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What we know about those missing in the Miami condo building collapse

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SURFSIDE, Fla. — Loved ones of the almost 160 people who are unaccounted for continue to wait for news after a 12-story condominium building collapsed Thursday just north of Miami.

As of Friday, 159 people were still unaccounted for, authorities said. At least four people are dead.

Relatives issued a statement identifying one of the deceased as Stacie Fang. Her son, Jonah Handler, was rescued from the rubble hours after the collapse.

News of the condo collapse has reverberated globally as missing residents have roots around the world. Among them are Orthodox Jews from Russia, Argentine Americans and the sister of Paraguay’s first lady.

As of late Thursday, 20% of the people unaccounted for in the wake of the building’s collapse were South Americans, and news of the collapse was on the front page of news organization websites across the hemisphere.

‘We still have hope’: At least 4 dead, 159 unaccounted for in Florida building collapse

Before and after look: Champlain Towers South, the Florida building that partially collapsed

Crews in hardhats and rescue dogs scavenged through piles of concrete, maneuvering around personal belongings left among the wreckage, including televisions, computers and chairs. A children’s bunk bed perched precariously on a top floor. Two cranes removed debris as crashing glass and metal fell from their claws.

At a reunification center, families arranged chairs into semi-circles to wait. The semi circles grew as new family members made it pass the yellow police tape in search of relatives.

Here’s what we know about those who are missing:

Jewish community members

About 20 Jewish people are among the missing, including some with Israeli citizenship, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Consul General of Israel in Miami, told USA TODAY.

A rescue team of Orthodox Jews, called Hatzalah, joined law enforcement officers at the scene in Surfside, which has a large Jewish and Israeli population.

The local Jewish community from a nearby synagogue brought lunch for families of the missing and injured. Dozens and dozens of pizza boxes sat on tables alongside large aluminum trays filled with falafel, cucumber and tomato salad and red cabbage salad.

No families had filed any missing person reports with the consulate Thursday, but Israel offered rescue teams to help with recovery efforts, Elbaz-Starinsky said.

The University of Chicago sent a message to students and faculty confirming that Ilan Naibryf, a rising fourth-year physics and molecular engineering student, is among the individuals missing. Naibryf is also president of the university’s Chabad Student Board, according to an Instagram post being shared among students.

The post asked people to pray for Naibryf and his girlfriend Deborah Berezdivin. “They are dear friends, gems whom we love dearly,” the post said.

The Shul Jewish Community Center posted a sign offering meals, phone chargers, blankets and clothes. They asked people to reach out if they need a place for Shabbat dinner Friday evening.

Argentine American community

Surfside has also long been an enclave for the Argentine American community. Nine Argentines were missing as of Thursday afternoon, the country’s Miami consulate said on Twitter.

La Capital in Rosario, Argentina, reported that two Argentinian actors, Gimena Accardi and Nicolás Vázquez, were staying in the building but were able to escape to safety.

Silvana Juárez, 49, of Argentina, lives near the condo building and told USA TODAY that three of her good friends and a young child were missing.

Also among the missing are married couple Andres Galfrascoli and Fabian Nuñez and their 6-year-old daughter, Sofia, who had spent Wednesday night at the apartment of a friend, Nicolas Fernandez. Galfrascoli is a Buenos Aires plastic surgeon and Nuñez a theater producer and accountant.

“Of all days, they chose the worst to stay there,” Fernandez said. “I hope it’s not the case, but if they die like this, that would be so unfair.”

Researchers say: Collapsed Miami condo had been sinking into Earth as early as the 1990s

Relatives of the first lady of Paraguay

Six Paraguayans are unaccounted for, according to the country’s foreign ministry. Among them are relatives of the first lady of Paraguay, Leticia Robertti, a spokesperson for the Consul General of Paraguay in Miami, told USA TODAY.

They included the sister of the first lady, Sofia Lopez Moreira Bó, her sister’s husband, Luis Pettengill, and their three children and nanny, Lady Luna Villalba.

President Mario Abdo announced he had canceled activities for Thursday and Friday to be with his wife. The first lady is planning to travel to Miami on Friday night, Gilmer Moreira, press director of Paraguay’s presidential palace, said.

‘I have no hope’: Loved ones await news, survivors flee after condo building partially collapses near Miami

Among the missing: A doctor, teacher, yoga instructor

As of Friday morning, family, friends and colleagues hadn’t heard from Dr. Brad Cohen, a 51-year-old orthopedic surgeon. Colleagues at Cohen’s medical practice, Aventura Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, held out hope.

“We have people looking out in the hospitals and anywhere he might be,” receptionist Joselyne Cheramy said. “We’re clueless.”

“His phone is not picking up,” Khafizov’s realtor, Tatiana Asailov, said through tears, adding Cohen has a “very attached” daughter who is around 12 years old.

Asailov knows the condo like the back of her hand. “To me, his master bedroom where he would sleep is located right at the end, and I still hope that that room is still there,” Asailov said. “I look at the broken building and I hope.”

Pablo Rodriguez, 40, a Miami native, said his 64-year-old mother and 88-year-old grandmother lived in the wing that collapsed. He last spoke to his mom Wednesday when they chatted about weekend plans.

His grandmother’s 89th birthday is next month. Rodriguez was planning to surprise her with brunch at a nice restaurant.

“I came to the center, but I have no hope,” Rodriguez said in tears on Thursday.

The American Red Cross set up a reunification site for family and friends near the site of the partial building collapse of a 12-story condominium early Thursday, June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Fla.About 70 people crammed into a room with chairs and blue gym mats on the floor.

Arnie Notkin, a retired Miami-area elementary school physical education teacher, and his wife, Myriam, are also among the missing. Fortuna Smukler, a friend, described them as joyful people and said Notkin always had a story to tell.

“Originally there were rumors that he had been found, but it was a case of mistaken identity,” Notkin said. “It would be a miracle if they’re found alive.”

Ashley Dean rushed to South Florida from New Orleans after receiving a frantic call from her sister’s husband. Dean’s sister, Cassondra Stratton, a yoga instructor, was missing.

“We’re just holding out hope,” Dean said.

Also among the missing

  • Judith Spiegel, 65, is one of scores of residents still missing. Her husband, Kevin Spiegel, was in California on a business trip when woke in the middle of the night Thursday to an email alert from his Surfside condo saying the building had partially collapsed. He promptly called his daughter, Rachel, to drive to the building and look for Judith – Rachel’s mother – who was still inside. Rachel spent the entire day at the scene of the ruined building and the family reunification area, where she waited anxiously for news. “At the end of the day they asked me to do a DNA sample,” Spiegel said in a phone interview. “So it’s tough. It’s tough.”

  • Julio Cesar Velasquez, 67, and Angela Maria Velasquez, 60, lived in the building for nearly a decade, their son, David Velasquez, told the Washington Post. Angela owns a small men’s clothing shop called Fiorelli, the newspaper reported. Pilar Martinez, 52, a friend of the family, told the newspaper the couple arrived in the U.S. from Colombia in their teens. “She’s an icon there in Weston,” Martinez said. “Everybody knows who she is and that store.” The couple’s daughter, Theresa Velasquez, an executive at the entertainment company Live Nation, was visiting her parents and is also missing, the newspaper reported.

  • Edgar Gonzalez, 45, is an attorney who was in his unit with his wife and daughter, who were both rescued and are in stable condition after surgery, the Washington Post reported.

  • Marina Azen, 77, lived in the building for 20 years and suffered from asthma, the Washington Post reported.

  • Anaely Guara, 41, Guara’s husband, Marcos, 55, and their daughters, who are 4 and 11 years old could not be found by relative Betsy Gonzalez, the Washington Post reported. Gonzalez told the newspaper Anaely was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. as a teenager before she met Marcos, who worked in hotels.

  • Claudio Bonnefoy, a cousin of former Chilean President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s father is among the missing, CNN Chile reported. His wife, Maria Bonnefoy, is also missing.

  • Vishal Patel, his wife Bhavna Patel, and their 1-year-old daughter Aishani Patel are missing, their niece Sarina Patel told CNN. She added that Bhavna Patel is four months pregnant.

  • Four Venezuelans who were studying in Gainesville, Florida are missing, América TeVé reported. Their names are Moisés Rodán, 28; Andrés Levine, 27 years old; Luis Sadovnic, 28, and Nicole Langesfeld, the station reported.

  • Luis Fernando Barth, 51, was visiting from Colombia with his wife, Catalina Gomez, 44, and their 14-year-old daughter, Valeria Barth, according to the Miami Herald and New York Daily News.

