Category Archives: U.S News

East Village Explosion

East Village Explosion, An off-duty FDNY firefighter and a bystander were being lauded as heroes last night when they fearlessly clambered up a fire escape in Manhattan’s East Village to rescue stranded residents following a restaurant gas explosion that injured 19, four of them critically.

The explosion triggered a fire in a building that housed a sushi restaurant and it then razed another five-story structure to the ground. The blaze continued smoldering well into early Friday morning.

Mayor Bill de Blasio thanked New York’s bravest for their rapid response to the emergency following the explosion at the Sushi Park restaurant on St Marks Place.

‘Thank you to our @FDNY heroes who arrived on site in #EastVillage within 2:47 minutes after getting the call,’ the mayor wrote on Twitter.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York, sounded a similar note, publicly expressing her gratitude to the ‘1st responders on the scene.’

Judge Allows Hearings On Summer Closings Of New York Nuclear Plant

Judge Allows Hearings On Summer Closings Of New York Nuclear Plant, A judge in New York has ruled Entergy Corp cannot stop hearings on the state’s plan to shut the company’s Indian Point nuclear power plant for part of the summer to protect fish in the Hudson River.

In a ruling late Tuesday, an administrative law judge at the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) rejected Entergy’s latest attempt to stop the state from shutting the plant, at least for part of the summer.

The ruling was the latest salvo in an eight-year battle between Entergy, which wants to run Indian Point for another 20 years, and the state, which wants the plant shut.

The 2,061-megawatt plant, located about 40 miles north of Manhattan, provides about a quarter of the power used in the New York City area.

The state’s power grid operator and local utilities have said the shutdown of the plant could threaten the reliability of the power grid and boost prices in the Big Apple.

The judge, Maria Villa, made the ruling on Entergy’s attempt to quash the DEC’s 2013 proposal that Indian Point shut for at least 42 days each year, between May 10 and Aug. 10, during prime fish migrations.

GOP Attacking Obama On All Fronts

GOP Attacking Obama On All Fronts, Newly-empowered congressional Republicans challenged President Barack Obama at both ends of the Capitol on Tuesday, voting in the House to repeal the health care program he signed into law but faltering in an initial Senate attempt to roll back immigration policies he issued on his own.

There was a third challenge as well, as Republican leaders announced the House would give final approval next week on legislation clearing the way for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. That would trigger Obama’s threatened veto, the first in a new era of divided government.

The skirmishes all seemed likely to end in eventual defeat for Republicans, but served as a potent reminder of their power after Obama challenged them bluntly last month with his State of the Union address and a no-balance budget on Monday calling for higher taxes and new spending. The GOP won control of the Senate in last fall’s elections, and has its largest House majority in nearly 70 years.

Badly beaten in last fall’s elections, Democrats were defiant.

“They’re baying at the moon, something that is not going to work,” said the party’s leader in the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, referring to Republicans as the health care vote neared.

Vaccine Debate Tests First-Time White House Hopefuls

Vaccine Debate Tests First-Time White House Hopefuls, For a pair of first-time presidential hopefuls, the sudden injection of the childhood vaccine debate into the 2016 campaign is a lesson in how unexpected issues can become stumbling blocks. Long-held positions can look different under the glare of the national spotlight.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, both weighing bids for the GOP presidential nomination, struggled this week to articulate their views on the emotionally charged vaccination controversy. The matter has taken on new resonance amid a frightening measles outbreak that has sickened more than 100 people across the U.S. and in Mexico.

Paul pushed back on criticism of his initial assertion that he was aware of “many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.” He issued a statement Tuesday denying immunizations cause disorders, saying they were just “temporally related.” He also posted a photo on Twitter of himself getting a booster for a vaccine.

Christie, in the midst of a three-day trip to the United Kingdom, took a different approach, canceling plans to speak to reporters Tuesday after his comments a day earlier caused a stir.

“Is there something you don’t understand about ‘No questions’?” Christie snapped at reporters Tuesday.

The measles outbreak has revived the discussion about parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, some out of fear that vaccines can lead to autism and developmental disorders – a claim that has been vigorously debunked by medical researchers.

