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Florida condo collapses

Human Race: Authorities pledged investigations as hope for more survivors dwindled


A rescue team looks for survivors in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condo. Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

Florida condo collapses
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Died

As June ended, rescue and recovery teams continued searching the rubble of a collapsed condominium building in Surfside, Fla., though by then little hope remained for finding more survivors. A wing of the 12-story Champlain Towers South collapsed on June 24. Six days later, authorities had confirmed 16 people died in the collapse, but nearly 150 were still missing. A 2018 inspection found problems with the pool deck that threatened the concrete structure. Earlier this year, the president of the condominium association told neighbors in a letter that the damage would get much worse if they didn’t do something soon. The letter from Jean Wodnicki hinted at residents’ reluctance to pay for the project, which would cost $80,000-$330,000 per unit. Elected officials pledged to investigate the cause of the collapse.

Accused

Newly elected Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Ed Litton apologized after accusations surfaced that he plagiarized from former SBC President J.D. Greear in sermons for Litton’s church in Alabama. The church also removed videos of some sermons from its YouTube page. Litton said Greear gave him permission to use points for a series on Romans but that he should have been more explicit in crediting Greear, who confirmed he gave Litton permission to use his sermon content. “I am sorry for not mentioning J.D.’s generosity and ownership of these points,” Litton said in a statement on his church’s website. A Q&A with Litton—compiled before the accusations—appears in this issue.

Sentenced

Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin received a 22½-year prison sentence on June 25. That was short of the prosecution’s request for 30 years, and he could get parole for good behavior after serving two-thirds of the sentence. A jury in April convicted Chauvin of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes before the 46-year-old African American died. Judge Peter Cahill exceeded the state’s sentencing guidelines and denied Chauvin’s request for a new trial. Chauvin still faces a federal civil rights trial.

Arrested

More than 200 police officers searched the offices of the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily on June 17 for evidence it violated Hong Kong’s draconian national security law. Earlier in the day, security forces detained Ryan Law, the newspaper’s editor in chief, as well as four of the company’s directors on suspicion of colluding with a “foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.” Authorities also froze $2.3 million worth of assets belonging to companies linked to Apple Daily, which days later had to shut down operations. The newspaper became a target for its staunch pro-democracy outlook and open criticism of Beijing.

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