NEW YORK NEWS

 The Supreme Court declined to extend the stay that would allow Yeshiva University to reject a “Pride Alliance” student club. 

The majority in the 5-4 vote claim that YU could return the case to the Supreme Court after the New York courts have acted.  In the dissent, Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett, wrote that there is “no reason why we should not grant a stay at this time” given that it could take “months to rule” going through the lower courts.  “The First Amendment guarantees the right to the free exercise of religion, and if that provision means anything, it prohibits a State from enforcing its own preferred interpretation of the Holy Scripture,” Alito wrote.  “The upshot is that Yeshiva is almost certain to be compelled for at least some period of time (and perhaps for a lengthy spell) to instruct its students in accordance with what it regards as an incorrect interpretation of Torah and Jewish law.”  In reaction to the ruling, YU suspended all student clubs pending a decision by the courts.  

 

New York City is facing a deficit crisis as tax revenue, tourism, and employment are still far below necessary levels for a balanced budget. Business tax revenue declined for the first time in six years, and personal income and related tax revenue is expected to drop 7.7%, the highest in over a decade.  The work-from-home environment has significantly diminished the commercial office market and transit system.  The labor market has still not reached pre-pandemic employment levels, with an estimated 162,000 fewer jobs than early 2020.  The city also has minimum payment requirements to workers’ pension funds from previous deals made.  “Since I took office in January, we have made public safety and fiscal discipline hallmarks of our administration,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement. “We currently face new costs that will increase the city’s obligations by billions of dollars, including growing pension contributions, expiring labor contracts and rising health care expenses. In response, we are asking every city agency to tighten its belt without laying off a single employee or reducing services.”  Budget cuts could include, but are not limited to, fewer garbage pickups and fewer patrolling police officers.  

 

Mayor Eric Adams announced that New York City is lifting its COVID vaccine mandate for private sector workers and student athletes.  The removal of the mandate, which was put in place by former Mayor Bill de Blasio in December 2021, is the latest in a series of orders by city and state officials in an attempt to return to pre-pandemic life.  “We are removing the requirement to be vaccinated to participate in sports and extracurricular activities. We’re removing that requirement for our schoolchildren. Although that removal is no indication that we don’t believe boosters are important and vaccinations are important,” Adams said. “We will also provide additional flexibility to businesses by lifting the private sector mandate on Nov. 1. This puts the choice in the hands of New York businesses.”

 

The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced that it will be installing security cameras in all subway cars.  A $2 million federal grant will provide funding for the purchase and installation of 5,400 cameras on 2,700 subway cars, two per car, and 3,800 cameras to expand coverage in 130 subway stations.  “My number one priority as Governor is keeping New Yorkers safe,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “I am proud that we will be installing cameras on all subway cars - expanding our security capabilities, deterring crime, and providing our law enforcement with support. As we continue welcoming riders back to the transit system, we will continue doing everything in our power to keep riders safe.”

 

Attorney General Letitia James is preparing to file a civil lawsuit against former President Donald Trump after the AG’s office rejected a settlement offer by Trump’s legal team.  The AG, who is running for re-election, has been embroiled in the legal inquiry into the Trump Organization for three-and-a-half years. The lawsuit may also target Trump’s children, as Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr. all have been senior executives in the Trump Organization. Prior to taking office, James vowed to “vigorously investigate” Trump, and Trump has referred to James as a “renegade prosecutor.”

 

Judge Raymond Dearie, veteran New York jurist, has been tasked with serving as independent arbiter in the criminal investigation determining if former President Trump held classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago home.  Dearie was named special master by U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who gave him a November deadline to review all the records and materials taken by the FBI in the August 8 raid.  Dearie was seen as a neutral party, as he was a Reagan nominee but was also sitting on the FISA court when it approved the wiretap of Carter Page, a key part of the Trump-Russia-collusion conspiracy theory.  

700,000 gallons of hand sanitizer are headed to Rochester to be repurposed after expiring.  The hand sanitizer was created under former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the start of the pandemic, but the lack of demand forced millions of bottles to just sit outside the New York State Preparedness Training Center in Oriskany.  The state contracted Eastman Kodak to transport the sanitizer to a recycling plant in Rochester, where the alcohol can be extracted to be reused.  It will take 168 trailer loads and at least 44 weeks to complete the process.  

