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Port Authority Explosion: Suspect in Custody After ‘Attempted Terrorist Attack’

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Mayor Bill de Blasio, FDNY update media on explosion in East Village, New York (Photo Credit: BreakingNews.com)

One male suspect has been taken into custody after an explosion earlier Monday morning at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, according to the New York Police Department (NYPD).

Authorities said a low-tech device was detonated in the New York City subway in an incident that the mayor called an “attempted terrorist attack.” The blast resulted in serious injuries to the suspect and minor injuries to at least three others, according to reports at a morning news conference.

The suspect, who was identified as Akayed Ullah, reportedly sustained burns and lacerations to his hands and abdomen. Police said the suspect Ullah was taken to Bellevue Hospital for treatment and then taken into custody.

Three other people also suffered minor injuries caused by being in the vicinity of the explosion, including ringing in the ears and headaches, police said.

The blast was reported in Midtown Manhattan in the area of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, at 42nd St. and 8th Ave., occurring in an underground passageway at the Port Authority subway station, at 42nd Street between 7th and 8th avenues, authorities said.

The suspect was reportedly walking eastbound in the passageway at the time, during what would have been peak morning commute hours.

“When we hear of an attack in the subways, it’s incredibly unsettling,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters. “And let’s also be clear, this was an attempted terrorist attack. Thank God the perpetrator did not achieve his ultimate goals.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) described the bomb as “an effectively low-tech device” and said he was grateful the only injuries were minor.

“The first news this morning was obviously very frightening and disturbing,” Cuomo said. “When you hear about a bomb in the subway station, it is in many ways one of our worst nightmares. The reality turns out to be better than the initial expectation and fear.”

The NYPD is investigating the explosion as a possible terrorism incident, according to law enforcement officials.

The suspect was armed with a homemade explosive device described by authorities as a pipe bomb of some kind. Investigators are trying to determine if the device may have detonated prematurely, or partially, when it exploded inside a subway station at 8th Avenue and 42nd street, officials said. The suspect, who was injured in the explosion but was expected to survive, was described as an immigrant from Bangladesh, officials said.

The explosion Monday came just weeks after a man driving a truck plowed through pedestrians and bicyclists on a path along the west side of Manhattan, killing eight people and wounding a dozen others. That driver, who survived, was taken into custody and told authorities that he carried out the attack in the name of the Islamic State.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal, which bills itself as the world’s busiest bus terminal, is not far from Times Square. The incident occurred in the subway, a police spokesman said.

Details on how the suspect was apprehended were not immediately available, but the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association, a union representing Port Authority police officers, said on Twitter that the department’s officers took down the suspect at gunpoint.

According to the police, three subway lines — the A, C and E — were evacuated as a result of the blast. All subway trains were bypassing the Port Authority and Times Square stations, officials said.

President Trump was briefed on the incident Monday, according to the White House, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) was briefed as well, his office reported.

As of 8:35 am local time the NYPD reported there were no injuries to anyone but the suspect. A spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed to that one male suspect was in custody, but could not provide any details about his injuries. A police official told the Associated Press that the suspect had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off.

The explosion occurred at approximately 7:25 am. The Port Authority building was evacuated and several subway lines were bypassing the neighboring Times Square and Port Authority subway stations.

A small pipe bomb went off near the Port Authority Bus Terminal on Monday, and the suspect was immediately taken into custody, police sources said.

The blast happened in an underground subway passage just 200 feet from the terminal at West 42nd St. and Eighth Ave., the sources said.

Port Authority cops immediately arrested the suspect, who was injured in the explosion. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital and is expected to survive, sources said.

Four people in total were wounded at the scene, the FDNY confirmed, all of whom have non-life-threatening injuries.

This photo confirmed by CBS News shows a suspect after his explosive device detonated in an underground passageway near the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City Dec. 11, 2017.

Police found an explosive device on the suspect, who had wires attached to his body, one source added. Authorities evacuated the A, C and E trains, but didn’t find any structural damage. “It’s pretty chaotic over there right now,” said a law enforcement source with knowledge of the situation.

Police and firefighters arrive on the street outside of the Port Authority Bus Terminal after an explosion on Monday morning

Gov. Cuomo was photographed with MTA Chair Joe Lhota inside the Times Square subway station being briefed on the situation. The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force has been added to the team investigating the explosion.

The early morning blast sent a wave of panic through the busy area, as commuters scrambled to safety.  Witnesses recalled a stampede of people out of the subway and the sprawling bus terminal, with reports of more people injured in the rush.

