NEW YORK NEWS
R’ Shimmy Benabou, a well-known Crown Heights businessman and entrepreneur in the food retail business, passed away Shabbos at the age of 49. Benabou was the founder of Koshertown on the corner of Albany and Empire, which turned from a corner store to a block supermarket with a cafe and Shabbos takeout. Benabou, who was known as a tremendous ba’al tzedakah, was honored as hundreds of people lined up on the service lane of Eastern Parkway to mourn his passing.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio has been named a visiting teaching fellow at Harvard University this fall semester. De Blasio, who served two terms as NYC Mayor, will be joining the Institute of Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. During his time as a fellow, he will focus on issues such as early childhood education and leading through a pandemic. “I am happy to join the IOP to help inspire our nation’s next generation of leaders to find ways to serve in politics and public service, and to build a government that serves working people,” de Blasio said.
The New York Mets surprised and delighted fans with the retirement of Willie Mays’ number 24. The promise that the “Say Hey Kid” would be the last to wear the number for the Mets was 50 years in the making, when former Mets owner Joan Whitney Payson brought Mays back to New York from the San Francisco Giants in 1972, the twilight of his career. Mays, who played for the Giants in New York from 1951-57, stayed with the club when they moved to the West Coast. Mays, 91, was unable to attend the ceremony, as he is recovering from hip surgery. In a statement read to the crowd, he said, “I can never forget the way it felt to return to New York to play for all the loyal Mets fans. I’m tremendously proud I ended my career in Queens with the Mets during the ‘73 World Series. It’s an honor to have my number retired in my two favorite cities -- New York and San Francisco. New York was a magical place to play baseball.”
President Joe Biden announced that the federal government would forgive $10,000 of student loans for anyone making under $125,000 per year, or any married couple making under $250,000. Pell Grant recipients are eligible for an additional $10,000 loan forgiveness. The plan, which was a campaign promise of Biden’s, could cost anywhere between $300 billion and $1 trillion, depending on how many borrowers take advantage. “All of this means people can start to finally crawl out from under that mountain of debt to get on top of their rent and their utilities, to finally think about buying a home or starting a family or starting a business,” Biden Said.
The California Air Resources Board announced that the state of California will not allow the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in the year 2035. The move, a first in the nation, was hailed by Governor Gavin Newsom as “one of the most significant steps to the elimination of the tailpipe as we know it.” California, as the most populous state, is hoping that their actions force American automakers to accelerate their development of cheaper electric vehicles, and more common EV charging stations. Critics of the action claim that the resources necessary to make EVs are not readily available, as most raw Lithium required to make the batteries is controlled by China.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed on the Joe Rogan Podcast that the FBI reached out to Facebook during the 2020 election. “Basically, the background here is the FBI, I think, basically came to us - some folks on our team - and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert…We thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. We have it on notice that, basically, there’s about to be some kind of dump of that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant,’” Zuckerberg said. He went on to explain that this warning was the reason Facebook limited the dissemination of the Hunter Biden laptop story written by the New York Post, and why Twitter deleted it altogether. On Truth Social, former President Trump accused the FBI of “massive fraud and election interference” and to “declare the 2020 election irreparably compromised and have a new Election, immediately.”
President Joe Biden insists that he has “zero” knowledge of the FBI’s raid on former President Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago. The raid, which was an unprecedented action on the FBI’s part, has sparked speculation on who knew about it and when. “I didn’t have any advanced notice. None. Zero. Not one single bit,” Biden responded to Fox News’ Peter Doocy when asked.
The Uvalde school board voted unanimously to immediately terminate the district police chief Pete Arredondo, three months after the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary. The shooting, which killed 21, including 19 children, has raised numerous questions on the inaction of the Uvalde police department, as video footage showed that dozens of officers were refusing to take action for over an hour. The announcement was met with applause and chants of “we’re not done” by the assembled crowd. Arredondo, who did not attend the meeting out of fear for his safety amid numerous death threats, issued a statement through his attorney. “Chief Arredondo will not participate in his own illegal and unconstitutional public lynching and respectfully requests the Board immediately reinstate him, with all backpay and benefits and close the complaint as unfounded,” the statement concludes.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has officially canceled the heavily-criticized “Disinformation Governance Board.” The Board, which Republican critics referred to as “The Ministry of Truth,” referencing George Orwell’s 1984, never recovered from its botched announcement this past spring. DHS officially announced the termination of the board after a unanimous vote by the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which claimed that “there is no need for a separate Disinformation Governance Board. But it is our assessment that the underlying work of Department components on this issue is critical. The Department must be able to address the disinformation threat streams that can undermine the security of our homeland...Critically, this work can and must be undertaken consistent with the law and best practices.”
Moderna filed patent infringement lawsuits against Pfizer and BioNTech, claiming that the competing pharmaceutical companies were using “infringing patents central to (its) mRNA technology platform.” Moderna, which said in October 2020 that it would not enforce its patents “while the pandemic continued,” is looking for a share in sales profits after March 2023, when they declared that the pandemic will be over. Moderna claims that they are not looking to remove other vaccines from the market or seek profits from sales to the U.S. government. “Pfizer/BioNTech has not yet fully reviewed the complaint but we are surprised by the litigation given the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine was based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA technology and developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer. We remain confident in our intellectual property supporting the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and will vigorously defend against the allegations of the lawsuit,” Pfizer said in a written statement to CNN.
Artemis I, NASA’s unmanned test flight to the moon, had its launch scrubbed after a problem with one of the four engines. The flight, which was a precursor to future crewed missions, was supposed to be a sign that NASA could once again accomplish the miracles of the Space Age of the 1960s. NASA, however, is not ready to pull the plug. “It’s too early to say what the options are,” said Mike Sarafin, Artemis mission manager, at a NASA press conference. “We really need time to look at all the information, all the data. We’re going to play all nine innings here. We’re not ready to give up yet.”
Iraqi protesters breached the presidential palace in Baghdad, leading many to believe that the U.S. Embassy was being evacuated. Footage appeared to show a military helicopter leaving the embassy, but the claim was refuted by John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, who denied that there was an evacuation of U.S. Embassy personnel, in contrast with earlier reports. “There’s no evacuation going on at the embassy and no indication that’s going to be required at this time,” Kirby told reporters. The unrest in Iraq has been ongoing since last October, when cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s party won the most seats in the election, but failed to secure enough to form a majority government. His refusal to join another Shiite group, which is back by Iran, has left the country in turmoil.
Palestinians employed in Israel staged a one-day strike over the decision to pay their salaries to Palestinian bank accounts instead of in cash. The tens of thousands who refused to work are part of over 200,000 Palestinians who cross into Israel each day for employment. The new payment method, which was agreed to by Israeli and Palestinian authorities, is causing fear amongst the employees who worry that the Palestinian banks will incur hidden fees and new taxes. “We reject having our salaries transferred to Palestinian Authority banks because we are afraid of the future and there is a crisis of trust,” one Palestinian construction worker said. Palestinians who work in Israel make, on average, double the salary as those who work in Palestinian territories.
Mack Rutherford, a Belgian-British teenager, became the youngest person to fly around the world solo. Rutherford, who turned 17 during his trip, kicked off his global journey five months ago in small aircraft. Landing in Sofia, Bulgaria, after traveling nearly 30,000 miles and visiting 30 different countries, Rutherford recounted the journey to the assembled crowd. Rutherford claimed two Guinness World Records - becoming the youngest person to fly around the world by himself and the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a microlight plane.