Florida’s COVID pandemic is full blown, but, once again, state isn’t sharing life-saving data

At this point, we already know that Florida’s COVID-19 cases are rising “at an alarming rate,” as U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on Thursday. But it’s become more cumbersome for the average Floridian to find detailed information about the pandemic that was easily available until a couple of months ago. After Gov. Ron DeSantis essentially declared victory on the pandemic by canceling all local restrictions in May, the state scaled back reporting data to the public. With cases down and vaccines widely available, the state Department of Health went from releasing reports of coronavirus nu...

5 Cuban generals have 'mysteriously' died — it's unknown if it's linked to country’s spike in COVID-19

Five Cuban generals — most of them elderly and retired — have died in the past nine days. The Communist regime isn’t saying why but critics suggest the string of high-profile deaths may be linked to skyrocketing cases of COVID-19 as the country struggles to contain its biggest spike yet. One of the dead generals, Ruben Martinez Puente, 79, was indicted in Miami in 2003 for the shooting down of two American private planes over international waters in 1996. Four members of the Cuban exile organization Brothers to the Rescue were killed. At the time, Martinez Puente was the head of the Cuban mili...

Rudy Giuliani came to Miami to hammer Cuba’s regime. Just a few people showed up

MIAMI — As thousands of Cuban Americans marched in Washington Monday to call for the U.S. to put more pressure on Cuba’s government, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani came to Miami to denounce Cuba’s communist regime. He spoke to a small group of people outside of Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana. The protests in Washington and Giuliani’s rally-turned-news-conference were held on July 26, which marks 68 years since Fidel Castro led his first attack against Batista’s government in Cuba and began his revolution. July 26 is a national holiday in Cuba. In Miami, about 10 p...

President’s security coordinator arrested in Haiti, Supreme Court justice wanted

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitian authorities Monday arrested the coordinator of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s security, the man’s lawyer, Reynold Georges, confirmed to the Miami Herald. Georges said he doesn’t know on what basis his client, Haiti National Police Divisional Commissioner Jean Laguel Civil, had been arrested, and “perhaps they will tell me tomorrow.” Civil, who doesn’t control any troops in the president’s multi-layered security detail but oversees those who do, is among the individuals Moïse contacted in the middle of the night on July 7 after he heard shooting in the vicinit...

Cuba protesters in Washington want President Biden to do more to pressure the regime

WASHINGTON — As thousands of anti-regime protesters gathered outside the White House just before midnight Monday to mark the 26th of July with a candlelight vigil, Alex Perez and Chris Cruz stood off to the side and smiled at the scene. “I’m 27 and I never thought I would live to see something like this,” said Perez, a Hialeah resident who came to the United States from Cuba seven years ago. “We need to make sure there’s pressure for people who didn’t have to go through what I went through to know what’s going on in Cuba.” Perez and Cruz made plans weeks ago to come to Washington for a planned...

A month after the Surfside collapse, one family still waits for closure

SURFSIDE, Fla. — And then there was one. A dubious distinction, but one Estelle Hedaya’s family is contending with as rescue crews announced a shift of operations on Friday from the Surfside site of the Champlain Towers South collapse, which was cleared this week, to a site near Miami International Airport. That’s where Miami-Dade Police crews will continue to search for human remains and personal items in the tons of relocated rubble. At this point authorities have identified 97 people killed in the collapse. They believe there is one more victim unaccounted for. Ikey Hedaya told Miami Herald...

Rolling Loud stage partially collapses day before music festival set to start, reports say

MIAMI — A day before thousands attend the Rolling Loud music festival in Miami Gardens, a video wall connected to one of its stages collapsed Thursday evening. Around 5 p.m. Eastern time, part of a Rolling Loud stage toppled at the Hard Rock Stadium, at 347 Don Shula Drive. Rolling Loud, an annual hip-hop festival, tweeted that a screen had fallen down at one of its stages. The music festival said no one was injured and that it would still open as planned. During load and construction, the projection screen hadn’t been secured and fell as a result. The stage is being reset for the weekend. Mia...

