UK: A 24-story residential block was destroyed by fire on Wednesday. By Saturday, 58 were declared dead, and the authorities expected the death toll would continue to rise. The number, at press time, stands at 79.
The now charred Grenfell Tower stands at the West London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and was home to many immigrants from Sudan, Eritrea, and Syria.
The police are investigating the cause of the blaze, but there seems to be no evidence of arson. Fire safety experts believe that cladding used on the building may have been the contributing factor.
Residents have complained about the fire hazard, but said their warnings had been ignored by borough officials. Angry residents stormed a local government office on Friday demanding support for survivors and justice for victims.
Queen Elizabeth II acknowledged the grief of Londoners. “It is difficult to escape a very somber national mood,” the Queen said in her official birthday message.
Prime Minister Theresa May pledged $6.5 million for the victims, and promised to rehouse survivors within weeks. Local councils will also carry out safety checks on buildings similar to the Grenfell Tower.
For more we go to BBC News:
US: Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise was shot in a baseball field on Wednesday. Many Republican members of Congress were practicing in the field for a charity game.
The 51-year old top-ranking Republican and House majority whip was hit in the hip and is said to be in a stable condition. Three other persons were wounded.
The gunman, who is identified to be James T. Hodgkinson, 66, from St. Louis, is an anti-Trump political extremist opposed to Republican tax policies, and was killed in the subsequent cross-fire with the police.
Ironically, the gun-wounded congressman is a proud gun rights supporter himself.
President Donald Trump condemned the shooting as a “very, very brutal assault.”
For more we go to Inside Edition:
Syria: Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Friday that its air force has killed the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike last month.
Russian Air Force had struck a meeting of Islamic State leaders on May 28 outside Raqqa, Syria where the self-declared caliph was purportedly killed among other 30 ISIS leaders.
But Pentagon could not confirm the claim, and the Russian military is verifying the facts.
According to the Time Magazine, Baghdadi declares himself the emir al-muminin, the leader of the faithful, claiming the mantle of the early Islamic empires dating back to the seventh century in defiance of rival jihadist groups, such as al-Qaeda.
If the claim is true, the death of Baghdadi would further weaken ISIS, whose influence in the Middle East is shrinking.
For more we go to CNN:
Business: Online retail giant Amazon announced on Friday that it would buy the organic food chain Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion.
The acquisition is seen to be game-changing for the traditional supermarket business, and has sent a tsunami to the market as supermarket share prices in the US and Europe tumbled.
Walmart’s shares dived 6%. Shares in the UK’s Tesco and Germany’s Metro were also down about 6% each. Other giants such as Target, Kroger, and Costco, did not escape the same destiny.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s stock rose 3.5%, taking it close to $1,000 a share.
For more we go to the Wall Street Journal:
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Lead-In Image Courtesy of Attphotography / Shutterstock.com – “Grenfell Tower smoking after large blaze destroyed building Latimer Rd, London W11 1TG 14-06-2017.”