MIAMI (AP) — A waterspout uprooted an inflatable bounce house with three children inside it on a South Florida beach Monday, but the youngsters were tossed to the sand before it flew above palm trees and over four lanes of traffic, police said.
All three children were quickly thrown to the beach while another nearby bounce house, which was unoccupied, also took flight over the state road, authorities said. Both inflatables crashed won in a parking lot.
The children were injured, but alert and conscious when they were taken to a hospital, Fort Lauderdale Police spokesman Keven Dupree said.
A police statement later Monday evening said two of the children were treated for minor fractures and released while a third was in stable condition and held overnight for observation at Broward Health Medical Center.
Their identities weren’t released and police said no vehicles or pedestrians were hit by the bounce houses.
Video on local television stations showed the waterspout — a whirling column of air and water mist — moving from the ocean onto the sand of Fort Lauderdale beach, tossing a canopy and rolling one of the bounce houses before lifting it into the air.
The house flew above the tree line, but the children fell out when it first flipped over the beach, Dupree said. “They were immediately dropped out of the bounce house onto the sand,” he said.
Both bounce houses had been secured to a basketball court as part of a city-sponsored family activity zone set up for a Memorial Day holiday event. The waterspout snapped a concrete pole holding a basketball hoop.
Burt Osteen, a 37-year-old flooring installer from Fort Lauderdale, and his family dove to the sand on their stomachs as they saw the waterspout spinning toward them.
“It came right over us. We laid on the ground; we were right in front of the bounce house. We watched it pick up the bounce house and snap a basketball hoop,” Osteen said.
He barely felt anything, though, when the waterspout passed over them. The tablecloths on nearby picnic tables weren’t even disturbed by the wind, he said.
“The only thing was the sand, getting stung by the sand,” he said.
Unlike tornadoes, waterspouts don’t need thunderstorms for their funnel clouds to form. On Monday afternoon, a band of clouds was moving in from the ocean had winds favorable for waterspout formation, said Jeral Estupinan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.
“It developed very close to the coastline and moved onshore, and it dissipated very quickly onshore, like any other waterspout,” Estupinan said.
Charter Communications Inc. is close to buying Time Warner Cable for about $55 billion, according to two people familiar with the negotiations.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because of the private nature of the deal talks.
One of the people said the deal will be announced early Tuesday morning.
Charter had wanted to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. earlier, but Time Warner Cable chose a $45 billion offer from Comcast Corp. instead.
Comcast walked away from the Time Warner Cable deal after regulators pushed back against it. Regulators had concerns that the two companies together would undermine online video competition. The combined company would have served more than half the country’s broadband subscribers, and consumer advocates said a merger would limit choices and lead to higher prices.
Time Warner Cable representative Ellen East and Charter spokesman Justin Venech both declined to comment on the talks between their companies.
Cable companies are losing cable subscribers and facing more pressure from online services such as Netflix and Amazon for consumers who watch TV over broadband connections.
Consumer advocates were waiting to learn more details about the deal but seemed initially to regard it with less hostility than the failed Comcast bid for Time Warner Cable, which would have created a behemoth much of the Internet access in the U.S.
“I can’t say that we’re a big fan of industry consolidation, but realistically this doesn’t really raise the same level of concern,” said John Bergmayer, a lawyer with Public Knowledge.
If antitrust regulators approve the deal, Bergmayer said, they should attach conditions addressing broadband affordability, customer service and other issues.
Cable companies argue that their mergers don’t hurt TV consumers because their systems don’t overlap much — an argument that is disputed by consumer groups.
Matt Wood, policy director of the Internet-consumer group Free Press, said the money that the cable companies spend on mergers doesn’t go to helping customers.
“Rather than buying each other up and cementing in place the local monopolies they already enjoy, they could be investing in their own networks to improve their customer service,” Wood said. They could even go outside their current markets and compete against each other in more places, he said.
Shares of Time Warner Cable closed Friday at $171.18. They have climbed 13 percent so far in 2015, compared with a 3 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexicans’ disgust with corrupt, aloof, high-living politicians has a name, and it’s El Bronco. The horseback-riding, boot-clad, tough-talking Jaime Rodriguez lives up to his nickname.
As mayor of a suburb of the northern industrial city of Monterrey, he survived two assassination attempts that left his car bullet-ridden, defying, he says, the fierce Zetas cartel. Now Rodriguez is trying to beat the odds in another way, running as an independent for governor of Nuevo Leon, a wealthy and strategic state bordering Texas.
The June 7 midterm election is the first time the country has allowed unaffiliated candidates, thanks to an electoral reform last year. But the law allows him only a fraction of the campaign financing the government gives political parties.
Although it is a state race, Rodriguez has captured the national imagination with his unorthodox manner and unrefined speech. He explains the challenges of his uphill race this way: “Sometimes God slaps you upside the head to make you get with program.”