‘Nothing short of historic.’ Congress holds first hearing after Cuba protests

Demonstrators march along Calle Ocho to show support for protests in Cuba against the communist government Starting from the Versailles restaurant, a group of protesters marched on Friday, July 16, 2021, to Domino Park in support of the protests against the Cuban government in Cuba. BY PEDRO PORTAL | JOSÉ A. IGLESIAS WASHINGTON – The first congressional meeting to address widespread, pro-democracy protests that ricocheted throughout Cuba on July 11 turned into a referendum on the U.S. government’s longtime embargo. The two witnesses at the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s hearing on Tuesday w...

‘We’re left to pick up the pieces’: As search mission nears end, Surfside looks ahead

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Nearly a month after the Surfside Community Center was converted into an emergency operations hub in the aftermath of one of the worst building failures in U.S. history, the municipal building buzzed on Monday with the sound of children playing. Just weeks prior, the center was engulfed in sadness. Evacuated residents and distraught family members filled the oceanfront civic center after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South six blocks away. Authorities performed on-site DNA testing to help identify victims. A local restaurateur and team of volunteers set up a foo...

Ariel Henry takes charge of Haiti as probe into president’s killing continues

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A public health expert who until recently earned his living as one of Haiti’s few neurosurgeons became its newest prime minister Tuesday, nearly two weeks after the brazen assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Dr. Ariel Henry, 71, was named by Moïse two days before his shocking July 7 slaying inside his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince. In the aftermath of the president’s death, Henry was plunged into the middle of a three-way power struggle over who should take control of the country. That question ended Monday when Acting Prime Minister Claude J...

Haiti’s acting prime minister to step down, turn over power to Moïse's earlier pick

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Acting Haitian prime minister Claude Joseph says he plans to transfer power on Tuesday to Dr. Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon and longtime political stalwart whose designation earlier this month as the next in line for the post was “the final wish of President Jovenel Moïse.” He’ll be the seventh Haitian prime minister in four years. “There is no pressure for me to make this decision,” Joseph told the Miami Herald in an interview. “I just decided to transfer power to him because he was the last wish of the president, even though the process wasn’t completed.” In reaction to...

‘My life is in danger. Come save my life.’ Haitian president’s desperate final pleas

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The call came at 1:34 a.m. Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, who was on the other line, was in difficulty, and he needed reinforcement. “They are shooting by the house,” he told the Haitian National Police commissioner. “Mobilize people.” The non-stop automatic gunfire in Pelerin 5 where Moïse, his wife Martine and two children lived, started at about 1:30 a.m., according to a resident in the area, who said she ducked underneath her bed to escape the sound as she looked at her phone to see what time it was. While neighbors in the area weren’t sure what was happening, unk...

Before role in Surfside condo that fell, engineer had hand in another building mess

MIAMI — Just a few years before structural engineer Sergio Breiterman signed off on the construction work at Champlain Towers South Condominium, he vouched for a new municipal building in Coral Gables that, within months of completion, “leaked like a sieve,” “smelled like wet dog,” and developed cracks in the garage because of a dangerous construction flaw, records from the city and newspaper articles from the time show. In 1972, Breiterman’s engineering company, Breiterman, Jurado & Associates, was hired by Coral Gables’ architect Klements and Associates to provide structural engineering expe...

A woman was supposed to drive a toddler to daycare. The child died inside the hot van, cops say

MIAMI — Police have arrested a South Miami-Dade woman who is accused of leaving a toddler strapped in with a seat belt inside a sweltering van for seven hours, killing the child. Juana Perez-Domingo, 43, was booked into a jail early Saturday on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child. According to the police report, Perez-Domingo had been hired to ferry children to daycare in the neighborhood. On Friday, she had been paid to take a 2-year-old girl to a daycare in Homestead. She picked the child up about 6:30 a.m. and took the child to her own home first, because the daycare had not open...

DeSantis traveling to Texas-Mexico border with entourage of Florida officials

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will be at the Texas-Mexico border on Saturday for a briefing on border security with the governor of Texas and a contingent of Floridians. His office announced Friday that he will be briefed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott at an airport hangar in Del Rio, Texas, about 21/2 hours west of San Antonio. Joining DeSantis from Florida will be Attorney General Ashley Moody, Senate President Wilton Simpson, the commissioner of the state police, the director of the Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Lt. Col. Brian Smith....

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