NEW YORK NEWS
A man driving a U-Haul truck went on a violent spree in Brooklyn, hitting nine people and killing one. The driver careened through Bay Ridge and Sunset Park, striking people on sidewalks and bicycles. Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell described the incident as a “rampage.” The police have not yet named the driver publicly, but three law enforcement officials confirmed that his name iscWeng Sor, a man in his early 60s who has had previous encounters with the police and was noted to be “emotionally disturbed.” Investigators believe he may have been living in the U-Haul truck for the past month. The man was initially stopped by police after hitting one person, but he fled in the truck and hit more people before being caught several miles away. Seven men and a police officer were hospitalized with injuries, while the man who died has not yet been identified.
A five-alarm fire devastated a grocery store in the Bronx, injuring four individuals, according to officials. The fire erupted at around 5:30 p.m. at C-Town Supermarket on University Avenue in Morris Heights. The FDNY reported that the building was completely destroyed, with flames visibly bursting through the roof. The department further stated that one person and three firefighters sustained minor injuries. Over 200 firefighters and EMTs responded to the incident, which was put out before midnight. “There is obviously a loss of property in the community tonight, but thanks to the hard work of our members, no loss of life this evening,” Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said from the scene.
Over 4,000 Chabad women emissaries from over 100 countries attended the annual Kinus HaShluchos in Crown Heights - one of the largest women-only gatherings in the world, held from Feb 8-13. The conference, marking the anniversary of the passing of the wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, included workshops, speeches, and Shabbos gatherings. At the banquet in New Jersey, Israeli journalist Sivan Rahav-Meir spoke of the power of every Jew and how many Chabad women make a difference in their communities without visible impact. Attendees spoke of the gathering’s impact as Jewish leaders, with one commenting that attending kinus “revamps my soul.” The conference included programming for the daughters of emissaries, who are themselves young shluchos, and attendees from remote communities, such as Ivory Coast and Tasmania, found the programming particularly helpful. Chabad also hosts a Kinus HaShluchim for male emissaries.
After condemning Texas leaders for busing migrants from the southern border, New York officials are now buying bus tickets for newcomers who wish to go north and seek asylum in Canada. Mayor Eric Adams had initially welcomed the migrants, but with over 42,000 people in need, he has echoed southern leaders’ sentiments that the city is struggling to cope with the influx. City officials are now facilitating the relocation of a growing number of migrants traveling to New York’s northern border, where crossings are surging. The migrants’ arrival has caused concern among Canadian officials, who are trying to discourage illegal crossings. “We are not telling anyone to go to any country or state,” he said. “We speak with people and they say their desire is to go somewhere else. So, there’s no coordinated effort.”
Over the weekend, at least three unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were shot down by the U.S. military, following the downing of a Chinese spy balloon on February 4, which had invaded American airspace. It is currently unknown what the UFOs were, their purpose, or who sent them. Since the balloon incursion, the United States and Canada have increased their vigilance, with the North American Aerospace Defense Command adjusting its radar system to become more sensitive, and sharply raising the number of objects detected. On February 10, a US fighter jet brought down an unidentified object over Alaska, while on February 11, another object was downed over the Yukon Territory. On February 12, an object was shot down over Lake Huron, which had an octagonal structure with strings hanging off but no discernible payload. White House officials have said that the three unidentified flying objects shot down between February 10 and 12 posed a “very real” threat to civilian air traffic but were not sending out communications signals. There is no indication that people on the ground were in danger. The incidents have led to a diplomatic crisis, with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken canceling his planned trip to China.
The US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday condemning China’s balloon surveillance program as a violation of US sovereignty, amid growing concerns about the craft used by Beijing in a vast aerial spy program. The move was a rare and quick bipartisan rebuke of China by the US government. The 419-0 vote took place while lawmakers were being briefed in a classified session by US officials on the balloon that flew across American skies, which was shot down by the US military over the weekend. A Senate hearing was also held on the matter on Thursday as lawmakers continue to push for information about the balloons, their purpose, and their origins. “This resolution, I believe, sends a clear bipartisan signal to the CCP and our adversaries around the world that this action will not be tolerated,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.
Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and U.N. ambassador, announced her intention to seek the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. In her announcement video, she emphasized the importance of America’s founding principles and contrasted them with the despotic actions of authoritarian regimes like China and Iran. Haley’s defense of Israel and tough stance against anti-Semitic organizations like UNESCO earned her praise among conservatives. She also criticized those in the Trump administration who sought to undermine the lawful authority of the president. In addition, she vowed to take on the woke Left and defend American values. “Some look at our past as evidence that America’s founding principles are bad; they say the promise of freedom is just made-up,” Haley said in a video announcement released on Twitter. “Some think our ideas are not just wrong, but racist and evil. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence is expected to fight a subpoena from the special counsel investigating former President Donald Trump’s post-2020 election activities. The grounds for Pence’s defense are that he was president of the Senate at the time and thus protected from the order. Investigators are seeking testimony from Pence about his interactions with Trump leading up to the 2020 election and the day of the attack on the US Capitol. This subpoena is an important milestone in the Justice Department’s two-year criminal investigation into the efforts by Trump and his allies to impede the transfer of power after he lost the 2020 election. The subpoena also presents an opportunity for the Justice Department to override at least some of Trump’s claims of executive privilege. Pence is expected to make arguments based on the Constitution’s Speech or Debate Clause, which protects legislators from certain law enforcement actions related to their legislative duties.
SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, conducted a successful static fire test of Super Heavy, the largest rocket booster ever built. The purpose of the Super Heavy rocket booster is to send SpaceX’s Starship vehicle into orbit and then back to Earth. More than 110,000 people watched a livestream of the test, which was monitored by NASASpaceFlight.com. The livestream showed the launch stand enveloped in vapor when the propellants were introduced into the rocket. Frost rings appeared around the rocket as the tanks were filled with ultracold propellants. The vapor clouds dissipated once the tanks were filled, although they were not filled to capacity for the brief test. The successful test brings SpaceX one step closer to its goal of launching Starship into space.
A man has been charged with two felonies and hate crimes by the San Francisco district attorney for allegedly firing a weapon during a study session at a Chabad center. The man, Dmitri Valerie Mishin, is accused of entering the Schneerson Center and opening fire, as well as firing a weapon at a local theater the day before. He is charged with making threats that obstruct the exercise of religion, disturbing a religious meeting, and brandishing a replica firearm. The district attorney’s office has established a Vulnerable Victims Unit to prosecute hate crimes and crimes against seniors. “This is another deplorable example where our Jewish community has been targeted for who they are and what they believe,” Brooke Jenkins, San Francisco’s district attorney, said in a statement. “There is no doubt that anti-Semitism is real, and we must stand with our Jewish community against it.”
Fox Sports scored big with Super Bowl LVII, attracting an average of 113 million viewers across TV and streaming, according to preliminary measurements using Nielsen’s fast national data combined with Adobe Analytics. This is the highest audience for the Super Bowl since 2017. The final numbers will be available on Tuesday. In addition, the halftime show drew an average of 118.7 million viewers, making it the second most-watched halftime show ever, after 2015’s.
LeBron James made NBA history by surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s career points record of 38,387 with a step-back fadeaway during the Lakers’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Crypto.com Arena. He scored 46 points in total, and the game was halted briefly to celebrate the achievement with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Abdul-Jabbar, who presented James with the game ball. “I just want to say thank you to the Laker faithful, you guys are one of a kind,” James said. “To be able to be in the presence of such a legend and great as Kareem, it means so much to me. It’s very humbling. Please give a standing ovation to the captain, please.”
Thousands attended the funeral on Motzaei Shabbos of Asher Menachem Paley, the eight-year-old boy who was murdered in a ramming attack in the Ramot neighborhood of Jerusalem together with his younger brother Yaakov Yisrael. The terrorist who committed the attack was identified as Hossein Karaka, 31, from east Jerusalem’s Isawiya neighborhood, killing the two children and a young man and injuring four others. The terrorist was shot by off-duty and other arriving police officers. Posts on the terrorist’s Facebook account were found to glorify Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorists. Following the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to seal and demolish the terrorist’s home and offered his condolences to the victims’ families.
The “White Helmets,” a volunteer organization in Syria, has declared an official mourning period in north and northwestern Syria following a catastrophic earthquake that hit the region. They will fly flags at half-staff for seven days to mourn the victims in both countries, and the operation to recover bodies will continue. The group formed during the Syrian civil war and performs tasks such as medical evacuation and urban search and rescue in response to bombings. The earthquake has resulted in over 36,000 deaths and tens of thousands of injuries in Syria and Turkey.
China accused the United States of flying more than 10 high-altitude balloons in its airspace without permission during the past year, following the U.S. accusation that Beijing operates a fleet of surveillance balloons worldwide. The United States, however, denied operating any surveillance balloons over China. The Chinese statement came after the U.S. shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon that had crossed from Alaska to South Carolina, which has led to a new crisis in the two countries’ relations, currently at their lowest level in decades. Wang Wenbin, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson, did not provide any further details about the alleged U.S. balloons, including how they had been dealt with or whether they had government or military links. “It is also common for U.S. balloons to illegally enter the airspace of other countries,” Wang said at a daily briefing. “Since last year, U.S. high-altitude balloons have illegally flown over China’s airspace more than 10 times without the approval of Chinese authorities.”
By QJL Staff