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US Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao seeks probe of fatal Florida bridge collapse

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao asked the department’s inspector general to probe whether a federally funded pedestrian bridge that collapsed and killed six in Florida complied with all rules, her office said on Tuesday.

Chao said in a letter she has asked for an audit to determine if the bridge owner and the design-build team had followed requirements as a condition of receiving federal funding.

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The 950-ton, $16.6 million pedestrian bridge, which crossed an eight-lane highway adjacent to Florida International University (FIU) to link the campus with the city of Sweetwater, collapsed on Thursday, crushing vehicles in traffic below.

On Monday, Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered the Florida Department of Transportation to suspend the payment of all remaining federal funding for the collapsed pedestrian bridge.

Scott said the funding will be withheld indefinitely pending the completion of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation. The project was awarded $13.6 million in federal funding. “Before another dollar is spent on this bridge, we must know exactly what happened,” Scott said in a statement.

Engineers and state and university officials met hours before the new pedestrian bridge collapsed but concluded a crack in the structure was not a safety concern, the university said earlier. About three hours after the meeting ended, the bridge collapsed, crushing vehicles stopped at a traffic light.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Phil Berlowitz


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Disputing Trump claims, Japan says no evidence Iran was behind Saudi attack

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"We are not aware of any information that points to Iran," said Japanese defense minister Taro Kono.

Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that he has not seen any intelligence indicating Iran was behind the attacks on Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, contradicting Saudi and Trump administration claims about the incident.

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Dem lawmaker rains hell on ‘thug’ Corey Lewandowski on CNN: ‘He was shown to be a liar’

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Rep. Steven Cohen (D-TN) dropped the hammer on Trump lackey Corey Lewandowski for obstructing the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week during an appearance on CNN.

CNN's Brianna Keilar started off the interview by questioning Cohen why Democratic lawmakers didn't do a better job of anticipating how Lewandowski would behave during his testimony. Cohen responded by saying he and his colleagues did just that.

"We knew he was going to be petulant, we knew he was an enforcer and a thug, and we knew he would try to protect the president," he said. "That's what he did."

Cohen went on to praise Democratic lawmakers for asking Lewandowski tough questions, and he said attorney Barry Berke "destroyed" the former Trump campaign manager.

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‘This really is something’: UN Chief praised for move to block coal-backing nations from speaking at climate summit

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The U.N. had already announced that only leaders with a clear climate action plan would be allowed to speak, and it appears the secretary-general is following through on that directive.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew praise Wednesday for taking what supporters called a "powerful stand" to address the climate crisis. Guterres will reportedly exclude major economies, including the United States, from talking at the upcoming U.N. Climate Action Summit because of their failure to produce appropriately ambitious climate plans and their ongoing support for coal.

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