NEW YORK NEWS
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has proposed new regulations that could force pizza establishments using wood- and coal-fired ovens to reduce emissions by up to 75%. This would require costly filtration systems to be installed, potentially impacting older pizzerias like Lombardi’s and Grimaldi’s. If a shop cannot afford the system or accommodate its installation, they would have to seek leniency from the DEP. Critics argue that the filtration systems could alter the taste of the pizza. Many people believe the environmental impact of these rules would be negligible, while the potential harm to New York’s food culture would be significant. Furthermore, some find it ironic that the DEP justifies the rule on public health grounds, considering other policies like congestion-pricing and free drug accessory vending machines.
New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board voted 5-4 to allow rent increases of up to 6% for rent-regulated apartments, affecting around one million units. The decision permits building owners to raise monthly payments by 3% for one-year leases and caps increases for two-year leases at 2.75% in the first year and an additional 3.2% in the second year. The increases would apply to leases issued or renewed from October 2023 to September 2024. Landlords argued for larger hikes to cope with inflation and rising energy costs, while tenant advocates expressed concerns about affordability and potential evictions. The decision marks the first time since the Bloomberg administration that the Rent Board has approved increases of 3% or more for one-year leases.
Congestion pricing in New York City has received final approval from the Federal Highway Administration, clearing the way for the nation’s first program of its kind. Starting next year, drivers entering Manhattan south of 60th Street will be charged a fee aimed at reducing traffic and pollution while funding improvements to mass transit. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will determine the final toll rates, discounts, and exemptions. The MTA’s report proposed charging $23 for a rush-hour trip into Midtown and $17 during off-peak hours. The program is expected to generate $1 billion annually for the MTA, which will be used for capital projects. Congestion pricing has been implemented successfully in other cities, and supporters believe it will improve air quality, reduce congestion, and promote equity. However, opposition from taxi drivers, ride-share companies, and New Jersey leaders persists, with threats of legal action and concerns about environmental impacts and low-income communities.
Ajudge from the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Apple engaged in illegal practices at a New York City Apple Store, including conducting coercive interviews with employees and interfering with the distribution of union leaflets. This is the first time an administrative law judge has ruled against Apple, although the company has the option to appeal the decision. The judge found that an Apple Store supervisor had violated labor laws by questioning an employee about wage discussions and unionization efforts. Additionally, Apple managers were found to have targeted union literature for removal, including shredding pamphlets. The ruling requires Apple to cease these activities, post workplace notices acknowledging the violations, and inform employees of their labor rights. Apple currently faces four other labor complaints before the National Labor Relations Board.
In a party-line vote, the Republican-led House voted to formally rebuke Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) for his conduct during multiple investigations into former President Donald Trump. The resolution, passed by a vote of 213-209, accuses Schiff of misleading the American public and behaving inappropriately as an elected member of the House. Democrats responded with chants of “shame” and applause for Schiff. The resolution calls for Schiff to report to the House chamber for the censure and urges the House Ethics Committee to investigate his conduct. This makes Schiff the 25th member of the House to be censured.
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, known as “America’s Rabbi,” has passed away. He was a passionate conservative who fearlessly spoke out against the radical left and boldly expressed support for President Donald Trump. He criticized acts of vengeance against Trump, warned against the erosion of Judeo-Christian values, and opposed efforts to silence conservative voices. He defended innocent Catholic boys from Covington Catholic High School and led a sit-in protesting Nancy Pelosi’s support of anti-Jewish Democrats. Remembered for his intellectual prowess, courage, and dedication to conservative values, Rabbi Spero’s passing is mourned by those who admired him.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has suggested the possibility of impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland following whistleblower testimonies alleging interference in a criminal investigation to protect President Biden’s family. The allegations, released by House Ways and Means Committee chairman Jason Smith (R-MO), claim that Garland impeded U.S. Attorney David Weiss’ investigation into Hunter Biden, including denying special counsel protection and blocking indictments. McCarthy called for further investigation and stated that if the allegations were true, they could be part of a larger impeachment inquiry into Garland’s misuse of the Department of Justice. In response, a spokesperson for the White House counsel’s office accused McCarthy and House Republicans of lacking a positive agenda and attempting to distract from other issues. Garland has denied the allegations, asserting that Weiss had full authority to bring charges and that he never received a request for special counsel status. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jim Jordan also mentioned the potential impeachment of the president if the whistleblower allegations were substantiated.
