At least 19 people died and dozens were injured when a fire tore through a high-rise apartment building in New York City on Sunday, its mayor said, in one of America’s worst residential fires in recent memory.
Both the New York Times and CNN sourced unnamed officials as saying that nine children were among the dead.
“We know that we have 19 people who are confirmed dead, as well as several others in critical condition,” Mayor Eric Adams told CNN, adding that 63 people had been wounded.
“This is going to be one of the worst fires in our history,” he said.
At least 200 firefighters responded to the blaze, which broke out mid-morning on the second and third floors of a 19-story building on East 181st Street, several blocks west of the Bronx Zoo.
Neighbors spoke of seeing residents desperately waving from floors, apparently trapped and unable to escape.
“It was chaos,” George King, who lives directly adjacent the building told AFP.
“I’ve been here 15 years and it’s the first time I’ve seen something like this.
“I saw the smoke, a lot of people were panicking. You could see that no one wanted to jump from the building. People were waving from the windows,” he added.
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.
The injured were taken to five hospitals; many suffered from cardiac and respiratory arrest, the New York Times reported.
The blaze comes just four days after a fire in Philadelphia killed 12 people, including eight children, in a three-story public housing building.
In New York, there were fears of a growing toll.
“The last time we had a loss of life that may be this horrific was a fire which was over 30 years ago, also here in the Bronx,” said Fire Marshal Dan Nigro, quoted by NBC News.
Flames quickly engulfed much of the structure, and Nigro said the smoke was so dense as to be “unprecedented.”
Photographs and video posted on social media showed flames and thick black smoke billowing out of a third-story window of the brick building as firefighters operated on a nearby ladder.
“This is truly a tragedy,” said Adams, adding that many residents had been displaced.
“This is really a horrific day for us,” he said.
In December 2017, 13 people were killed in a blaze in an apartment building in the Bronx in New York City’s deadliest fire in 25 years.
The state of New York has confirmed five cases of the coronavirus Omicron variant, Governor Kathy Hochul said Thursday, bringing the total number of US detections of the new strain to eight.
“New York State has confirmed five cases of the omicron variant,” Hochul said in a Twitter post aimed at reassuring residents of the nation’s fourth most populous state that the detections were not unexpected.
“Let me be clear: This is no cause for alarm. We knew this variant was coming and we have the tools to stop the spread,” she said.
“Get your vaccine. Get your booster. Wear your mask.”
It was not immediately clear whether the new cases were in or near New York City — the country’s most populous metropolitan area — and whether they were detected in people who had recently returned from traveling outside the country.
Eight cases have so far been confirmed in the United States, with at least one, in Minnesota, involving a person with no recent international travel history, signaling the strain is already circulating inside the country.
Hochul’s figures followed the announcement by President Joe Biden that he is bolstering his administration’s campaign against Covid-19 as the winter takes hold.
The new measures include requiring all inbound international travelers be tested within one day of flying, and an extension of mask mandates on public transportation through mid-March.
The complaint accuses Cuomo of putting his hand down the victim’s blouse and grabbing her left breast in December 2020.
It was filed by the Albany County sheriff’s office on behalf of New York state.
Albany city court issued a summons ordering Cuomo, 63, to appear in court on November 17, 2021 at 2:30 pm (1830 GMT), according to a statement.
He resigned in August after state Attorney General Letitia James issued a report, which was not criminal in nature, concluding that he sexually harassed 11 women, including former staffers.
“From the moment my office received the referral to investigate allegations that former governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women, we proceeded without fear or favor,” James said in a statement.
“The criminal charges brought today against Mr Cuomo for forcible touching further validate the findings in our report,” she added.
Cuomo has strenuously denied the charges and claims he was the victim of a political vendetta.
He gained nationwide adoration last year for his straight-talking daily coronavirus briefings before his spectacular fall from grace.
Forcible touching is a class A misdemeanor that can carry a sentence of up to one year in prison.
Worldwide supply chain disruptions are driving price increases and draining momentum out of economies recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, the IMF warned on Tuesday.
The ongoing hit from the pandemic and the failure to distribute vaccines worldwide is worsening the economic divide and darkening prospects for developing nations, the IMF said in its latest World Economic Outlook.
