NEW YORK NEWS

The Nassau County Republican Party held a press conference demanding the resignation of Congressman George Santos.  Santos has made international headlines for weeks because of the lies about his resume, from where he attended college to his “Jew-ish” identity.  County Chairman Joseph Cairo led the call for him to resign. “George Santos’ campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication,” Cairo said. “He deceived the voters of the 3rd Congressional District, he deceived members of the Nassau County Republican committee, elected officials, his colleagues, candidates, his opponents and even some of the media. He’s disgraced the House of Representatives and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople.” Cairo has led the Nassau Republicans to a series of wins, including the victories in 2021 with the election of Bruce Blakeman as County Executive and Anne Donnelly as District Attorney, and in 2022 with the flipping of multiple federal and state seats.  

 

Yeshiva University (YU) finds itself in the crosshairs of three state lawmakers who are looking to determine if the school misrepresented itself as a secular institution in order to qualify for more than $230 million in public funds. The question exists as YU has argued in court that it is a religious institution, thereby not required by law to allow an LGBT student club on campus.  While New York courts have ruled that YU is not a religious institution, the school has appealed.  “I think this matter is worthy of investigation and a potential criminal inquiry, based on what we know from their own court testimony,” said Senator Brad Hoylman, the chair of the Judiciary Committee and one of the signatories of the letter. “There is the potential that Yeshiva has misrepresented its mission and that could constitute fraud.”  While YU’s lawyers did not respond to the letter, University spokesman Hanan Eisenman said in a statement that “the Supreme Court has three times ruled that the government may not restrict funding to religious schools because of their free exercise” of religion. Yeshiva will continue to defend the right of its students to be treated by the state on equal footing with students at every other university,” Mr. Eisenman continued. “They choose for themselves how best to live those values, but the First Amendment guarantees Yeshiva the right to maintain a campus environment consistent with its religious beliefs.”

 

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg offered a 6-month plea deal to Waseem Awadeh, a man who was charged with assaulting a Jewish man in May 2021.  The charge carried a 3-7-year sentence if found guilty in court, and the hate crime charge that Awadeh also had carried a 10-year sentence.  Awadeh was defiant when arrested, claiming he would “do it again” if he had the opportunity.  Antisemitism watchdog group StopAntisemitism tweeted, “New York is simply no longer safe for Jews under the supervision of [Alvin Bragg].” 

A Delta plane almost collided with an American Airlines plane at JFK airport.  The near collision forced Delta flight 1943 to abort its takeoff.  Investigation into the near-miss showed that the pilots misconstrued directions from air traffic controllers, according to radar records and recordings of those conversations. “Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance! Delta 1943, cancel takeoff clearance!” an air controller said in an audio recording of Air Traffic Control communications when he noticed the other plane, operated by American Airlines, crossing in front. The recording was made by LiveATC, a website that monitors and posts flight communications.

 

Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York kicked off her reelection campaign with an email to her supporters. “I wanted you to hear it first,” the email said. “Kirsten is running for reelection to the United States Senate in 2024.” Elected to Congress in 2007 as part of the Blue Wave midterm election under President George W. Bush, Gillibrand took over Hillary Clinton’s vacated seat in 2009 when she joined the Obama White House as Secretary of State.  Gillibrand’s campaign will be a test if the successes the Republicans had in 2022 was a fluke, as Republican Lee Zeldin had the best statewide results a Republican has had in decades, or a trend that the Democratic rule over New York is not permanent.  No Republican has declared a challenge for the seat at this time.  

 

The Trump Organization was hit with a $1.6 million fine for tax fraud and other crimes committed as part of a yearslong scheme to help some of its top executives avoid paying taxes on compensation. They were found guilty last month on 17 counts, including tax fraud, falsifying business records, and conspiracy, as part of what prosecutors had called a “sweeping and audacious” scheme to compensate company executives “off the books.” The verdict by a New York City jury marked the first-ever criminal convictions of Trump’s companies.

 

The nurse strike came to an end after the unions reached a tentative contract with the two remaining hospitals. The tentative deals occurred with Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan and Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, and nurses began returning to work at both hospitals.  While some details are still being fleshed out, nurses at both hospitals will get a 19.2 percent pay raise over three years and new patient-to-nurse ratios with unprecedented, strict enforcement. Hospitals will be fined if nurses have to take on more patients than agreed.  Governor Kathy Hochul was at Mount Sinai Hospital, greeting nurses as they came back to work. “This is the first time they’ve ever agreed to staffing ratios. So this agreement is historic,” said Hochul. 

 

 

US NEWS

 

More documents were found in President Joe Biden’s private residence in Wilmington, Delaware, prompting questions into how much classified material has been taken from the Obama White House.  After White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that the search for missing classified documents was “complete,” five more pages were discovered in addition to the pages found next to Biden’s Corvette in his garage.  Newly-empowered House Republicans demanded the White House turn over all information related to its searches that have uncovered classified documents at Biden’s home and former office in the wake of more records found at his Delaware residence. “We have a lot of questions,” said Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee. Comer, R-Ky., said he wants to see all documents and communications related to the searches by the Biden team, as well as visitor logs of the president’s home in Wilmington from Jan. 20, 2021, to present.