El Bronco says his nickname, and his blunt style just “show people that I’m the same as them, that I’m nobody different, that I’m just another guy who wants things to change, and things to be better.”
Midterm elections, in which 500 members of congress, 17 state legislatures, nine governors and more than 300 mayors will be chosen, are usually viewed as a referendum on the president’s performance half-way through his six-year term.
But this year it seems to be a referendum on the parties. In an opinion poll carried out by the lower house of congress earlier this year, 75 percent said they had little or no confidence in any party. The margin of error was 3.9 percentage points.
“This breath of fresh air could be just the shock the parties need, at least in Nuevo Leon,” Luis Carlos Ugalde, former head of the Mexico’s national election commission, told local media.
Critics point out that Rodriguez spent 33 years in the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and quit eight months ago to take advantage of the new law. But voters see him as an alternative in political system rife with cronyism and corruption. Current Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina has taken out full-page newspaper ads to deny widespread claims of corruption, allegations Rodriguez says he will pursue if he’s elected.
“I think that in Nuevo Leon, we are seeing the first Mexican Spring,” Rodriguez told The Associated Press, comparing his quixotic quest for the governorship to pro-democracy movements like the Arab Spring of 2010 or the Prague Spring of 1968.
That might be an overstatement. But Rodriguez’s support harkens back to 2000, when another plainspoken cowboy candidate, Vicente Fox, managed to topple the PRI’s 71-year rule and win the presidency for the opposition National Action Party.
Fox rode a wave of discontent with the authoritarian and corrupt rule of the PRI. But the last 15 years have convinced many voters that National Action and other opposition parties mirror the PRI in terms of corruption scandals and accusations of politicians getting rich off public funds.
This time around, it’s all political parties that Mexicans appear to hate. People are so fed up that parties have trouble giving away pens and T-shirts on the street, and youthful brigades have organized on the Internet to rip down campaign posters from lampposts and trees in some Mexico City neighborhoods.
Last week, Fernando Elizondo of the Citizen Movement party ended his gubernatorial campaign and threw his support behind Rodriguez. A day later, a poll by the newspaper Reforma showed Rodriguez with 31 percentage points, five ahead of his nearest opponent, Ivonne Alvarez of the PRI. The poll had a margin of error of 1.8 percentage points.
Rodriguez’s style is all wild west, with campaign videos showing him riding horseback or describing bullets raining down on his truck in an assassination attempt.
When former President Felipe Calderon unfavorably compared the charismatic Rodriguez to deceased former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, El Bronco shot back: “I think Calderon must have been either drunk, or hung over.”
El Bronco’s public support for “self-defense” vigilantes in Michoacan — ranchers and farmers who armed themselves to drive out a drug cartel in 2013 — led ruling-party candidate Alvarez to run an ad showing a motley group of vigilante-style gunmen holding assault rifles and a baby, with a narration: “Nothing is more important than your children. Who do you want caring for them?
And in what appears to be a counteroffensive by the PRI, leaked official documents quote people suggesting, without firm proof, that Rodriguez has ties to the Zetas, the cartel he battled as mayor. He denies those allegations.
El Bronco says he wants peaceful change, but tells people in Nuevo Leon, a state shattered by drug violence, that he can feel their pain. His own 22-year-old son was killed in 2009 in what initially appeared and accident, but which may have been a kidnapping.
As an independent candidate, he is excluded from the generous government financing given to political parties, so he has conducted his campaign largely using social media, and he passes the hat at raucous campaign rallies.
Political parties get essentially all their financing from tax money, and they are criticized for their bloated budgets for government cars, trips, bodyguards, advisors, offices and meals, angering people in a country where the minimum wage is under $5 per day.
Rodriguez says he wants change things all that. And despite inequitable financing rules, he pulled together hundreds of thousands of signatures to run as an independent candidate.
“I have two emotions that guide me,” Rodriguez said. “My family deserves someone who can protect them, and the other that, in this country we need somebody who will do things differently.”
El-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — An Egyptian army official says extremists have killed a conscript and wounded an officer in clashes in the restive northern part of the Sinai Peninsula.
The fighting on Monday near the town of Sheikh Zuweyid pitted troops against Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, militants who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group last year.
The long-restive northern Sinai has seen a spike in attacks targeting security forces since the military overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which refers to itself as the Sinai Province of the Islamic State, regularly claims large-scale assaults in the Sinai and earlier this month released a video showing attacks on soldiers that killed several of them.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief journalists.
DETROIT (AP) — Wishing living U.S. military veterans a “Happy Memorial Day” might be well-intentioned but misses the mark on an occasion meant for remembering those who lost their lives.
That and other timely reminders can be found in a new book researched and written by a Michigan State University journalism class with assistance from former servicemen and women. “100 Questions and Answers About Veterans” is aimed at clearing up myths and misunderstandings held by some civilians.
