Monday, June 17, 2019

What you get for public housing in NYC

Relatives of Harlem fire victims plan to sue city for billions

Grief-stricken kin of the Harlem mom who died along with five of her children when fire tore through their death-trap public housing apartment last month plan to sue the city — for $2.2 billion.
“It’s hard to put a dollar value on the loss of human life, but the $2.2 billion, we feel, is appropriate in light of the current situation,” said lawyer Evan Oshan, who is representing a surviving daughter of late matriarch Andrea Pollidore.
The eye-popping sum is not arbitrary, the lawyer said — it is the same amount that Mayor Bill de Blasio committed to his embattled New York City Housing Authority in January to settle a federal probe into horrendous living conditions in buildings such as Pollidore’s.
“There needs to be a message sent because things aren’t getting better here,” Oshan said. “There’s been major, major neglect in that building.”
Pollidore, 45, her stepson Mac Abdularaulph, 33, and four more of her kids, ages 3 to 11 — daughters Nakyra and Brook-Lynn and sons Andre and Elijah — were found dead in bedrooms on opposite sides of their West 142nd Street apartment in the Fred Samuels Houses after a fire swept through it in the early hours of May 8.
The seven-story NYCHA building, which dates to 1910, had no sprinklers, and most of the family’s fifth-floor unit’s emergency exits were off the kitchen — which is where the blaze ignited from an unattended stove.
The fire marshal is still investigating the cause.
“They were trapped,” one of Pollidore’s surviving daughters, Raven Reyes, told The Post on Sunday outside the building, which she said she’s dutifully visited every day since the tragedy to pay her respects.
“Everything happened so fast. One minute, we were here in the morning laughing with her,” said Reyes, 26, the administrator of Pollidore’s estate. “Nighttime, she’s gone.”
Reyes quietly filed the wrongful-death claims May 14, less than a week after the deadly blaze. In addition to the $2.2 billion, Reyes is seeking $18 million for emotional damages. Meanwhile, Pollidore’s sister, Natelle Pollidore, wants compensation from her late sister’s estate to cover her $37,773 funeral, according to filings obtained by The Post.
The expenses included $2,850 for limousines, $10,200 for cemetery or crematory costs and $11,600 for programs, filings show.
The thing Pollidore’s family wants the most, however, is an explanation for how their family members died.
“We just want answers. That’s what we need,” said Hakeem Pollidore, 30, a surviving son.
“There are still a lot of red flags and questions we haven’t had answered yet.”
The notices of claim say the city and the New York City Housing Authority “failed to comply with proper designs and safety standards” and allowed “hazardous and unsafe conditions” at the building.
Under the city’s settlement with the federal government, it would funnel $2.2 billion to NYCHA over 10 years to fix rampant problems.
A spokesman for the city Law Department called the fatal fire “a tragic incident.
“The city will review the notice of claim,” he said.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks

Venezuela: A Humanitarian Crisis The Left Couldn’t Care Less About

Venezuela: A Humanitarian Crisis The Left Couldn’t Care Less About

I&I Editorial
Try to imagine this scenario. A once-wealthy country spirals downward over the course of several years into a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Starvation and violence are rampant. The economy has collapsed. Millions have already fled. And all the while, an autocratic ruler acts with complete indifference, when he’s not trying to crush dissent and blame other countries for the misery he’s inflicting on his own. 
Under normal circumstances, there would be regular protests in Washington. Hollywood actors would be busy creating tear-jerker videos and making emotional award ceremony speeches. Musicians would be putting on global benefit concerts. The corruption, desperation and daily human misery would be above the fold in newspapers and leading the nightly news. It would be on everyone’s mind. 
But in this case, the catastrophic suffering is being almost completely ignored. Why? Because it’s happening in Venezuela — a socialist state that the left has for years championed and now refuses to admit has been a monumental failure.
“Much of the Western left, including those who once had only kind words for (Hugo) Chávez and his successors, is treating Venezuela as an embarrassment best brushed under the carpet,” James Bloodworth writes in Foreign Policy
It is almost impossible to describe what’s happening in Venezuela today. 
Ninety percent of the country now lives in poverty. Food and basic necessities are scarce. Malnutrition is rampant.  The child mortality rate has shot up 140% since 2008. The Secretary General of the Organization of American States says that newborns in Syria have a better chance of survival than those born in Venezuela today.
There are severe shortages of medicines, and diseases such as measles, diphtheria, tuberculosis have surged. Malaria cases are up more than ten-fold since 2009.
“The situation in Venezuela is dire,” said Dr. Paul Siegel, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health.
The economy has collapsed as hyperinflation — which reached 815,000% in May — has taken hold. To cope, President Nicolas Maduro has had to issue new currency twice within the past year. The new 50,000 Bolivar note is equal to about $8. In a country with vast supplies of oil, energy is scarce.
Nearly 10% of the country —  some 4 million people — have fled, including many who climbed aboard boats to embark on treacherous and often fatal escapes.
“Women and girls are suffering disproportionately in Venezuela,” says a report from CARE. “Trafficking of women for sex and forced labor is increasing throughout the region. The spiraling levels of poverty, both for Venezuelans inside the country and those fleeing within the region, have forced many women into sex work.”
The response from the left to all this? Ignore it, make excuses, or attack President Trump for interfering.
In fact, the biggest Venezuela protest in Washington was the “Hands Off” march this spring, in which protestors attacked Trump for attempting regime change in the country.
And when the press does report on Venezuela, it almost always leaves out one key detail: The fact that the profound misery is the direct result of the country’s embrace of socialist policies starting with Chavez and continuing with his hand-picked successor, Maduro. In fact, 93% of the stories that aired on network news from February 2018 through February 2019 never mentioned “socialism” or “socialist,” according to a Media Research Center analysis.
The indifference shown by the liberal establishment to what’s happening in Venezuela is disgusting, but it’s also incredibly revealing. Human suffering matters, it seems, only when it suits the left’s ideological agenda.
You can bet that the next time a country tries to enact Venezuela-style socialist policies, the left will be cheering it on. 
Until disaster inevitably strikes and it suddenly loses all interest.
— Written by John Merline

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The Left's dream of deindustrialization hits Germany.

German Green Party Proposes Ban on All Industrial Farming

Nigeria suicide blast kills 30 football fans in Borno

  • 54 minutes ago
The scene of a hospital after the attackImage copyrightAFP
Image captionForty people were injured in the attack which took place in Konduga in Borno State
At least 30 people have been killed in a suicide attack while watching a televised football match in north-eastern Nigeria, officials say.
Another 40 were injured in the triple suicide bombing, according to the state emergency management agency. 
The bombers detonated their explosives outside a video hall in Konduga village in Borno State.
Militant Islamist group Boko Haram is being blamed for the attack. There was no immediate comment from the group. 
Formed in Borno State, the group has waged a brutal insurgency across the north-east for a decade. 
Ali Hassan, leader of a self-defence group in Konduga, told AFP news agency that the owner of the hall had prevented one bomber from entering.
"There was a heated argument between the operator and the bomber who blew himself up," he said.
Two other attackers who were nearby then set off their devices. 
Map of Nigeria
Konduga has been targeted before. In July 2018, eight people were killed after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a mosque.
At least 27,000 lives have been lost and about two million people forced to flee their homes in the conflict with Boko Haram. 
Presentational grey line

'Daunting and complex security challenges'

Analysis box by Mayeni Jones, Nigeria correspondent
This latest attack comes at the end of a bloody weekend in northern Nigeria. There is rising concern of insecurity in other parts of the country. 
On Friday night an armed gang killed at least 34 people in the north-western state of Zamfara, which has been at the centre of a wave of attacks by bandits since the beginning of the year.
The Boko Haram insurgency has been terrorising people in the north-east for the past decade, and has been the main area of focus for Nigeria's armed forces. 
But the triple suicide bombings in Borno on Sunday reflect just how complex the security challenges are. 
The government has said that Boko Haram and the rival Islamic State of West Africa Province (Iswap) group are on their last legs. But both the military and population of the north-east continue to suffer regular attacks.
Although Boko Haram has lost a lot of the territory it held in the north-east in the last four years, it is still attacking soft targets in mosques, markets and public gatherings. 
Combine this with the ongoing banditry attacks in the north-west, and kidnappings across the country's highways, and the scale of the security challenges is daunting.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

BEIJING/SHANGHAI — China reported the worst-ever monthly sales drop in the world's largest vehicle market on Wednesday, exacerbating concerns over the country's economic slowdown and growing impact of an ongoing trade war with the United States.

Sales tumbled 16.4% in May from the same month a year prior, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said. That marked the 11th consecutive month of decline and followed falls of 14.6% in April and 5.2% in March.

Xu Haidong, CAAM's assistant secretary general, said one key reason for the drop was provinces implementing "China VI" vehicle emission standards earlier than the central government's 2020 deadline, stoking uncertainty among manufacturers.