 

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel to take over the investigation into the Obama-era classified documents found at President Joe Biden’s home and former private office. The special counsel is Robert Hur, who was nominated to be US attorney in Maryland by then-President Donald Trump in 2017, and served in the role until his resignation in 2021. He had most recently been working in private practice in Washington, DC. “I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity. But under the regulations, the extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a special counsel for this matter,” Garland said. “This appointment underscores for the public the department’s commitment to independence and accountability, and particularly sensitive matters and to making decisions indisputably guided only by the facts and the law.”

 

The National Center for Health Statistics, the statistical arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says that American women are having fewer babies, and they’re having them later in life.  This is a sharp decline in fertility rates in recent years, with most women having an average of 1.3 babies and an increasing percentage giving birth at age 35 or older.  “During the last decade, we have seen a huge shift in when and how women give birth,” Alison Gemmill, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who researches demographics and fertility. According to the report, from 2015-2019, 56.7% of women aged 15-49 have had at least one child. As of 2019, the most recent year included, birth rates have generally continued to increase for women aged 35–39, according to CDC data. Birth rates also increased for women in their 40s from 1985 to 2019, data show.

 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is still investigating the cause of the outage that forced the largest grounding of planes since September 11, 2001.  The investigation so far has traced the outage to a corrupt file.  In a statement, the FAA said it was continuing to investigate the outage and “take all needed steps to prevent this kind of disruption from happening again.” “Our preliminary work has traced the outage to a damaged database file. At this time, there is no evidence of a cyberattack,” the FAA said.

 

U.S. Consumer prices continued to moderate, with year over year inflation declining to 6.5% compared to November’s 7.1%.  This is the sixth straight month of declining inflation rates, a result of the Federal Reserve’s increase in the interest rates. On a monthly basis, prices actually slipped 0.1% from November to December, the first such drop since May 2020. In the job market, U.S. applications for unemployment benefits fell to their lowest level in 15 weeks as the job market continues to show resilience in the face of attempts by the Fed to cool the economy. The number of Americans applying for jobless aid for the week ending Jan. 7 fell by 1,000 to 205,000, from 206,000 the week before. Last week’s number was revised up by 2,000 to 206,000.

 

First Lady Jill Biden had cancerous lesions removed by surgeons.  One above the First Lady’s right eye and another on her chest were removed, while another on her left eyelid is being examined. Dr. Kevin O’Connor, physician to President Joe Biden, said examinations showed that the lesion over Jill Biden’s right eye and one newly discovered on her chest were both confirmed to be basal cell carcinoma. The lesion on her left eyelid was “fully excised, with margins, and was sent for standard microscopic examination,” according to O’Connor’s report.

 

 

WORLD NEWS

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government plans to charge ahead with an overhaul of the country’s judicial system, despite fierce criticism from top legal officials and protests against the changes that drew tens of thousands of people. Despite pouring rain over the city, police estimated that more than 80,000 people flooded central Tel Aviv’s HaBima Square and surrounding streets, according to Israeli media, while others took to the streets in Jerusalem for parallel protests. Attendees held signs comparing Netanyahu to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and saying Israel was turning into the likes of semi-democratic Hungary and theocratic Iran. Esther Hayut, the president of Israel’s Supreme Court, attacked the proposed changes as “an unbridled attack on the legal system” and said they were “designed to force a fatal blow on the independence of the judicial system.” The proposed reforms, announced last week by Israeli Justice Minister Yariv Levin, would seek to reform Supreme Court nominations via a review committee, and enable parliament to overturn Supreme Court rulings. 

 

Mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro, Italy’s No. 1 fugitive, was captured at a private clinic in Palermo, Sicily, after three decades on the run, Italian paramilitary police said. Messina Denaro was captured at the clinic where he was receiving treatment for an undisclosed medical condition, said Carabinieri Gen. Pasquale Angelosanto, who heads the police force’s special operations squad. “It is a victory for all the police forces that have worked together over these long years to bring the dangerous fugitive to justice,” Italy’s Chief of Police, Lamberto Giannini, said in a statement congratulating the Carabinieri – Italy’s military police – and the Palermo Public Prosecutor’s Office.

 

Christine Lambrecht, Germany’s much-criticized defense minister, announced her resignation Monday, as her department steers the massive project of modernizing the country’s military and oversees expanding weapons deliveries to Ukraine. Lambrecht said in a written statement that she had submitted her resignation request to Chancellor Olaf Scholz, saying, “Months of media focus on me doesn’t allow for fact-based reporting and discussion about soldiers, the army and security policy in the interest of German citizens. The valuable work of the soldiers and many motivated people in the defence area needs to be in the foreground.”

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