NEW YORK NEWS
Protests and arrests unfolded in New York as demonstrators expressed opposition to the city’s migrant housing plans, a recurrent occurrence amidst rising tensions over the proliferation of migrant shelters across neighborhoods. Notably, Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, was among those arrested for the second time in weeks, citing concerns that senior citizens were being displaced by migrants in housing allocation.
The situation has led to heightened backlash, particularly in relation to resources for children. Democrats, including Mayor Eric Adams, have sought assistance from the Biden administration to manage the migrant influx, while Republicans highlight perceived disparities in how these protestors are treated compared to past rioters. Despite the city’s Democratic leaning, a significant portion of New Yorkers view the migrant influx as a serious issue. Governor Kathy Hochul’s announcement of utilizing an airfield for housing offers temporary relief but fails to address the underlying challenge that is likely to persist.
The Biden administration has responded to New York City’s plea for assistance in handling the influx of migrants seeking asylum by addressing “structural and operational issues” in the city’s response to the crisis. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas sent letters to city and state officials, outlining about two dozen recommendations to strengthen migrant operations. These issues pertain to governance, organization, personnel, information flow, data collection, planning, case management, and communication. The letters sparked further disagreements among Democratic leaders as the influx of migrants strains city resources and tensions rise between local and federal authorities over the handling of the crisis. The key request for expedited work permits for migrants remains unaddressed.
New York state officials, including Attorney General Letitia James and state Education Commissioner Betty Rosa, have issued a legal threat to schools that obstruct or create difficulties for undocumented immigrant children attempting to enroll in public schools. The officials identified “discriminatory” enrollment policies in some districts, such as demanding a voter ID from parents or requiring recent proofs of residency for families without formal leases. The state asserts that such policies contravene education regulations and could lead to legal consequences for the schools. The officials emphasized that migrant and homeless children, aged 5 to 21, are entitled to public education in New York regardless of residency documentation or other typical enrollment requirements. The move comes amid a migrant crisis in the city, with over 100,000 migrants arriving since April of the previous year.
Madison Square Garden, renowned as the world’s most famous arena, seems to have lost its bid for perpetual operation atop Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan. New York City Council committees have voted to grant Madison Square Garden Entertainment a five-year operating permit, half the duration of its previous 10-year permit. If the City Council ratifies this decision in September, it will mark the shortest permit in the Garden’s history. The issue revolves around the arena’s impact on Penn Station, causing challenges for commuters due to the arena’s presence above the station. The Garden’s future remains uncertain as debates continue regarding Penn Station’s renovation.
A shooting in Jacksonville, Florida, described by local officials as a “racially motivated” hate crime, resulted in multiple deaths, with the assailant, a white male in his early 20s, targeting black individuals. The incident occurred at a Dollar General store, where the shooter killed at least three people before taking his own life. The suspect left behind several manifestos, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis condemning the act and describing the shooter’s actions as cowardly and unacceptable. During a prayer vigil following the tragedy, DeSantis assured that funds were being identified to enhance security at Edward Waters College and similar institutions, emphasizing the need to prevent such targeting. While some attendees applauded, a few protested, prompting Councilmember Ju’Coby Pittman to address the non-partisan nature of the situation and appreciate the support. DeSantis pledged his commitment to protect historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), drawing parallels to efforts to safeguard Jewish schools from anti-Semitic violence.
Former President Donald J. Trump’s trial for alleged involvement in contesting the 2020 election results has been scheduled for March 4, 2024, by U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. This date, just before Super Tuesday in the GOP Primary, has sparked controversy among conservatives on social media. Chutkan rejected both the federal prosecutors’ suggestion for a January trial and Trump’s legal team’s request for April 2026, asserting that neither proposal was acceptable. Chutkan dismissed the idea that the trial date should accommodate Trump’s potential third presidential bid, emphasizing that legal obligations take precedence. Trump’s attorney criticized the trial’s scheduling, labeling it a “show trial” rather than a speedy one. The defense argued that an early 2024 date would not allow sufficient time for evidence examination during discovery. Trump was recently indicted on various federal charges related to election interference. Many right-wing figures criticized Chutkan’s chosen trial date as “election interference” and accused her of political bias.
