Tag Archives: SWIFT

Florida Officials Plan Swift Demolition of Remaining Part of Collapsed Building

The partially collapsed structure might not withstand a coming storm, officials fear.

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Florida officials said on Saturday that they were rushing to demolish the part of the Champlain Towers South that remained standing, because they were fearful that the partially collapsed structure could not withstand the powerful winds of an approaching tropical storm.

Gov. Ron DeSantis acknowledged at a news conference that the demolition would create added hardship for the families who were forced to abandon their homes and possessions when they evacuated the building, which will now be reduced to rubble. But he said that he and other officials concluded that there was no other option, because the structure was perilously unsound even without the threat posed by Tropical Storm Elsa.

“At the end of the day, that building is too unsafe to let people go back in,” Mr. DeSantis said. “I know there’s a lot of people who were able to get out, fortunately, who have things there. We’re very sensitive to that. But I don’t think that there’s any way you could let someone go back up into that building, given the shape that it’s in now.”

Officials said on Saturday that preparations for the demolition could be completed within roughly 36 hours, in time for the building to be brought down before Elsa is expected to reach South Florida on Monday. The demolition itself could begin as soon as Sunday, according to Mayor Charles W. Burkett of Surfside.

The decision reflected the mounting concern over older high-rise buildings that has pervaded the region since June 24, when at least half of the 13-story, 135-unit condo complex suddenly collapsed, killing at least 24 people and leaving as many as 121 unaccounted for.

The disaster touched off a scramble to identify other buildings that might be vulnerable, among the scores of condo complexes that dot South Florida.

Local officials in North Miami Beach soon spotted one: Crestview Towers, a 10-story condominium complex, which they ordered evacuated on Friday after the building submitted a long-overdue recertification report, based on a January inspection that documented “unsafe structural and electrical conditions” in the building.

“In an abundance of caution, the city ordered the building closed immediately and the residents evacuated for their protection, while a full structural assessment is conducted and next steps are determined,” Arthur H. Sorey, the North Miami Beach city manager, said in a statement. “Nothing is more important than the safety and lives of our residents, and we will not rest until we ensure this building is 100 percent safe.”

The order alarmed residents and set off a rush to gather as many of their possessions as they could before leaving the building.

Miguel Jiménez was busy at work on Friday, detailing a car, when a neighbor called with a frantic message: They had been given an hour to evacuate their apartments in the 156-unit building, which was constructed in 1972 and is about a seven-mile drive from the collapsed building in Surfside.

Mr. Jiménez, who has lived in the complex with his family for six years, said he immediately started thinking about a loud cracking sound he heard last week, and the time a burst pipe flooded many units. The floors were still ruined, he said, and the building’s concrete columns have seen sturdier days. Some of the paint is chipping, and some units still have masking tape on the windows from past hurricanes.

“Everything is damaged in this building — everything,” he said on Saturday, standing beside yellow crime scene tape posted to seal off the building.

Like other buildings in the region, Crestview was supposed to submit a recertification report when it turned 40 years old in 2012, but it did not do so for nine years, and was cited by the city each year for noncompliance, a spokeswoman for the city said.

After the Champlain Towers South collapse, the city pushed harder. The city manager ordered his own audit on Tuesday, and Crestview got another notice and fine. The complex’s building manager finally appeared at the city building department on Friday with an 11-page report that was dated January. The report determined that the building was both structurally and electrically unsafe for “continued occupancy.”

On its website, the management company posted a notice 11 days ago saying that it was “currently working on to improve the condition of the building for the enjoyment of all of the building’s residents.”

The notice said the company was redoing the roof, getting a new generator to avoid fines, and hiring a company to change all of the building’s lighting, indoors and out. “The city demands this work from us to be able to pass the 40-year certification, which is something we could not postpone any longer,” the notice said of the lighting work.

The notice said the company also planned to paint common areas and had renovated the lounge, and acknowledged that recent flooring work had been shoddy. It did not mention the cracked concrete and corroded rebar that the engineer outlined in his report.