The global economy is expected to grow 5.9 per cent this year, only slightly lower than projected in July, before slowing to 4.9 per cent in 2022, the report said.
But the overall figures mask large downgrades and ongoing struggles for some countries, including the United States, Germany and Japan that are feeling the impact of supply bottlenecks, IMF chief economist Gita Gopinath said.
“This recovery is really quite unique,” she told AFP on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Despite a strong return in demand, “the supply side has not been able to come back as quickly,” hampered in part by the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which has made workers reluctant to return to their jobs.
Those labor shortages are “feeding into price pressures” in major economies, she said, slowing growth expectations this year.
Energy prices have hit multi-year highs in recent days, with oil above $80 a barrel, weighing on households.
But Gopinath said she expects energy prices to begin to retreat by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
In low-income developing countries, the outlook “has darkened considerably due to worsening pandemic dynamics,” she said in a blog post on the new forecasts.
The setbacks, which she blamed on the “great vaccine divide,” will impact the restoration of living standards, and a prolonged pandemic downturn “could reduce global GDP by a cumulative $5.3 trillion over the next five years,” she warned.
“The dangerous divergence in economic prospects across countries remains a major concern,” Gopinath said.
Advanced economies are expected to regain “pre-pandemic trend path in 2022 and exceed it by 0.9 per cent in 2024,” she said.
However, in emerging market and developing economies, excluding China, output “is expected to remain 5.5 per cent below the pre-pandemic forecast in 2024.”
Amid the danger of long-term scarring, “The foremost policy priority is, therefore, to vaccinate at least 40 percent of the population in every country by end-2021 and 70 per cent by mid-2022,” she said.
Delicate US balancing act
The world’s largest economy has benefitted from massive fiscal stimulus, but the Delta wave and the supply issues have undermined progress, prompting the IMF to slash the US growth forecast for this year to six per cent, a full percentage point off the July figure.
US growth is expected to slow to 5.2 per cent next year, slightly faster than previously expected, but policymakers will face a delicate balancing act amid risks of rising inflation and lagging employment, the fund noted.
Wages also threaten to rise as employers compete for scarce workers, Gopinath noted.
While inflation is expected to return to “more normal levels” by mid-2022 in most countries, it could take longer in the United States, she told reporters.
“There is tremendous uncertainty, we have never seen a recovery of this kind,” she said, noting labor shortages plaguing employers even amid high unemployment, and supply unable to meet demand.
US consumer prices rose 5.3 percent annually in August, more than double the Federal Reserve’s two-percent goal. Markets on Wednesday will be watching for the government’s September inflation report.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she believes the price increases will be “transitory.”
“But I don’t mean to suggest that these pressures will disappear in the next month or two,” she told CBS News. “This is an unprecedented shock to the global economy.”
However, if higher inflation becomes entrenched, it could force central banks to respond aggressively, and rising interest rates would slow the recovery, the IMF cautioned.
President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in the United States of America, Channels Television has learnt.
The President touched down at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, at exactly 5:10 pm local time ahead of the high-level General debate of the United Nations Assembly on September 21, 2021.
He was received by Nigeria’s Permanent representative to the United States, Professor Tijani Bande and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.
President Buhari will address the assembly during the general debates on Friday, September 24.
The President is expected to speak on this year’s theme which is “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the United Nations” and other global issues.
Buhari and members of his delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as the high-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, themed ‘Reparations, Racial Justice, and Equality for People of African Descent’.
President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja for New York, the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed this on Sunday, adding that his principal will join other world leaders for the 76th session of the UNGA which opened on September 14.
According to the presidential spokesman, President Buhari will address the assembly during the general debates on Friday, September 24.
The President is expected to speak on this year’s theme which is “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the United Nations” and other global issues.
Buhari and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as the high-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, themed ‘Reparations, Racial Justice, and Equality for People of African Descent’.
“The delegation will also participate in the food systems summit; high-level dialogue on energy; and the high-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” Adesina said.
President Buhari will hold bilateral meetings with a number of other leaders of delegations and heads of international development organisations while in the U.S.
He is expected back in the country on Sunday, September 26.
