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At least 46 killed in Taiwanese apartment building inferno

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Overnight building blaze in Taiwan raged for hours, 46 dead

By HUIZHONG WU

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — At least 46 people were killed and another 41 injured after a fire broke out early Thursday in a decades-old mixed commercial and residential building in the Taiwanese port city of Kaohsiung, officials said.

Neighborhood residents said the 13-story building was home to many poor, elderly and disabled people and it wasn’t clear how many of the 120 units were occupied.

Witnesses said they heard something that sounded like an explosion at about 3 a.m. when the blaze erupted in the building’s lower floors, which housed a closed movie theater, abandoned restaurants and karaoke clubs.

Lin Chie-ying said she was awoken in her home across from the fire by the sounds of ambulances and fire trucks.

“I thought our home would burn up too,” she said.

The apartment building is one of many in the Yancheng district, an older part of Kaohsiung, a city of some 2.8 million people in southwestern Taiwan.

“For the families and Yancheng, I feel incomparable pain and I blame myself deeply,” Mayor Chen Chi Mai said at a news conference, bowing in apology. “Here I want to express my deepest sorrow to all the wounded and those who died, as well as their families and all the residents.”

It took firefighters until after 7 a.m. to extinguish the blaze. Many of the upper floors appeared not to have been damaged directly.

Late in the day, the smell of smoke still lingered throughout the area and the sound of shattering glass rang. Construction workers were raised on a crane to break out the remaining glass from window frames with a crowbar to remove further hazard.

Throughout Thursday, first responders pored through the wreckage and recovered dozens of bodies. Another 14 of 55 taken initially to the hospital were confirmed dead on arrival or shortly after.

The building’s age and piles of debris blocking access to many areas complicated search and rescue efforts, officials said, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

It appears the fire broke out on the ground floor but it was not immediately clear exactly where and the cause was still under investigation.

The United Daily News said that investigators were focusing on a first-floor tea shop where the fire had started, and police were looking into a resident who reportedly fought with his girlfriend earlier on Wednesday. They had not ruled out arson, the newspaper said.

Fire extinguishers had been installed last month, but only three per floor because the residents could not afford to pay more, the United Daily News, a major newspaper, reported.

A 1995 fire at a nightclub in Taichung, Taiwan’s third-largest city, killed 64 people in the country’s deadliest such disaster in recent times.

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Nearly 200K Illinoisans received 1st dose of vaccine during start to 2022

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Nearly 200K Illinoisans received 1st dose of vaccine during start to 2022

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gov. JB Pritzker said the state has made strides vaccinating new residents. This comes as Illinois also is seeing a drop in COVID hospitalizations since reaching a peak 7 days ago.

Gov. Pritzker said it’s not true that people can’t be persuaded to get the vaccine. He explained about 14,000 new people received their first vaccine dose each day for the first two weeks of the month. Gov. Pritzker said that is about 100,000 people a week.

However, Gov. JB Pritzker said there is still ‘great strain’ on the health care systems.

Today, state officials announced there were more than 26,000 new cases. Last Friday the state reported 207,203 new cases in the past 7 days.

You can see all the COVID data on the state’s dashboard here.

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Chicago Bears schedule a 2nd interview with Matt Eberflus, while Ed Dodds reportedly withdraws from the GM search. Here’s the latest in the NFL’s firing and hiring cycle.

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Chicago Bears schedule a 2nd interview with Matt Eberflus, while Ed Dodds reportedly withdraws from the GM search. Here’s the latest in the NFL’s firing and hiring cycle.

Change is in the air. “Black Monday” arrived in the NFL the day after the regular season ended with a flurry of major changes beginning around the league.

A week later, the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans were searching for new head coaches, and the Bears, Vikings, Giants and Las Vegas Raiders needed new general managers.

As a new cycle of firing and hiring proceeds, we’re tracking all of the latest moves.

Wednesday

Bears GM candidate Ed Dodds withdrew his name from consideration, NFL Network reported.

The scoop: Dodds, the Indianapolis Colts assistant general manager, interviewed with the Bears on Monday. He has been with the Colts since 2017, starting as the vice president of player personnel, and was with the Seattle Seahawks for 10 years before that. Dodds has been a GM candidate for several offseasons, but he reportedly turned down an interview request from the Cleveland Browns in 2020 and withdrew from the Carolina Panthers search in 2021. Dodds is also a candidate this year for the Raiders GM job.

The Bears are scheduling Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for a second interview, according to multiple reports.

