NEW YORK NEWS
The Board of Regents approved a new set of regulations that require private schools to prove that they are teaching the same core subjects that public schools are. The unanimous vote occurred without debate. The decision, which comes after increased scrutiny on Ultra-Orthodox schools, requires that the “substantially equivalent” education in math, reading, writing, science, and history must occur in English and taught by a competent teacher, although that teacher does not need to receive a license by the state. A group of rabbis are threatening to take the state to court, basing their case on a 1972 Supreme Court precedent which allowed religious exemptions for school curriculum.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor signed an order that temporarily blocks a New York judge’s order forcing Yeshiva University to recognize the “Pride Alliance” LGBT student club. The order, which had no dissents, was warmly welcomed by YU’s senior counsel. “Yeshiva shouldn’t have been forced to go all the way to the Supreme Court to receive such a commonsense ruling in favor of its First Amendment rights,” YU’s attorney Eric Baxter said in a statement. “We are grateful that Justice Sotomayor stepped in to protect Yeshiva’s religious liberty in this case.” The initial ruling from June claimed that Yeshiva University did not fit with state definitions of a religious corporation, which would excuse them from recognizing student clubs of protected groups.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) stated that commuters are no longer required to wear masks on public transportation. Governor Kathy Hochul claimed that “Starting today, masks will be optional,” as she received her booster shot. The only areas of New York that still have mask mandates are health facilities, which include nursing homes. The MTA immediately revised its numerous advertisements mandating the mask to one that simply encourages it, even if the mask is improperly worn under the nose or over the chin.
Governor Kathy Hochul has allowed her emergency powers granted to her by the State legislature to expire, marking another end of the COVID era in New York. Hochul, who has extended her emergency powers via executive order every 30 days since assuming office, claims that they are no longer necessary. “We’re watching the numbers. Right now we’re feeling comfortable that we can suspend them,” she said. The continued extension of her own authority was a consistent target for Gubernatorial challenger Lee Zeldin, who tweeted “Today, Kickback Kathy Hochul’s self-claimed COVID emergency powers finally come to an end. This should have happened a VERY long time ago. With this power, she suspended NY’s competitive bidding laws & awarded an overpriced $600M+ COVID testing contract to one of her top donors.”
Governor Hochul also declared a state of emergency over the increase in polio cases. After multiple counties in New York State discovered traces of the virus in wastewater, Hochul issued an order claiming “that a disaster has occurred in New York State, for which the affected local governments are unable to respond adequately, and I do hereby declare a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York through October 9, 2022.” The last naturally occurring case of polio was detected in 1979, and some are blaming the resurgence of the once-eradicated virus on “vaccine hesitancy.”
Steve Bannon, former advisor to President Donald Trump, was arrested and charged in Manhattan on fraud charges. Bannon is accused of defrauding contributors to a crowdfunding effort to construct a wall on the southern border, the same charges that he was accused of when Trump issued him a presidential pardon in the 11th hour. The pardon, which immunized Bannon from prosecution on the federal level, is ineffective against prosecution on the state level, something that Attorney General Letitia James and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg were eager to jump on. Bannon pled not guilty to two felony counts of money laundering, two felony counts of conspiracy, and one felony count of a scheme to defraud. If found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of 5 to 15 years on the most serious charge.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) released August inflation numbers, and they are worse than projected. While economists were expecting an 8.1% rise, the actual year-over-year rise is 8.3%, showing that the rate of inflation is not lowering as quickly as hoped. This includes increases in food, homes and medical services, which are continuing to rise even though other categories, like gasoline, contain falling prices. The Biden administration, which claimed last month that inflation was at 0%, is claiming victory that the prices are stagnating. “It will take more time and resolve to bring inflation down, which is why we passed the Inflation Reduction Act to lower the cost of healthcare, prescription drugs and energy,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “And my economic plan is showing that, as we bring prices down, we are creating good paying jobs and bringing manufacturing back to America.”