Mariel Tollinchi, a lawyer for the condo association board, said the board disputed the need for evacuation, adding that any building that has not completed its 40-year certification is considered “unsafe” even if it’s safe. She said the board thought the engineer’s report had been sent to the city long before Friday.

The report mentioned cracks, she said, but did not note that the cracks were not particularly deep and could be fixed with stucco. Another engineer, she said, has been hired to provide more details.

The board has been working on getting estimates for the repairs. Structural repair estimates came in at $ 250,000, but electrical work was priced “in the millions,” she said. “Even the general contractor did not agree with the report,” she said of the engineer’s findings. “He said he made it seem worse than it actually was.”

Residents, she said, should be back in the building within 30 days.

They were told on Friday that they could stay at a shelter on the county fairgrounds some 40 minutes away. “I would rather sleep in my car,” Mr. Jiménez said.

He wondered whether the owners, the city, management company — or anyone — would help relocate people like him who could not come up with $ 6,000 or $ 7,000 for security deposits and advance rent on another apartment.

“Everything we own is inside,” said Ramaxel Casas, his wife.

Estefania Grajales and her husband, Holman J. Pérez, said they were napping Friday evening and heard about the evacuation order from a neighbor.

It took an hour to get an elevator from the eighth floor, she said. Every time the elevator doors opened, they were jammed with someone else’s prized possessions.

“The elevators were full with suitcases, bicycles, cabinets, children, everything,” Ms. Grajales, 25, said. “This did not happen one day to the next. It was one hour to the next.”

At Champlain Towers South, officials said that the planned demolition would cause the “most minimal interruption” of search and rescue work at the site. A Maryland-based contractor, Controlled Demolition Inc., would use explosives to bring the remainder of the building down.

Governor DeSantis said that they were trying to get the job done before the strong winds and heavy rain of Tropical Storm Elsa arrive, even though forecasters expect the worst of the storm to pass by to the west. The storm may cause flooding and possible tornadoes across Florida.

Sophie Kasakove reported from Surfside, and Frances Robles from North Miami Beach, Fla.

Author: Sophie Kasakove, Frances Robles and Rick Rojas
Read more here >>> NYT > Top Stories

Where is Taylor Swift from – does she live in London? Inside her home life

The Brits said of her winning the award: “Taylor’s career is unparalleled and her music and influence has resonated with millions of people all over the world.

“She’s used her platform to highlight many issues globally and recently has been applauded for her work promoting acceptance of the LGBTQ community.”

While Taylor is from Pennsylvania, she is also linked to many other places around the world, including the UK.

As a teenager, despite being certain she must move to Nashville, Tennessee, Taylor and her family moved to Henderson, Tennessee when she was 14-years-old, to help her break into the music business.

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

BRITS 2021 winners: Taylor Swift to Little Mix, Harry Styles and Dua Lipa

The girls were on fire this year as Taylor Swift was the first female artist to win the special BRITs Global Icon award, while Little Mix, now a trio after the departure of Jesy Nelson, became the first female group ever to pick up the British Group award. This year there was another first, as each winner received two statuettes, one for themselvs and a smaller one to pass on to someone who has inspired them over the past 12 months. SCROLL DOWN FOR THE FULL LIST OF BRIT AWARDS 2021  WINNERS AND NOMINEES

Nominees: Bicep, Biffy Clyro, Little Mix, The 1975, Young T & Bugsey. 


Nominees: AJ Tracey, Headie One, J Hus, Joel Corry, Yungblud


Nominees: Arlo Parks, Celeste, Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware, Lianne La Havas

READ MORE: Jesy Nelson ‘nearly cried’ in studio as she skips Brit Awards


Arlo Parks – Collapsed in Sunbeams
Celeste – Not Your Muse
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
J Hus – Big Conspiracy
Jessie Ware – What’s Your Pleasure?


