Governor Kathy Hochul has nominated Rowan D. Wilson, an associate judge of New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, to lead it as chief judge, and Caitlin J. Halligan, a private lawyer who previously served as New York State solicitor general, to fill the vacancy that would be created by Judge Wilson’s elevation.

The nominees must be confirmed by the Democratic-controlled State Senate, which earlier this year blocked Hochul’s original choice for chief judge due to concerns that he was too conservative. Judge Wilson’s elevation would make him the first Black chief judge and could shift the perceived ideological bent of the Court of Appeals to the left, following criticism that the court had drifted to the right under the former chief judge, Janet DiFiore, who led a four-member bloc that consistently voted against the court’s three more liberal judges, including Judge Wilson. The chief judge not only weighs in on matters that reach the Court of Appeals but also administers the court system’s 16,000 employees and $3 billion budget. Governor Hochul stated that she looks forward to working with the nominees to elevate the esteem of the state’s highest court, protect New Yorkers’ rights and safety, and ensure that justice is administered. The confirmation process is expected to be smoother this time, although the mechanism used to nominate two candidates simultaneously has drawn criticism from Republicans and government watchdogs.

 New York State’s budget, which was over two weeks overdue, faced a new complication when Sandra Beattie, the acting budget director who created the proposal, was replaced. Her departure triggered an investigation into millions of taxpayer dollars given to private consultants without bids under pandemic emergency decrees. The state inspector general was called in to investigate the matter at the request of Governor Kathy Hochul’s office. Beattie handed in a phone that had been wiped clean upon leaving, which raised suspicions that she may have erased potentially damaging communications. The phone was given to her by Rajiv Rao, the state’s chief technology officer, who resigned shortly after turning in the device. The inspector general is looking into whether no-bid Covid contracts complied with procurement guidelines, which has raised questions about politically-connected companies receiving special treatment under Hochul’s administration. Hochul aides deny these accusations. As part of the investigation, the state has requested lobby filings related to activities by RedLand Strategies, a firm founded and led by former Republican state senator Michael Balboni.


Robots have joined the NYPD as the Department has announced the deployment of three new pieces of technology aimed at increasing safety for officers and residents. These include StarChase, which allows officers to remotely track vehicles using a projectile that attaches to a GPS-enabled device; Digidog, a remote-controlled robot used to assess hazardous situations and high-risk incidents; and the K5 Autonomous Security Robot, which uses AI to provide real-time incident notification to first responders. While StarChase and the K5 ASR are part of pilot programs, Digidog is already being rolled out as part of the department’s technological tools. However, The Legal Aid Society has released a statement opposing the use of these new technologies, calling them “new dystopian technologies to surveil New Yorkers”. Meanwhile, Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell have assured the public that the technologies will be used in a transparent and consistent way in collaboration with those they serve.


New York City has appointed its first-ever “rat czar,” Kathleen Corradi, to oversee the reduction of the city’s rat population. As citywide director of rodent mitigation, Corradi will work with government agencies, community organizations, and other groups to reduce the number of rats in New York City. Corradi, a former elementary teacher, has experience in managing large sums of money and was instrumental in developing the city’s Zero Waste Schools program. Mayor Eric Adams referred to the rats as “public enemy No. 1” and expressed confidence in Corradi’s ability to reduce their numbers. Corradi will use a $3.5 million fund to try new methods of rat control, expand outreach and education, and increase maintenance and remediation work. The money will also be used to launch the Harlem Rat Mitigation Zone, a rat reduction plan covering 28 New York City Housing Authority properties, 73 New York City Parks locations, nearly 70 Department of Education schools, and more than 10,000 private properties.


