NEW YORK NEWS

 Left-wing activists in New York City, disrupting subway services by jumping on the tracks during a clash with the police over the death of Jordan Neely. Neely died after a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Daniel Penny, subdued him with the help of another passenger when Neely began behaving aggressively and making threats in the subway.

Despite the incident having no involvement of law enforcement, leftists attacked police officers. Neely had a history of violent and erratic behavior due to untreated mental illness, and Penny’s attorney expressed condolences and emphasized the need for addressing the mental health crisis. Neely had been arrested 42 times in the past decade, with his latest arrest being for felony assault in November 2021.

 National Grid, a natural gas and electric utility company, has proposed significant rate hikes for its New York City and Long Island customers. The proposed increases are 17% for gas use in New York City and 16% for Long Island residents, citing inflationary costs and government green-energy requirements as reasons. This would result in an estimated monthly bill increase of $30.95 for customers in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens, and about $28.52 for Long Island and Rockaway Peninsula residents. The proposed rate hikes will be subject to hearings and approval by the state Public Service Commission. National Grid attributes a large portion of the increase to federal and state safety mandates, property taxes, and costs related to meeting climate targets. The proposed rate hikes coincide with a recent decision to ban gas stoves in new housing construction, emphasizing the shift towards electric stoves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 Rockland County officials have declared a state of emergency to prevent New York City from relocating migrants to their county. The declaration prohibits other municipalities from bringing and housing migrants there and requires proper licensing for hotels and motels accommodating migrants. The town board of Orangetown is holding a meeting to discuss ways to prevent Mayor Adams’ plan to bus migrants from city shelters to their area. The city’s shelter system has reached its capacity, leading to the decision to house migrants upstate. Rockland officials expressed frustration over the lack of notice regarding the arrival of 340 single adult men in a local hotel. Mayor Adams has been criticized for shipping migrants to municipalities without adequate infrastructure, leading to strained resources. New York City has received around 61,000 migrants since last spring, and over 37,000 are currently in city-operated or funded shelters.

 The White House press office excluded The New York Post from attending President Biden’s public event on Monday, coinciding with the nearing decision of federal prosecutors on potentially charging Hunter Biden for tax fraud and other crimes. The Post has extensively covered the president’s connections to his family’s foreign business dealings and was the first to report on files from Hunter’s laptop that link Joe Biden to ventures in China and Ukraine. Biden, who previously dismissed The Post’s reporting as Russian disinformation, appeared with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to discuss airline policies but did not take any questions. The White House email cited the inability to accommodate The Post’s credential request, suggesting the event could be live-streamed instead. The Post is one of the top news websites in terms of US readership and has a significant online and print presence.

 A state judge dismissed former President Donald Trump’s $100 million lawsuit against The New York Times, accusing the newspaper and its investigative reporters of pursuing his niece, Mary Trump, for confidential documents despite a settlement agreement. The judge ruled that the claims failed as a matter of constitutional law, emphasizing the protection of news gathering under the First Amendment. The judge also ordered Trump to pay the legal expenses of the newspaper and its reporters. The Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series exposed the Trump’s family wealth and tax practices, challenging his self-made image.

 

The USS Cooperstown, a U.S. Navy littoral combat ship, was commissioned to honor 70 Major League Baseball Hall of Fame players who served in the military during wartime. The ship is named after the New York village where the Hall of Fame is located. Hall of Famers Joe Torre and Johnny Bench participated in the ceremony, with Torre giving remarks and Bench presenting a nautical telescope. The honored players served in conflicts ranging from the Civil War to the Korean War, including notable names like Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Ted Williams, and Willie Mays. The ship’s motto is “America’s Away Team,” and it will sail to its base in Mayport, Florida, from New York City.

 

 

US NEWS

 The Federal Reserve announced a 0.25% increase in the target federal funds rate, signaling a slowdown in rate hikes aimed at combating inflation. Despite facing the collapse of three regional banks, the Fed is taking a cautious approach. The rate hikes aim to decrease inflation by raising the cost of borrowing, although they also slow down the economy. The recent target rate increase comes as inflation remains elevated, supply chain issues persist, and labor shortages continue. The announcement also follows the collapse of First Republic Bank and the struggles of other regional banks. The Federal Reserve anticipates a recession by the end of the year but expects a subsequent recovery in the following two years.