An employee at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, referred to as “Trump Employee 4,” has turned against the former president in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s criminal case regarding Trump’s handling of classified records post-presidency. This employee initially testified before a grand jury but changed his testimony after rejecting legal representation recommended by Trump’s political action committee. The employee’s shift in testimony was revealed in a court filing by Smith’s team, explaining that he had been involved in attempts to delete Mar-a-Lago security footage after a subpoena was issued for it. This change in testimony created a conflict of interest for the employee’s original attorney, prompting the individual to seek new counsel. Subsequently, the employee retracted the false testimony and provided information that implicated others, including Trump, in efforts to delete security camera footage, as outlined in the indictment.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy stated in a recent interview that Democrats are growing apprehensive about the potential impeachment of President Joe Biden by the Republican-controlled House. Speaking on “Sunday Morning Futures,” McCarthy mentioned ongoing investigations into the Biden family and alleged bribes tied to the firing of a Ukrainian prosecutor investigating Burisma, a company where Hunter Biden served on the board. McCarthy pointed out new information emerging each week, including whistleblowers and contradictions in statements made by the Bidens. He highlighted concerns over the use of shell companies, foreign payments, and Biden’s claim of leveraging American tax dollars to influence Ukraine. McCarthy emphasized that there are still many questions to be answered and suggested the possibility of an impeachment inquiry to uncover the truth. He noted that even some Democrats have expressed concern as they discover discrepancies in what President Biden has previously stated.
After Maui County released a list of 388 individuals unaccounted for following a devastating wildfire, more than 100 of them or their relatives promptly confirmed their safety, according to the FBI. The agency is now reviewing the provided information to remove these names from the list. The names had been part of a larger list of up to 1,100 people reported missing, with Maui County including those with verified contact information and first and last names in their release. The FBI expressed gratitude for the cooperation and stated that this allows them to focus more resources on individuals still unaccounted for.
Shares of Hawaiian Electric (HECO) surged over 40% following the utility company’s statement that it was not responsible for the recent wildfires in Maui. The electric utility clarified that its power lines were shut down for hours before the deadly blaze that devastated the island, and that the fires that destroyed the town of Lahaina and resulted in fatalities were caused by a different fire that couldn’t be contained by the county’s fire department. Maui County had filed a lawsuit accusing Hawaiian Electric of negligently failing to shut off power, but the utility asserted that the lawsuit was “factually and legally irresponsible.” Despite the stock’s rally, shares are still down over 60% since the wildfires.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the possibility of further interest rate hikes in a speech during the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium in Wyoming. Powell noted that despite previous policy tightening, inflation remains higher than desired, and the Fed is prepared to raise rates again if needed, maintaining a restrictive policy stance until they are confident inflation is moving towards the target. The Fed has already raised the federal funds rate to 5.5% to curb inflation, but economic growth has exceeded expectations. Other central bank officials and experts at the conference echoed Powell’s uncertainty about the economy’s trajectory, with some comparing the current situation to a hiker navigating a trail that has disappeared, indicating the challenge of determining the optimal path for monetary policy.
The Royal Auction House in Toms River, N.J., is set to auction the “world’s smallest Gemara ever printed,” an edition of tractate Sukkah from 1722, measuring approximately 3.5 inches in size. This unique tiny edition was printed in Frankfurt, Germany, and is speculated to have been designed for easy transportation. The book contains only the text of the Gemara without typical commentaries and is believed to have aided in memorization. The auction house estimates it will sell for $4,000 to $6,000 and notes a historical anecdote where the book’s original owner wrote on the last page that the bookbinder had cut too close, covering some words, with the inscription restoring the lost words.
Bob Barker, the iconic host of The Price Is Right for 35 years, passed away at the age of 99 at his Los Angeles home due to natural causes. Barker, known for his warmth and charisma, collected 19 Emmys over his career and retired in 2007. He gained fame for hosting Truth or Consequences before taking over The Price Is Right, which he hosted for 35 years. Beyond his hosting role, Barker occasionally made notable film and television appearances, including a memorable cameo in Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore. He was a vocal advocate for animal rights and famously ended each episode with the phrase, “This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population — have your pets spayed or neutered.” His commitment to animal welfare led to a feud with Betty White over the care of an elephant at the Los Angeles Zoo. Despite his feuds, Barker was loved by fans for his people-oriented and good-natured hosting style.