The U.S. Navy detected an implosion or explosion near the location where the Titan submersible, which went missing while exploring the Titanic wreckage, lost communications. The Navy’s acoustic data analysis revealed the anomaly, and the information was shared with the search and rescue mission. OceanGate, the company operating the submersible, confirmed that all five individuals on board have tragically died. Debris found on the ocean floor indicated a catastrophic loss of the pressure chamber, making it challenging to recover the bodies due to intense pressures at the ocean’s depths. Experts stated that the implosion would have been instantaneous and the individuals onboard would not have known what was happening.
Republican lawmakers in Montana, Tennessee, and Kansas have reported receiving letters containing white powder, prompting investigations by federal agents. Montana Governor Greg Gianforte expressed concern over the anonymous threats sent to legislators, while the Montana attorney general urged caution and immediate contact with law enforcement if suspicious packages are received. Similar incidents occurred in Tennessee and Kansas, where Republican officials received letters with white powder, accompanied by threats targeting Republicans. The FBI stated that ongoing lab tests did not indicate any public safety risks, and preliminary tests in Kansas did not detect dangerous toxins or result in any injuries.
The Biden administration has issued guidance to limit scientific and technological cooperation in areas beyond the 1949 armistice line, which refers to territories regained by Israel in the 1967 war, signaling its disapproval of Israel’s plans to construct homes in Judea and Samaria. This decision represents a shift back to the policy of the Obama era and reverses the Trump administration’s initiative to remove geographic restrictions on joint U.S.-Israel development projects. The Biden administration’s guidance aligns with the long-standing U.S. position that the final disposition of these areas should be determined through a negotiated two-state solution.
Honda is recalling nearly 1.2 million vehicles due to a rearview camera issue where the images may not appear on the dashboard screen. The recall affects Passport SUVs from 2019 to 2023, Pilot SUVs from 2019 to 2022, and some Odyssey minivans from 2018 to 2023. The problem is attributed to an improperly manufactured coaxial cable connector, which can cause a loss of communication and result in the rearview camera function failing when the vehicle is in reverse gear. This increases the risk of accidents or injuries. Honda will replace the cable harness and provide a straightening cover over the connector at no cost to owners. Reimbursement is available for those who have already paid for repairs. Notification letters will be sent to affected owners on July 24.
According to a report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities caused by vehicle accidents in the United States have reached the highest level since 1981. The report, based on state government data from 49 states and Washington, D.C., revealed that at least 7,508 pedestrians were struck and killed in 2022. This marks a significant increase in pedestrian deaths over the past decade, with a 77 percent rise from 2010 to 2021. Factors contributing to this alarming trend include more risky driving during the Covid-19 pandemic and inadequate awareness and enforcement of pedestrian safety laws. The report highlights the need for improved infrastructure, lower driving speeds, and targeted traffic enforcement to address this crisis and reduce pedestrian fatalities.
According to film box office analyst Valliant Renegade, Disney has suffered significant financial losses on its last eight film releases, totaling nearly $900 million in the past year. Renegade measured the films’ performances against their marketing budgets and Disney’s return on investment (ROI). Taking into account production budgets, global prints and ads costs, and box office revenues, he estimated that Disney incurred a loss of $890 million. Renegade also highlighted the economic opportunity costs Disney faced by refusing to license its films to other streaming services, which could have generated additional revenue. By keeping content exclusive to Disney+, the company missed out on potential earnings from licensing agreements with platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Fox News has announced that Jesse Watters will take over the 8 p.m. timeslot, which was left vacant after Tucker Carlson’s departure from the network in April. The new primetime schedule will feature Laura Ingraham at 7 p.m., Sean Hannity at 9 p.m., Greg Gutfeld at 10 p.m., and Trace Gallagher hosting the news hour at 11 p.m. Carlson’s exit was announced in April, following a settlement between Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems. The departure had a significant impact on Fox Corporation’s stock, causing it to plummet by $1 billion. In the first quarter of 2023, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” ranked as the highest-rated program in cable news among the younger demographics. Jesse Watters, who joined Fox News in 2002, has been hosting “Watters’ World” on Saturday nights and co-hosting “The Five,” which is now Fox News’ highest-rated program.