It’s unclear whether the vaccine issue will have a long shelf life in a White House campaign that is only just beginning. But the ways prospective candidates handle unanticipated issues can help determine whether those subjects blow over or become nagging distractions that contenders can’t shake.

“Every day you want to go out with a message to voters, and every day there are a dozen trapdoors you don’t want to fall into,” said Robert Gibbs, a top adviser for both of Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns. “If you look at Chris Christie and Rand Paul, they fell into the trapdoors yesterday.”

Extreme Cold, Ice Reveal Faults In U.S. Northeast Mass Transit

Extreme Cold, Ice Reveal Faults In U.S. Northeast Mass Transit, Wicked winter weather gripping the northeastern United States exposed weaknesses in mass transit systems from Boston to New York, with commuters stranded on icy train platforms amid delays stretching into Tuesday.

A day after a deadly snowstorm slammed the region, extreme delays crippled Boston’s subways, including the most heavily traveled Red Line, which sees about 273,000 riders each day.

“A week of constant exposure to frigid temperatures, ice, and record snowfall has taken a major toll on the MBTA’s vehicles and infrastructure,” the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority said in a statement.

“We’re incredibly late and we’re incredibly annoyed,” Jeremiah Graves, 31, said as he and a companion waited for a bus to get to work after no train showed up at the Harvard stop.

“The decision should have been made yesterday to shut down everything and have time to clean up for today,” he said, referring to the second major storm in less than a week to pummel the Northeast. It was blamed for at least seven deaths, including some in the Midwest, where it struck first.

Police: LA School Shooting Plot Thwarted

Police: LA School Shooting Plot Thwarted, School officials learned of the plot on Thursday and notified detectives, who began watching the 16- and 17-year-old boys and monitoring their online activity, South Pasadena Police Chief Arthur Miller said.

The pair didn’t have a date for an attack or weapons, but their online messaging included the names of three staffers to target and threats to randomly kill students, Miller said.

They were also researching automatic firearms, handguns, knives, explosives and tactical techniques, he said.

“Three or four days’ worth of surveillance on the Internet indicated that they had a very real threat,” he said. “They had a plan in mind that they were going to execute.”

The names of the teens have not been released because of their ages. Police expect to present their case to the district attorney later in the day.

‘Coercion Tactics’ Used To Lure Amish Girls, Police Say

‘Coercion Tactics’ Used To Lure Amish Girls, Police Say, A northern New York couple used “coercion tactics” to lure two Amish sisters into their car during a kidnapping, the St. Lawrence County sheriff said today, a day after the couple was arrested.

Police arrested Stephen Howells II, 39, and Nicole Vaisey, 25, both of Hermon, late Friday. They were each charged with two counts of first-degree kidnapping, indicating that they intended to physically harm or sexually abuse the girls.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells said the couple and the children didn’t know each other but that the kidnapping was planned.

“The motive was to victimize children,” Wells said during a news conference. “The girls have been victims of crimes. That’s the only detail we’ll give.”

U.S. Launches Airstrikes To Help Retake Mosul Dam

U.S. Launches Airstrikes To Help Retake Mosul Dam, The United States has launched airstrikes around the Mosul Dam in northern Iraq in support of a ground operation by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the strategic dam which was seized by ISIS fighters earlier this month.

The status of the dam has been a concern for Iraq and the United States because a breach could release a torrent of water that could flood Mosul and possibly reach as far down as Baghdad.

U.S. officials confirm that fighter planes and drones launched airstrikes near the Mosul Dam. Earlier Saturday, Kurdish local media cited eyewitness reports that airstrikes had taken place by the dam on Friday night.

At the time it was unclear if the airstrikes had been launched by U.S. or Iraqi aircraft.

According to one official “the strikes are in support of ground operations” by Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the dam. The official labeled the strikes as significant.

The size of the Iraqi and Kurdish ground operation is unclear, but it would have to be sizable to counter the large number of ISIS fighters located at or near the dam. One U.S. official said it is believed that there are a few hundred ISIS fighters in the vicinity of the dam.