The Federal Reserve released their Q2 report on household wealth in the United States. From the beginning of April to the end of June, household wealth dropped $6.1 trillion dollars, a 4% decline. The value of direct and indirectly held corporate equities fell $7.7 trillion, but that was offset by the value of real estate, which increased $1.4 trillion. That growth in real estate benefits sellers, but is making home ownership more and more difficult, especially since household debt increased by 7.4%
Princeton University announced a new aid package to help prospective students from middle- and lower-income families. Students from families who have a household income of less than $100,000 will have completely free tuition, plus free room and board. For families making less than $150,000 per year, tuition plus room and board has been reduced from $80,000 per year to $12,500 per year. “One of Princeton’s defining values is our commitment to ensure that talented students from all backgrounds can not only afford a Princeton education but can flourish on our campus and in the world beyond it,” President Christopher L. Eisgruber said. “These improvements to our aid packages, made possible by the sustained generosity of our alumni and friends, will enhance the experiences of students during their time at Princeton and their choices and impact after they graduate.”
Brigham Young University (BYU) completed an investigation that racial slurs were shouted at a black Duke volleyball player named Rachel Richardson, claiming that there was no evidence that the heckling took place. Richardson claimed that during the August 26 match, “my fellow African American teammates and I were targeted and racially heckled throughout the entirety of the match. The slurs and comments grew into threats which caused us to feel unsafe.” Her godmother, who is running for a judge position in Texas, publicized the incident, prompting many in sports and media to attack BYU. BYU, in a statement, claimed that they “reviewed all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles taken by BYUtv of the match, with broadcasting audio removed (to ensure that the noise from the stands could be heard more clearly). We also reached out to more than 50 individuals who attended the event” and “have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the event.” Duke University Vice President and Director of Athletics Nina King responded by saying, “We unequivocally stand with and champion them, especially when their character is called into question.”
Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama returned to the White House for the unveiling of their official portraits. The unveiling was organized by the White House Historical Association, which has a goal to acquire portraits of all presidents and first ladies. This is the first time in a decade that a former president and first lady have had their portraits unveiled, as the rift between Presidents Trump and Obama left neither party willing to perform the ceremony. “When future generations walk these halls and look up at these portraits, I hope they get a better honest sense of who Michelle and I were. And I hope they leave with a deeper understanding that if we could make it here, maybe they can, too. They can do remarkable things, too,” Obama said.
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in the history of Great Britain, died at the age of 96 at her estate in Balmoral, Scotland. The Queen ascended the throne in 1952 after the untimely death of her father, King George IV, while she was on a royal tour of the Commonwealth. Her 70-year reign was marked with historical social change, which saw the United Kingdom dismantle much of its empire, while the Queen maintained a steady grip on the traditional values of the U.K. The Queen’s coffin traveled from Balmoral to London via hearse, where millions of her subjects lined the roads to pay their respects to their sovereign.
King Charles III ascends the throne of the United Kingdom after the passing of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The King, 73, is the oldest to ever be proclaimed monarch in British history, another indication of the longevity of the Queen’s rule. His reign begins with overseeing the Queen’s funeral, a logistical nightmare that plans to accommodate rulers and leaders from all over the world. The funeral is expected to be the largest in Britain since the death of Winston Churchill in 1955, as it is the first state funeral since that time. Other changes in England include the King’s wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, as the new Queen Consort, and his eldest son and daughter-in-law, Prince William and Kate Middleton, as the new heir apparent and now the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge. The British national anthem is changed to “G-d Save the King,” new currency with the King’s picture, new stamps, and new flags with the King’s cypher will all be phased into circulation in the coming years.
Ukraine’s counteroffensive had a considerable victory as Russia announced that it is pulling back troops from two areas that they held. Advances near Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, and Kherson in the south, have emboldened Ukrainian forces and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “The Russian army in these days is demonstrating the best that it can do - showing its back,” Zelenskyy said. “And, of course, it’s a good decision for them to run.” The war is over 200 days old, and there is little indication that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ready to pack up and go home anytime soon. In support of Ukrainian forces, United States announced new shipments of 105-millimeter howitzers, artillery ammunition, vehicles, anti-armor weapons and guided rockets, valued at approximately $675 million.
The International Organization of Standards, based out of Geneva, Switzerland, announced a new merchant code that would allow credit card companies to flag sales at gun stores. The code, which was quickly adopted in the United States by credit cards Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, does not differentiate between a gun sale and an accessory sale. The announcement, and adoption by credit cards, was celebrated by gun control advocates, but Second Amendment advocates are worried. “This is not about tracking or prevention or any virtuous motivation - it’s about creating a national registry of gun owners,” said an NRA spokesman.