NEW YORK NEWS
A plane crash near Westchester County airport claimed the lives of two Jewish residents of Cleveland. Boruch Taub and Binyamin Chafetz were aboard a single-engine Beechcraft A36 when they declared an emergency due to low oil pressure. The flight left JFK shortly before 5:00 but quickly ran into trouble when they discovered they could not climb as instructed by the air traffic controller. Westchester County Executive George Latimer reported that Chafetz texted his wife right before the crash: “I don’t think any of us want to contemplate what it would be like to know your life is about to end, and you are going to speak to the people you love the most. And try to say something to them to summarize the life you’ve had together. That is what last night was about,” Latimer said.
At 5:27 p.m., Chafetz texted, “I love you and the kids. I am sorry for everything I have done...We lost engines.” The plane went down at 5:28 p.m. The bodies of both men were sent to Cleveland for the funeral.
The New York State Education Department is setting a deadline for New York City to finish its investigations into dozens of ultra-Orthodox religious schools. Commissioner of Education Betty Rosa told local officials they have until the last day of June to complete “detailed determinations/recommendations” about the quality of secular instruction at the yeshivas, according to a Jan. 10 order obtained by The Daily News. “I’m hoping we’ll get to the bottom of this, and have clarity what’s going on in these schools,” said Beatrice Weber, executive director of Young Advocates for Fair Education dedicated to reforming yeshivas, which submitted the original complaint in 2015. According to Weber, last week’s order marks the first time the commissioner has set a deadline for the city to finish all reports. Rosa has previously encouraged the city to complete its inquiry “as expeditiously as possible” — but stopped short of mandating a timeline. “We’re happy the state is willing to put their foot down,” Weber added. “The hope is they continue in this direction.” City officials did not weigh in on the document: “We will review the order when we receive it,” said a spokesperson for the mayor.
Mayor Eric Adams announced that the city will be temporarily turning a cruise ship terminal into a shelter and services hub for asylum-seekers. This is the latest in a series of facilities the city has set up — and sometimes shut down — as it strains to handle an ongoing influx of migrants coming to New York. The Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will have room, food, medical care, and other services for 1,000 single men until it reverts to the cruise business in springtime, the mayor’s office said in a release. Its first occupants will move from another relief center at a hotel, which will switch to accommodating asylum-seeking families with children. Altogether, 41,000 asylum-seekers have come to the city since last spring, according to the mayor. With the terminal, the city will have five such “Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief” centers for the nearly 28,000 asylum-seekers it is currently housing and those who may yet arrive. Some 77 hotels have also been tapped as emergency shelters. “Our city is at its breaking point,” said Adams.
Charles McGonigal, a former senior FBI official in New York who oversaw some of the agency’s most secret and sensitive counterintelligence investigations, has been arrested over his ties to a Russian oligarch. McGonigal, 54, has been accused of taking money from a former Albanian intelligence employee and from a representative of Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian billionaire who has been sanctioned by the United States and criminally charged last year with violating those sanctions. The indictment unsealed in Washington charged that McGonigal, while working for the bureau, took $225,000 in secret cash payments. Before he retired in 2018, Mr. McGonigal had been the special agent in charge of the FBI’s counterintelligence division in New York. In that post, he supervised investigations of Russian oligarchs, including Deripaska, whom the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan charged him with aiding. Deripaska is an aluminum magnate with ties to President Vladimir Putin. “This is an unprecedented case, which rightly or wrongly will fuel political criticism and concern about the F.B.I.,” said Jonathan C. Poling, a former prosecutor in the Justice Department’s national security division. “The charges demonstrate D.O.J. clearly intends to send a strong message, including to former officials that worked in national security fields.”
Investigators from the FBI searched President Joe Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, finding additional classified documents. This is the fourth known location of classified materials taken by Biden during his time as vice president and senator. Documents taken when Biden was senator for Delaware have been in his possession for at least 14 years, up to 50 years. This latest finding adds up to approximately 30 documents with classified marking found in Biden’s possession. Justice Department prosecutors are reportedly considering requesting a search of President Biden’s home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
Former Vice President Mike Pence discovered about a dozen documents marked as classified at Pence’s Indiana home last week, according to his lawyer. Pence has turned those classified records over to the FBI, multiple sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division have launched a review of the documents and how they ended up in Pence’s house in Indiana. The classified documents were discovered at Pence’s new home in Carmel, Indiana, by a lawyer for Pence in the wake of the revelations about classified material discovered in President Joe Biden’s private office and residence. The discovery comes after Pence has repeatedly said he did not have any classified documents in his possession. It is not yet clear what the documents are related to or their level of sensitivity or classification. In a letter to the National Archives obtained by CNN, Pence’s representative to the Archives Greg Jacob wrote that a “small number of documents bearing classified markings” were inadvertently boxed and transported to the vice president’s home. “Vice President Pence was unaware of the existence of sensitive or classified documents at his personal residence,” Jacob wrote. “Vice President Pence understands the high importance of protecting sensitive and classified information and stands ready and willing to cooperate fully with the National Archives and any appropriate inquiry.”
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain has announced his intention to resign from the position in the next few weeks. This is the most significant resignation in the Biden team since the start of the administration. Klain has been telling colleagues privately since the November midterm elections that after a grueling, nonstop stretch at Mr. Biden’s side going back to the 2020 campaign, he is ready to move on, according to senior administration officials, and a search for a replacement has been underway. Jeff Zients, who ran Biden’s Covid-19 response effort and served in high-ranking roles in the Obama administration, is expected to replace Klain as the next White House Chief Of Staff, according to three people briefed on the matter.
