Friday, 23 June, 2017

Housing Minister meets with Dublin's Chief Fire Officer after Grenfell Tower tragedy

TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images
Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to fire chief Dany Cotton during a visit to Grenfell Tower TOLGA AKMEN via Getty Images Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to fire chief Dany Cotton during a visit to Grenfell Tower
Kenny Thornton | 19 June, 2017, 13:31

58 PEOPLE are feared to have died in a fire which tore through a West London tower block in minutes - with investigators saying the death toll could rise even more.

"Sadly, at this time there are 58 people who we have been told were in the Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing".

The death toll is expected to rise further as rescue workers continue to search for victims - an operation that Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy described as "extremely challenging". Police say 58 people at the tower are now confirmed or presumed dead. More than 3 million pounds ($3.8 million) has been raised for the victims, and the British government has announced a 5 million-pound ($6.3 million) emergency fund.

But Mark Cripps, a spokesman for Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro, said the Ontario Building Code also stipulates that if "combustible cladding" is used on a building over three storeys, the structure must be equipped with automatic sprinkler protection.

Help will be given to residents who do not have bank accounts.

The 1974-built concrete tower had recently been fitted with new exterior insulation cladding, which many locals blame for spreading the inferno so quickly.

"What I'm now absolutely focused on is ensuring that we get that support on the ground", May said in a BBC Newsnight interview.

"Contractor says that he met all the fire safety standards but the questions are going to be, which kind of siding was used and what were the risks?"

"Wallowing in the wash of a general election that stripped our prime minister of her authority on the very eve of European Union negotiations, neither common sense nor the evidence suggest she can re-establish public confidence", Parris wrote in the Times. "It becomes hard to shelter-in-place when you have no engineered fire protection systems within a building".

May is chairing a government task force on the fire and a spokesman says that she will meet afterward with "a group of residents, victims, volunteers and community leaders" at No. 10 Downing Street.

Japan logs first trade deficit in four months in May
Japan's trade surplus with the U.S.in May rose 19.0% to Y411.1 billion, rising for the first time in three months. Japan had a merchandise trade deficit of 203.367 billion yen in May, the Ministry of Finance said on Monday.

He said the government is carrying out an "urgent inspection" of other tower blocks in Britain to assess safety.

"When the truth comes out about this tragedy, we may find that there is blood on the hands of a number of organizations", Lammy said.

Police have said criminal prosecutors will be pursued if there is evidence of wrongdoing. Speaking within weeks of London's deadliest attack by militants in more than a decade, Cundy said nothing suggested the fire was linked to terrorism.

There is simmering anger in the multi-ethnic north Kensington area hit by the blaze, and public fury has been directed at senior government figures, including May, who was jeered Friday after she visited.

And experts say the cladding now covers thousands of homes and offices across Britain. The building was gutted in a blaze early Wednesday morning that has also left dozens missing and hundreds of others homeless. The public is also demanding answers about how the blaze spread so quickly amid reports that the recently-renovated building's exterior paneling fueled the flames.

Angry protesters chanting "We want justice" stormed their way into the Kensington and Chelsea town hall on Friday.

Service on two London Underground lines has been partially suspended because of concerns about the safety of the high-rise in the fire that killed at least 30 people.

The tragedy has provoked a huge response from nearby communities. The queen said it was "difficult to escape a very somber mood" on what is normally a day of celebration.

She had previously ordered daily updates on how the rehousing plans for residents were progressing and promised all Grenfell residents' legal costs in the public inquiry would be covered.

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