Originally Published: April 9, 2018 6:03 a.m.
NEW YORK — A raging fire that tore through a 50th-floor apartment at Trump Tower killed a man inside and sent flames and thick, black smoke pouring from windows of the president’s namesake skyscraper.
New York Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the cause of Saturday’s blaze is not yet known but the apartment was “virtually entirely on fire” when firefighters arrived after 5:30 p.m.
“It was a very difficult fire, as you can imagine,” Nigro told reporters outside the building in midtown Manhattan. “The apartment is quite large.”
Todd Brassner, 67, who was in the apartment, was taken to a hospital and died a short time later, the New York Police Department said. Property records obtained by The Associated Press indicate Brassner was an art dealer who had purchased his 50th-floor unit in 1996.
Officials said four firefighters also suffered minor injuries. An investigation is ongoing.
Germany still clueless about motive for fatal van attack
MUENSTER, Germany — Prosecutors said Sunday they still have no indication why a 48-year-old German man drove a van into a crowd of people in the western German city of Muenster, killing two and injuring 20 before shooting himself to death inside the van.
“As of now, we don’t have any leads regarding a possible background for the deed,” prosecutor Martin Botzenhardt wrote in a joint statement with police. “The investigations are being led under high pressure in all possible directions.”
Authorities have identified the two fatalities of Saturday’s crash as a 51-year-old woman from Lueneburg County and a 65-year-old man from Broken County. Their names weren’t given as is customary in Germany.
Local media have identified the perpetrator as an industrial designer living in Muenster who had been suffering from psychological problems, but police wouldn’t confirm those details.
All three bodies were taken from the crash scene in front of the well-known Kiepenkerl pub early Sunday night. The silver-grey van was hauled away hours later, after explosives experts had thoroughly checked it.
Once wildly popular, Brazil’s da Silva is jailed for graft
CURITIBA, Brazil — Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was spending his first night in jail, a stunning fall from grace for a man who rose from nothing to lead Latin America’s largest nation and later became engulfed in corruption allegations in recent years.
Foreshadowing possible clashes in the weeks to come, police shot rubber bullets and sprayed tear gas late Saturday at supporters waiting for da Silva as he landed in a police helicopter in the southern city of Curitiba, where he will serve his 12-year sentence for money laundering and corruption.
Just a few hours before that, da Silva had to have guards push their way out of a metal workers union in a Sao Paulo suburb so he could turn himself in to police; supporters were trying to keep him from going into custody.
Speaking to thousands of supporters at the union that was the spiritual birthplace of da Silva’s rise to prominence, the former leader said would turn himself in so as to continue fighting a corruption conviction that he said amounted to a way for enemies to make sure he doesn’t run — and possibly win — re-election in October.
When he first tried to leave the metal workers union headquarters, however, dozens of supporters blocked a gate where a car carrying da Silva was trying to exit.
UN, Singapore concerned about rising trade tensions
BEIJING — The U.N. secretary-general and the Singaporean foreign minister voiced concerns about global trade tensions and rising protectionism during back-to-back meetings in Beijing on Sunday.
Following remarks from his Chinese counterpart, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan vowed to “double-down” on free trade and economic liberalization in tandem with China.
“This is a time in the world where the temptation to embark on unilateralism and protectionism is unfortunately rising,” Balakrishnan said.
In a separate meeting, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called China “absolutely crucial” in the international system.
“You mentioned reform and opening up - it’s so important in a moment when some others have a policy of closing up,” Guterres told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Body suspected to be from California cliff crash found
MENDOCINO, Calif. — A body was recovered Saturday in the vicinity where an SUV plunged off a Northern California cliff last month, killing a family of eight in what authorities suspect may have been an intentional crash.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office said in a statement that a couple vacationing along the coast saw a possible body, which was pulled from the surf Saturday afternoon by a third bystander.
The body appears to be that of an African American female, but the age and identity could not immediately be determined, said Lt. Shannon Barney. An autopsy is planned Tuesday to determine a cause of death.
While authorities said they believe the body may be that of one of two missing girls from the crash, positive identification will most likely be done by DNA analysis, which could take weeks.
Sarah and Jennifer Hart and their six adopted children were believed to be in the family’s SUV when it plunged off a cliff last month. Five bodies were found March 26 near Mendocino, a few days after Washington state authorities began investigating the Harts for possible child neglect, but three of their children were not immediately recovered from the scene.