The scoop: Eberflus, who had his first interview with the Bears on Monday, is the first coach reported to make it to the second round of interviews. Eberflus has been the Colts defensive coordinator for four seasons and before that was the Dallas Cowboys linebackers coach for seven seasons. He also has worked for the Cleveland Browns and spent 17 years coaching in college.

Eberflus also made it to the second round of interviews with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bears still are interviewing both GMs and coaches, with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coordinators Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn reportedly scheduled for coaching interviews later this week.

Other teams reportedly have requested interviews with Bears defensive coordinator Sean Desai and assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.

The scoop: The Seattle Seahawks, who fired defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. on Tuesday, have put in a request to talk to Desai, The Athletic reported. Desai has been with the Bears for nine seasons and was promoted to coordinator in 2021 after Chuck Pagano retired.

Kelly interviewed for the Bears GM position last week, and now he will interview with the Raiders, NFL Network reported. He has been with the Bears for seven seasons, starting as the director of pro scouting before he was promoted to his current role. The Raiders fired GM Mike Mayock on Monday.

Monday

The Las Vegas Raiders fired general manager Mike Mayock, the team announced.

The scoop: Mayock was the Raiders GM for three seasons, and his teams went 25-24, including 10-7 in 2021. The decision comes a day after a 26-19 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Raiders’ only postseason appearance in Mayock’s tenure. Mayock previously was a draft analyst with NFL Network and a TV announcer. Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned in October after some of Gruden’s old emails containing racist, homophobic and misogynistic language surfaced. Interim coach Rich Bisaccia led the team to a 7-5 record the rest of the way. The Raiders are interviewing candidates for GM and coach, though they haven’t announced what Bisaccia’s future is with the team.

Jan. 13

The Houston Texans fired coach David Culley after one season.

The scoop: The Texans finished 4-13 in the only season under Culley, 66, a longtime NFL assistant in his first job as a head coach. The Texans were playing without Deshaun Watson amid allegations of sexual assault against the quarterback. Week 1 starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played in only six games because of injury, and the Texans turned to rookie Davis Mills to start 11 games.

Since 1994, Culley has been a wide receivers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, with which he was also the assistant head coach, a quarterbacks coach with the Buffalo Bills and the assistant head coach/wide receivers coach/pass game coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Carolina Panthers are interviewing Bears special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, according to ESPN.

The scoop: Tabor was the Bears special teams coordinator for all four seasons under Matt Nagy, and he served as interim head coach for one game in 2021 when Nagy had COVID-19. He previously was the Cleveland Brown special teams coordinator for seven seasons, spanning multiple head coaches.

Jan. 12

The Chicago Bears added two more names to their general manager interview pool.

The scoop: The Bears have requested an interview with Pittsburgh Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan and New England Patriots senior consultant Eliot Wolf, ESPN reported. Khan had GM interviews last year with the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. Wolf, the son of former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf, has worked with the Packers, the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns.

Here are the updated candidate lists:

General managers

Coaches

Jan. 11

The Chicago Bears list of requested interviews has reached at least 8 general manager candidates and 9 coaching candidates.

The scoop: Recently fired Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores was a big name to pop up in a lengthy list of candidates the Bears have contacted about interviews.

NFL Network reported the Bears set up the interview with Flores, who went 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins. His last two seasons were winning ones, but the Dolphins didn’t make the playoffs.

Here are the other coaching candidates who reportedly have been requested:

Former Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith is among the biggest names to be expected to interview with the Bears. Here’s a list of others:

The New York Giants fired coach Joe Judge after two seasons.

The scoop: In his first NFL head coaching stint, Judge, 40, went 10-23, including 4-13 in 2021. Playing without quarterback Daniel Jones down the stretch, the Giants lost their final six games by a combined score of 163-56. After the 29-3 loss to the Bears in Week 17, Judge went on an 11-minute rant defending his team while talking to the media.

It is the second big Giants move in two days after general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement Monday. With Judge out, there are now seven NFL head coaching jobs open.

Jan. 10

The Chicago Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

The scoop: Pace is out in Chicago after seven seasons during which his teams went 48-65, qualified for the postseason twice and failed to record a playoff victory. In his first NFL head coaching stint, Nagy finished 34-31 with two playoff losses over four seasons.

The Bears never found the right fit between Nagy and a quarterback during his tenure , running through Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. Nagy’s offense remained stuck in the bottom third of the league in many categories . The Bears finished 6-11 this season.

