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Barge slams into Galveston bridge causing collapse as oil spills into water below

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Texas bridge was struck by a cargo ship on Wednesday morning, bringing traffic to and from a small residential island to a standstill as officials work to determine whether the structure is safe from collapse.

The incident happened around 10am according to the Galveston County Sheriff’s Office. The strike caused a piece of a a railway line attached to the Pelican Island Causeway to fall into the water but the bridge appears to be intact. No injuries have been reported.

According to the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, the incident resulted in a vacuum gas oil spill. It’s not known how much of the oil has leaked into the water. Emergency responders are currently cleaning the fluids from the Galveston Channel.

Traffic was initially closed in both directions but has now opened to vehicles trying to get off the island. Vessel traffic in the water is closed.

The Texas Department of Transportation is currently examining structural impact to the bridge. “Galveston County and our partners will continue assessing the situation,” the office of emergency management said. Other agencies, including the US Coast Guard, have been called to the scene.

David Flores, a superintendent with the Galveston County Navigation District overseeing the Pelican Island Causeway, said a pushboat navigating two barges from Texas International Terminals lost control of the ships and hit an electrical line, sparking a fire.

Hightide and strong currents might have factored into the accident, he said, adding that traffic has slowly started to pick back up.

“There’s no way to get off the island except one car at a time,” the superintendent said.

The partially collapsed railway does not present a threat, Mr Flores added, noting that it was never operational. Part of the structure could be seen resting on top of the barge following the incident.

The Pelican Island Causeway is the only way in and out of Pelican Island, which is home to a Texas A&M University at Galveston campus. Taylor Bounds, a spokesperson for the university, said there were 180 students, faculty and staff on campus when the incident occurred.

Shortly after the bridge strike, electricity on the campus went out but was restored quickly.

A report from the Texas Department of Transportation published last year found that the bridge was vulnerable to a potential bridge strike. The department previously said that it had planned to start replacing the structure in the next two years.

In addition to the university, Seawolf Park, a memorial to USS Seawolf, and several maritime industry companies are based on the island, which has a population of about 10,000.

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Houston

Historic Firefighter pay settlement and new contract win city council approval

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Houston City Council has approved a historic pay settlement and a new five-year contract for the 4,000 dedicated men and women of the Houston Fire Department. The vote marks a long-awaited victory for Houston firefighters, ending the disrespect and legal challenges and beginning the process of returning the HFD to a world-class department with adequate staffing and equipment.

“This is a historic day! I urge Houston firefighters and their families to relish this well-deserved victory. For eight long years, you have persevered through immense challenges while continuing to protect and serve our community,” said Patrick M. ‘Marty’ Lancton, President of the HPFFA. “Today’s vote by City Council is not just a resolution of past grievances; it’s recognition of our sacrifices and a commitment to providing the resources needed to continue serving Houston with dedication and pride.”

Houston City Council stalls vote on Fire Department contract – Houston  Public Media

The settlement includes provisions for back pay owed to firefighters, addressing a contentious issue that has strained labor relations for nearly a decade. The new five-year collective bargaining agreement provides pay hikes, significant improvements in working conditions, enhanced benefits, a renewed focus on recruitment and retention, and mental health support — a crucial component given firefighting’s stressful and demanding nature. The landmark deal underscores the core tenets of what it means to be a Houston firefighter: delivering excellent service, being good stewards of city resources, and giving back to the community.

“We owe a profound debt of gratitude to Mayor Whitmire for his steadfast commitment to bringing this ordeal to a close,” said Lancton. “He made a promise, and he has fulfilled it. His support and public recognition of Houston firefighters and the job they do are bolstering morale and helping to mend years of distrust. We eagerly anticipate further collaboration as we strive to enhance firefighting and emergency services for Houstonians.”

Firefighters will receive their back pay in July. The new five-year contract is effective with the start of the city’s new fiscal year on July 1, 2024.

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Global Cyber Security Expert, Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola bags Most Outstanding Personality of the Year Award

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Professor Ojo Emmanuel Ademola has been recognized as the Outstanding Personality of the Year in Technology at the prestigious 4th Edition of the South West Advancement Award and Investment Summit. Professor Ademola is a Nigerian Cyber Security and Information Technology Management Professor and a Chartered Fellow of the Royal Chartered Management Institute.

This incredible achievement was celebrated at an exquisite event held on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at 5 pm at the esteemed Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The event brought together esteemed technocrat political leaders and prominent personalities from diverse sectors, creating an exceptional gathering of influential figures.

 

The annual award ceremony is dedicated to acknowledging individuals for their remarkable contributions, with a special focus on those making significant impacts within the South West region of Nigeria. The esteemed recognition is a testament to Professor Ademola’s dedication and expertise in advancing technology, especially in Africa and Europe, particularly notable for his influential work in the United Kingdom.

Dr Smith Raymond, the Director General of The Institute for Enterprise Management and Analytics, commended Professor Ademola for this well-deserved award, acknowledging the professor’s unwavering commitment to technological progress. He emphasized the importance of Professor Ademola’s work. He encouraged him to continue his outstanding efforts, highlighting that this honor is a motivating call to action in further driving innovation.

 

In Professor Ademola’s absence at the event, his representation by S.A. on Media, Babatunde Adekanmbi, conveyed the professor’s heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the nomination and award. It was seen as an inspiration for Professor Ademola to continue his impactful work in technology.

 

The event was graced by an array of distinguished personalities, including Dr. Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Dele Momodu, the Chairman of Ovation Media Group, and His Imperial Majesty Oba Ogunwusi, the revered Ooni of Ife, alongside various other notable dignitaries. The gathering highlighted the significance of Professor Ademola’s contributions and celebrated the collective achievements in advancing technology and innovation within the region

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House Republicans vote to hold Garland in contempt over Biden interview audio

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House Republicans on Wednesday afternoon passed a resolution to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur on his handling of classified documents.

The final vote was 216 to 207. Rep. David Joyce of Ohio was the only Republican who voted against the contempt resolution.

Speaker Mike Johnson called the outcome “a significant step in maintaining the integrity of our oversight processes and responsibilities.”

“It is up to Congress – not the Executive Branch – to determine what materials it needs to conduct its own investigations, and there are consequences for refusing to comply with lawful Congressional subpoenas,” Johnson said in a statement.

MORE: Biden asserts executive privilege over audio of interview with special counsel Hur

Garland, in response, said it was “deeply disappointing that this House of Representatives has turned a serious congressional authority into a partisan weapon.”

“Today’s vote disregards the constitutional separation of powers, the Justice Department’s need to protect its investigations, and the substantial amount of information we have provided to the Committees,” Garland said in a statement. “I will always stand up for this Department, its employees, and its vital mission to defend our democracy.”

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