This is bad

Bridge collapse in Italy:

At least 22 30 35 people have been killed ‘including a baby’ and dozens more are feared dead after a huge 260ft section of a highway bridge collapsed during a fierce storm in the Italian city of Genoa. Cars fell 300ft along with tonnes of twisted steel and concrete debris into a river, railroad tracks and an industrial zone below when the Morandi bridge gave way at 11.30am local time.

Officials have said ‘dozens’ are dead in what is being described as ‘an immense tragedy.’ One witness described the carnage as ‘apocalyptic’ with up to 35 cars and three heavy trucks cascading into the valley below as they were making their way over the bridge. Rescuers desperately hunting for survivors are now fearful of explosions from damaged gas lines and some areas have been evacuated while safety checks take place.

Incredibly, two people have been pulled alive from cars found in the mangled ruins of the bridge while two warehouses below the structure were empty having been closed for the summer holiday.

The highway bridges around Genova are pretty dilapidated in general. From Rome all the way up to the French border, they also tend to be alarmingly high, which makes these collapses even more dangerous. I suspect that one unanticipated consequence of this is going to be an even harder government line on immigration; Italians are in no mood to keep spending large quantities of money on refugees and immigrants when their national infrastructure is literally collapsing.

The video almost makes it look as if a bomb went off, and indeed, one Italian journalist said, Sembra che una bomba abbia colpito la città. “It’s like a bomb hit the city.”

FBI fires Peter Strzok

It’s about time the agent lost his job. The next question is, when will he be arrested?

The FBI has fired Agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election until officials discovered he had been sending anti-Trump texts.

Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension. Goelman said the move undercuts the FBI’s repeated assurances that Strzok would be afforded the normal disciplinary process.

“This isn’t the normal process in any way more than name,” Goelman said.

The FBI declined to comment.

The termination marks a remarkable downfall for Strzok, a 22-year veteran of the bureau who investigated Russian spies, defense officials accused of selling secrets to China and myriad other important cases. In the twilight of his career, Strzok was integral to two of the bureau’s most high-profile investigations: the Russia case, and the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

13 for 13

The Wild Boars are out of the cave:

All 12 youth football players and their coach have now been rescued from a flooded cave in northern Thailand, following a three-day operation.

The final four school boys and their coach, who had been trapped in the Tham Luang Cave in Chiang Rai for 18 days, were carried out on stretchers to waiting ambulances on Tuesday afternoon.

Among those extracted today is the youngest member of the team, 11-year-old Chanin Wiboonrungruang, whose nickname is Titan.

The governor of the rescue mission had previously said Tuesday’s operation would be more difficult than the previous two days, due to the increased number of people who need to be evacuated.

Following the last boys and their 25-year-old coach will be four Thai Navy SEALs – including a medic – who have been staying with the group since they were discovered huddled together on a muddy ledge 2,620ft (800 metres) underground on July 2.

The Thai Navy SEALs confirmed the successful rescue on their official Facebook page, writing: ’12 wild boars and coach out of the cave. Everyone is safe. Now just waiting to pick up four frogs. Hooyah.’

Amazing. And while the story never truly ends, it’s great to see this particular chapter come to a close on a high and happy note.

“As long as you fight, as long as you believe in yourself we will go through the bad things and will succeed in life.”
– Thitiporn Anurakkhana

If anyone ever had an excuse for despair, if anyone ever had a rational reason to just give up, it was those 12 boys. They are an object lesson in the importance of fighting until the very end. I wonder how many of them will become SEALs themselves?

More good news from Thailand

Four more boys have been successfully rescued, bringing the total to eight:

Four more boys have today been rescued from the cave complex in northern Thailand where a youth football team became trapped two weeks ago, leaving just four teammates and their coach stuck underground for at least another day.

The first of today’s rescued Wild Boar FC players, whose identities have not yet been confirmed, was seen being carried out on a stretcher shortly before 5pm local time, a few hours after the mission entered its second day.

Boys number six and seven were brought out little over an hour later, with boy number eight spotted being taken out at about 7.40pm local time.

They were all carried out on stretchers and into ambulances before being airlifted to the Chiang Rai Pranukroh Hospital, where the four players rescued on Sunday are recovering.

The fact that they got the weakest boys out first is a very promising sign that all 12, plus the coach, are going to survive the arduous experience. It’s really an incredible story.

Good news from Thailand

The story of the Thai soccer team trapped 800 meters underground is pretty incredible. Two of the boys are now out, so here’s to hoping the rescuers are able to safely extricate the rest of the team.

First two members of Thai soccer team are OUT of the cave: Official reveals news after threat of rain forced divers to begin mission to rescue children and coach from flooded tunnels

  • The first two schoolboys were rescued safely after divers executed a carefully constructed rescue mission  
  • The treacherous rescue operation to save 12 young Thai footballers from a flooded cave begun this morning
  • Eighteen divers have been sent in to complete the mission as officials said Sunday was ‘D-Day’ for rescue
  • The young footballers and their coach have been trapped in flooded caves in northern Thailand for 16 days   
  • As soon as the boys exit the cave they will be airlifted by helicopter or driven by ambulance to local hospital 

A Thai Navy SEAL has already died bringing in oxygen and other supplies. It’s good to know his sacrifice wasn’t in vain.