A large brush fire broke out in Rockland County, posing a severe threat to homes and a nearby railroad track. The fire started in the town of Stony Point before moving south along the west side of the Hudson River to Congers, with black smoke visible for miles. Flames shot up 30 to 40 feet in the air at times, and heavy smoke and ash covered much of the town. Homeowners watched as intense flames licked fences around their properties, but thanks to the efforts of an army of volunteer firefighters, no valuable property was lost. Although a few houses suffered minor damage, no homes or lives were lost, and a handful of residents, including a 98-year-old woman, fled their homes as the fire spread. By the evening hours, the fire was said to be under control, although firefighters anticipated hotspots popping up throughout the night in Congers, and train traffic on the nearby CSX freight tracks was temporarily halted. Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann criticized the railroad company for dragging the malfunctioning train through three towns, sparking the fires. The company denied any issues and said they are cooperating with county officials.





A fire broke out in the parking lot of the Armon Hotel in Stamford, Connecticut, where the “Chop A Nosh” Pesach program was taking place, damaging or destroying over a dozen vehicles. Fire alarms went off at 5:00 a.m., prompting the evacuation of more than 1,000 guests from the hotel into the street. Firefighters were forced to fight the blaze from outside the structure after it was compromised. Thankfully, no injuries were reported, and everyone was evacuated in an orderly manner, with attendees helping each other. The kitchen was shut down due to carbon monoxide levels, but Chop A Nosh still managed to create a lavish buffet for all. The building was deemed safe by 8:00 a.m., and guests were allowed back into their rooms by 10:30 a.m. The Stamford fire marshal is investigating the incident. Despite the fire, the event organizers managed to provide a memorable experience, with the guests coming together to support one another and demonstrating a tremendous Kiddush Hashem.


Fort Lauderdale and other parts of southeastern Florida were hit by thunderstorms that dropped up to two feet of rain, leading to flooding, stranded travelers, and a state of emergency declared by Governor Ron DeSantis. The Fort Lauderdale airport remained closed due to debris and water on the runways, with flights not expected to resume until 5 a.m. on Friday. According to a preliminary estimate by the National Weather Service, over 25 inches of rain fell at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport over a 24-hour period, potentially smashing the city’s one-day record of 14.59 inches set in 1979. Mayor Dean Trantalis of Fort Lauderdale described the event as a “thousand-year incident” and stated that no city could have planned for it. Every part of the city had been affected, and the flooding and bad weather led to hours-long traffic jams. Footage showed kayakers paddling through the streets in Hollywood, and residents wading through dark, waist-high floodwaters in Fort Lauderdale while holding their belongings.


Dianne Feinstein, the oldest member of the US Congress and Democratic senator, has declared that she will complete her term despite mounting calls for her resignation. Feinstein, 89, has not voted since February, being away from Capitol Hill after receiving treatment for shingles in March. Her absence has prevented Democrats from being able to confirm Joe Biden’s judicial nominees, given their slim two-vote majority in the Senate. Representative Ro Khanna and Jon Lovett have called for her resignation due to her declining health, with Khanna tweeting that Feinstein’s inability to fulfil her duties undermines “our credibility as elected representatives of the people.” Dean Phillips of Minnesota also backed Khanna, adding that Feinstein’s continued presence in the Senate constituted a “dereliction of duty.” Feinstein, however, plans to continue working from home in San Francisco, stating that she will return as soon as her medical team advises her it is safe to travel. She has asked the Senate leader to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily fill in while she recovers.


Airman First Class Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested by the FBI last Thursday for leaking dozens of classified documents containing national security secrets. The sensitive intelligence included information about the extent of US surveillance on Russia. Teixeira was taken into custody after posting batches of classified documents to an online gaming chat group. FBI agents arrived at Teixeira’s mother’s home, heavily armed and with a government surveillance plane keeping watch overhead. They found guns at the house, and Teixeira was handcuffed and led away by two heavily armed men. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the arrest and said that Teixeira would be arraigned at the Federal District Court in Massachusetts. The arrest raised questions about why a junior enlisted airman had access to such sensitive information and why adequate safeguards had not been put in place after earlier leaks. It also remained unclear why Teixeira would risk his freedom to share intelligence about the war in Ukraine with a group of friends he knew from a video game social media site. Teixeira’s motive for the leak remains unknown, but sources suggest that he was not acting as a whistle-blower, and there is no indication of outrage over wrongdoing or government policies.

