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Residents of Coral Gables building given 72 hours to vacate over structural concerns

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MIAMI, Fla. – A Coral Gables building is being evacuated as a result of structural concerns.

Notices were placed at the front entrance to let residents know they have until Monday to get out.

CBS4 spoke to the association board president, who said they are actively working to resolve the problem.

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US, Russia far apart on Ukraine crisis as top diplomats meet

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GENEVA (AP) — The United States and Russia tried Friday to avert another devastating conflict in Europe, but the two powers’ top diplomats warned no breakthrough was imminent as fears rise that Moscow is planning to invade Ukraine.

Armed with seemingly intractable and diametrically opposed demands, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva at what the American said was a “critical moment.” The talks are shaping up as a possible last-ditch effort at dialogue.

With an estimated 100,000 Russian troops massed near Ukraine, many fear Moscow is preparing an invasion although Russia denies that. The U.S. and its allies are scrambling to present a united front to prevent that or coordinate a tough response if they can’t.

After the talks, Lavrov called them “constructive and useful” and said that the U.S. agreed to provide written responses to Russian demands on Ukraine and NATO next week. That could at least delay any imminent aggression for a few days.

But he declined to characterize that step.

“I can’t say whether we are on the right path or not,” he told reporters. “We will see when we get the American responses.”

Ahead of the meeting, the two diplomats remained far apart.

“We don’t expect to resolve our differences here today. But I do hope and expect that we can test whether the path of diplomacy or dialogue remains open,” Blinken told Lavrov before their spoke privately. “This is a critical moment.”

Lavrov, meanwhile, said he did not “expect a breakthrough at these negotiations either. What we expect is concrete answers to our concrete proposals.”

Moscow has demanded that the NATO alliance promise that Ukraine — a former Soviet republic — will never be allowed to join. It also wants the allies to remove troops and military equipment from parts of eastern Europe. The U.S. and its NATO allies have flatly rejected those demands and say that Russian President Vladimir Putin knows they are nonstarters. They have said they’re open to less dramatic moves.

Washington and its allies have repeatedly promised “severe” consequences such as biting economic sanctions — though not military action — against Russia if an invasion goes ahead.

Blinken repeated that warning Friday. He said the U.S. and its allies were committed to diplomacy, but also committed “if that proves impossible, and Russia decides to pursue aggression against Ukraine, to a united, swift and severe response.”

But he said he also wanted to use the opportunity to share directly with Lavrov some “concrete ideas to address some of the concerns that you have raised, as well as the deep concerns that many of us have about Russia’s actions.”

Ukraine is already beset by conflict. Russia’s Putin seized control of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014 and backed a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine, part of a simmering but largely stalemated conflict with Ukrainian forces that has taken more than 14,000 lives. He faced limited international consequences for those moves, but the West says a new invasion would be different.

Ahead of his meeting with Lavrov, Blinken met Ukraine’s president in Kyiv and top diplomats from Britain, France and Germany in Berlin this week.

Adding to its repeated verbal warnings to Russia, the United States stepped up sanctions on Thursday. The U.S. Treasury Department slapped new measures on four Ukrainian officials. Blinken said the four were at the center of a Kremlin effort begun in 2020 to damage Ukraine’s ability to “independently function.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry reaffirmed its demands Friday that NATO not expand into Ukraine, that no alliance weapons be deployed near Russian borders and that alliance forces pull back from Central and Eastern Europe.

The State Department, meanwhile, put out three statements – two on Russian “disinformation,” including specifically on Ukraine, and another entitled “Taking Action to Expose and Disrupt Russia’s Destabilization Campaign in Ukraine.” The documents accused Russia and Putin of trying to reconstitute the former Soviet Union through intimidation and force.

The Russian foreign ministry mocked those statements, saying they must have been prepared by an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth,” and Lavrov caustically dismissed them in his remarks to Blinken, saying he hoped the State Department had also spent time drafting responses to Russia’s demands.

“I do hope that not everyone in the State Department was working on those materials and there were some who were working on the essence of our proposals and their substance,” he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday rejected Western claims that Moscow was trying to rebuild the Soviet empire and carve out its zone of influence in eastern Europe, charging that it’s the West that thinks in categories of zones of influence.

Blinken took pains to stress U.S. unity with its allies in opposition to a possible Russian invasion, something that took an apparent hit earlier this week when U.S. President Joe Biden drew widespread criticism for saying retaliation for Russian aggression in Ukraine would depend on the details and that a “minor incursion” could prompt discord among Western allies.

On Thursday, Biden sought to clarify his comments by cautioning that any Russian troop movements across Ukraine’s border would constitute an invasion and that Moscow would “pay a heavy price” for such an action.

“I’ve been absolutely clear with President Putin,” Biden said. “He has no misunderstanding: Any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion.”

Russia has denied it is planning an invasion and instead accused the West on Thursday of plotting “provocations” in Ukraine, citing the delivery of weapons to the country by British military transport planes in recent days.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Ingenuity helicopter flight stalled for first time due to unusual Mars weather

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(CNN) — For the first time ever, a flight delay has occurred on another planet due to bad weather.

