OAKLAND, Calif. — California officials say 24 people have died in a massive fire that swept through an Oakland warehouse where a concert was taking place Friday night.
The three-alarm fire was reported at about 11:30 p.m. Friday at a warehouse that’s been converted for artist exhibits and parties and has been previously investigated by city officials due to complaints for trash and illegal internal structures built inside. Known as Oakland Ghost Ship, the building is on 31st Avenue, a short block off International Boulevard, one of the main thoroughfares of East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood.
Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach-Reed told The Washington Post that more than 50 people were inside, attending party featuring musician Golden Donna’s 100% Silk West Coast Tour.
The concert was being held on a second floor, where most of the recovered bodies were later found. A makeshift stairway put together with pallets was separating it from the first floor, Deloach-Reed said.
By the time firefighters arrived at the scene, the staircase had burned away, Mark Hoffmann, deputy chief of the Oakland Fire Department, said Saturday.
The building’s instability slowed the recovery effort on Saturday. Officials said the building’s roof had collapsed onto the second floor and, in many areas, the first floor as well. Firefighters and structural engineers spent much of the day shoring up the structure so it would be safe to enter the building and recover the bodies. Hoffman told Reuters about a dozen people survived the blaze, including one who went to a hospital.
Authorities said it wasn’t clear whether electrical issues, pyrotechnics, or errant candles or cigarettes had started the fire. Fire officials said the building did not have sprinklers.
An arson investigation would also be underway, though the fire is not being investigated as a crime, Officer Johnna Watson, a spokeswoman for the Oakland Police Department, said.
The city planning and building department had previously investigated the warehouse due to complaints about trash outside the property and illegal internal structures built inside the warehouse, said Darin Ranelletti, the department’s director. Complaints had been filed about the building as recently as November.
Ranelletti said authorities are still investigating whether people were living in the building. The last permitted use of the building was as a warehouse, so neither habitation nor a concert would have been legal without permits.
The building’s interior featured a tangled network of antique furniture, artwork, musical instruments, wooden lofts, tapestries and oddities, such as mannequin parts, according to a Tumblr blog that appears to show the building.
“It was a labyrinth,” Hoffman said.
THE United States after weeks of putting Nigerians in suspense following President Trump's executive order and the deportation of Africans recently has opened up on Nigerians traveling to the United States.
Contrary to speculations, the US envoy says Nigerians will not be banned from entering the country. Trump had signed an executive order barring citizens from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and Sudan from entering the country for 90 days and also suspended the admission of all refugees for 120 days.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria , Ambassador W. Stuart Symington who said this yesterday during a press briefing in Abuja, stated that the US holds Nigeria in high esteem and would not ban its citizens from coming to US. He said the connection between our two countries has been strong and will continue to be strong tomorrow.
He refuted the claim that Nigeria visa status has been reduce to one year. He said that nothing has really changed in the Visa policy for Nigeria, stressing that the two years multiple entry status is still valid for Nigerians. He said U.S will not discriminate against any Nigeria based on religion or tribe.
He however stressed that should there be any visa denial for any individual it should not be constricted to discrimination.
NEW YORK -- President-elect Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he will nominate Wall Street lawyer, Jay Clayton, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission.
As chair of the SEC, which polices Wall Street and the financial markets, Clayton would play a key role in Trump's efforts to usher in a period of deregulation, including undoing parts of 2010’s financial reform legislation, known as the Dodd-Frank Act.
"Jay Clayton is a highly talented expert on many aspects of financial and regulatory law, and he will ensure our financial institutions can thrive and create jobs while playing by the rules at the same time,” Trump said in a statement.
If confirmed by the Senate, Clayton would replace Mary Jo White, who announced shortly after the election that she would step down.
White, a former federal prosecutor, is known for a no-nonsense style and beefed up the agency’s enforcement efforts over the last three years, pushing for more companies to admit guilt and taking more cases to trial. And during her term, the SEC has been a central player part of the Obama administration’s effort to rein in big banks following the 2008 financial crisis and prevent future taxpayer bailouts of the industry. The agency has pushed for more oversight of hedge funds and other asset managers and has established rules that make it more difficult for big banks to make risky bets on the markets.