UPDATE: four of the boys are out now.

London fire

It is reported to have been an accident, not arson or a terror attack, but I can’t help but think that this is the sort of thing one usually expects to read about from the 19th century or see in undeveloped countries.

‘A number of fatalities’ confirmed as huge blaze ‘sparked by faulty FRIDGE’ engulfs 27-storey London tower block: Trapped residents build ropes from sheets and hurl themselves from windows. Several people are confirmed dead after a huge inferno broke out at a residential tower block in West London. Many residents believed to still be trapped inside the 27-storey building as it teeters on the brink of collapse. More than 600 residents desperately tried to escape the flames as the fire broke out in the middle of the night.

Jon Hall, former chief fire officer for the Midlands, who advised David Cameron’s government said today: ‘This is a Third-World type accident that represents a failure of every component of fire safety & building management.

Then again, it reminds me of the twin towers in Minneapolis that have long been known as “the ghettos in the sky”. So, when is the candlelight vigil, or would that be considered redundant?

5 dead in Ft Lauderdale shooting

And six more wounded.

A gunman is in custody after a deadly shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.  Sources tell that the shooter killed five people and injured six more Friday afternoon. It’s unclear if the emergency is over at the airport yet, since an addition terminal has been evacuated and law enforcement were seen racing to a parking garage with guns out.  The incident happened in the baggage area of Terminal 2, and it does not appear that the shooter breached the TSA-secured area of the terminal.

Drudge reports gunman is 26, MALE, AMERICAN BORN IN NJ. Name reported as Esteban Santiago.

Sounds as if the targeting was pretty random. And the police responded very fast.

“At first we thought it was firecrackers. Everyone started screaming and running. The shooter made his way down through baggage claim. He had what looked like a 9mm and emptied his entire clip. People were trying to run.”

Lea said police responded in less than a minute after the shooting began.

Once the gunman was out of bullets, “he was gunned down by police,” he added.

“It was absolutely surreal,” he said. “People were scared and frantically running to avoid being shot. People were tripping over each other. They were trying to make a fast exit out of the door.”

Remember, diversity is America’s strength. Enjoy the new normal.

UPDATE: Apparently there is a second shooter. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: No second shooter. But Santiago is a white Hispanic Muslim veteran. Or something. The reek of patsy is strong.

UPDATE: Someone needs to tell CNN that brightening the image doesn’t actually make anyone look white. Race isn’t actually skin color.

Orlando shooting

 “At least 30 shot”

A mass shooting has taken place in a night club in Orlando, Florida, police confirmed, adding that there have been multiple injuries. According to social media reports, an unidentified gunman barricaded himself and hostages inside the club and allegedly shot at least 20 people.

The incident took place at Pulse night club.

Doesn’t sound like Jihad, however. Given the location, it would appear to more likely be gang-related or omega rage. Regardless, we can expect Obama to make one last big push for gun control, which, if Hillary endorses it, will help sink her.

UPDATE: it’s a gay club. So, this could finally be the Great White Religiously-Motivated Christian Shooter of whom the media has dreamed for decades. It’s already being described as “hate-fueled”, which is possible, but more likely, it’s an amped-up version of the usual gay-on-gay violence.

When I was in college, several people were shot and killed, including a State Senator, at a certain beach on the river. All sorts of lurid gay-bashing theories abounded in the newspapers, until the killer was found and turned out to be a gay college student. That’s not necessarily the case, of course, but it’s usually how these things go.

UPDATE 2: 9 dead, 24 wounded, hostages still inside, bomb squad on scene.

The #orlandoshooting thread on Twitter. The Orlando police scanner.

UPDATE 3: It’s over. Shooter is down. 50+ killed and 53 wounded.

UPDATE 4: Looks like it is jihad in America after all.

‘Islamic extremist’ slaughters 20 people after bursting into US gay club ‘wearing a suicide vest’ and shooting 42 clubbers on the dancefloor before he is killed in police shootout

The real tragedy, of course, would be if this tragic incident caused gay dance clubs to begin discriminating against Muslims.

UPDATE 5: “Orlando shooter ID’d as Omar Mateen, U.S. citizen from Port St. Lucie, FL. Registered Democrat.”

Obviously a hate-filled Southern Baptist bigot. Sad!

I also think it is important to consider the possibility that the shootings at the Pulse night club was not a case of religion-inspired anti-gay bigotry, but an anti-techno attack on electronic dance music.

He lived long and prospered

Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83. Death comes for us all in time. Even half-Vulcans.

Leonard Nimoy, the sonorous, gaunt-faced actor who won a worshipful global following as Mr. Spock, the resolutely logical human-alien first officer of the Starship Enterprise in the television and movie juggernaut “Star Trek,” died on Friday morning at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles. He was 83.