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Terry Prone: Tragic blazes were powder kegs waiting to explode

The sepia pictures show water being directed into the second-floor windows of a nine-storey building although the sheen on the ground outside the building suggests most of that water fell short. Behind the puff of water is another New York Fire Department vehicle, this one housing a ladder that reaches the fourth floor. No higher. That was one reason for the high death toll: The ladders couldn’t reach the top floor, where the fire originated in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. New York, then as now, was a fashion centre, and what fashionistas of the time wanted were “shirtwaist” dresses and blouses. Charles Dana Gibson, an illustrator created the “Gibson Girl”, who evoked the era, with writer Sinclair Lewis claiming she was “the Helen of Troy and Cleopatra of her day”. The Gibson Girl featured on the cover of Scribner’s Magazine, cycling confidently towards the reader in a crisp shirt-blouse and tucked-in voluminous skirt. The Triangle company was at the forefront of the many slave-labour companies meeting the requirement, one of the biggest and most successful operators churning out the crisp, centre-buttoned garments which were in such high demand. They employed hundreds of seamstresses and some men — a minority — most of them in supervisory roles. The seamstresses tended to come from the immigrant wave which had brought hundreds of thousands of Europeans to Ellis Island, the point at which they were passed for entry into the US or deemed unworthy. Some of the immigrants who found themselves working on the Triangle’s high-fashion products were teenagers, like Rosie Freedman. At 14, Rosie survived an anti-Jewish pogrom in her home town and left Russian-occupied Poland for a life of hope and promise in America. She was on the Triangle payroll, like many other young Jewesses, who had learned their skills in a Tsarist Russia so prejudiced against them as to preclude them from dozens of other possible jobs. The Triangle pay rates were contentious and had led to a strike as the workers sought to be paid a living wage by several textile factories. Triangle owners Max Blanck and Ivan Harris weren’t having any of it. They trafficked in workers from elsewhere to strike-break, protecting them from the wrath of the striking workers by hired hoodlums. They instructed local police to arrest picketers. They won. They were hated by the picketers who were forced by circumstance to lay down their protest signs and go back to work. Being hated didn’t bother them. The strikes were all about money, not about conditions. Not about health and safety because those couple of words were no part of the employer lexicon at the time. Workers were so glad to get a paycheque that workplace discomfort and danger were simply not a consideration. The Triangle factory was full of inflammable materials. Dry scraps of fabric are flammable, and the cut-offs from the workers’ tables either fell to the floor of one of the three stories occupied by the factory or were stuffed into waste paper baskets. No rules precluded supervisors from smoking. It can be assumed that the seamstresses didn’t smoke, for two reasons. The first is that their hands were constantly occupied, and they were paid by completed units. The second is that they couldn’t afford to stain the garments on which they worked by fallen ash or dirtied fingers. Quality control would dock them dollars. One way or the other, the Triangle Shirtwaist factory was a powder keg waiting to blow and on March 25, 1911, just as workers were beginning to think about heading to their homes for the evening, that’s what happened. A fire. Not just the usual kind of fire, of which the Triangle Factory had its fair share, down the years. The usual kind of fire could be quickly doused using one of the red water-filled buckets positioned around the work areas. This one was a big blaze, pouring smoke. Triangle, David Von Drehl’s definitive history of the event, tells how Isidore Abramowitz, one of the highly skilled cutters, was taking his coat and hat from a nearby peg when he noticed the fire in his scrap bins. These bins, framed around the legs of the cutting table, held “several hundred pounds of scraps, the leftovers from thousands and thousands of garments that had been cut since the last time the bins had been emptied”. The fire marshal would later decide that someone had tossed a partly extinguished cigarette butt into Abramowitz’s scrap bin. “Cotton is even more flammable than paper, explosively so,” writes Von Drehl. “Those airy scraps of sheer fabric and tissue paper, loosely heaped and full of oxygen, amounted to a virtual firebomb.” Some 180 people worked on that floor. As the fire spread, they ran for the exits in such numbers and in such terror that pile-ups happened. The working tables were so placed as to present a lethal obstacle. One woman on the floor where the fire was had the bright idea of letting people on higher floors know what was going on. The factory had a system called teleutograph which allowed someone on the eighth floor to use a pen to send a message — in this case, “FIRE!” — so that the matching pen on the floor above would write out that message upstairs. On the ninth floor, the machine buzzed and an alert woman waited for the pen to start writing. It never did. The heat soared and the water didn’t run through the hoses provided. The fire escape, which was ridiculously fragile, collapsed. The workers crowded at the windows could feel the flames at their backs, and, like the September 11 victims a century later, believed leaping to their deaths was a better, or at least faster option than burning. Fifty of them died that way. The owners locked windows and doors to prevent workers from getting out with stolen lace samples or from getting away from work a few minutes early. Nobody was going to cheat the owners of the labour they were owed. About a third of the number who died in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire died in the Stardust. Those who perished in New York were, for the most part, immigrant workers aged 14 to 60. But the factors that made so many of those deaths inevitable were oddly similar. Inadequate training and fire-management procedures. Chains and locks preventing those inside the buildings from reaching safety and survival. Chains deployed, in the case of the Stardust, to prevent teenagers from sneaking in a pal who hadn’t paid. Locks deployed, in the case of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, to prevent poor immigrant seamstresses from sneaking out minutes early. Shocking, the effort and ingenuity deployed to prevent minor misbehaviours. Even more shocking, how many that effort and ingenuity ensured would not survive.