2024 Presidential Race
Following his arrest in Georgia on charges related to the 2020 election, former President Donald Trump’s campaign experienced a significant boost in fundraising, amassing $7.1 million within 48 hours. The campaign strategically sold merchandise featuring Trump’s mugshot, and Friday marked a remarkable fundraising day, contributing $4.18 million to the total. Over the last three weeks, the campaign’s funds have surged to nearly $20 million, aligning with a separate 2020 election indictment in Washington, D.C., and Trump’s booking in Atlanta. Trump’s fundraising efforts have propelled him ahead in both GOP polling and fundraising. Federal Election Commission records indicate that he raised a substantial $35 million in the second quarter and retained $22.5 million in cash reserves, outperforming other contenders like Ron DeSantis and Tim Scott. While DeSantis secured $20.1 million and Scott reported a formidable $21 million cash on hand at the end of June, a considerable amount of funds is directed toward legal expenses as Trump grapples with multiple indictments. Despite these dynamics, several GOP candidates managed to meet fundraising and polling criteria to participate in the initial 2024 Republican primary debate held in Milwaukee last week. Notably, Trump opted out of the event, opting for an interview with Tucker Carlson instead.
Despite the absence of former President Donald J. Trump, the leading contender, the first Republican debate garnered strong interest with a viewership of 12.8 million, encompassing totals from both Fox News (11.1 million viewers) and the Fox Business Network (1.7 million). The audience outperformed other television broadcasts on Wednesday night, marking the most-watched cable telecast of the year outside of sports. Although not matching the record-setting 24 million viewers for the opening Republican debate in the 2016 election cycle or the 18.1 million viewers for an early Democratic debate in 2019, the figure exceeded some expectations considering Trump’s absence and the evolving television landscape. The debate featured eight candidates and significant discussion about Trump’s criminal indictments, emphasizing his notable absence.
A FiveThirtyEight/Washington Post/Ipsos poll conducted before and after the first 2024 Republican primary debate indicates that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gained the most support from Republican voters who watched the debate, with 29% considering him for the party’s nominee, surpassing former President Donald Trump. Nikki Haley saw the largest increase, rising from 30% to 47%. Another poll commissioned by the New York Post found Vivek Ramaswamy slightly ahead of DeSantis in terms of who viewers thought won the debate. DeSantis received the highest favorable rating at 72.4%, while Haley’s net favorability rose by 13 percentage points to 39%. Additionally, only 7% of Republican primary voters who did not watch the debate chose to watch Trump’s interview with Tucker Carlson, with other activities such as housework and alternative TV watching prevailing. The interview saw approximately 15 million people clicking and watching for at least 2 seconds, exceeding the live debate viewership of roughly 13 million.
A recent poll reveals that a majority of Americans, including around 70% of Democrats, believe President Joe Biden is too old for another presidential term, with approximately 69% of Democrats and 77% of voters overall expressing this view. Only 22% of respondents think Biden is not too old for re-election. The poll also featured word associations with Biden and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, wherein some Democrats mentioned Biden’s age negatively. About 74% of voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and Biden’s favorability ratings have declined, with 52% holding an unfavorable opinion of him. Disapproval ratings are particularly high for his handling of the economy (63% disapproval) and foreign policy (56% disapproval). Additionally, there’s a lack of confidence in his ability to manage the White House effectively (45% hardly any confidence). Corruption concerns and questions about Hunter Biden’s behavior continue to impact Biden’s image. Despite these challenges, Biden remains the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, polling at approximately 65.5%. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump leads the Republican nomination polls at 53%, despite facing legal challenges. The poll, conducted from August 10 to 14, surveyed 1,165 adults with a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.
An Israeli airstrike struck the international airport in Aleppo, northern Syria, causing damage to a runway and rendering it inoperable. The attack occurred around 4:30 a.m., and although there were no reported casualties, the airport’s runway was put out of service. This is not the first time the airport has been targeted this year, having previously been attacked in March, leading to its closure. Israel has conducted numerous strikes on targets within Syria, especially in government-controlled areas, often targeting Syrian military forces and Iranian-backed groups. These strikes are believed to be aimed at preventing arms shipments from Iran to militant groups, including Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Sierra Leone has announced its plan to establish an embassy in Jerusalem, becoming the sixth nation to do so. The decision was conveyed by President Julius Maada Bio after a discussion with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, highlighting the longstanding relations between the countries since Sierra Leone gained independence in 1961. This move aligns with Israel’s efforts to consolidate Jerusalem as its capital, and currently, the US, Guatemala, Honduras, Kosovo, and Paraguay have embassies there. While Israel considers Jerusalem its capital, international consensus is to determine the city’s final borders through negotiations with the Palestinians, and most nations have maintained their embassies in Tel Aviv.