 The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate slightly decreased this week, providing some relief for homebuyers amidst a shortage of available properties and intense competition in the housing market. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped to 6.39% from 6.43% the previous week. Although rates had been falling for five consecutive weeks before a recent increase, this week’s decline is seen as positive news for prospective buyers who have faced challenges due to high inflation and previous rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. However, the low inventory of homes for sale continues to impact affordability and hinder the spring homebuying season.

Despite economic headwinds and signs of slowing growth, the unemployment rate in April reached an historically low level of 3.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of new jobs added exceeded analysts’ expectations, with 253,000 positions created. Sectors such as scientific and technical services, business services, and healthcare saw significant job gains. However, temporary help services experienced losses. The labor market remains strong amid record inflation and supply chain challenges, although low labor force participation and slower wage growth compared to price levels are impacting purchasing power for households. The financial sector continues to face unease, with several bank collapses and stock market turmoil. The Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point increase in the target federal funds rate, while economic growth slowed to 1.1% in the first quarter.

 

Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will be leaving her position at the end of next month. As CDC director, Walensky played a key role in the Biden administration’s Covid-19 response, overseeing the nationwide vaccine rollout and the controversial federal worker vaccination requirement. She will officially conclude her duties on June 30. President Biden praised her leadership and contributions to public health, noting that the CDC is now better equipped to handle health threats. However, Walensky faced criticism for granting teachers union officials privileged access to shape Covid guidelines, resulting in controversial provisions for school closures. Critics of the government’s Covid response argue that inconsistent guidance from senior officials, including Anthony Fauci, has undermined trust in public health agencies.

 

Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and three other members of the far-right extremist group were found guilty of seditious conspiracy in connection with a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. A jury in Washington, D.C. convicted Tarrio and his lieutenants after a trial that lasted over three months. The verdict marks a significant milestone for the Justice Department, as it secures convictions against leaders of extremist groups involved in the January 6 insurrection. Tarrio and his associates were also convicted of other charges related to the attack. The trial’s outcome could strengthen the Justice Department’s efforts in investigating former President Trump, who is facing scrutiny for his role in the events of January 6.

 TurboTax’s owner, Intuit Inc., has been ordered to pay $141 million to around 4.4 million Americans who qualified for free tax services but were deceived into paying for TurboTax. The settlement, led by the New York Attorney General’s Office, was reached in May 2022 and covers the tax years 2016, 2017, and 2018. Eligible consumers will receive restitution payments automatically without needing to file a claim. Checks will be mailed starting next week, ranging from $29 to $85 per eligible consumer based on the number of tax years they qualify for. The settlement was a result of a ProPublica report that uncovered TurboTax’s deceptive marketing tactics, steering low-income filers away from free federal services they were eligible for.

 Cryptocurrency trading platform Bittrex has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, estimating between $500 million and $1 billion in assets and liabilities. The bankruptcy filing covers Bittrex entities in the United States and Malta, but not Bittrex Global GmbH. Bittrex Global CEO Oliver Linch stated that customer funds on the platform are safe and secure, and the bankruptcy proceedings will allow the court to return them to customers. The bankruptcy filing comes after Bittrex and its former CEO were charged by the SEC for securities violations, and the exchange faced charges related to Bank Secrecy Act violations, resulting in a settlement payment of around $29 million.

 

 

Israel NEWS

 

Israeli airstrikes targeted and killed three senior members of the Islamic Jihad terror group in Gaza, resulting in explosions and escalating tensions in the region. The Israeli Air Force carried out the strikes in response to rocket attacks launched by Islamic Jihad days earlier. The Israel Defense Forces identified the targeted individuals as Khalil Bahtini, Jihad Ghanem, and Tareq Izz ed-Din, who held key positions within Islamic Jihad. The Palestinian terror factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, vowed to retaliate, and the situation remains highly volatile.

 Israeli security forces carried out a raid in the West Bank, resulting in the killing of three Palestinians accused of murdering a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters. The operation, involving the army, police, and Shin Bet, targeted two members of the militant group Hamas and an alleged accomplice. The victims were identified as the perpetrators of the attack on the woman and her daughters, which occurred in April. The raid took place in Nablus, and two M-16 rifles and an AK-47 were recovered from the suspects’ hideout. The incident follows recent violence along the Gaza border and brings the total number of casualties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this year to 105 Palestinians and 21 Israelis.

 

El Al will be canceling Saturday night flights between the UK and Israel during the summer months in order to observe Shabbos. The decision was made by the airline’s new owner and controlling shareholder, Kenny Rozenberg, who is Orthodox Jewish. Previously, El Al provided a Saturday night flight from the UK after Shabbat ended, but it will no longer be offered during Daylight Saving Time due to the check-in process starting shortly before Shabbos ends. Passengers who have already booked tickets for the canceled flights will be offered alternative options or refunds. The company cited the change in Shabbos end times and restrictions at Heathrow Airport as reasons for the adjustments to the flight schedule.