 

 

US NEWS

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has made more apprehensions in fiscal year 2022 than any other recorded year, with two months remaining in the fiscal calendar.  In the first ten months, CBP apprehensions totaled 1,822,620 people - far exceeding the 2021 record of 1,662,167.  The number of apprehended illegal crossers in the first 22 months of the Biden administration has already exceeded the number apprehended under President Obama’s tenure, which was 8 years.  20,000 Border Patrol agents have arrested 3,484,327 people, mostly on the US-Mexico border. When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd if the border is secure, Vice President Kamala Harris replied, “We have a secure border in that that is a priority for any nation, including ours and our administration.”

 

A transit and rail strike was averted when a last-minute deal was tentatively agreed to between the union and the Biden administration.  The deal, which now heads to union members for a ratification vote, has delayed a strike at least until after the agreement is ratified.  The agreement was viewed as a compromise, but many of the details of the agreement are being kept secret.  The framework includes an increase in worker wages by 24%, retroactive to 2020, a ratification bonus of $11,000 per worker, and more flexible schedules.  President Biden, who refers to himself as the most pro-union president ever, said, “This agreement is a big win for America.” 

 

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko, the former security chief for Twitter, testified to a Senate panel that the social media giant prioritized profits over addressing security concerns that he said put user information at risk of falling into the wrong hands.  Zatko, who blew the whistle on Twitter in a publicly-reported complaint a month ago, testified that the company lacked basic security measures and had a freewheeling approach to data access among employees, opening the platform to major risks.  Zatko also claimed to have evidence that there was at least one agent of the Chinese and Indian governments employed at Twitter, emphasizing the company’s lax security practices. “It’s not far-fetched to say that an employee inside the company could take over the accounts of all of the senators in this room,” Zatko told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that social media companies like Twitter and Facebook could not remove posts based on political ideology.  The ruling, which is poised to be appealed to the Supreme Court, was based on a challenge to a Texas law.  “Big Tech’s reign of endless censorship and their suppression of conservative viewpoints is coming to an end,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) said after the decision. “These massive corporate entities cannot continue to go unchecked as they silence the voices of millions of Americans.”

 

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, former White House Press Secretary and Arkansas Republican gubernatorial candidate, announced that she is cancer-free after surgery.  A check up earlier this month showed a cancerous growth on her thyroid, prompting the procedure that removed the thyroid and surrounding lymph nodes.  “I want to thank the Arkansas doctors and nurses for their world-class care, as well as my family and friends for their love, prayers, and support,” Sanders wrote in a statement. “I look forward to returning to the campaign trail soon. This experience has been a reminder that whatever battle you may be facing, don’t lose heart. As governor, I will never quit fighting for the people of our great state.”

 

  

WORLD NEWS

 

Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral at Westminster Abbey is the first funeral for a British monarch since King George II in 1760.  Over 2,000 dignitaries and guests from around the world attended, ranging from King George III to President Joe Biden.  Over 10,000 police officers were deployed, the largest force in London history, surpassing the previous record from the 2012 London Olympics.  More than a million people were transported into London for the service, according to transit authorities, with the queue of people passing the Queen’s coffin stretching for at least five miles.  

 

Ghinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine.  The meeting, which took place at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan, was the first time Xi has left China since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The last time the two met, they declared that theirs was a “no limit” partnership and promised to collaborate against the West.  At this meeting, Putin admitted that Xi had “questions and concerns” about the war. “We highly value the balanced position of our Chinese friends when it comes to the Ukraine crisis,” Putin said. “We understand your questions and concern about this. During today’s meeting, we will of course explain our position, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have talked about this before.”  Xi did not mention Ukraine by name in his public statements.

 

Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship airline, has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, the first airline to do so.  The decision occurred four months after a scandal in which all Jewish passengers were banned from a flight because a few Jews were not wearing masks.  This announcement comes with a partnership with the American Jewish Committee, which will train employees of the Lufthansa Group to identify and respond to anti-Semitism.  Holly Huffnagle, AJC’s US director of combating antisemitism, expressed her gratitude in a statement. “As global antisemitism rises, the private sector increasingly has a role to play,” she said.

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