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Joel Embiid’s knee ‘pretty good’ but Game 2 status versus Knicks still in question

Sixers star Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Monday’s first-round Game 2 against the Knicks due to left knee injury recovery. Asked after Sunday’s nominally optional workout how Embiid’s knee was faring, 76ers head coach Nick Nurse shrugged off any worries. “Uh, pretty good, I think,” Nurse said. “I asked him how he was feeling; he said pretty good.” That Embiid returned to play the second half of Saturday’s opening loss — the 76ers termed it as merely “injury recovery” instead of a specific aggravation — and Nurse did everything he could to downplay the injury all are positive signs. But the fact that the Sixers have been less than transparent in their injury reporting where Embiid is concerned means it should all be taken with a grain of salt. Embiid, who missed 29 games after suffering a torn left meniscus on Jan. 30, clearly has not been 100 percent since returning on April 2. The reigning MVP sat out April 7 against the Spurs, then was forced off the court shortly before halftime five days later against the Magic only to return and play the second half. Now, Embiid has done the same thing, after aggravating the injury late in the second quarter Saturday and limping off only to come back and start the third. Embiid, who has dealt with an orbital fracture in the past, also took a shot to the face and was wearing shades Saturday night and again Sunday morning. “It’s OK. It’s OK,” Nurse said of Embiid’s eye, saying there was no new fracture. “Nope. He’s OK.” The Sixers had better hope so. While Embiid had 29 points, eight rebounds, six assists and finished plus-14 in his 36:33 on Saturday, Philadelphia was outscored by 21 points in the 11 minutes he sat. T he Sixers likely can’t win if he’s sidelined or even limited, and there is ample evidence the latter may be the case. After Embiid dominated with 18 points and five rebounds on 6-for-11 shooting in the first half, he was immobile in the second. The MVP had 11 points but had just three boards and was 2-for-11 after returning, boxing out but rarely jumping. “Joel battled pretty good down there, trying to get his body on people to block out,” Nurse said. “There’s some other things we can do that I can’t really tell you about that we can help him with. But I think he did a pretty decent job. I mean, decent; he needs to do better. But he was putting his body on them and moving them out quite a bit. So again, yes he needs to do better, but so do the other four guys out there.” Nurse added he may play Paul Reed alongside Embiid more than in the regular season to help with rebounding.

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Albany’s budget deal locks in an uglier future for New York