  • Alfredo Leone and his son Lorenzo Leone were residents of unit 513, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Married couple Bonnie and David Epstein were on the ninth floor, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Members of the Shul, including Nancy Kress Levin, Jay Kleinman, Frankie Kleinman, Arie Leib, Yisorel Tzvi Yosef and Tzvi Doniel, were among those missing, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

  • Family of Sophia Lopez, who traveled to Florida from Uruguay, was been unable to contact her, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Friends say they have been unable to contact Luis Alberto Pettengill, Sophia Maria Margarita Pettengill and their children Anna Sophia, 6, Alexia Maria, 9, and Luis Vincente, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Mercy Urgelles, a pharmacy director, and her husband, Ray Urgelles, have not been found, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Magally Delgado, 80, was living on the ninth floor when the building collapsed, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Linda March, an attorney, recently moved back from New York to Surfside before the collapse, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Harry Rosenberg was visiting his daughter, Malky Weiss, and her husband, Bennie Weiss, friends told WPLG Local 10. All of them are missing, the station reported.

  • Family and friends are searching for Michael Altman, according to a family statement sent to WPLG Local 10.

  • Oresme Gil Guerra and Betty Guerra lived on the 9th floor, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Leon Oliwkowicz, 79, and Christina Elvira Oliwkowicz, 74, have not been found, their daughter told WPLG Local 10.

  • Gabriella Cattarossi and daughter, Estella, are missing, along with Cattarossi’s elderly parents, a friend told WPLG Local 10.

  • Luis Andres Bermudez and Ana Ortiz are missing, family told WPLG Local 10. Bermudez’s cousin told the station that Bermudez has muscular dystrophy and can’t walk.

  • Nicole and Ruslan Manashirov moved into the apartment just two months ago after they got married, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Simon Segal lived on the 11th floor, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Rosi Maza-Saez didn’t live at the building but was staying there overnight, loved ones told WPLG Local 10.

  • Richard Augustine and Elaine Sabino are missing, WPLG Local 10 reported.

  • Maria Rovirosa and her husband, Ricky, are missing, NBC Miami reported.

  • Ana Mora lived on the 10th floor with her husband, Juan, NBC Miami reported.

  • A friend of Estelle Hedaya has not been able to contact her, the New York Daily News reported.

  • Ruslan Manshirov and Nicole Doran-Manshirov lived on the seventh floor, NBC Miami reported.

Contributing: Thomas J. Weber, Fresh Take Florida; Adam Regan, The News-Press/Naples Daily News; Nada Hassanein and Mary Claire Malloy, USA TODAY; Antonio Fins, Palm Beach Post; The Associated Press.

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: List of missing people in Florida building collapse: Who are they?





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Jimmy Kimmel Hits Donald Trump Jr. With The 2024 Campaign Ad Of His Nightmares

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Porn star Stormy Daniels testifies ex-lawyer Michael Avenatti ‘lied to me’

NEW YORK (Reuters) -Adult film actress Stormy Daniels told jurors at her former lawyer Michael Avenatti’s criminal fraud trial on Thursday that he “stole from me and lied to me” by diverting proceeds from a book she wrote. Testifying as a prosecution witness, Daniels said in Manhattan federal court that Avenatti – whom she had retained to help her escape a non-disclosure agreement with then-U.S. President Donald Trump – told her he would “never take a penny” from the 2018 memoir, titled “Full Disclosure.” But Avenatti embezzled nearly $300,000 of proceeds intended for Daniels, prosecutors have said, in part by forging her signature on instructions to the publisher about where to send the funds.



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Fox News’ Tomi Lahren told officers at a policing conference that prominent police killings could have been avoided if people ‘would just comply’

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Tomi Lahren in Pasadena, California.Colin Young-Wolff/Invision/AP

  • Tomi Lahren was among several who spoke at a police training conference in Atlantic City in October.

  • Lahren described Black Lives Matter as “thugs, felons, and criminals” and as a “terrorist organization.”

  • She went on to say police shootings could be avoided if people “would just comply with police.”

Fox News personality Tomi Lahren told police officers that significant numbers of police brutality cases could have been avoided “if people would just comply with police, would follow orders, and not resist arrest.”

The Washington Post reported that Lahren, a political commentator for the Fox Nation shows “Final Thoughts” and “No Interruption,” made the comments in October at the Street Cop Training Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

More than 1,000 police officers from departments across New Jersey and other states attended the conference, The Post reported. During her speech, Lahren described Black Lives Matter as “thugs, felons, and criminals” and a “terrorist organization.”

“If I’m wrong, please point it out,” Lahren said, according to a sound clip of her remarks shared by The Post. “But all these major headline incidents that we’ve had in this country involving law enforcement in the last, at least, five years could have all been prevented if people would just comply with police, would follow orders, and not resist arrest.”