[Here are the key positions Trump has filled so far]
But Trump is widely expected to roll back some of the banking industry regulations the Obama administration put in place.
“We need to undo many regulations which have stifled investment in American businesses, and restore oversight of the financial industry in a way that does not harm American workers," Trump said.
Clayton, in a statement, said that he would work "with key stakeholders in the financial system to make sure we provide investors and our companies with the confidence to invest together in America. We will carefully monitor our financial sector, as we set policy that encourages American companies to do what they do best: create jobs.”
A woman who was declared missing late August this year with her boyfriend has eventually been found after banging noises and screams from inside a metal shipping container alerted deputies searching for Kala Brown on a 100-acre South Carolina estate, BBC reports.
They found her alive "chained like a dog" to the inside of the box, a local sheriff told US media. Ms Brown went missing in late August this year with her boyfriend, Charlie Calver, who is yet to be found.
Registered sex offender Todd Kohlhepp, 45, was arrested on Thursday in connection with the incident. Ms Brown told police that she had been fed twice a day but was "obviously traumatized" after her time in the container.
It was described by Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright as "a hellish place to be locked in hot weather. No lights, no windows, no air flow".
Four people may be buried on the property, according to a testament given by Ms. Brown to Sheriff Wright.
"We're trying to make sure we don't have a serial killer on our hands," Sheriff Wright said. "It very possibly could be what we have."
Sheriff Wright added that a cadaver dog, trained to smell human decomposition, had picked up on "something, it's not clear what", while searching.
Officers had been led to the 100-acre property thanks to a tip-off by a sex-crime investigator.
President Bill Clinton had an affair with former Vice President Walter Mondale’s daughter — while multitasking with at least two mistresses in the White House — according to a tell-all by a Secret Service officer who guarded the Oval Office.
Leaked excerpts have already rocked the campaign, and Byrne’s account of Bill Clinton’s conquests under his image-obsessed wife’s nose, revealed exclusively to The Post, will surely ramp up the controversy.
According to Conservative Tribune: http://conservativetribune.com/exposed-lewinsky-furious/
” In his tell-all book “Crisis of Character,” Gary J. Byrne has revealed that he stood outside the door while Bill had sex with many women, including former Vice President Walter Mondale’s daughter, Eleanor Mondale.
“I stood guard, a pistol at my hip, outside the Oval Office, the last barrier before anyone saw Bill Clinton,” Byrne wrote. “The last barrier before Monica Lewinsky saw Bill Clinton. Yes, I’m that Secret Service officer.”
Byrne recalled one occasion when Lewinsky arrived at the White House while Bill was with another woman. The agents tried to make sure Lewinsky didn’t find out what the president was doing, but their efforts failed miserably.
“She pressed the officer about the delay and wanted to know why she was left standing in his security booth. He lashed back,” he wrote.
“You have to wait. He’s with his other piece of a–. Wait till he’s finished,” the security officer blocking her entrance told her.
“What’s he want with her when he has this?” a furious Lewinsky screamed, gesturing at her own body.
In the end, there were many other women Bill bedded during his presidency as well.
“Eleanor Mondale and Monica Lewinsky could not satiate the president’s horndog sexual desires,” wrote Byrne, accurately describing Bill’s sexual problem.
It’s ironic that after nearly twenty years, Monica Lewinsky is still a thorn in Hillary Clinton’s side. What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. ”
THISDAY- A member of the United States Congress, Tom Marino, has written a letter to Secretary of State, John Kerry, asking the US government to withhold security assistance to Nigeria until President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrates a “commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech”.
He also asked the State Department to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to Nigeria until President Buhari establishes a track record of working towards inclusion.
In a two-page letter dated September 1, 2016 and addressed to Kerry, a copy of which was exclusively obtained by THISDAY yesterday, Marino, a Republican from Pennsylvania who assumed office on January 3, 2011, said there were a number of warning signs emerging in the Buhari administration that signal “the man who once led Nigeria as a military dictator might be sliding towards former autocratic tendencies”.