Once again, Albany’s budget deal fully made good on its nickname, the “Big Ugly” — locking in an uglier future for New York. Gov.Hochul can claim a few wins, but only at the cost of crucial concessions that will continue to drive the state’s decline. She prevented new tax hikes — but the “emergency” one imposed early in the pandemic remains in place, apparently permanent. She won modestly tougher treatment on retail theft and illegal pot shops — without even trying to repair the larger criminal-justice “reforms” that have crime locked in well above pre-COVID levels. She got NYC mayoral control renewed for another two years — at the price of watering it down by giving the Legislature the power to choose a new seat (the chairman!) of the city Panel for Educational Policy. She pushed through a new (badly compromised) version of the 421-a tax break that’s key to new housing construction in the city, and tiny fiddles to the 2019 rent “reforms” that are pushing thousands of units off the market entirely (and small landlords into insolvency) — yet also OK’d landmark new “Good Cause” rent controls for Gotham. Somewhere in the muddle, she also agreed to $4 billion in added spending — and to a rollback of vital public-pension reforms; this will cost taxpayers in the neighborhood of another $4 billion. Nor did she get her proposed school-funding reforms: Districts with plummeting enrollment still get “held harmless” from state-aid cuts. Nor most of her push to rein in soaring Medicaid outlays. The final state-spending total, $237 billion for the year, more than a third higher than the final pre-pandemic budget, a huge spike in just four years. And the structural deficit (the amount the state will need to find cash to cover in coming years) is now about $16 billion. Plus, all this comes with zero transparency about the details, not even basic financial-plan tables so the public and independent experts can judge the true impact. Hochul may pat herself on the back for holding back some of progressives’ worst excesses, but New York’s lurch left continues. Albany is nowhere near even talking about anything that can build a brighter future — school choice (more charters), tax cuts, fracking and so on. Madam Governor: When you identity some ways to make New York truly more attractive to the residents and businesses now fleeing the state, and resolve to fight for them, come back to us.

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Conservative Brazilians laud Elon Musk at rally in support of Bolsonaro

Conservative Brazilians heaped praise Sunday on Elon Musk at a rally in support of former President Jair Bolsonaro, whose legal troubles are mounting in tandem with the billionaire entrepreneur’s feud with the South American nation’s Supreme Court. “Brazil Thanks Elon Musk,” read one giant sign in English at the rally alongside Copacabana beach in the seaside city of Rio de Janeiro. Thousands of die-hard supporters of Bolsonaro attended. ELON MUSK TO FUND NEW FIRST AMENDMENT CAMPAIGN TO COMBAT ‘RELENTLESS ATTACKS ON FREE SPEECH’ Musk, a self-declared free speech absolutist, is a target in an ongoing investigation over the dissemination of fake news by supporters of Bolsonaro. Musk said the social platform X wouldn’t comply with a high court justice’s order to remove certain accounts accused of spreading disinformation. Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX who took over Twitter — now X — in late 2022, accused Justice Alexandre de Moraes of suppressing free speech and violating Brazil’s constitution. He noted on X that users could seek to bypass any shutdown of the social media platform by using VPNs, or virtual private networks. AMERICA FIRST FOREIGN POLICY ‘PROFOUNDLY DANGEROUS,’ INVITES MULTI-FRONT WAR, EMINENT HISTORIAN WARNS That prompted de Moraes to include Musk in an ongoing investigation into so-called digital militias and open a new investigation into obstruction, incitement and criminal conspiracy. Several speakers lauded Musk at Sunday’s rally. CHINESE HACKERS PREPARING TO ‘PHYSICALLY WREAK HAVOC’ ON US CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: FBI DIRECTOR “What you see here are people who love liberty, who will not give up and will not kneel down to dictators, people who are willing to give their lives for freedom,” said Gustavo Gayer, a pro-Bolsonaro congressman. For his part, the former president lauded Musk for demonstrating “courage” in the face of what he called censorship by de Moraes. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP “He is the man who really preserves true freedom for all of us,” said Bolsonaro, who is himself under investigation for a plethora of crimes ranging from aiding an effort to overturn the 2022 election results and plotting a coup against his leftist successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Brazil is an important market for social media companies. About 40 million Brazilians, or about 18% of the population, access X at least once per month, according to the market research group Emarketer.

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Victoria Beckham arrives at 50th birthday celebration on crutches, carried out by husband David Beckham