He was accompanied to New York by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.
Also on the President’s delegation are the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar; Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.
New York is done with dressing down: the splashy black-tie Met Gala returned Monday, with a cohort of Gen-Z’s glitterati hosting the A-lister bash famed for its over-the-top panache — and, despite the pandemic, this year the fashion was so fierce one guest wielded a sword.
The crowd of some 400 actors, athletes, poets and performers — all of whom were either vaccinated or had tested negative for COVID-19 — was largely maskless on the cream carpet, defying the global coronavirus pandemic that forced the cancellation of last year’s event.
“It’s so surreal,” US rapper Megan Thee Stallion, attending the Gala for the first time and dressed by designer Coach to evoke old Hollywood glamor, told AFP.
“I feel like, oh my gosh, Houston, Texas we made it! … I’m excited to be here.”
But she did admit that it was “kinda weird” to be around so many people, more than 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’ve kinda gotten used to being a little introvert like — but I’m back on side so I’m excited to see everybody,” she said.
Canadian musician Grimes, who was one of the few wearing a face mask, set Twitter alight by carrying a sword — perhaps to, as one user suggested, “make sure people stay 6 ft away.”
US lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added to the revolutionary spirit with a white off-shoulder dress, on the back of which was written in scarlet capital letters: “Tax the rich” — an inflammatory statement at an event where tickets cost $35,000 apiece and tables were up to $300,000.
Singer Normani said her yellow Valentino gown “chose me.”
“I feel like a princess… sorry I’m breathing heavy, my waist is snatched,” she said. “I feel like… amazing. A Black queen.”
Rapper Lil Nas X stripped down to reveal not one, but three gold outfits, singer Frank Ocean appeared with lime green hair and carrying what Twitter users described as a “robot baby” and Simone Biles’ glittering silver-and-black dress was so heavy that the gymnastics superstar could only climb the stairs one foot at a time and needed six men to help her lift it.
The rapper ASAP Rocky appeared wrapped in a patchwork quilt, which he said was a sartorial message of unity.
“We part of the same cloth, part of the same quilt, you know?” he said with a grin — later tossing the quilt to the ground to reveal a sharp black suit underneath, to the delight of singer Rihanna, his date.
One mysterious guest appeared head-to-toe in black — her face, mouth, eyes and head also covered, with only a long black ponytail visible, leading many to identify her as reality star Kim Kardashian.
“Maybe? We think it’s her?” tweeted New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman.
‘Evolving Language Of Fashion’
Actor Timothee Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman, singer Billie Eilish and tennis player Naomi Osaka co-chaired the charity ball often heralded as the celebrity world’s “party of the year.”
Normally held in early May, the Manhattan soiree on steroids was postponed to Monday with the hope that Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted. The 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic.
The honorary co-chairs were Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, who has turned the gala into a global event, designer Tom Ford and Adam Mosseri, director of Instagram, which is sponsoring the extravaganza.
Plans for an opulent spectacle as much of the United States and the world is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic had risked criticism, but the primary reason for holding the benefit was almost certainly financial.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute relies on the Met Gala to fund its work, including exhibitions and acquisitions, and the cancellation of last year’s event badly damaged its finances.
The bash heralded the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual sartorial exhibit, which this year will happen in two parts.
The first show, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” is opening to the public on September 18 to celebrate The Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary.
The second exhibit — “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” — will kick off May 5, 2022. Both will run until September 5 of that year.
The exhibits themselves will see Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton continue to explore broad themes — “Camp,” Catholicism and China were among the focuses in recent years — rather than offer retrospectives of a specific designer.
The two-part show will assess the state of American fashion — its contemporary players, the industry’s identity, and important figures the rarified world of fashion may have overlooked or left out.
Bolton said the exhibit’s first stage would focus on modernizing fashion vocabulary in connection with “equity, diversity and inclusion,” as part two would see collaborations with American filmmakers to “further investigate the evolving language of American fashion.”
President Joe Biden flew Tuesday to storm-ravaged New York and New Jersey, just days after inspecting the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana — a trail of destruction the Democrat blames on climate change.
Biden — who is pushing a giant infrastructure spending bill, including major funding for the green economy — argues that extreme weather across the United States this summer is a harbinger of worse to come.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One that Biden believes the latest devastation shows “the average costs of extreme weather are getting bigger and no one is immune from climate change.”
Ida struck the US Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing major flooding and knocking out power to large parts of the heavily populated region, which is also a main hub for the oil industry.
The departing remnants of the hurricane then caught authorities in the New York region by surprise, with ferocious rainfall triggering flash flooding.
The final blast of the storm killed at least 47 people in the US Northeast as it turned streets into raging rivers, inundated basements and shut down the New York subway.
And while one part of the country buckles under hurricane fallout, California and other parts of the west are struggling to combat ever fiercer wildfires.
Biden was to tour Manville, New Jersey and the New York borough of Queens before making remarks at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT).
With his presidency straining from the aftermath of the Afghanistan pullout and surging Covid infections at home, Biden faces a difficult coming few weeks, including a struggle to get his infrastructure plans through the narrowly divided Congress.
The White House hopes that the dramatic impact from Hurricane Ida in two different parts of the country will galvanize action on the spending bills.
“It’s so imperative that we act on addressing the climate crisis and investing… through his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, which is working its way through Congress,” Psaki said.
Biden is due to “highlight how one in three Americans live in counties that have been impacted by severe weather events in recent months,” she said.
“Just over the summer, 100 million Americans have been impacted by extreme weather — obviously in the northeast, out west with wildfires, and then in the Gulf Coast.”
Australia’s top-ranked Ashleigh Barty rolled into the third round of the US Open on Thursday while New York struggled to recover from a deadly storm and flash flooding.
Remnants of Hurricane Ida killed at least eight people and triggered a rare state of emergency for the city, flooding subways and turning roads into rivers.
With abandoned cars scattered across streets near the National Tennis Center and many highways shut down, only a smattering of spectators watched in a cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium as Barty dispatched Danish 18-year-old Clara Tauson 6-1, 7-5.
Barty send a backhand long to surrender a break in the 10th game of the second set while serving for the match but held her nerve, broke back and held again to win in 90 minutes.
“I’ve always been quite a calm person,” Barty said. “That’s certainly part of my game.”
Barty, who next plays American Shelby Rogers or Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, seeks her third career Grand Slam title, her second in a row after Wimbledon, and her sixth trophy of the year as well as her first US Open quarter-finals appearance.
World number one Novak Djokovic was set to continue his quest for the calendar-year Grand Slam in the night feature on Ashe against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.
Djokovic is eyeing the first men’s singles calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 if he captures a fourth career US Open crown.
The 34-year-old Serbian is also six wins away from his 21st career Grand Slam crown, which would give him the men’s all-time record, one more than the mark he now shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries.
Swiss 11th seed Belinda Bencic, the Tokyo Olympic champion, beat Italy’s Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in windy conditions.
“That was a little bit tricky but after yesterday’s bad weather I’m not complaining,” Bencic said. “Thanks to everyone for coming. I know it was not easy.”
Above the US Open grounds, there were sunny blue cloudless skies. Outdoor furniture scattered by high winds had been restored or replaced. High water that flooded plazas the night before had drained away.
Wind-blown rain went under and through the closed roof at Louis Armstrong Stadium, forcing a match to be finished at Ashe, but the swamped venue had players practicing Thursday morning.
“Thank you for your patience with last night’s events and we hope that you are safe,” the tournament tweeted.
“The safety of our fans, players and staff is of the utmost importance,” said a statement from the US Tennis Association, which delayed outer court starts by an hour to allow extra time for cleanup.
– Pizza stop for Sloane –
Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner, tweeted a warning on Wednesday night as she departed, saying, “This weather is scary. Please be careful.”
Later she shared a photo of a huge pizza, tweeting, “We’ve been stuck in flooding and stand-still traffic for more then 2 hours so we decided to stop and make the most of it.”
Massive traffic jams in the region, emergency conditions and calls by authorities for people to stay at home appeared set to limit attendance on the fourth day of the year’s final Grand Slam.
