deploying Kenyan police to Haiti will help him achieve that aim.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

“Ruto wishes to be known as the African leader, particularly in the West. “And this kind of recognition fuels that desire,” Munene explained.

Ruto has stated that Kenya’s mission to Haiti aims to “formulate actionable strategies that will lead to long-term solutions” in the poorest Western Hemisphere country. For decades, Haiti has suffered from poverty, political instability, and natural calamities. The United States has agreed to offer direct financial assistance to the United Nations-backed mission and training, logistics, and material support.

However, Ruto’s decision to involve Kenyan police in a crisis hundreds of miles abroad has sparked criticism in Nairobi, including legal challenges to prevent police troops from being deployed.

International intervention in Haiti has a complex history. A sexual abuse scandal and the arrival of cholera, which claimed over 10,000 lives, hindered a U.N.-approved stabilization operation in Haiti that started in June 2004. The mission concluded in October 2017.

SOURCE – (AP)

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