A broken foot didn’t slow Victoria Beckham down for her 50th birthday. The fashion designer, who suffered her injury back in February while working out according to her husband, David Beckham on social media, entered the party using two crutches. She paired the medical devices with a gauzy mint gown, paired with loose waves. Beckham looked serious while entering the party, but the star-studded occasion proved to be a lively affair. VICTORIA BECKHAM, JEWEL, LEONARDO DICAPRIO: CELEBRITIES TURNING 50 IN 2024 The highlight of the evening was the impromptu reunion of all five Spice Girls, Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Melanie Brown (Scary Spice), Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice), and Beckham (Posh Spice). Together the group sang their hit “Stop,” complete with the dance moves from the music video. David posted a video of the moment on his Instagram, including him singing along as well, writing in the caption, “I mean come on.” APP USERS CLICK HERE View this post on Instagram A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT NEWSLETTER Beckham reposted her husband’s video on her own Instagram, and shared an group photo with the girls. “The best gift to be reunited!! Thank you to all my friends and family for celebrating with me. Kisses!” she wrote in the caption. She also shared some additional posts marking her milestone birthday, including a family photo with her husband and children, Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz, and Harper. “Can’t wait to celebrate with my friends and family! I love you all so much,” she wrote in the caption. LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING? CLICK HERE FOR MORE ENTERTAINMENT NEWS Also in attendance at the party were Tom Cruise, Eva Longoria, and Salma Hayek, with her husband Francois-Henri Pinault. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP At the end of the night, Beckham was photographed leaving the party, ditching the crutches and being carried by David on his back. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt as loved as I did last night. Thank you all for coming from near and so far!! X” Beckham wrote in another post, sharing photos with her famous friends, including Longoria and Gordon Ramsay.

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Some Democrats signal support for embattled House Republican Speaker Johnson

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) – Democrats in the House of Representatives on Sunday signaled a willingness to support House Speaker Mike Johnson, as Republican hardliners threaten to oust him following the passage of critical aid for Ukraine. Democratic U.S. Representative Jared Moskowitz said in an interview with Fox News Sunday that ousting Johnson now would only embolden U.S. foes like Russia and Iran at a time of global turmoil. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Democratic Representative Ro Khanna said he would oppose Johnson being ousted as speaker, adding that “he deserves to keep his job till the end of his term.” Democratic support for Johnson could block the effort from some members of his party to oust him. Earlier this month, Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene filed a motion to vote to oust Johnson if he allowed a vote on more aid for Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. On Saturday, the House passed a bill providing nearly $61 billion to address the conflict, a top priority for the Democratic administration of President Joe Biden. Advertisement · Scroll to continue Greene, again saying on Sunday that Johnson needs to resign, accused him of “absolutely working for the Democrats.” Asked on Fox News if she is going to file the motion at some point, Greene said, “It’s coming regardless of what Mike Johnson decides to do.” If there is a vote on the speaker, the speaker has the support of Republican Representative Michael McCaul, who serves as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I think the stock in Mike Johnson has gone way up because he did the right thing,” McCaul told ABC News on Sunday. “I think he (Johnson) is in good shape,” he said. Johnson was elected speaker after a small band of hardline Republicans ousted his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy, in a move that brought the House of Representatives to a halt for weeks. Former President Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate facing a rematch with Biden on Nov. 5, has thrown his support behind Johnson, saying the embattled speaker is “doing a really good job under very tough circumstances.” Advertisement · Scroll to continue Reporting by Jasper Ward; additional reporting Kanishka Singh, editing by Ross Colvin and Chizu Nomiyama SaveShareTwitterFacebookLinkedinEmailLinkPurchase Licensing Rights

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Dwayne Johnson remembers childhood dreams of becoming a country star as he tears up over late father

The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ Confidential Movies Best Short Film Television Music Reviews Books Competitions Camera IconDwayne Johnson Credit: BANG – Entertainment News Dwayne Johnson remembers childhood dreams of becoming a country star as he tears up over late father BANG – Entertainment NewsBang Showbiz April 22, 2024 6:03AM Topics Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Your Local News Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to InstagramShare to YoutubeEmail UsGet Digital Edition

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Harry Belafonte ‘died laughing’, says his daughter Shari

The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ Confidential Movies Best Short Film Television Music Reviews Books Competitions Camera IconHarry Belafonte Credit: BANG – Entertainment News Harry Belafonte ‘died laughing’, says his daughter Shari BANG – Entertainment NewsBang Showbiz April 22, 2024 6:03AM Topics Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Your Local News Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to InstagramShare to YoutubeEmail UsGet Digital Edition

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Pete Doherty reveals he has ditched his mobile phone since getting off drugs: ‘I’ve got a landline!

The West Australian Perth Now Click to open navigation ‌‌ Confidential Movies Best Short Film Television Music Reviews Books Competitions Camera IconPete Doherty Credit: BANG – Entertainment News Pete Doherty reveals he has ditched his mobile phone since getting off drugs: ‘I’ve got a landline!’ BANG – Entertainment NewsBang Showbiz April 22, 2024 6:03AM Topics Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Email Us Copy the Link Your Local News Share to TwitterShare to FacebookShare to InstagramShare to YoutubeEmail UsGet Digital Edition

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