The Bears have reached out to former Eagles coach Doug Pederson to schedule an interview for their head coaching role, according to a league source. An ESPN report also indicated the Bears have requested permission to interview Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for the job. The team, according to NFL Network, has also requested to speak with Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown for the GM opening.

The Minnesota Vikings fired general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer

The scoop: Spielman was with the Vikings since 2006, first as the vice president of player personnel and then as the general manager since 2012. In that time, the Vikings went 132-123-2 with six playoff appearances.

Zimmer, a longtime NFL defensive coordinator, became the Vikings head coach in 2014. He led three seasons of 10 or more wins, three playoff appearances and two playoff victories. The Vikings finished 8-9 after a victory over the Bears on Sunday.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement after four seasons in that role.

The scoop: In 2018, Gettleman became the general manager in an organization where he had spent 13 years previously in front office roles. But his efforts to resuscitate the franchise failed with the Giants experiencing their worst four-year stretch of losing in team history.

The Giants went 19-46 under Gettleman’s watch, including a 4-13 faceplant this season during which the offense finished last in the NFC in both total yardage and scoring. Gettleman announced his retirement Monday but may have been fired if he hadn’t. The future of coach Joe Judge remains uncertain and may hinge on what happens with their intensifying GM search.

The Miami Dolphins fired coach Brian Flores after three seasons.

The scoop: Flores was fired in his third season despite posting back-to-back winning seasons. The Dolphins were 5-11 in his first year, 10-6 in 2020 and 9-8 this season, but they didn’t make the playoffs in his tenure.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross released a statement saying he “determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.” General manager Chris Grier will remain with the team in his current role, ESPN reported.

Jan. 9

The Denver Broncos have fired head coach Vic Fangio after three seasons.

The scoop: Fangio didn’t record a winning season in his three in Denver. He finished 19-30 in his first stint as an NFL head coach, including 7-10 this season. Fangio, 63, was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons, including four in Chicago, before he joined the Broncos in 2019.

Fangio’s defense this season ranked in the top 10 in yards and points allowed. But the Broncos offense didn’t produce well enough under Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, the latest in a revolving door of quarterbacks in Denver recent years.

Dec. 30-Jan. 7

The Jaguars have conducted at least five interviews to replace Urban Meyer.

The scoop: The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer on Dec. 16 after just 13 games with the team.

The team already has gotten deep into their search to replace him, reportedly interviewing former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson, former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Read more of our coverage from Black Monday and beyond.

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Avalanche’s Nazem Kadri feels the “respect” of being named an NHL All-Star

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Cale Makar, Nazem Kadri return to Avalanche lineup at Philadelphia

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Avalanche center Nazem Kadri is particularly proud of being named to his first NHL All-Star Game because he got in from the “last man in” fan vote on Tuesday, after the Central Division’s first 10 players were named last week by league officials.

“This is why you play — to get some respect,” Kadri told The Post after a morning skate Wednesday at Honda Center.

Kadri enters Wednesday night’s game against the Ducks as the Avs’ leading scorer. He ranks fifth in the NHL with 49 points (14 goals) in 33 games. He’s also fifth in points-per-game (148). The 31-year-old is just 12 points shy of his matching his career-high of 61 from 2016-17 with Toronto.

“It’s exciting, obviously,” Kadri said of making the All-Star game. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work this year. It could have been any of these guys on the team. It’s an honor and a privilege. I can’t wait to represent myself and our team.”

Kadri will be the third Avs player and fourth All-Star representative of the team. Center Nathan MacKinnon is the Central Division’s captain and defenseman Cale Makar was also named by the league. Colorado coach Jared Bednar will run the bench in the 3-on-3 tournament at T-Mobile Arena.

“I don’ think you see that too often,” Kadri said of four representatives from one team in the 3-on-3 format. “It’s certainly special, something you’re going to remember. And there could have a been couple more. Any time you get that recognition you’re pretty honored about it.”

Avs right winger Mikko Rantanen and defenseman Devon Toews were among those deserving of All-Star recognition but were not named. Rantanen leads Colorado with 20 goals and is seventh in NHL scoring with 46 points. Toews is tied with a league-high plus-30 rating.

“Unfortunately, you have to have representatives from each team,” Bednar said. “But I’d say with Naz, the process worked for him. He gets the last-man in vote, more than doubled up the next guy, so I think fans of the game and people around the game have recognized what he has done this season.

“I love to see a guy like that who’s been in the league for (more than) 10 years and now having a career year and just keeps getting better and better. I’m really happy for him.”

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