The audience can be heard applauding and cheering in the clip.

Her comments were consistent with previous statements she has made on her shows and social media.

The Post’s investigation found Lahren’s sentiments were typical of those made in commercial police training settings, even as calls for reform grow. The outlet spoke with 18 trainers and experts in addition to watching or attending conferences in New Jersey and Idaho, many of whom balked at police reform.

Several blamed the media for overplaying the public’s desire for reform and dismissed reformers as a small cohort, The Post found. The outlet also said many portrayed violence as an inherent part of policing.

“The curriculum is that you are a good person and reveling in violence and being an expert in violence is not morally wrong,” Michael Sierra-Arévalo, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin who attended the Street Cop Conference, told The Post. “In fact, it’s your moral duty because you’re a paladin. You are this kind of warrior.”

Calls for police reform grew during the racial justice protests in the summer of 2020 after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

Congress engaged in bipartisan talks about a potential police reform bill last summer, but they fell apart without reaching a deal.

Sources told NBC News that President Joe Biden plans to sign executive orders on police reform as early as this month.

Read the original article on Business Insider



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Family who died in freezing cold by US-Canada border identified

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Police used snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to navigate the deep snow

Canadian authorities believe the deaths of four Indian nationals found steps away from the Canada-US border are connected to a human smuggling scheme.

Jagdish Patel, 39, Vaishailben Patel, 37, and their children Vihangi, 11, and Dharkmik, 3, died from exposure due to the frigid cold near Manitoba, Canada.

Temperatures dropped to -35C (-31F) on the night the Patel family attempted to cross into the US on foot.

The family was found in a field north of the border on 19 January.

Their identities were announced by Canada’s High Commission of India and later confirmed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, RCMP superintendent Rob Hill said the Patel family first arrived in Canada on 12 January, on a flight from Toronto. From there, they made their way west to Manitoba, before travelling to Emerson – a border town – on or around 18 January. Their bodies were found the next night.

No vehicle was found near the Canada-US border in Emerson, suggesting that someone drove the Patel family to a drop-off point before they began their journey on foot.

“This is an extended period of time for a family who is unfamiliar with Canada to be travelling across the country”, Mr Hill said. It is believed that someone may have facilitated the family’s travel.

The RCMP would not comment on whether the Patels’ case was connected to a group of seven other Indian nationals also found by border agents on the evening of 19 January. Steve Shand, a 47-year-old Florida resident, has been charged with human smuggling after authorities found him driving a 15-person van along the border, on the same night the Patels were found. Mr Shand had two Indian nationals as passengers in his car, and cases of food and water in his boot.

The deaths of the Patel family have rocked the Indian community in Manitoba.

“There’s a common sense of feeling guilty, like something has gone wrong,” Ramandeep Grewal, president of the India Association of Manitoba, told the BBC.

Questions remain as to why the Patel family set out on foot in the dark, in Canada’s punishing winter weather.

Mr Grewal said he heard rumours the family walked for 11 hours. “You don’t expose yourself to that degree of cold for minutes, let alone hours,” he said.

Such questions have consumed Indian communities in Winnipeg, said Hemant Shah, an Indian ex-pat, who organised a virtual prayer for the Patel family this week.

“There are lots of Patel families here, lots of Indo-Canadians,” he said. “Everybody’s talking, making their own theories.”

While perilous border crossings have become typical to the United States’ southern border, this type of journey is less common from the north.

“I’ve never seen this in Canada,” Mr Shah said. “This is unheard of.”

The RCMP has launched an “extensive” investigation into how the Patels made their way to Canada, co-ordinating with the US and India. It is so far unknown if the Patels had family in Canada or the US.

A special team led by a senior Indian consular officer was dispatched to Manitoba to help Canadian authorities with the investigation. The Consulate General of India in Toronto has been in touch with relatives to provide support.

Last week, a US Homeland Security official said they were also investigating the Patel case, alongside a “larger human smuggling operation of which [Steve] Shand is suspected of playing a part”.

There had been three other recent incidents of human smuggling in December and January in the same location where Mr Shand was apprehended, according to court documents.

The India Association’s Mr Grewal said he hopes other families contemplating a similar journey may now reconsider.

“If there’s anybody else who’s in the same boat, who’s trying to cross… Don’t go, don’t listen to people who are telling you they can help.”