 Montana has passed a bill that bans the use of TikTok on all personal devices, becoming the first US state to do so. The legislation, called SB419, was approved by a vote of 54-43 and will become law in January if it is signed by Governor Greg Gianforte. The bill prohibits TikTok from operating within state lines and app stores from offering TikTok for downloads. It specifically names TikTok as a target of the bill and outlines potential penalties of $10,000 per violation per day. However, individual users of TikTok would not be penalized for accessing the app. TikTok has hinted at potential legal action to oppose the bill, stating that it threatens users’ livelihoods and First Amendment rights. US officials have expressed fears that the Chinese government could gain access to TikTok user data through its links to TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance. The US government has called for TikTok to be spun off from its Chinese owners, while TikTok has said it can address national security concerns by erecting a “firewall” around US user data. More than half of US states have clamped down on TikTok in some fashion, and Friday’s House vote in Montana underscored the breadth of support for limiting TikTok on even non-government devices. However, the legislation’s future is uncertain, with some groups arguing that it violates Montanans’ First Amendment rights to free expression and access to information.

 Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has signed a bill passed by the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature that prohibits abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. According to a statement from the governor’s office on Thursday, the legislation has been signed, and DeSantis sees this as a significant political victory among Republican primary voters as he prepares for a likely presidential bid, built on his national brand as a conservative standard-bearer. The six-week ban will only take effect if the state’s existing 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is currently before the state Supreme Court, which is dominated by conservatives. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year to overturn Roe v. Wade, leaving abortion access decisions to individual states, the policy will have wider implications for abortion access across the South. While Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have banned abortion at all stages of pregnancy, Georgia prohibits the procedure after cardiac activity can be detected, which is usually around six weeks.


2024 Presidential Election

President Biden hinted at announcing his re-election campaign “relatively soon” during his trip to Ireland, stating that his recent visit has reinforced his optimism about what can be done. When asked if he had made a decision, he responded with impatience, “I told you, my plan is to run again.” Biden’s potential candidacy for the 2024 presidential election has been a subject of debate since he was elected as the oldest president in US history, and he would be 86 by the end of a second term. However, he has suggested from the start that he would probably run again. While he has not faced much pressure to announce a formal campaign, there is no sign of a competitive Democratic primary, with only self-help author Marianne Williamson and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. showing interest in running, but neither having a large base of support. 

 Former director of the C.I.A. and Secretary of State under the Trump administration Mike Pompeo announced on Friday that he would not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024. Despite touring early primary states, Pompeo stated during an interview that “this isn’t our moment.” While Pompeo had been critical of Donald Trump prior to his 2016 election, he became a staunch supporter after Trump won the White House. He did not endorse Trump during the interview and criticized him obliquely, stating that Americans are “thirsting for people making arguments, not just tweets.” Pompeo’s hawkish and combative approach to foreign policy had earned him Trump’s admiration, but he left the office of Secretary of State disliked by foreign allies and many American diplomats. His increasingly narrow lane for a presidential bid was due to the Republican Party’s shift away from hawkish views in recent years. Pompeo stated that he wants to find a person who can “talk about the things that matter to every family in America” and “actually build an organization, create a team and deliver that for the American people.”

 Former President Donald Trump has raised over $34 million for his 2024 presidential run since the beginning of this year, with a substantial increase in donations since the announcement of criminal charges against him in New York, according to his campaign. The fundraising report, which is due to be filed on Saturday with the Federal Election Commission, will show that between January 1 and March 31, Trump raised more than $18.8 million from his main campaign account and a joint fundraising account. Of that total, $4 million came in after Trump was indicted by a grand jury in Manhattan on charges related to a hush-money case from the 2016 election. Trump began raising money off the news of his indictment and took in $15.4 million since the announcement of charges until the filing deadline for the fundraising report.

