Italy hunts for blame in bridge collapse that killed 39

GENOA, Italy — As more bodies were pulled Wednesday from a mountain of jagged concrete and twisted steel left by a highway bridge collapse that killed 39, prosecutors focused on possible design flaws and past maintenance of the heavily used span, and politicians squabbled over blame.

Motorists, meanwhile, recounted miraculous escapes and the horror of seeing others plunge over the edge.

As a second night descended on the site where part of the Morandi Bridge plunged some 45 meters (150 feet), Interior Minister Matteo Salvini declined to say how many people might still be buried in the debris where about 1,000 rescue workers searched for victims.

The collapse occurred about midday Tuesday, the eve of Italy’s biggest summer holiday, when traffic was particularly busy on the 51-year-old span that links two highways — one leading to France, the other to Milan — from this northwestern port city.

Salvini declined to say how many people are still missing, and he added that trying to locate them was particularly difficult, due to the holiday.

“It’s not easy to distinguish between who doesn’t respond because they are on the other side of the world and turned off their phone to relax” on vacation, and “who’s not responding because they are under the rubble,” he said.

He said he hoped the death toll would not rise.

“Miracles are still possible,” Salvini said.

Authorities urged the quick removal of tons of debris from a dry river bed so that the rubble doesn’t create a makeshift dam if heavy rains fall in the flood-prone city on the Mediterranean.

Debris also must be cleared from railroad tracks, a vital link especially now that Genoa is largely cut in half by the loss of such a key artery, Premier Giuseppe Conte said.

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of the bridge, prompting a wider evacuation …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News

Brad Rock: Give Merril Hoge some space

SALT LAKE CITY — If this were politics, it would be business as usual, a vitriolic late night Trump tweet, or a trash-talking moment on “The View.” Instead, it was a dad sticking up for his son. And a man who has plenty of reasons to appear, in contemporary jargon, unhinged.

In a Wednesday interview with “BYU Sports Nation,” Merril Hoge, father of BYU player Beau Hoge, unloaded on the Cougar coaching staff, and in particular assistant coach Ed Lamb. After spring football, the younger Hoge was told he would be moved to running back.

Merril Hoge, a former ESPN personality assigned to the NFL, reacted like he had been chop blocked. He vilified Lamb, calling him “a weasel,” and labeling the decision “stupid” and “as bizarre and smelly as anything I’ve ever seen.” Nothing in his experience — including eight years in the NFL — compare, he said.

He went on to claim his son was not allowed to compete for the position. That triggered Wednesday’s rant, questioning the capability of Kalani Sitake’s coaching staff. The tirade was classless, poorly timed and ignorant, in light of the fact he called Lamb the linebackers coach — insinuating Lamb had little to do with quarterbacks — when in reality Lamb is also assistant head coach.

Still, this was his son Hoge was talking about. As a friend of mine once said regarding objectivity, “When it’s your kid, all bets are off.”

The team would be wise to limit comment, other than to say it disagrees. Football teams have conflict weekly, and this blip isn’t likely to be a major distraction. It will take the starting quarterback one win before the situation isn’t an issue with anyone except the Hoges.

But there is more to this story than a defensive father and a hopeful quarterback. In that light, …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Duke wins in R.J. Barrett’s debut, Rams hold their own

Mississauga — There was the lady of a certain age wearing Duke Blue Devils tights with her elegant black heels. There was the concession stand selling Duke gear — $32 T-shirts anyone? – that was lined up well before the opening tip.

There was a Blue Devils travelling party that required three busses for 14 players and a small army of support staff to get them from their waterfront hotel to the sold-out Paramount Fine Food Centre and a large army of Duke fans waiting for them when they arrived.

There was a legend, Mike Krzyzewski, on the bench, presiding over a roster full of projected lottery picks, including local hero, scoring machine R.J. Barrett and freshman running mate Zion Williamson, the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder who – inexplicably – can fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

There was no one wearing Ryerson Rams tights with their heels – just guessing.

And the Rams came in one bus and their fans – well, it was hard to find them amid the Dukies in the crowd. And while Ryerson head coach Roy Rana has a world championship gold medal to his name, the next NBA player he coaches at the downtown Toronto school will be the first.

But after the anthems and the hype and the player introductions it was still 94-feet and two baskets and the Rams acquitted themselves quite well against Duke, projected as a top contender for the national championship next March.

Duke won 86-67, though not as easily as the score suggested in the first installment of their first-ever Canadian Tour which continues Friday night against University of Toronto and Sunday in Montreal against McGill.

The Rams led after the first quarter and were still on Duke’s heels midway through the second quarter before Duke opened up some …read more


Paul Rowe: Saudi Arabia’s rebuke to Canada: A regional plan goes global

Saudi Arabia’s quick and dramatic reaction to Canada’s advocacy for the human rights of detained bloggers and activists Raif and Samar Badawi reflects the aggressive personal approach taken by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in recent years. The Crown Prince, known by his initials MBS, views challenges to the kingdom through the lens of regional rivalries and the instability generated by the 2011 Arab Spring. Targeting Canada is just the latest in a string of attempts to achieve domestic security and promote a vision for the region.

The Saudi intervention in Yemen, starting in March 2015, reflected the young prince’s conviction that the kingdom had a direct interest in preventing the spread of Iranian power in the Arabian Peninsula. Since that time, MBS has positioned himself to be the undisputed leader of a newly assertive Saudi Arabia. He envisions a state that will be able to guide reforms while dictating terms to neighbouring states in danger of warming to Iranian influence.

Saudi foreign policy has been traditionally conservative and often understated. No longer. Under the leadership of MBS, Saudi Arabia has become an assertive and unpredictable player. He seeks regional power while engaging in “authoritarian upgrading” guided by his own hand. There are therefore two interrelated strategies at play: 1) prevent the growth in influence of rival powers in the region and 2) prevent the emergence of liberal activists who would destabilize the Saudi monarchy. MBS witnessed firsthand the destabilization of the region that arose after the 2011 protests in Egypt, Syria, Yemen — and perhaps most notably in neighbouring Bahrain. He wishes to prevent a recurrence at all costs.

So MBS has spearheaded dramatic actions aimed at wielding Saudi Arabia’s considerable financial and military power.

He has prosecuted a brutal war in Yemen aimed at an unqualified victory over the Houthi …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun