Joao Gilberto, Brazilian Bossa Nova Pioneer, Dies at 88

Joao Gilberto, a Brazilian singer, guitarist and songwriter considered one of the fathers of the bossa nova genre that gained global popularity in the 1960s and became an iconic sound of the South American nation, died Saturday, his son said. He was 88.

Joao Marcelo said his father had been battling health issues though no official cause of his death in Rio de Janeiro was given. “His struggle was noble. He tried to maintain his dignity in the light of losing his independence,” Marcelo posted on Facebook.

A fusion of samba and jazz, bossa nova emerged in the late 1950s and gained a worldwide following in the 1960s, pioneered by Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim, who composed the iconic The Girl From Ipanema that was performed by Gilberto and others. His wife, Astrud Gilberto, made her vocal debut in the song.  

Began guitar at 14

Self-taught, Gilberto said he discovered music at age 14 when he held a guitar in his hands for the first time. With his unique playing style and modern jazz influences, he created the beat that defined bossa nova, helping launch the genre with his song Bim-Bom.

By 1961, Gilberto had finished the albums that would make bossa nova known around the world: Chega de SaudadeLove, a Smile and a Flower; and Joao Gilberto. His 1964 album Getz/Gilberto with U.S. saxophonist Stan Getz sold millions of copies.

“It was Joao Gilberto, the greatest genius of Brazilian music, who was the definitive influence on my music,” singer Gal Costa wrote on social media. “He will be missed but his legacy is very important to Brazil and to the world.”

FILE – Joao Gilberto walks on stage at the Teatro Municipal in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 24, 2008.

Born in Bahia in northeastern Brazil, Gilberto moved to Rio de Janeiro at a young age. He was influenced by U.S. jazz greats and recorded songs in the United States, where he lived for much of the 1960s and 1970.

Over his career he won two Grammy Awards and was nominated for six, and the U.S. jazz magazine DownBeat in 2009 named him one of the 75 great guitarists in history and one of the five top jazz singers.

An entire subsequent generation of Brazilian musicians, including Gilberto Gil, Chico Buarque and Caetano Veloso, are considered his disciples.

Journalist and bossa nova expert Ruy Castro called the death of Gilberto a “monumental” loss.

Castro wrote in his book The Wave that Built in the Sea that Gilberto loved soccer and was a fan of the Fluminense club, whose games he liked to watch with a guitar in his hands.

‘A mystique’

“He managed to create a mystique about him abroad, being who he was and not even speaking English,” he told the Globo television station.

The musician had spent his final years wrapped in legal troubles, debts and disputes with his children. His last live performance was in 2008 and he canceled a commemorative show to mark his 80th year because of health problems.

With little interest in giving interviews, he’d become known as the “reclusive genius” in the streets of Leblon, the neighborhood in a southern part of Rio where he lived but was seldom seen.  

His funeral is to be held on Monday. He is survived by three children.

Singer Daniela Mercury called Gilberto a “genius who revolutionized popular Brazilian music. He taught us how to sing in the most beautiful way in the world.”

“Go in peace, maestro,” she wrote.

Greeks Vote as Leftist Syriza Days in Power Seem Numbered

Greeks vote on Sunday in a snap election that polls say will bring opposition conservatives to power, ending four years of leftist rule blamed for saddling the country with more debt and mismanaging crises.

The election is largely a showdown of two contenders.

Incumbent Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza party is on one side — a 44-year-old radical leftist who stormed to power in 2015 vowing to tear up the austerity rule book, only to relent weeks later.

On the other side of the fence is Kyriakos Mitsotakis, 51, of New Democracy. He is from a famous political dynasty; he hopes to follow the footsteps of his father as prime minister, while a sister of his was foreign minister.

Opinion polls put New Democracy’s lead at up to 10 percentage points, potentially giving it an absolute majority in the country’s 300-seat parliament. Voting starts at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) and ends at 7 p.m., with first official projections expected about two hours after voting ends.

Financial crisis

Greece endured a debilitating financial crisis from 2010 that saw the country needing a cash lifeline from its European Union partners three times.

The economy is the public’s main concern, said Thomas Gerakis of pollsters MARC.

“Voters want to know the government can give Greeks a better tomorrow,” he said. Some voters wanted to punish Syriza for reneging on past pledges, he added.

Tsipras was also roundly criticized for mismanagement of crises on his watch, and for brokering a deeply unpopular deal to end a dispute over the name of neighoring North Macedonia.

One hundred people died in a devastating fire that swept through a seaside village east of Athens last year; while Mitsotakis was quick to the scene to console survivors, Tsipras was out of the public eye for several days.

Greece wrapped up its last economic adjustment program in 2018, but remains under surveillance from lenders to ensure no future fiscal slippage. Though economic growth has returned to the country, unemployment is the eurozone’s highest at 18 percent.

Main opposition New Democracy conservative party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis addresses supporters during a pre-election rally in Athens, July 4, 2019.

New Democracy has promised to invest in creating well-paying jobs with decent benefits. The outgoing government, meanwhile, hopes voters will reward it for upping the minimum wage by 11 percent and reinstating collective bargaining.

Mitsotakis hopes that his reforms will persuade lenders to show more flexibility in due course.

“The first thing that is necessary for economic growth to be boosted is a stable government, a strong majority in the next parliament,” Mitsotakis told Reuters.

Tsipras said that a vote cast in favor of Mitsotakis would go to the political establishment that forced Greece to the edge of the precipice in the first place.

“Each and every one of you must now consider if, after so many sacrifices, we should return to the days of despair,” he told voters, wrapping up the pre-election campaign on Friday.

‘Like the World Was Ending’: Shopping Plaza Blast Injures 21

A vacant pizza restaurant exploded Saturday in a thundering roar at a South Florida shopping plaza, injuring more than 20 people as large chunks of concrete flew through the air.

The blast flung debris widely along a busy road in Plantation, west of Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant was destroyed, and nearby businesses and cars were damaged. Though firefighters found ruptured gas lines afterward, authorities said it was too early to determine a cause.

“We thought it was thunder at first, and then we felt the building shake and things started falling. I looked outside and it was almost like the world was ending,” said Alex Carver, a worker at a deli across the street from the explosion. “It was nuts, man. It was crazy.”

Debris thrown 50-100 yards

The explosion hurled large pieces of concrete up to 50 yards (45 meters) away and sent pieces of metal scattering as far as 100 yards (90 meters) across the street.  Carver said two of his co-workers’ cars were destroyed.

At least 21 people were injured though none of the injuries was life-threatening, Police Sgt. Jesica Ryan said.

The explosion demolished the building, leaving behind only part of its metal frame. The restaurant, called PizzaFire, had been out of business for several months. The blast also blew out the windows of a popular fitness club next door at the shopping plaza in Broward County.

Close call for family

Jesse Walaschek had just left the fitness club with his wife and three children, ages 4, 6 and 8. They were parked near the restaurant and had just driven about 50 yards (45 meters) away when they heard the blast.

“It was a massive explosion like I have never experienced,” he said.

Walasheck said dust and debris filled the air.

“Everything just stopped. You didn’t see anybody. I just wanted to get these guys safe,” he said, pointing to his children. “If this had happened a minute before when we were getting the kids in the car, it would have been really bad.”

Firefighters investigate

Dozens of firefighters responded and could be seen picking through the rubble with dogs sniffing through the debris to make sure people weren’t trapped underneath. There were no known fatalities immediately after the explosion.

Fire department Battalion Chief Joel Gordon said there were ruptured gas lines when firefighters arrived, but he couldn’t say for certain that it was a gas explosion.

“At this point, nobody was killed. Thank goodness for that. As bad as it is, it could have been a lot worse,” Gordon said.

Російські гібридні сили 7 разів обстріляли українські підрозділи – пресцентр ООС

У зоні проведення операції Об’єднаних сил 6 липня з початку доби бойовики російських гібридних сил 7 разів обстріляли українські підрозділи. Про це речник пресцентру ООС повідомив на вечірньому брифінгу.

«Збройні формування Російської Федерації обстрілювали позиції наших підрозділів із застосуванням заборонених Мінськими угодами мінометів калібру 120 та 82 мм, а також із гранатометів різних систем, великокаліберних кулеметів та стрілецької зброї», – додав він.

В районі відповідальності оперативно-тактичного угруповання «Схід» противник 5 разів обстріляв позиції Об’єднаних сил: поблизу Широкиного – зі стрілецької зброї; поблизу Лебединського – з великокаліберного кулемету та стрілецької зброї; околиці Мар’їнки – з міномету калібру 82 мм; в районі Павлополя – з автоматичного гранатомету; неподалік Богданівки – з автоматичного гранатомету та стрілецької зброї.

В районі відповідальності оперативно-тактичного угруповання «Північ» противник здійснив два обстріли підрозділів українських захисників: в районі хутора Вільний – з міномету калібру 82 мм і гранатометів різних систем та поблизу Новотошківського – з мінометів калібру 120 та 82 мм, повідомили в пресцентрі ООС.

Внаслідок обстрілів втрат серед українських військових немає.

«На обстріли з боку збройних формувань Російської Федерації наші підрозділи дали адекватну відповідь, втрати противника уточнюються», – зазначив речник ООС.

Цього ж дня в угрупованні «ДНР» заявили про 23 обстріли з боку українських підрозділів за минулу добу і загибель одного їхнього військового.

А в угрупованні «ЛНР» заявили про обстріл з боку українських підрозділів селища Голубовське і пошкодження в ньому чотирьох будинків.

Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської окупації Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці бойовиків. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці».

Унаслідок бойових дій, за оцінками ООН станом на 31 грудня 2018 року, загинули від 12 тисяч 800 до 13 тисяч людей.