 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate for the 2024 election, set a fundraising record for the New Hampshire GOP by pulling in over $250,000 at the Amos Tuck Dinner in Manchester on Friday. DeSantis headlined the dinner, which was sold out and packed the DoubleTree Hilton to capacity. Chris Ager, chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party, called DeSantis’ speech “record-breaking,” and reported that ticket sales had to be halted due to exceeding planned capacity. The party had initially aimed to sell 500 tickets at $150 per person, but quickly surpassed that goal, and all 100 VIP tickets that cost $500 each were also sold out. The funds raised at the dinner are expected to be used to support Republican candidates in upcoming elections in New Hampshire. The strong turnout for DeSantis at the event could signal his growing popularity among the GOP and his potential to be a top contender in the 2024 presidential race.

 Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign recently claimed that it had raised more than $11 million in just six weeks, but it appears that the campaign double-counted money routed among Haley’s fundraising committees. Instead, the three committees connected to Haley raised a total of $8.3 million, still an impressive figure for a first-time presidential candidate. Haley’s campaign manager had stated that the “massive fundraising and active retail campaigning in early voting states” made Haley a force to be reckoned with. However, the double-counted figure was corrected in official filings with the Federal Election Commission, which other candidates have also used to tout their fundraising numbers. Haley has three aligned committees, her main campaign committee, a leadership PAC, and a joint fundraising committee that funnels money to the other two committees. The campaign summed the total receipts for each committee to arrive at the $11 million figure, but in doing so, it double-counted $2.7 million that first landed in the joint fundraising committee and then was parceled out to the campaign committee and the leadership PAC.





As of Sunday, 14 Israelis remained hospitalized in South Korea following a bus accident last week that left 1 woman dead and 32 tourists injured. Four of the hospitalized individuals are in critical condition. The bus, which was carrying dozens of Israeli tourists, overturned in Chungju, located in the north of the country, last Thursday. The South Korean driver and tour guide were also injured in the accident. The injured Israelis are being treated in local hospitals, and eighteen others were expected to return to Israel on Sunday and Monday to continue their medical care. The accident happened while the passengers were on an organized tour from Chungju to Andong. According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap, the driver of the bus told police investigators that the accident occurred due to a malfunction that made it impossible to shift gears, causing the bus to stall and roll backwards.

 Hundreds of thousands of Israelis protested against the government’s judicial overhaul plans for the fourth consecutive month on Saturday. The coalition government’s controversial proposals to bring judicial appointments under government control and limit the High Court of Justice’s oversight powers has sparked outrage among the public. The proposed legislation has been paused to allow for talks with the opposition, but some members of the coalition have indicated that it could be resumed within weeks if negotiations fail. Anti-overhaul demonstrations were held at 150 locations across the country, with 150,000 estimated to have taken part in the main Tel Aviv rally and tens of thousands elsewhere. Protest organizers claimed that 400,000 people participated across the country, but this figure has not been independently verified. The right-wing Im Tirtzu organization held counter-protests in support of the overhaul, but these did not draw large crowds. On Friday, leading ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Israel’s economic outlook from positive to stable, citing the coalition’s judicial overhaul proposals as a contributing factor.


Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was evacuated safely on Saturday after an explosion occurred during an outdoor speech he was delivering. The explosion took place shortly after Kishida’s visit to a local fishing port. Members of the public were seen fleeing in video footage, which also showed a man being arrested following the incident. Reports suggest that a silver cylinder was thrown in Kishida’s direction, and a man was arrested for throwing what appeared to be a smoke bomb. Local news agency Kyodo news reported that multiple police officers held the suspect on the ground. Last year, the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was shot during a campaign speech, shocked the nation that rarely experiences political and gun violence. The attack on Kishida occurred during the campaigning for the country’s local elections.

 South Korea’s military fired warning shots towards a North Korean vessel that crossed the maritime border, according to a statement from the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Sunday. The North Korean patrol boat breached the Northern Limit Line (NLL) around 11 a.m. on Saturday, prompting South Korean forces to take action. The incident occurred a day after North Korea tested a new solid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile, raising tensions in the region. The South Korean patrol ship involved in the operations came into contact with a nearby Chinese fishing vessel due to poor visibility, resulting in minor injuries to the South Korean crew. The South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff maintained that their military is monitoring the movements of North Korean patrol boats and remains ready for any potential provocations, given the threat of NLL violations.