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Gallup's Mohamed Younis- Foreign Policy Interventionism A 'Low Desire' For Americans

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Gallup's Mohamed Younis- Foreign Policy Interventionism A 'Low Desire' For Americans



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Palestinian children play in the snow-covered West Bank city of Ramallah

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U.S. Capitol Riot Made 1 Chilling Thing ‘Impossible To Deny’

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University of California professor Barbara Walter, an expert on civil conflicts, said the U.S. Capitol riot had “made it impossible to deny and ignore that there really was this cancer growing” of anti-democratic sentiment in America.

Walter, after CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan showed her footage of Donald Trump supporters repeating the former president’s 2020 election lies and claiming democracy in the United States was dead, said her response to such rhetoric only 10 years ago “would have been shock and disbelief.”

“I would have thought, ‘Well she’s an outlier and she’s not representative of anything larger than a fringe movement maybe,’” Walter said. “But of course, that’s not the case anymore.”

Experts on civil wars had been talking about the warning signs in the U.S. “but nobody wanted to believe it,” she said.

“Citizens do believe what they are hearing and if they hear it long enough and consistently enough and if that’s all they hear, they absolutely don’t think it’s a lie, they think it’s the truth,” she continued, referencing falsehoods spouted by Trump, right-wing politicians and conservative media, before slamming cynical leaders for “feeding them lies consistently.”

“They’re priming their supporters to believe that democracy isn’t worth defending because they don’t want democracy anymore,” she added.

Watch the video here:

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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A witness has corroborated the claim that Rep. Matt Gaetz was told he had sex with a minor in 2017, report says

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Rep. Matt Gaetz.Getty

  • A witness told federal prosecutors he was there when Matt Gaetz was told he had sex with a minor, The Daily Beast reported.

  • Joe Ellicott was in the room when Joel Greenberg conveyed the information to Gaetz in a phone call in 2017.

  • Ellicott struck a plea deal and is among several people cooperating in the sex crimes probe into Gaetz.

A witness has confirmed to federal prosecutors that Rep. Matt Gaetz was informed in 2017 that he had sex with a minor, sources told The Daily Beast.

In a letter obtained by The Daily Beast in April of last year, Gaetz’s associate Joel Greenberg said he discovered a girl he and the congressman had engaged in “sexual activities” with was 17 at the time.

“Immediately I called the congressman and warned him to stay clear of this person and informed him she was underage,” Greenberg wrote, according to the outlet. He added Gaetz was “equally shocked and disturbed by this revelation” and that “there was no further contact with this individual until after her 18th birthday.”

According to The Daily Beast, someone else was in the room when Greenberg called Gaetz to convey that information: Joe Ellicott, Greenberg’s close friend and a former employee at the Seminole County tax office. Both men are now cooperating with federal investigators in the sex crimes probe into Gaetz.

Ellicott’s decision to cooperate is likely bad news for the embattled Florida congressman, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in connection to the sex-trafficking probe.

“After nearly a year of false rumors, not a shred of evidence has implicated Congressman Gaetz in wrongdoing,” his chief of staff told ABC News on Wednesday. “We remain focused on our work representing Floridians.”

Among other things, Ellicott and Greenberg reportedly exchanged text messages via the encrypted messaging app Signal, in which Ellicott disclosed that a woman they both were associated with “knew [the minor] was underage the whole time, had sex with her, and they both went to see other guys.”

Greenberg pleaded guilty to sex trafficking in May and agreed to cooperate with fully with the government on other investigations. Ellicott agreed to cooperate this week and will plead guilty to two federal crimes, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and distribution of a controlled substance, in a separate case from the Gaetz investigation, ABC News reported.

No charges have been brought against Gaetz. But several recent developments indicate the investigation is heating up. Among other things, Gaetz’s ex-girlfriend testified before a federal grand jury earlier this month. NBC News reported that the ex, whose name Insider is withholding to protect her privacy, has been talking to prosecutors for months and was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony.

NBC also said prosecutors are investigating Gaetz for three separate crimes: if he sex-trafficked the 17-year-old; if he violated the Mann Act, which prohibits the transportation of “any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose” across state lines; and if he obstructed justice.

With respect to the obstruction probe, investigators are said to be scrutinizing a three-way call after the investigation started between Gaetz, his ex, and another woman who was cooperating with federal authorities and who was reportedly recording the phone call. NBC reported that authorities suspect Gaetz of obstructing justice during that conversation; he’s denied the allegation.

An attorney for Ellicott declined to comment on reporting about his client’s cooperation deal. A spokesperson for Gaetz and a lawyer representing Greenberg did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider



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