 

The explosion was reported at the bus terminal, seen in 2016, on Manhattan’s West Side. (Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News )

As of this report, no group has taken responsibility for the attack, and the NYPD hasn’t confirmed a motive.

The New York City blast comes amid calls from ISIS to attack the Big Apple during the Christmas season.

 

LeNora Millen        12-11-17

 

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Dodge MLK Super Bowl Ad Sparks Controversy

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A Dodge Super Bowl ad has attracted criticism for its use of a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. to sell trucks.

The ad featured a section of King’s The Drum Major Instinct sermon delivered February 4, 1968, overtop images of American patriotism, including America’s military and other service jobs like teachers and firefighters.

“If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant,” King is heard saying in the ad. “That’s a new definition of greatness.”

The ad, which ran in support of the Ram Nation volunteer program, also featured images of Dodge trucks. On airing, it began to get immediate blowback.

“The use of MLK to promote Ram trucks strikes many people as crass and inappropriate,” Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University told the Associated Press.

Bernice A. King, the youngest child of the civil rights leader and his wife Coretta Scott King urged people to listen to the sermon “in its entirety.”

“Please listen to/read his speeches, sermons, and writings. Understand his comprehensive teachings and his global perspective. Study his nonviolent philosophy. It’s more than a tactic,” she tweeted, providing a link to the sermon.

A social media user took that message to heart and created a different version of the ad with King’s warning to his congregation from the same sermon that advertisers pressure them to buy more than they can afford, playing on their selfishness and the “drum major instinct” that pushes them to prove that they are better than others.

King said: “They have a way of saying things to you that kind of gets you into buying. In order to be a man of distinction, you must drink this whiskey. In order to make your neighbors envious, you must drive this type of car. In order to be lovely to love, you must wear this kind of lipstick or this kind of perfume. And you know, before you know it, you’re just buying that stuff (…) That’s the way the advertisers do it.”

King said people end up living “their lives trying to outdo the Joneses” rather than building communities around themselves.

The Dodge ad also appeared to some to contradict what King stood for as he famously argued for U.S. military spending to be cut and instead go to programs that served the poorest Americans.

“Are MLK’s words really being used right now to sell cars?” wrote Nicholas Thompson, the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine in response to the ad on Twitter.

The King Center distanced itself from the ad, pointing out it was not responsible for approving the use of King’s image and words,

Fiat Chrysler said it worked with King’s estate on the ad, which licenses King’s image and speeches, and is run by King’s son Dexter Scott King. The estate’s managing director, Eric D. Tidwell, said in a statement early Monday: “We found that the overall message of the ad embodied Dr. King’s philosophy that true greatness is achieved by serving others. Thus we decided to be a part of Ram’s ‘Built To Serve’ Super Bowl program.”

Source: Newsweek

@LeNoraMillen            02-05-18

 

 

 

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Legendary Performer and Civil Rights Activist Lena Horne Honored on New Forever Stamp

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The U.S. Postal Service celebrates the life and legacy of Lena Horne as the 41st honoree in the Black Heritage stamp series during a first-day-of-issue ceremony at Peter Norton Symphony Space.

“Today, we honor the 70-year career of a true American legend,” said Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman, who dedicated the stamp. “With this Forever stamp, the Postal Service celebrates a woman who used her platform as a renowned entertainer to become a prolific voice for civil rights advancement and gender equality.”

Joining Stroman to unveil the stamp were Gail Lumet Buckley, an author and Horne’s daughter; Christian Steiner, photographer; and Amy Niles, president and chief executive officer, WBGO Radio.

The stamp art features a photograph of Lena Horne taken by Christian Steiner in the 1980s. Kristen Monthei colorized the original black-and-white photo using a royal blue for the dress, a color Horne frequently wore. Monthei also added a background reminiscent of Horne’s Stormy Weather album, with a few clouds to add texture and to subtly evoke the album title. Art director Ethel Kessler designed the stamp. Share the news of the stamp using the hashtags #LenaHorneForever and #BlackHeritageStamps.

Background on Lena Horne

Born in Brooklyn, NY, on June 30, 1917, Horne was a trailblazer in Hollywood for women of color and used her fame to inspire Americans as a dedicated activist for civil rights.

Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s Cotton Club and later became a featured vocalist with touring orchestras. The rampant racial discrimination she encountered from audiences, hotel and venue managers and others was so disconcerting that she stopped touring, and in 1941, she made her move to Hollywood. A year later, she signed a contract with MGM — one of the first long-term contracts with a major Hollywood studio — with the stipulation that she would never be asked to take stereotypical roles then available to black actors. Her most famous movie roles were in Cabin in the Sky and Stormy Weather, both released in 1943.