The Ingenuity helicopter, which was slated to take to Martian skies on January 5, had to push its 19th flight back because of an unusually strong regional dust storm on Mars, according to NASA.

Now, the team anticipates that this flight will take place on Sunday, January 23.

While Mars is smaller and has a less dense atmosphere than Earth, the red planet still experiences the changing of the seasons and high winds, dust storms and ice clouds.

Orbiters circling the planet and instruments aboard missions like the Perseverance rover and InSight lander are helping scientists to better understand weather on Mars, but much like the uncertainty factor that meteorologists experience on Earth, forecasting weather on another planet is even more difficult.

Understanding weather and seasonal changes ahead of Ingenuity’s flights has been crucial to the success of its previous 18 aerial forays. The little 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) chopper has flown through spring and summer conditions on Mars, and autumn will begin on February 24.

As the seasons change, the air density goes through a cycle of ups and downs on Mars. Air density is one of two crucial factors when it comes to calculating favorable conditions for flight on Mars. Wind speed is the other factor.

Perseverance carries its own weather station called MEDA, or the Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer, to help NASA teams calculate air density and measure wind speed over the course of a day as well as how they shift through the progression of the seasons.

The arrival of autumn on Mars is known as the “dusty season” on Mars because it’s when the amount of dust lofted in the atmosphere increases globally and remains this way through winter.

Dust is the greatest threat to Mars missions. A planet-encircling dust storm ended the Opportunity rover’s impressive 15-year journey in 2019 by draining and preventing its batteries from recharging.

Dust in the atmosphere can decrease the amount of sunlight that reaches the solar panels powering missions like Ingenuity. This lofted dust, which is heated by sunlight, also warms the atmosphere and reduces the air density even more.

The gathering storm

The Ingenuity team was in for a surprise when an unusually strong dust storm cropped up in the Jezero Crater region on the first day of 2022, arriving well ahead of the dusty season.

“In fact, we have never seen a storm of this strength so early in the Mars year before,” wrote Jonathan Bapst and Michael Mischna, members of the Ingenuity Weather and Environment Team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, in an update.

Perseverance first spotted the approach of the January storm as dust lifted around the two robotic explorers in Jezero Crater.

From orbit, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observed an expanding regional dust storm moving from the southern hemisphere to the northern hemisphere on Mars. From the orbiter’s perspective, it appeared that the storm may be heading for the crater and the two robots within it.

After a dust storm reduced the sunlight that could reach its solar panels, the InSight lander, which is more than 2,000 miles (3,219 kilometers) to the east of Perseverance, entered safe mode on January 7.

The team made the call to delay the flight, and it turn out they were right to do so. Just after they postponed Ingenuity’s aerial hop, the dust storm passed over the crater. Perseverance’s weather station reflected the changes caused by the storm.

The storm has since cleared and Ingenuity is once again preparing for flight.

What’s next

The experience of this event has helped the helicopter’s team to prepare for what to expect once the dusty season arrives. Storms that spring up during this time can morph into global storms that have swept across Mars in 2001, 2007 and 2018.

Above all else, the team wants Ingenuity to continue its history of safe, groundbreaking flights as it serves as an aerial scout for Perseverance on its journey to seek potential evidence of ancient life on the red planet.

Perseverance is troubleshooting its own issues right now in the form of some pesky stray pebbles that have prevented the rover from storing its seventh sample, collected initially on December 29. Ultimately, the rover may have to dump the current sample in the tube and attempt to collect another one from the same rock.

During Flight 19, Ingenuity will essentially continue a reversed version of its journey so far. Both Perseverance and the chopper are retracing their initial steps in Jezero Crater to begin the next phase of their joint adventure: exploring the remains of an ancient river delta that once fed into the lake that filled Jezero Crater more than 3 billion years ago.

Samples from the delta could help scientists better understand when water existed on Mars — and if life ever existed on the red planet.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Fort Lauderdale apartment ceiling collapses due to heavy rainfall

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FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) – The heavy rains across South Florida resulted in a ceiling collapsing in a Fort Lauderdale apartment building.

The incident happened in the 300 block of Southwest 19th Street, at around 1 a.m., Friday.

“Water started pouring on my head from the ceiling,” said the woman who lives in the apartment. “I woke my boyfriend up and I was like, ‘Bae, get up because it’s a lot of water coming from the ceiling.’ Seconds after I got him up, it caved in. I mean, we literally had to jump out of the way. I had to jump out of the bed and jump back, it was a big crash. The whole ceiling fell.”

Some areas received four to six inches of rain.

Additional showers are expected on Friday.

The woman who was affected by the heavy rain said the American Red Cross has stepped in and offered help.

She also said she called her landlord but has not yet received a response.

She said her apartment just passed a building inspection.

Some residents said the focus is now cleanup and that if they don’t do it themselves, it won’t get done.

A flood advisory was issued for parts of Broward County but has since expired.

Parts of Broward and Miami-Dade counties remain flooded.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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