Morning Update: Tensions With Russia Are Developing Into An International Crisis
A bridge collapse in Florida, Slovakia's prime minister forced to quit, Donald Trump Jr.'s wife files for divorce. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, March 16.
At least four people are dead after a footbridge collapsed at Florida International University
The pedestrian bridge at FIU was recently installed. Thursday afternoon, it collapsed, crushing vehicles underneath. According to officials, at least four people have died and several others were injured.
Eight vehicles were trapped under the bridge and at least 10 people were transported to the hospital, officials said. Two of those people were extricated from the rubble, fire officials said.
Rescue teams were still searching for survivors on Thursday evening.
The cause of the collapse was not immediately known.
Multiple companies involved in the construction of the bridge have previously been accused of unsafe practices at other work sites or been involved in other bridge collapses.
One of the companies was involved in a Virginia bridge that partially collapsed during construction in 2012, injuring six workers.
The Trump administration is accusing Russia of trying to hack the US power grid
This is quite significant. The Department of Homeland Security formally accused Russian government hackers of a massive, sophisticated, and multipronged attempt to infiltrate the US power grid.
A report detailed how Russian hackers operated via “watering hole” attacks, through hacking websites of third-party companies involved in the energy industry.
The government did not name the nuclear and critical manufacturing targets that it said the hackers had targeted. The idea of a foreign government taking down the US power grid with a cyberattack is a particularly scary subject for many federal officials.
The poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK is growing into an international crisis
At first, it was just the UK.
Now leaders of France, Germany, and the US have joined the UK in condemning Russia for its part in the poisoning of a former Russian spy. A rare joint statement from the four nations called the incident “an assault on UK sovereignty.”
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the country would expel British diplomats soon, a move that is seen as a response to the UK expelling 23 Russian diplomats earlier this week.
The UK’s defense minister said, “It is absolutely atrocious and outrageous what Russia did… Frankly, Russia should go away, it should shut up.” (Of course, the internet truly enjoyed this moment).
Slovakia’s prime minister was forced to quit after anger over the Mafia-linked murders of a journalist and his girlfriend
First, a reporter and his girlfriend were killed. Ján Kuciak was apparently investigating high-level corruption, and links between high-level officials and the Mafia, before he was murdered.
What followed was weeks of public outrage. That outrage did not subside, and it has now forced Slovakia’s ruling party to announce it will form a new government without Prime Minister Robert Fico.
More than 50,000 people demonstrated against Fico in Bratislava, the largest demonstrations in Slovakia since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe in 1989. The protests essentially forced him to quit.
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Hazing death: Four men have been charged in the hazing-related death of an 18-year-old college freshman. Maxwell Gruver died last year after he was hazed at Louisiana State University. His blood alcohol level was more than six times the legal limit for driving.
Trump divorce: Vanessa Trump has filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr., her husband of nearly 12 years. She opted for an uncontested divorce — that means she won’t fight the president’s eldest son for custody or over their assets. The Trumps have five children, ages 10, 9, 6, 5, and 3.
Robert Mueller investigation: The special counsel has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents, some relating to Russia. Back in July of 2017, President Trump suggested that if Mueller started looking into his or his family's finances, he would consider that going beyond the scope of the investigation.
YouTube stunt: A 20-year-old woman who killed her boyfriend in a YouTube stunt gone wrong was sentenced to 180 days in prison. Monalisa Perez had been charged with manslaughter after she accidentally shot Pedro Ruiz in the chest while making a video for the couple's vlog.
ESPN blackmail: Back in December, John Skipper stepped down as president of ESPN citing a “substance addiction” as the reason for his resignation. Now in a new interview, he says he resigned because someone who sold him cocaine threatened to extort him.
Anti-abortion groups don’t usually support Democrats, but they’re going all in for one in Illinois
Rep. Dan Lipinski is one of the last anti-abortion Democrats left in Congress, so he’s not getting the support of progressive organizations. For example, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund put its weight behind Marie Newman, his progressive opponent in an upcoming primary.
In an unusual move, the Susan B. Anthony List, an influential anti-abortion group, is putting significant resources into backing Lipinski. This includes a “six-figure investment” in digital and mail campaigns.
Read Ema O’Connor’s look into what this could mean for the primary race.
Slow down a bit and sit with these longreads
Terry Crews is taking it upon himself to take down toxic masculinity. You’ll remember last year the Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor, energized by the New York Times’ bombshell report about the allegations against mogul Harvey Weinstein, came forward with his own experience: He had been groped by a powerful Hollywood agent at a party at Adam Sandler’s house. He talked to Alanna Bennett about how speaking out has changed his life, and the interview is so powerful. Terry Crews Is Not Going Down Without A Fight.
Sometimes celebrity couples are just celebrity couples. But sometimes they stand for so much more. This week, Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid broke up. In a thoughtful piece, Sara Yasin breaks down how the idea of Zayn and Gigi filled a massive gap: So rarely do Muslim and Palestinian heritages get reflected in mainstream US pop culture. Gigi And Zayn Were The Power Couple I Needed To See When I Was Growing Up.
Also, no big deal (just kidding, huge deal) but we are launching the first BuzzFeed Book Club soon. It’s still in the works, but you should sign up to be among the first to hear about it.