During World War II, Horne entertained at camps for black servicemen, and after the war worked on behalf of Japanese Americans who were facing discriminatory housing policies. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt in pressing for anti-lynching legislation. In the 1960s, Horne continued her high-profile work for civil rights, performing at rallies in the South, supporting the work of the National Council for Negro Women, and participating in the 1963 March on Washington.

Horne’s awards and honors include a special Tony Award for her one-woman Broadway show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music; three Grammy Awards; the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Actors Equity Paul Robeson Award. She was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient in 1984, and her name is among those on the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

Customers may purchase the Lena Horne Forever stamp at The Postal Store at usps.com/shop, by calling 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724) and at Post Office facilities nationwide. A variety of stamps and collectibles also are available at ebay.com/stamps.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks
Customers have 60 days to obtain first-day-of-issue postmarks by mail. They may purchase new stamps at local Post Office facilities, at The Postal Store usps.com/shop or by phone at 800-STAMP-24. They must affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others and place them in envelopes addressed to:

FDOI – Lena Horne Stamp
USPS Stamp Fulfillment Services
8300 NE Underground Drive, Suite 300
Kansas City, MO 64144-9900

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for postmarks up to a quantity of 50. For more than 50, customers are charged 5 cents each. All orders must be postmarked by March 30, 2018.

Ordering First-Day Covers
The Postal Service also offers first-day covers for new stamps and stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the USA Philatelic Publication and online at usps.com/shop. Customers may register to receive a free USA Philatelic Publication online at usps.com/philatelic.

Philatelic Products
Philatelic products for this stamp issue are as follows:
476906, Press Sheet with Die-cut, $60.00.
476910, Digital Color Postmark Keepsake, $11.95.
476916, First-Day Cover, $0.94.
476921, Digital Color Postmark, $1.65.
476924, Framed Art, $39.95.
476930, Ceremony Program, $6.95.

Many of this year’s other stamps may be viewed on Facebook at facebook.com/USPSStamps or via Twitter @USPSstamps.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations.

For more information about the Postal Service, visit usps.com and usps.com/postalfacts.

Source: USPS

@LeNoraMillen       02-02-18

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Coffee Shops Considering Displaying Cancer Warnings in California After Lawsuit

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A nonprofit who believes coffee could cause cancer has persuaded businesses, by way of a lawsuit, to issue warnings on all ready-to-drink brews sold in California.

At least 13 companies, most recently 7-Eleven, have settled with the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) following its 2010 lawsuit, and promised to add warnings to served coffee, CNN reports.

The suit asks for the warning to say this is a “chemical known to cause cancer” or “chemical that causes cancer” in a label at least 10-inches by 10-inches in the establishment.

Metzger Law Group, which represents CERT, is trying to shine the light on acrylamide, a probable carcinogen, in coffee. What makes this request particularly potent in California is Proposition 65, the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which requires businesses to be transparent about harmful ingredients, including acrylamide.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly on California Prop 65

Prop 65 came about from a growing concern that many chemicals may cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm. Under Prop 65, chemicals identified by the state as having even a 1 in 100,000 chance of causing such harm may not be discharged into drinking water or onto land where they could contaminate sources of drinking water. In addition, manufacturers are required to post clear and reasonable warnings on any products, or in any locations, that could “knowingly and intentionally” expose consumers to any of these listed chemicals. California is required to update the list of harmful chemicals annually. As of 2015, the list includes around 900 chemicals, some of which are monitored by the FDA and EPA

When coffee beans are roasted, acrylamide forms and scientists haven’t found good ways to reduce its presence in the beverage, according to a post on the American Cancer Society website.

Still, Ronald Melnick, a former toxicologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provided a testimony about possible ways to reduce the chemical in coffee, including altering plant selection, harvesting and/or the pre-roasting process, as part of the California trial.

Reducing or eliminating the toxin is CERT’s goal, Raphael Metzger of Metzger Law Group said.

“CERT believes the best resolution of the case would be for the coffee industry to get the acrylamide out of coffee rather than giving acrylamide cancer hazard warnings,” Metzger said in a statement.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, and the National Toxicology Program does not recognize coffee as a carcinogen. The only documented link to cancer is the IARC finding that hot beverages (at least 149 degrees) “probably” cause cancer of the esophagus.

Source: The Associated Press

Photo/Getty Images

@LeNoraMillen      02-01-18

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