Ryan Seacrest, the renowned host and entertainer, is set to become the next host of the iconic game show “Wheel of Fortune,” taking over from long-time host Pat Sajak in 2024. This swift decision by Sony Pictures Television, the show’s producer, reflects their confidence in the enduring popularity of “Wheel of Fortune” despite the decline of traditional television. Seacrest’s appointment aims to avoid the kind of succession turmoil faced by another hit game show, “Jeopardy!” where the search for a replacement became a lengthy process. Vanna White, Sajak’s co-host, is in negotiations to continue with the show, ensuring some continuity. Seacrest’s task will be to fill the shoes of a host who has become synonymous with the show, similar to Bob Barker with “The Price is Right” and Alex Trebek with “Jeopardy!” “Wheel of Fortune” remains a highly popular program, with millions of viewers tuning in each night, making hosting such a game show a coveted role in the entertainment industry.
Israel’s security agency has detained three Israeli settlers suspected of involvement in violent rampages through Palestinian towns in the West Bank following the killing of four Israelis. The arrests have been welcomed by rights groups, but criticism remains over the wider lack of accountability for Israeli settlers. The attacks, which involved the burning and vandalization of Palestinian homes and cars, have highlighted tensions and the need for accountability in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli military has acknowledged its failure to prevent the settler attacks, while the Palestinian Authority faces pressure to protect its people from settler violence.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a temporary halt to a wind turbine project in the Golan Heights after clashes between Druze residents and police. The Druze community opposes the project, arguing that it will harm their agricultural output and that they were not properly consulted. Last week, protests erupted with residents storming a police station and engaging in violent acts. Netanyahu’s decision to pause the project during the Eid al-Adha holiday aims to allow for talks and defuse the crisis. The Golan Heights, captured by Israel from Syria in 1967, is considered occupied territory by the international community, although Israel annexed it in 2019.
According to sources, the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, has assisted Cyprus in cracking an Iranian terror cell and thwarting a planned attack on Israeli targets. The Prime Minister’s Office praised the operation, stating that Israel will continue to act against Iranian terror. This collaboration between Israel and Cyprus is not the first, as they have previously worked together to prevent Iranian plots targeting Israelis. In another incident, Greek police disrupted a foreign terrorist network operating in Greece, with the Mossad’s help in identifying its connection to Iran’s global terror operations. The incidents highlight Iran’s ongoing attempts to use terrorism against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to visit China for the first time in six years. Talks are underway between Netanyahu’s office and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s office to coordinate the visit, where he is expected to meet with Xi and other senior government officials. The trip, initially rumored to take place in July, is likely to be scheduled for the fall. The visit to China is seen as a signal to Washington that Israel has alternative foreign policy options, as Netanyahu has not yet received an invitation from the White House. The visit will also involve discussions on efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia and potentially involve Beijing in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to take punitive measures against those challenging his authority, accusing them of “treason” and “betrayal” for questioning the war in Ukraine and occupying a key Russian military headquarters. Yevgeny Prigozhin, a mercenary warlord leading the Wagner military group, has criticized the war in Ukraine and reportedly seized control of the Russian military headquarters in Rostov-on-Don. Putin has promised consequences for those involved, implementing a “counterterrorist regime” in Moscow and calling for Prigozhin’s arrest. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sees this unrest as a sign of Russian weakness. The situation reflects tensions between Russia and Western nations, with Putin citing opposition as a “stab in the back.”
Electoral workers in Guatemala are tallying votes to determine which two candidates from a large pool of contenders will advance to a runoff in the presidential election. While some incidents disrupted voting in certain areas, the overall process was reported to be orderly and peaceful. Many Guatemalans expressed disappointment with their presidential choices after three opposition candidates were excluded, leading to an expectation of a significant number of null ballots and potentially low turnout. With no candidate near the 50% threshold for an outright victory, a second round of voting between the top two finishers is highly likely. The election takes place against a backdrop of frustration over issues such as crime, poverty, corruption, and government actions against anti-corruption activists.