In response to the recent diplomatic and political turmoil caused by Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s revelation of a secret meeting with his Libyan counterpart, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a directive on Tuesday. This directive mandates that all secret diplomatic gatherings must receive prior approval from his office. Additionally, Netanyahu has required that any disclosure of covert diplomatic meetings be granted a green light from the Prime Minister’s Office before publicizing. This directive seems to be an effort by Netanyahu to distance himself from the controversy ignited by Cohen’s revelation of his meeting with Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush. The meeting, held in Rome, sparked protests and outrage in Libya due to the country’s lack of formal recognition of Israel and widespread support for the Palestinian cause. Israeli officials and Mossad sources expressed concern that Cohen’s actions have caused significant damage to recent efforts to expand Israel’s ties with Arab nations. While Cohen claimed that the meeting was unplanned and informal, an Israeli official contradicted this, stating that it was coordinated at the highest levels in Libya and lasted about two hours. Notably, this directive mirrors actions taken by Libya’s leadership, which also claimed to have no prior knowledge of the meeting.
An avalanche of rocks rolled down a hillside onto a hiking trail near the Dead Sea in Israel, trapping individuals and resulting in the death of a 5-year-old boy and injuries to at least six others. The volunteer emergency service United Hatzalah and Israel’s Magen David Adom rescue service were involved in rescue efforts, with Israeli military helicopters airlifting victims to nearby hospitals. The victims, ranging from 4 to 40 years old, suffered varying degrees of injuries. The challenging terrain of the site added complexity to the rescue operation. The cause of the rockslide, occurring at the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve on the western shore of the Dead Sea, remains unclear.
Iran publicly showcased its domestically produced Mohajer-10 UAV drone, capable of reaching Israel, with an operational radius of 2,000 kilometers and a 24-hour airborne capability at an altitude of around 23,000 feet. The drone was presented on Defense Industry Day and was accompanied by other military hardware bearing the message “Prepare your shelters” in Hebrew and Persian, amidst repeated threats to Israel from Iran’s clerical regime. The drone can carry a 300-kilogram payload, reach a top speed of 210 kilometers per hour, and is equipped with electronic warfare and intelligence systems. In addition, the Arman-1 guided air-launched bomb was also unveiled at the event. An Iranian delegation visiting Moscow recently discussed ground forces cooperation between the two countries’ militaries, amid previous accusations of Iran selling drones to Russia for use in Ukraine, a claim Iran has denied.
Genetic testing has confirmed that Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group, died in a plane crash in the Tver Region north of Moscow. Prigozhin, who previously led a brief uprising against Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found to be one of the victims among several passengers who perished in the crash. The investigation established the identities of all 10 victims and found that the plane was traveling from Moscow to St. Petersburg. The U.S. military rejected claims that a surface-to-air missile was involved in the crash, and U.S. officials suspect a bomb explosion onboard. Prigozhin, once seen as a Putin ally, had tensions with the Russian military during the Ukraine conflict, leading an uprising that ended with his apparent exile to Belarus. After the crash, Putin acknowledged Prigozhin’s mistakes in life but also referred to him as a talented individual.
Libyan Prime Minister Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah has dismissed Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush in response to a growing backlash over her meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen in Rome. Although Mangoush portrayed the meeting as informal and unplanned, an Israeli official contradicted this, asserting that it was coordinated at the highest levels in Libya and lasted about two hours. The meeting has intensified internal political turmoil in Libya, as the country’s interim government, led by Dbeibah since 2021, already faces challenges to its legitimacy and efforts are underway to establish a new unified administration for national elections. The meeting between the foreign ministers has sparked protests in several Libyan cities due to the country’s lack of formal recognition of Israel and strong public support for the Palestinian cause.