The Congressman, who is a member of the Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs, and the Chairman, Sub-committee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, said Nigerian government must “hold accountable those members of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Military complicit in extra-judicial killings and war crimes”.
In the six-paragraph letter to Kerry, Marino also expressed concern over Nigeria’s anti-corruption war, saying “of additional concern is President Buhari’s selective anti-corruption drive, which has focused almost exclusively on members of the opposition party, over-looking corruption amongst some of Buhari’s closest advisors. Politicizing his anti-corruption efforts has only reinforced hostility among southerners”.
His letter to Kerry reads: “Dear Secretary Kerry, I am encouraged by the personal interest you have taken in aiding Nigeria and its administration as it takes on endemic corruption, multiple insurgent movements, and a faltering economy. However, I believe there are a number of warning signs emerging in the Buhari administration that signal “the man who once led Nigeria as a military dictator might be sliding towards former autocratic tendencies.”
“I would urge the U.S. to withhold its security assistance to the nation until President Buhari demonstrates a commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech. A logical start towards this commitment is for the Nigerian government to hold accountable those members of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Military complicit in extra-judicial killings and war crimes”.
“Human rights groups like Amnesty International have widely documented torture, inhumane treatment, and extra-judicial killings of defenseless Nigerians since President Buhari took office.”
Quoting Amnesty International Report, he wrote, “in the last six months, Nigeria’s military has unlawfully killed at least 350 people and allowed more than 168 people, including babies and children, to die in military detention.”
He further wrote: “The Secretary to the Government of Kaduna State even admitted to burying 347 of those killed in a mass grave. And while President Buhari promised swift condemnation, his words rang empty. Instead of swift reforms, Buhari chose to reinstate Major General Ahmadu Mohammed, who Amnesty International revealed was in charge of the Nigerian military unit that executed more than 640 unarmed, former detainees.
“Also, in separate incidents concerning the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Nigerian Army has killed at least 36 – the real number is likely higher – people since December 2015 in an attempt to silence opposition and quell attempts by the group to gather publicly.”
Describing President Buhari as a former military dictator whose reign (as military head of state) was cut short by a coup, he stated that the President has continually shunned inclusivity in favour of surrounding himself with advisors and ministers from the north of the country and the region he considers home.
“Of President Buhari’s 122 appointees, 77 are from the north and control many of the key ministries and positions of power. Distrust is already high in Nigeria and favouring Northerners for key appointments has only antagonized the issue. These appointments are also primarily Muslim in the north and Christian in the south, adding a religious aspect to long-held regional biases.
“Of additional concern is President Buhari’s selective anti-corruption drive, which has focused almost exclusively on members of the opposition party, over-looking corruption amongst some of Buhari’s closest advisors. Politicizing his anti-corruption efforts has only reinforced hostility among southerners,” he claimed in the letter.
He said the Obama Administration would advance justice by urging the Buhari Administration to act decisively to hold accountable members of the police and military.
The congressman said, “This is a logical first step in making a demonstrable, sustained commitment to inclusive democracy, with distributed power in Nigeria. Until President Buhari establishes a track record of working towards inclusion, we ask the State Department to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to the country.
“The State Department should urge President Buhari to form a government that represents the diversity of its citizens and allows dissenting voices to be heard. Democracy can thrive only if people are free to assemble, to express their beliefs, and voice their concerns.”
The Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress, Afenifere, former federal lawmakers, security experts and rights activists, on Saturday vowed to resist any attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government to further increase fuel price.
They stated that the former and present bosses of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, expressed fears that the current pump price of N145 per litre, was no longer feasible.
Past and present Group Managing Directors of the NNPC, unanimously declared on Saturday that the current N145 per litre price of fuel was no longer realistic.
They said the amount does not correspond with the price determining components of the commodity and the fluctuations of the foreign exchange rate.
They stated this after a one-day meeting they held with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, in Abuja.