220 Kid & GRACEY – Don’t Need Love
Aitch & AJ Tracey feat. Tay Keith – Rain,
Dua Lipa  – Physical
Harry Styles – Watermelon Sugar
Headie One feat. AJ Tracey and Stormzy – Ain’t It Different
Joel Corry feat. MNEK – Head & Heart
Nathan Dawe feat. KSI – Lighter
Regard & RAYE – Secret
S1MBA feat. DTG – Rover
Young T & Bugsey feat. Headie One – Don’t Rush


Nominees: BTS, Fontaines D.C., Foo Fighters, HAIM, Run The Jewels


Nominees: Arlo Parks, Bicep, Celeste, Joel Corry, Young T & Bugsey


Nominees: Griff, Pa Salieu, Rina Sawayama

This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Tokyo Olympics chief hopes for ‘swift return to normalcy’ as fears rise for Games after Japan declares Covid emergency

Author RT
This post originally appeared on RT Sport News

Tokyo Olympics organizers maintain that they are unwilling to cancel this summer’s Games despite a “short” state of emergency being imposed in regions including the Japanese capital.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a targeted state of emergency for four prefectures including Tokyo and Osaka in an attempt to halt a surge in Covid-19 cases, with just three months to go before the Olympics.

The government implemented tougher restrictions, such as banning restaurants and bars from serving alcohol, temporarily closing department stores and movie theaters, and barring spectators at sports games, which will be in place from Sunday through May 11.

READ MORE: Podium protests BANNED at Tokyo & Beijing Olympics ‘to protect athletes from political interference & exploitation’

We will implement short and intensive measures during Golden Week, strengthening steps related to eating establishments and temporarily halting the flow of people,” Suga said.

The emergency declaration which covers roughly a quarter of Japan’s population of 126 million has raised doubts over the country’s ability to host the summer Games, which are set to take place in July.

Suga said the country would take measures to ensure it could safely host the Olympics, which were already postponed last year due to the pandemic.

Also on rt.com Tokyo enters ‘short and powerful’ state of emergency as Japan races to contain Covid outbreak before Olympics begin

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said the Games organizers were not considering cancelling the event.

We, as Tokyo 2020, continue to wish for the swift return to normalcy and will continue to work closely with the relevant parties to make sure a safe and secure Olympics can happen,” she told a news conference.

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Taylor Swift Shares Rare, Recent Photos With Mom Andrea In Lyric Video for ‘The Best Day’ Re-Record

The re-record of Taylor Swift’s 2008 album, ‘Fearless’, is here. This means a brand new version and video of ‘The Best Day’ hs arrived, along with sweet new photos of Taylor with her mom.

Taylor Swift[1], 31, is not the only person who has grown up since she originally recorded her album Fearless in 2008. Her mom has also been along for the ride over the past 13 years, and so Taylor made sure to pay tribute to Andrea Swift for the release of her re-recorded album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), on April 9. This means the tribute song she wrote for her mom all those years ago, “The Best Day,” arrived with a brand-new lyric video that revealed photos taken recently.

taylor swift's mom
[Courtesy of YouTube]

While the visuals start with a montage of videos and photos from Taylor’s childhood[2], the montage ended with a slideshow of pictures featuring a grown-up Taylor with her beautiful mom. They posed for many smiley selfies together, as you can see in the photos above and below!

taylor swift's mom
[Courtesy of YouTube]

As this video demonstrates, Taylor is incredibly close with her mother. This is why it was especially difficult for the Grammy-winning pop star after her mother was first diagnosed with cancer in 2015. By March of 2019, Taylor revealed that the cancer had returned in her interview with Elle[3]; and in Jan. 2020, she revealed that doctors had found a brain tumor[4] in her mother amid treatment.

taylor swift's mom
[Courtesy of YouTube]

“Everyone loves their mom; everyone’s got an important mom. But for me, she’s really the guiding force. Almost every decision I make, I talk to her about it first. So obviously, it was a really big deal to ever speak about her illness,” Taylor told Variety[5] after the tumor was found.
Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is the first album that Taylor re-recorded[6] to gain back ownership of her music. When she left Big Machine Records in 2018, she gave up the rights to own the masters of her first six albums, which she originally recorded under that record label. Label head, Scott Borchetta, would not allow Taylor to buy the masters outright — instead, he wanted her to record six NEW albums under Big Machine to earn back each old one. Taylor did not want to take that deal, so she left Big Machine and her masters behind.

taylor swift
Taylor Swift celebrating the original release of ‘Fearless.’ (Shutterstock)

However, when Scott then did sell the masters[7] outright — to the singer’s nemesis, Scooter Braun, no less — Taylor decided to take action. As soon as she was allowed to begin re-recording the music[8] in Nov. 2020, she got to work. Fearless, which originally came out in 2008, was the first re-recorded project that she completed. In addition to all the original songs and bonus tracks, Taylor also re-recorded six never-before-heard songs[9] that didn’t make Fearless the first time around. Fans got to hear these “from the vault” tracks for the first time on Fearless (Taylor’s Version).

Taylor has not yet confirmed which of the five remaining albums she plans to re-record next. However, in March, she dropped a snippet of the new version of her song[10] “Wildest Dreams,” which was originally on the 2014 album, 1989. Naturally, this left fans speculating that 1989 will be up next. Meanwhile, Taylor fully owns the rights to the three albums — Lover, Folklore and Evermore — that she recorded since leaving Big Machine.


  1. ^ Taylor Swift (www.hollywoodlife.com)
  2. ^ Taylor’s childhood (hollywoodlife.com)
  3. ^ interview with Elle (hollywoodlife.com)
  4. ^ brain tumor (hollywoodlife.com)
  5. ^ told Variety (hollywoodlife.com)
  6. ^ Taylor re-recorded (hollywoodlife.com)
  7. ^ did sell the masters (hollywoodlife.com)
  8. ^ re-recording the music (hollywoodlife.com)
  9. ^ never-before-heard songs (hollywoodlife.com)
  10. ^ new version of her song (hollywoodlife.com)

Alyssa Norwin

Unions eager for swift action from new Labor secretary

Newly confirmed Labor Secretary Marty WalshMarty WalshThe Hill’s Morning Report – Biden’s next act: Massive infrastructure plan with tax hikes Unions eager for swift action from new Labor secretary Kim Janey is first woman, person of color to be mayor of Boston MORE[2][3][4][5][6][1] is set to inherit an agency struggling to confront a host of challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Walsh, a former union leader who most recently served as the mayor of Boston, is expected to come under immediate pressure from labor groups to ramp up workplace safety standards following COVID-19 breakouts at food processing plants and similar settings.

Worker advocates say the next few months will be crucial as more businesses open up without a fully vaccinated adult population. And they want to see swift action from Labor Department agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


“Millions of workers still do not have the strong COVID-19 protections they need to be safe at work. Marty Walsh’s strong leadership will be needed to urgently issue a strong, comprehensive OSHA COVID-19 emergency temporary standard to set workplace safety rules, accompanied by strong enforcement to ensure workers are protected,” said Rebecca Reindel, the AFL-CIO’s safety and health director.

Reindel said new rules and strong enforcement are “essential to President BidenJoe BidenGood luck, Dan Bongino! The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden’s next act: Massive infrastructure plan with tax hikes Conservative group says polling shows Dems’ voting rights bill ‘out of sync with American voters’ MORE[8][9][10][11][12][7]’s promise to protect workers from COVID-19.”

Chief among those requests is a desire for an emergency temporary standard that imposes new workplace rules for dealing with shorter-term challenges like the coronavirus.

President Biden issued an executive order for OSHA to consider an emergency temporary standard by March 15, a deadline the agency failed to meet.

“Even though there’s going to be vaccination and the president said he expects everyone who wants to get it to get it by summer, that’s still months away,” said Adam Pulver, an attorney with the left-leaning Public Citizen Litigation Group.