Перемир’я, про які домовлялися на засіданнях Тристоронньої контактної групи в Мінську, порушувалися практично відразу. При цьому сторони заперечують свою вину в цих порушеннях і звинувачують противників у провокаціях.

Пошукова група знайшла людей, які загубилися в катакомбах на Одещині

Пошукова група знайшла людей, які загубилися в катакомбах в Одеській області. Як повідомив журналістам прес-секретар одного з віце-мерів Одеси Микола Покровський, групу людей, що спустилися під землю в селі Холодна Балка Біляївського району, вже знайдено.

За уточненими даними, в цій групі було п’ятеро осіб, а не четверо, як повідомлялося раніше.

«Людей знайшли, всі живі. Як виявилося, їх було 5, а не 4», –  зазначив Покровський.

Зокрема, було четверо чоловіків (віком 23-50 років) і 38-річна жінка.

Раніше в Державній службі з надзвичайних ситуацій (ДСНС) повідомили, що до відомства надійшла інформація про те, що 5 липня група невідомих у передмісті Одеси спустилася в катакомби системи «Центральна», але у встановлений контрольний час – в суботу о 9:00 – вони на зв’язок не вийшли.

Для пошуку людей організували добровольчу пошукову групу.

На Одещині в катакомбах загубилися четверо осіб

В Одеській області в катакомбах загубилися четверо людей. Як повідомив журналістам прес-секретар одного з віце-мерів Одеси Микола Покровський, регіональне управління ДСНС просить допомоги у фахівців, які мають досвід пошукових робіт під землею.

За його словами, люди спустилися під землю в селі Холодна Балка Біляївського району Одеської області.

«6 липня о 13:20 від співробітника ГУ ДСНС надійшла інформація про те, що 5 липня група невідомих осіб (3 чоловіків і жінка) спустилися в катакомби системи «Центральна». У встановлений контрольний час – у суботу о 9:00 – вони на зв’язок не вийшли», – повідомив Покровський.

Організовують добровольчу пошукову групу для пошуку зниклих людей.

At Least 2 Killed in Bomb Blast at Afghan Mosque

At least two people have been killed and about 20 others wounded in a bomb blast inside a Shiite mosque in the Afghan city of Ghazni, officials said Saturday.

The explosion occurred late Friday when the Mohammadiya mosque in the Khak-e-Ghariban area of Ghazni was packed with worshippers attending evening prayers, provincial governor spokesman Arif Noor said.

As many as 70 people were present at the time of the explosion, Nasir Ahmad Faqiri, the head of the Ghazni provincial council, and Councilor Amanullah Kamran said.

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier, the Taliban denied involvement in the mosque attack and condemned the bombing.

IS, which has a limited presence in Ghazni, is also suspected by locals of destroying a shrine known as Shams Sahib in the western part of Ghazni in May.

In recent months, Ghazni police have arrested several people on suspicion of having links to IS.

This article contains material from dpa,

California Assesses Damage After Second Major Earthquake

Emergency workers in Ridgecrest, Calif., were assessing damage after a second major earthquake of magnitude 7.1 struck the desert community northeast of Los Angeles on Friday night.

It followed a magnitude 6.4 quake near the city on Thursday. No deaths or major injuries have been reported from either major temblor, but Friday’s 7.1 magnitude quake, which was felt throughout Southern California and in neighboring Nevada, caused additional damage and left residents shaken.

Again, food flew off the shelves of supermarkets, and thousands of dollars’ worth of stock was destroyed in a liquor store.

“This earthquake was longer, but also concluded with a very, very strong jolt that felt like it was going to knock the whole place down,” said Victor Abdullatif, the owner’s son.

Far bigger jolt

Seismologists said the quake Friday was 10 times more powerful than Thursday’s earthquake.

“The [Friday] quake did last for some time,” said Mark Ghilarducci, director the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “It was felt widely throughout most of Southern California and even as far north here as Sacramento.”

Eugene Johnson looks at the chimney collapsed by an earthquake the day before at his home in Trona, Calif., July 6, 2019. Crews in Southern California were assessing damage to buildings, roads, water and gas lines, and other infrastructure.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom requested Saturday from President Donald Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency a Presidential Emergency Declaration for Direct Federal Assistance “to further support the communities impacted by the earthquakes.”

The larger size of the quake meant the temblors that came before it, including the 6.4, are now classified as pre-shocks. Aftershocks continue to rattle the region.

Fires, leaks

Emergency workers have dealt with fires, and water and gas leaks.

“Obviously, 34 hours in between earthquakes, we’re concerned about future aftershocks and where they’re going to be,” said Kern County Fire Chief David Witt. Hundreds of smaller quakes have jolted the region since Thursday.

Play continued at a Dodgers baseball game in Los Angeles, as fans decided what to do.

“Whether to run or stay in place and hope for the best,” recalled Dodgers fan Chris Banakas. “We stayed in place and it went over. “We were cool.”