The NNPC in its statement said, “They (the GMDs) noted that the petrol price of N145/litre is not congruent with the liberalisation policy especially with the foreign exchange rate and other price determining components such as crude cost, Nigerian Ports Authority charges, etc remaining uncapped.”
The declaration of the NNPC present and past bosses confirmed an exclusive report that the actual or real cost of petrol was N151.87 when all the pricing components are adequately captured.
The marketers had stated that they were struggling to maintain petrol price at N145 per litre because of the stiff competition in the downstream oil sector, but stressed that the practice was not sustainable.
The GMDs, however, commended the NNPC for resolving the fuel supply crisis and urged the corporation to come up with measures that will ensure sustenance of seamless supply of petroleum products nationwide.
According to the corporation, the GMDs expressed concerns about the declining crude oil production level and its consequences on the environment and the nation’s revenue.
They further agreed that if the current situation remains unchecked, it could lead to the crippling of the corporation and the nation’s oil and gas sector which is the mainstay of the Nigerian economy.
However, the Nigeria Labour Congress on Saturday warned the President Muhammadu Buhari administration not to contemplate any further increase in the pump price of petroleum products in the country
The General Secretary of the NLC, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, who stated this in an interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, said Nigerians would not accept further fuel price increment.
Ozo-Eson had warned the government earlier this week against increasing the pump price of petroleum products in the country.
Ozo-Eson said that it was also up to Nigerians to decide whether to allow being subjected to the incessant increase in the fuel pump price or not.
He said, “We had given a warning before that Nigerians cannot take any further increase, that they shouldn’t do it.
“That remains our position, and if they go ahead and do it, it is up to Nigerians to say how they want to respond to it. But we remain opposed to any new increase in the price of petroleum product.”
Also the President of the Trade Union Congress, Bala Kaigama, warned government not to take Nigerians for granted because there was no paliatiative in place.
He said, “Nigerians have been taken for granted a couple of times by the Buhari’s government but things would be different this time around. We would fight this modern day slavery.”
The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said the masses would resist the hike. “There is a limit to which you can tax poverty, it is only prosperity you can continue to make demands on.
“If you are unable to provide an enabling environment for people to improve their lives and you continue to tax them wantonly, you risk the rage of the poor,” he said.
On his part, a Second Republic lawmaker, Junaid. Mohammed said, “I am highly suspicious about NNPC GMD’s coming up with this suggestion now. Are they saying Nigerians have not suffered enough?”
The Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre: Awual Musa Rafsanjani, said, the Buhari government was taking Nigerians for granted. “This government must not take Nigerians for granted,” he said.
Also a security consultant, Ben Okezie, said the government was pushing Nigerians to the brink with the planned fuel hike, noting that Buhari may be forced out of power, if he was not careful.
The United States has cautioned its citizens to avoid all travel to 20 states for security reasons, stating that the security there remains fluid and unpredictable.
The Department of State, specifically warned Americans against travel to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states, noting that it’s ability to provide assistance to US citizens in the three states remains severely limited.
The Department of State in a travel warning on its website on Wednesday, strongly urged US citizens in Nigeria to consider their own personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their travel planning.
The Department recommended against all but essential travel to 17 other states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks.
The states are, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, and Zamfara.
“Based on safety and security risk assessments, the Embassy maintains restrictions for travel by US officials to the states listed above; officials must receive advance clearance by the US Mission for any travel to those states,” it stated.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, could not be reached on Thursday for reaction to the security alert. He had yet to respond to an SMS as of the time of filing this report.
The Department further advised all US citizens to be particularly vigilant around government security facilities; churches, mosques, and other places of worship; locations where large crowds may gather, such as hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, markets, shopping malls; and other areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers.
It explained that security measures in the country is heightened due to threats posed by extremist groups, and “U.S. citizens may encounter police and military checkpoints, additional security, and possible road blocks throughout the country.”
The mission pointed out that the Boko Haram group, designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Department of State, had claimed responsibility for many attacks in the country.
It also informed Americans that local government curfews are intermittently in effect in several states in the North.