Unions and Democrats bashed the Labor Department last year when businesses started to reopen after the initial COVID-19 lockdowns, saying the agency was falling short on prioritizing worker safety when the virus was still spreading quickly across the country.


They consistently called for OSHA to issue an emergency standard, but the agency only issued a nonbinding guidance.

OSHA has received thousands of complaints pertaining to COVID-19 over the past year, an uptick Democrats deemed as disturbing.

“OSHA is the first order and Biden has said he wants new rules to be issued, so I think that’s the first big thing,” said Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell University.

Walsh, who was confirmed Monday in a 68-29 vote, is expected to issue a new temporary standard, and he indicated during his confirmation hearing that he intends to address certain COVID-19 disparities as well.

“To the extent that employers are federal contractors, the [Labor Department] does have the ability to implement rules that could be designed to address the sex-based or race-based disparity that we’ve seen on the impacts of COVID,” said Christopher Feudo, co-chair of the COVID-19 task force at the law firm Foley Hoag LLP.

The pandemic’s impact on gig workers is also likely to increase pressure on Walsh to provide more protections for independent contractors.

“There’s major pressure to … cover them across the board, give them not just the right to organize but also give them protections under labor law and employment law,” Bronfenbrenner said.

That would be a near-180 from the previous administration’s policies.

“The Trump administration took an approach that was hands off and allowed companies to classify people the way they wanted to classify them. You can expect to see a lot of pressure on President Biden and Secretary Walsh to address the effects of the gig economy for workers,” Feudo said.

Walsh is also expected to take what action he can on aspects of the PRO Act, a House-passed union bill that faces an uphill climb in the Senate.

Democrats and the White House are under pressure to deliver on the legislation, and experts said there are some steps Walsh can take in the short term.

“A lot of people have talked about the PRO Act and federal labor law. He can’t legislate … but for federal contractors, you could see PRO Act reforms implemented,” Feudo said.

The PRO Act would stiffen penalties for employers who violate workers’ rights, while strengthening protections for employees against retaliation. It would also make changes to the union election process, bolster collective bargaining agreements and go after right-to-work laws.

Feudo said that implementing rules for federal contractors could be used as a selling point for passing the PRO Act for all workers.

“If you can have these things happening in a microcosm of the economy and be able to show that the sky isn’t falling, as opponents of various pieces of legislation would have you believe, that helps the Biden administration’s argument in getting these reforms passed,” he added.

[email protected] (Alex Gangitano)

Russia prepared for possibility of being cut off from SWIFT, Kremlin says

With anti-Russian sanctions gathering momentum, particularly in the US, President Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov says he does not exclude the possibility of Russia being unplugged from the SWIFT financial network.

“We cannot rule out any of the potential threats… These actions are unreasonable and unpredictable, therefore, of course, this situation obliges us to be on the alert,” Peskov told reporters on Monday after being asked whether the Kremlin views potential disconnection of Russia from the global payment system as a serious threat.

Washington has been threatening to disconnect Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) for years. Moscow has responded by creating a domestic alternative to the payment system called SPFS, or the System for Transfer of Financial Messages. It is set to be linked with the Chinese cross-border interbank payment system CIPS and India’s future payment mechanism. The Russian payment system will also work with Iran’s SEPAM, as Iranian banks have had no access to SWIFT since 2018 after the US reinstated sanctions.
Also on rt.com Russia, China & India to set up alternative to SWIFT payment system to connect 3 billion people
SWIFT is a financial network that provides high-value cross-border transfers for members across the world. It is based in Belgium, but its board includes executives from US banks with US federal law allowing the administration to act against banks and regulators across the globe. It supports most interbank messages, connecting over 11,000 financial institutions in more than 200 countries and territories. The European Union is also working on an alternative to SWIFT. The project, promoted by Germany, will help Brussels to bypass US sanctions against Iran.

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