“A day of mourning doesn’t square with ‘happy,'” instructor Joe Grimm said. “They’re thinking, ‘I’m still here. My day is coming in November (on) Veterans Day.'”
The book, available in print and digital versions, is the eighth that Grimm’s classes have published. Others have covered Hispanics and Latinos, Native Americans, East Asians and Muslim Americans.
“Given the similarities between vets and other groups of people who are frequently stereotyped, this would be a place we could do some work,” Grimm said.
Veterans told students they can feel similarly conflicted when civilians thank them for their service. People mean well, Grimm said, but some veterans say kind words can ring hollow if the person doesn’t know how, when or why they served.
The book’s content was reviewed by veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, including Jeff Barnes, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.
Joe Brigman, whose 11-year stint in the Army included three overseas tours, said the guide is both helpful and necessary.
“There really isn’t a whole lot out there,” said Brigman, who works in the state agency’s employment section but wasn’t involved with the veterans’ guide. “You’ve got to get rid of some of the myths and rumors out there.”
Another issue raised by the book is the widespread association of veterans and homelessness. Although there are many homeless vets, the guide points out they are more likely than the civilian population to start businesses or assume leadership roles in companies.
Brigman said part of his job is working on reducing unemployment among vets, which is 7.2 percent nationally for those who have served since Sept. 11, 2001. Still, he adds, the cumulative effect of media, movies and other popular culture leave an impression the figure is much higher, along with rampant homelessness, addiction and post-traumatic stress.
“That’s a very small slice that’s out there — there are plenty of other vets doing many other things,” he said.
Introductory essays were written by J.R. Martinez, a wounded veteran, actor, speaker and champion of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” as well as Ron Capps, founder of the Veterans Writing Project. The guide includes six video interviews from Detroit Public Television’s “Veterans Coming Home” project, which involved Michigan State students.
Follow Jeff Karoub on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jeffkaroub . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/author/jeff-karoub
CLEVELAND (AP) — Al Horford threw an elbow at Matthew Dellavedova during the game.
He saved a few more shots for Cleveland’s scrappy guard afterward.
Horford was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul and tossed from Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Sunday night for striking Dellavedova above his shoulders late in the first half.
Horford and Dellavedova got tangled on the floor while scrambling for a loose ball, and as Dellavedova was rolling up on his right knee, Horford brought his right arm down hard and struck the side of the scrappy Australian guard’s head.
The officials took several minutes looking at the play on a video monitor before ejecting Horford, who had 14 points at the time of his dismissal. The Hawks lost 114-111 in overtime and trail 3-0 in the series.
Horford felt Dellavedova had dived at his legs.
“I did think he went at me but I should have handled it better,” Horford said. “Shouldn’t have gotten caught up in that and it’s something I’ll definitely learn from. The game before I got hit in the knees and it just kind of played over again.”
Horford was one of several Hawks irritated by Dellavedova, who had knocked Hawks guard Kyle Korver out for the postseason with a similar play in Game 2.
“You’re always upset when you lose one of your teammates,” Horford said. “He’s (Dellavedova) a player that plays hard but there’s got to be a line at some point. He’s got to learn. He’s only been in this league for a couple of years but he’s got to learn that at the end of the day, it’s a big brotherhood here. Guys look out for each other and I don’t think it was malicious but he’s got to learn.”
Dellavedova defended his actions, saying he was only trying to get the ball.
“I would obviously disagree with that, I was boxing him out,” Dellavedova said. “You can see from the baseline view that he’s pulling my arm.”
LeBron James, who carried the Cavs within one win of the NBA Finals with a triple-double, became angry when he heard the Hawks’ accusations that Dellavedova is a dirty player.
“That is a fundamental box out, that’s all it is,” James said. “We’re not trying to get people hurt. But you play to win the game and you play aggressively. This guy, he works his tail off every single day. He beats the odds and he comes to play as hard as he can every single night. If they’re focusing on Delly, they’re focusing on the wrong thing. People are trying to give him a bad rap. He doesn’t deserve it and I don’t like it.”
The NBA posted an explanation on the play, saying: “Horford threw an unnecessary and excessive forearm/elbow to Dellavedova, making contact above the shoulders, therefore a Flagrant 2 foul was called on Horford.”
Horford could face further discipline from the league.
While the officials huddled, Cleveland fans serenaded Dellavedova with chants of “Del-lee! Del-lee!” He was given a technical foul for his actions.
“We felt that he made contact with his head and shoulders into the knee area of Horford, so we ruled that a liveball physical taunt technical foul,” referee Ken Mauer said to a pool reporter.
Dellavedova, too, had a run-in with Chicago’s Taj Gibson in the second round. Gibson had to kick himself free from Dellavedova, who scissor-locked his legs around the Bulls forward. Gibson was assessed a Flagrant 2 and Dellavedova was issued a technical foul the following day.