The son of House minority whip Katherine Clark (D., Mass.) was arrested in Boston for assaulting an officer and defacing a monument during an Antifa riot on Saturday night. Clark’s son, Riley Dowell, 23, was detained by Boston police for allegedly spray painting “No Cop City” and “ACAB” (All Cops Are [expletive]) on a monument in the Boston Common. Similar language was used recently by Antifa activists in Atlanta. While attempting to place Dowell under arrest, Boston police reported that protesters encircled the small detachment of law enforcement and struck an officer. “During the arrest of Jared Dowell, a group of about 20 protesters began to surround officers while screaming profanities though megaphones on the public street, causing traffic to come to a standstill. While interfering with the arrest of Jared Dowell, an officer was hit in the face and could be seen bleeding from the nose and mouth,” the Boston Police Department noted in an official statement. Dowell was charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon, destruction or injury of personal property, and damage of property by graffiti/tagging.
California has had two mass shootings within 72 hours that left 18 people dead. The first attack caused the deaths of 11 people and injured at least nine at Star Ballroom Dance Studio during a Lunar New Year celebration The suspect, a 72-year-old named Huu Can Tran, was a former volunteer dance instructor there. Many of the victims were members of the Asian and Asian American community in their 50s and 60s. Investigation into the motive is still ongoing, but reports claim the suspect was motivated by a personal relationship with one or more of the attendees. After a manhunt, the gunman was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The second shooting killed seven people in two locations in a coastal community south of San Francisco, and a suspect was in custody, officials said. San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Dave Pine says four people were killed at a farm and three at a trucking business on the outskirts of Half Moon Bay, a city about 30 miles south of San Francisco. It wasn’t immediately clear how the locations were connected, though Pine said the suspect worked for one of the businesses. He called the suspect a “disgruntled worker.”
The US Food and Drug Administration wants to simplify the Covid-19 vaccine process to look more like what happens with the flu vaccine. That could include streamlining the vaccine composition, immunization schedules, and periodic updates of Covid-19 vaccines. The FDA said it expects to assess circulating strains of the coronavirus at least annually and decide in June which strains to select for the fall season, much like the process to update annual flu vaccines. The FDA briefing documents do not say whether the annual shot would contain a single strain, two strains, or more. The annual influenza vaccine immunizes against four strains. “This simplification of vaccine composition should reduce complexity, decrease vaccine administration errors due to the complexity of the number of different vial presentations, and potentially increase vaccine compliance by allowing clearer communication,” the FDA said.
Google is laying off 12,000 workers, or about 6% of its workforce, becoming the latest tech company to trim staff as the economic boom that the industry rode during the Covid-19 pandemic ebbs. CEO Sundar Pichai led the companywide meeting and told employees executives will see their bonuses cut. He pleaded with staffers to remain motivated, as Google faces heightened competition in areas like artificial intelligence, while also trying to explain why employees who lost their jobs were removed from the internal system without warning. “I understand you are worried about what comes next for your work,” Pichai said. “Also very sad for the loss of some really good colleagues across the company. For those of you outside the U.S., the delay in being able to make and communicate decisions about roles in your region is undoubtedly causing anxiety.”
Alec Baldwin will be criminally charged by New Mexico prosecutors for the 2021 fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film Rust, authorities said. Baldwin said he “didn’t pull the trigger” in an ABC interview, but an FBI forensic report uncovered that despite Baldwin’s denial, the gun could not have gone off without the trigger being pulled. Baldwin and the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, each will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter. One of the involuntary manslaughter counts is one in which prosecutors will have to prove there is underlying negligence, prosecutors said. This is a fourth-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to 18 months in jail and a $5,000 fine. The second involuntary manslaughter charge is one for the commission of a lawful act, a more severe charge which requires proof that there was more than simple negligence involved in a death, prosecutors said. This charge includes a firearm enhancement, which adds a mandatory penalty of five years in jail.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has said she is resigning, in an unexpected announcement that came as she confirmed a national election for October. Ardern became an international political celebrity for her lockdown policies enacted during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the party’s first caucus meeting of the year, Ardern made her decision public. “I’m leaving, because with such a privileged role comes responsibility – the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead and also when you are not. I know what this job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple,” she said. Her term as Prime Minister will conclude no later than February 7, but she will continue as a Member of Parliament until the election this year. “I am human, politicians are human. We give all that we can for as long as we can. And then it’s time. And for me, it’s time,” she said.
Shas chairman Aryeh Deri will be fired from his ministerial roles by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting, following the High Court of Justice’s Thursday ruling that disqualified him from serving as a minister. According to the report, the firing was coordinated with Deri. Coalition lawmakers gathered at a Shas faction meeting at the Knesset in a show of support for party chairman Deri. “I intend to continue with all my strength to contribute to the public and to the coalition,” Deri said Sunday during the weekly cabinet meeting. “Honored prime minister, I hear in your voice the sadness regarding the High Court’s ruling and its consequences,” he said after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removed him. “Soon after the ruling was published on Wednesday, I was in my home, and at a very early stage, when some had already read the ruling and some had not, it was clear to both of us that we would adhere to the court’s ruling. This was not in doubt at any stage.”
Rio de Janeiro opened the doors to a Holocaust Memorial that honors not only Jewish victims, but also lesser-known groups likewise persecuted by the Nazi regime. Curators hope that the memorial would attract a larger audience if they showed all the victims of the Third Reich. “Nazism is not only a history of victimized Jews. They were the main target, but others also suffered,” said Sofia Levy, a member of the curatorial team. “The message is: Don’t ever think it doesn’t concern you.”