Israel’s cabinet has approved the initial phase of a plan to construct electricity storage facilities that will address the needs of charedi citizens who adhere to Shabbos restrictions on using energy produced during that time. The storage facilities will also contribute to overcoming the challenge of intermittent renewable energy sources by providing stored electricity when needed. The plan involves the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) building a pilot facility to assess its technological feasibility and connection to the national power grid. It must be sold to the private sector within three years to prevent a monopoly. The plan will not result in increased prices for all consumers, and cross-subsidization will be avoided.

 

The Israeli Cabinet has made a historic decision to commemorate Jews who were killed in anti-Semitic attacks abroad, regardless of their citizenship. The move aims to strengthen the bond between Israel and global Jewry in light of the recent surge in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide. The proposal was initiated by Yaakov Hagoel of the World Zionist Organization, who emphasized the inseparable connection between Jews in the Diaspora and Israel. Minister for Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli brought the proposal to the Cabinet, and his ministry will develop recommendations for recognizing victims of anti-Semitic attacks as victims of terrorism. The decision has been hailed as significant for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, highlighting the unity and mutual support necessary for security and prosperity.

 

US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides is set to leave his post over the summer after serving for two years. Nides informed US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken of his intention during a recent visit to Washington. The decision, attributed to personal reasons, was confirmed by the US Embassy. Nides has worked with three different Israeli prime ministers during his tenure, and his term included efforts by Israel to join the US Visa Waiver Program, which still requires meeting certain requirements.

 

 

WORLD NEWS

 

King Charles III’s coronation ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey, with the monarch expressing his commitment to service in his opening remarks. The highlight of the ceremony was the crowning moment, where Charles wore the St. Edward’s Crown and held two golden scepters. Queen Camilla was also crowned alongside him. The event incorporated elements of religious diversity, with leaders from various faiths participating, and female clergy playing a prominent role. The public was invited to participate in a “chorus of millions of voices,” although this move received criticism. The royal couple arrived in a modern horse-drawn coach but returned in the more traditional Gold State Coach.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that Covid-19 is no longer a global health emergency. The decision was made by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee after discussing the pandemic at its 15th meeting. While the virus continues to spread and evolve, WHO officials believe that the level of concern has decreased. The public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) declaration, which was in place since January 2020, will end. However, WHO emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant and prepared for future waves of the virus. The organization stated that Covid-19 has had a significant impact and serves as a reminder to improve pandemic preparedness, coordination, and equity in the future.

 

Russia has accused the United States of orchestrating an alleged drone attack on the Kremlin, which Moscow claims was a foiled assassination plot against President Vladimir Putin. Two drones reportedly crashed into the Kremlin, but no property or people were harmed. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov blamed the United States, stating that decisions regarding such terrorist attacks are made in Washington. However, U.S. national security spokesman John Kirby denied the allegations and emphasized that the United States had no involvement in the incident. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also denied Russia’s accusations, stating that Ukraine does not attack Putin or Moscow. The source of the drones remains unknown, but speculation suggests it could be an attempt by Ukraine to target symbolic Russian locations or an effort by Russia to escalate conflict with Ukraine.

 

Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, has started testing an early warning system developed by Israel to detect and alert incoming Russian strikes as part of a pilot program. Ukrainian officials aim to install the alert system in Kyiv over the next two months, providing alerts without interception capabilities. While Ukraine had requested missile interceptor capabilities from Israel, Israeli leaders have been hesitant due to the need to maintain relations with both Ukraine and Russia. The system in Ukraine will have broader coverage, triggering alerts in a general area where a Russian missile is expected to hit, while the Israeli system works with greater precision. The deployment of the system in other Ukrainian cities may follow if the pilot program proves successful.

 The Arab League has readmitted Syria as a member after an 11-year suspension, following an extraordinary meeting at the organization’s headquarters in Cairo. The decision, effective immediately, comes as member states seek to resolve the Syrian crisis and take practical steps towards that goal. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could potentially participate in the upcoming Arab League summit if invited. The move is seen as symbolic but could pave the way for Assad’s international rehabilitation and the lifting of sanctions. Syria has faced severe economic consequences due to Western sanctions, resulting in high levels of poverty and food insecurity for the population.

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