Germany’s fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, the Tokyo Olympic champion and last year’s US Open runner-up, has the second match on Ashe against 33rd-ranked Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova faces American Amanda Anisimova after Djokovic is finished.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, faces Mackenzie McDonald, seeking revenge for a Washington semi-final loss to the American last month. The winner books a potential third-round matchup against Djokovic.
Either American Maxime Cressy or German Oscar Otte could become the fifth qualifier into the men’s third round. There haven’t been so many so deep at any Slam since six at the 2011 French Open and not at the US Open since five made it in 1984.
Otte, ranked 144th, plays 92nd-ranked American Denis Kudla while Cressy, ranked 151st, meets 39th-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.
The remnants of Hurricane Ida triggered spectacular flash flooding and a rare state of emergency in New York City overnight into Thursday, killing at least eight people in what was called a historic weather event.
Streets turned into rivers while water cascaded down subway platforms, flooding tracks, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority effectively shut down services.
“I’m 50 years old and I’ve never seen that much rain ever,” said Metodija Mihajlov whose basement of his Manhattan restaurant was flooded with three inches of water.
“It was like living in the jungle, like tropical rain. Unbelievable. Everything is so strange this year,” he told AFP.
Hundreds of flights were cancelled at LaGuardia and JFK airports, as well as at Newark, where video showed a terminal inundated by rainwater.
Flooding closed major roads across multiple boroughs including Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens.
Ida slammed into the southern state of Louisiana over the weekend, bringing severe flooding and tornadoes as it blazed a trail of destruction north.
New York state governor Kathy Hochul declared an emergency as the remnants of the storm caused massive flooding in the country’s financial and cultural capital, leaving the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens badly hit.
The New York City victims ranged from the ages of 2 to 86, police said. They were found at various homes in Queens and Brooklyn.
New Yorkers woke to beautiful blue skies Thursday as the city slowly edged back to life. Residents moved fallen tree branches from roads as subway services resumed.
But around 98,000 homes in Pennsylvania, 60,000 in New Jersey and 40,000 in New York were without power, according to the website poweroutage.us.
State governor Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency in neighboring New Jersey, where CNN reported at least one person was killed in the city of Passaic, bringing the confirmed death toll from Ida to 16.
“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet as he declared a state of emergency in the city.
The city earlier issued a rare flash flood emergency warning urging residents to move to higher ground.
As footage showed cars submerged on streets across the city, authorities urged residents not to drive on flooded roads.
“You do not know how deep the water is and it is too dangerous,” the New York branch of the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet.
The US Open was halted ass howling wind and rain blew under the corners of the Louis Armstrong Stadium roof.
The NWS recorded 3.15 inches (80 millimeters) of rain in Central Park in just an hour — beating a record set just last month during Storm Henri.
It is rare for such storms to strike America’s northeastern seaboard and comes as the surface layer of oceans warms due to climate change.
The warming is causing cyclones to become more powerful and carry more water, posing an increasing threat to the world’s coastal communities, scientists say.
“Significant and life-threatening flash flooding is likely from the Mid-Atlantic into southern New England,” the NWS said in a bulletin, adding that three to eight inches of rain could drench the region through Thursday.
In Annapolis, 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the US capital, a tornado ripped up trees and toppled electricity poles.
– Lingering tornado threat – The NWS warned the threat of tornadoes would linger, with tornado watches in effect for parts of southern Connecticut, northern New Jersey, and southern New York.
“This is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly flash flooding ongoing in Somerset County, as well as others in the area,” the NWS account for the Philadelphia metropolitan area tweeted late Wednesday, along with a video of a car trapped in churning water.
Ida is expected to continue steaming north and bring heavy rainfall on Thursday to New England.
US President Joe Biden is due to travel Friday to Louisiana, where Ida destroyed buildings and left more than a million homes without power.
Kathy Hochul, has been sworn in as the 57th governor of New York early Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold the state’s highest office.
Hochul was sworn in at the State Capitol by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore, in a private ceremony, after series of events that saw Cuomo being engulfed in accusations that he covered up the true extent of COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes.
Several women also came forward this year alleging that the former governor had behaved inappropriately towards them.
Governor Hochul, a Democrat, has vowed to lead the state through a still surging pandemic and economic uncertainty, while ushering in a new era of civility and consensus in state government.