"We gave the manufacturers too little time to prepare," he said, adding that the industry's supply chain was finding it difficult to keep up with market changes.

Automotive sales in China contracted for the first time last year since the 1990s as a slowing economy and tit-for-tat import tariffs between Beijing and Washington affected consumer sentiment.

Industry executives have said they believe the market will return to growth in the second half of this year due to government support.

On Wednesday, Xu said May demand also suffered from a decline in purchasing power in the low-to-middle income groups as well as expectations of government stimulus to encourage purchases.

Earlier in June, the government announced measures to revive sales, including stopping local authorities from imposing new restrictions on purchases and eliminating restrictions on NEVs.

Contrary to market expectations, the measures did not include the relaxation of controls over the issuance of licenses for petrol-powered cars in major cities.

Xu also noted that the measures did not include subsidies, but said it was unrealistic to continue expecting such support.

"This is a perfectly competitive industry and doesn't need the government to intervene day in and out," said Shi Jianhua, a senior CAAM official.


Growth in the new energy vehicle segment, usually a bright spot for the sector, also slowed sharply in May. Sales grew just 1.8% versus 18.1% in April. For all of last year, NEV sales jumped almost 62% even though the broader market shrank.

NEVs include petrol-electric hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, battery-only electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. China, blighted by air pollution, has been a keen supporter of NEVs, requiring automakers to meet sales quotas.

Xu said NEV growth had been dragged down by a fall in sales of commercial vehicles like buses, and that sharp discounting on traditional petrol-powered cars — prompted by increasingly stringent emission standards — had also lured buyers away from NEVs.

In May, most automakers reported a decline in China sales, except Japan's Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd, which logged double-digit growth.

(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom, Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

With a Huge Punitive Damage Award, the Oberlin Verdict Becomes Even More Meaningful

With a Huge Punitive Damage Award, the Oberlin Verdict Becomes Even More Meaningful

Oberlin College (Wikimedia)
Yesterday, the jury in the Oberlin College defamation trial delivered the school a staggering blow — awarding the plaintiffs $33 million in punitive damages after last week handing down an $11 million verdict for the college’s role in a defamatory campaign against a small Ohio bakery. The total damage award is so large that it may exceed state-law limits. But make no mistake, even if the award is reduced to, say, a mere” $25 million, this case is profoundly important.

FLASHBACK: ABC's ’08 Prediction: NYC Under Water from Climate Change By June 2015. The only thing underwater in NYC is its government

FLASHBACK: ABC's ’08 Prediction: NYC Under Water from Climate Change By June 2015

New York City underwater? Gas over $9 a gallon? A carton of milk costs almost $13? Remember when that happened on June 12, 2015? No? This was the wildly-inaccurate world of 2015 predicted by ABC News 11 years ago this week. Appearing on Good Morning America in 2008, Bob Woodruff hyped Earth 2100, a special that pushed apocalyptic predictions of the then-futuristic 2015.
The segment included supposedly prophetic videos, such as a teenager declaring, "It's June 8th, 2015. One carton of milk is $12.99." (On the actual June 8, 2015, a gallon of milk cost, on average, $3.39.) Another clip featured this prediction for 2015 "Gas reached over $9 a gallon." (In reality, gas cost an average of $2.75 four years ago.) 

On June 12, 2008, correspondent Bob Woodruff revealed that the program "puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world. The first stop is the year 2015." 
One expert warned that in 2015 the sea level will rise quickly and a visual showed New York City being engulfed by water. The video montage included another unidentified person predicting that "flames cover hundreds of miles." 
Then-GMA co-anchor Chris Cuomo appeared frightened by this future world. He wondered, "I think we're familiar with some of these issues, but, boy, 2015? That's seven years from now. Could it really be that bad?" 
Ultimately, ABC delayed the air-date for Earth 2100 and the one-hour show didn't debut until June 2, 2009. The program showcased the terrible impact of global warming from 2015 through 2100. In the special, a "storm of the century" wiped out Miami. Other highlights included a destroyed New York City and an abandoned Las Vegas. By 2084, Earth's population will apparently be just 2.7 billion. 
On June 13, 2008, promoted the special by hyperventilating, "Are we living in the last century of our civilization?" Unlike the 2015 predictions, that suggestion hasn't (yet) been proven wrong.
Eleven years later, the network has quietly ignored its horribly inaccurate predictions about 2015. When it comes to global warming claims, apparently results don't matter for ABC.  
For more examples from our weekly flashback series, which we call NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.
A partial transcript of the June 12, 2008 GMA segment is below. Click "expand" to read more. 

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