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Your Friday Briefing

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The sudden collapse of a condominium complex north of Miami Beach has left at least one person dead and 99 unaccounted for. Search-and-rescue teams using trained dogs and sonar looked above and below ground for signs of life amid the piles of rubble.

Half of the Champlain Towers complex collapsed to the ground yesterday, just after midnight, as if struck by an earthquake. The building was home to a mix of retirees and well-off professionals with young families. Fifty-five units were affected by the collapse, the mayor said.

Public records show the building was constructed in 1981 and was coming up on its required 40-year recertification. Some of its more than 136 units had recently sold for over $1 million.

Disaster zone: The wrecked interiors of what were once people’s homes gaped open toward the ocean: Broken air-conditioning units. An empty bunk bed. Linens waving in the wind. At one point, clouds of dust swirled as a fire broke out at the site.

With just 2.7 percent of the world’s population, Brazil has suffered 13 percent of its Covid-19 fatalities, and the pandemic is not abating there.

President Jair Bolsonaro’s chaotic response to the crisis has left the country poorer, more unequal and increasingly polarized. Social distancing measures have been spotty and badly enforced, the president and his allies have promoted ineffective treatments, and for months the government failed to acquire a large number of vaccine doses.

That scarcity of vaccines left governors, mayors and private-sector leaders scrambling to strike deals with suppliers. During recent congressional hearings, a Pfizer executive said officials had ignored the company’s repeated offers to sell its Covid vaccine to Brazil. The U.S. now plans to send three million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Brazil.

The remains of as many as 751 people, mainly Indigenous children, were discovered at the site of a former school for Indigenous youth in the province of Saskatchewan, a Canadian Indigenous group said. It was the largest such discovery to date.

Just weeks ago, the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of another former boarding school in British Columbia. For decades, Indigenous Canadians suggested through their oral histories that thousands of children had disappeared from these schools, but they were often met with skepticism.

“This was a crime against humanity, an assault on a First Nation people,” Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations said yesterday. “The only crime we ever committed as children was being born Indigenous.”

Context: A federal commission in 2015 found that the residential school system, which forced Indigenous children to assimilate into Western culture, was a form of “cultural genocide,” in which students were abused by members of the clergy and confronted with disease, death and danger.

On May 16, Israeli airstrikes destroyed three apartment buildings in Gaza, decimating several families and killing 44 people.

Though the Israeli military said that these strikes were carefully targeted, a Times investigation found that Israel dropped some of the heaviest bombs in its arsenal without warning on a densely packed neighborhood, and with limited intelligence about what it was attacking.

People have been holding meetings for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians had hieroglyphs to convey the concept of “council,” while George Washington, sick of writing letters, convened fellow founders in his study to help devise the U.S. government. But just because we’re used to meetings doesn’t mean we’re any good at them, writes our reporter Caity Weaver.

Over the course of the pandemic, meetings have taken on new forms as in-person congregations were canceled and we moved online. Those meetings were almost never without technical difficulties, and many people found them wanting.

To avoid a bad meeting, it should have a reason to exist, a mixture of introverts and extroverts, and, ideally, designated decision makers. As Caity writes, “A meeting can be good, in short — but only if it needs to be a meeting.”

A meeting can be useful or even good if it meets these three criteria: “You know what you’re going to do in it,” explains Caitlin Rosenthal, a historian at the University of California, Berkeley. “You do the thing. And at the end, somebody reports out: ‘OK, we’re all going to do these things going forward.’”

If you have to have a meeting, do it like that. With as few people as possible.

For more: The Upshot’s Claire Cain Miller asks, Do chance encounters at the office boost innovation?


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