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Senator: Trump Won’t Let NKorea Build Missile To Reach US

A senior Republican senator emerged from a dinner with Donald Trump confident the president will not allow North Korea to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters Tuesday that North Korea should “not underestimate President Trump’s resolve to stop them from getting a missile to hit our homeland.” Graham joined Sen. John McCain of Arizona for the dinner at the White House on Monday evening. Graham and McCain are defense hawks and have been two of Trump’s sharpest GOP critics on foreign policy matters. But both senators are backing Trump’s hard line approach on North Korea. Pyongyang has threatened to use pre-emptive strikes or any other measures it deems necessary to defend itself against the “U.S. imperialists.” (AP)

VIDEOS: Vicious Attacks Continue Against Chareidi Soldiers In Yerushalayim And Beit Shemesh

[ADDITIONAL VIDEOS IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] Despite increased IDF and Israel Police efforts to apprehend persons responsible for attacks against IDF soldiers, the attacks continue. According to reports, no less than five soldiers were attacked in a 24-hour period this week, all amid shouts of ‘Chardak’, the derogatory term used by chareidim against the frum soldiers. The attacks this week were reportedly carried out by members of the Peleg faction and the Eida Chareidis. Four attacks occurred on Monday evening the eve of 29 Nissan, in which police extricated two soldiers and the soldiers extricated themselves in the other attacks. One attack occurred in Beit Shemesh on Tuesday. At least two arrests have been made in that attack. Authorities promise they will prosecute suspects to the fullest extent of the law. In the videos below, one can see military police arresting a suspect following an attack on Tuesday, 29 Nissan. (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

US F-35 Stealth Fighters Arrive In Estonia For NATO Drills

Two U.S. F-35 fighter jets arrived on Tuesday in NATO member Estonia to take part in the military alliance’s drills as the aircraft saw their first operational deployment in continental Europe. The planes with stealth technology to avoid detection by radar landed at the Amari air base from a base in Britain. Air Marshal Stuart Evans of NATO’s Allied Air Command said the F-35s will be “the fundamentals” in the military alliance’s capabilities to defend the air sovereignty of its members. “If you look at the challenges to our security environment, our ability to dominate the air environment, this aircraft is one of the fundamentals as we go forward into the future to face any potential security challenges,” Evans told The Associated Press. The F-35 deployed to Europe are permanently stationed at an U.S. air base in Utah and are part of the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, estimated to cost around $400 billion. One of the U.S. Air Force pilots of the F-35 planes was Lt. Col. George Watkins, who was impressed with aircraft’s performance. “The F-35s are amazing,” said Watkins, who has flown the plane for around two years now. “It takes our capability to a whole new level of technology. Just the stealth capability alone is really amazing for the pilot because it increases our survivability and allows us to go where other planes can’t go.” He said the plane conducted one airborne refueling session from the accompanying KC-35 tanker plane during the three-hour flight en route from Lakenheath in eastern England to the Baltic country. Earlier this month, the U.S. Air Force deployed a fleet of F-35s, its newest and most powerful fighters, to Britain to reassure U.S. allies in the face of Russian aggression. U.S.A.F. said the F-35s will remain “a period of time” in Estonia to conduct air drills with NATO aircraft in the region “in a realistic training environment.” (AP)

FCA, Google Begin Offering Rides In Self-Driving Cars

Fiat Chrysler and Google for the first time will offer rides to the public in the self-driving automobiles they are building under an expanding partnership. The companies announced in the spring of last year that they would build 100 self-driving Chrysler Pacifica hybrids minivans. Those vehicles have been tested in Arizona, California and Michigan. Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, said Tuesday that it will allow hundreds of people in Phoenix to take rides in the vehicles so that it can get feedback on the experience. People can apply on Waymo’s website. The company also said that it’s expanding its fleet to 500 Pacifica hybrids. Waymo — created by Google in 2009 — has given rides to the public before in its hometown of Mountain View, California. In 2015, it let a blind man ride around Austin, Texas, in one of its completely self-driving pods. The Phoenix program will be much larger in scale, and it will be the first to use the Pacifica minivans. Others in the race to develop self-driving vehicles have been putting people in their cars since last fall. Uber has had self-driving Volvos on the road in Pittsburgh for some time. Boston startup nuTonomy is giving taxi rides to passengers in Singapore and Boston. In all cases, there is a backup driver behind the wheel. Waymo said it wants to learn where people want to go in a self-driving vehicle, how they communicate with it and what kinds of information and controls they want. Fiat Chrysler builds the Pacifica minivan in Windsor, Canada, just across the border from Detroit. It adds Waymo’s self-driving software and hardware, including sensors and cameras, at a facility in Michigan. Fiat Chrysler’s U.S. headquarters is in Auburn Hills, Michigan. “This collaboration is helping both companies learn how to bring self-driving cars to market, and realize the safety and mobility benefits of this technology,” said Waymo chief John Krafcik in a company release. Our early riders will play an important role in shaping the way we bring self-driving technology into the world?—?through personal cars, public transportation, ride-hailing, logistics and more. Self-driving cars have the potential to reshape each and every one of these areas, transforming our lives and our cities by making them safer, more convenient and more accessible. Waymo has made clear that it intends to form partnerships with automakers and not build its own self-driving cars. It’s also in talks with Honda Motor Co. about a potential collaboration. (AP)

Trump’s Border Wall Request Equals 0.035 Percent Of Federal Spending

The following is via CNSNews: President Donald Trump’s request that Congress include $1.4 billion to fund the beginning of his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border equals approximately 0.035 percent of what the federal government will spend in total this year, according to the latest estimate of fiscal year 2017 federal spending made by the Congressional Budget Office. It also equals less than the Department of Health and Human Services spends in just twelve hours and less than the Treasury collects in taxes in four hours. That is assuming that HHS spends money 24 hours a day and the Treasury collects it 24 hours a day. In its baseline budget projections published in January, the CBO estimated that in fiscal 2017, which runs through September, the federal government will collect $3,404,000,000,000 in taxes and spend $3,963,000,000,000. On March 16, President Trump sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan requesting certain items be included in the continuing resolution that Congress must pass to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year after the current CR expires on April 28. This letter requested approximately $1.4 billion for Trump’s border wall project. An OMB summary of the president’s request—which was attached to his letter to Speaker Ryan–asked that the CR include: “1.4 billion for CBP [Customs and Border Protection] Procurement, Construction and Improvements, including $999 million for planning, design, and construction of the first installment of the border wall, $179 million for access roads, gates, and other tactical infrastructure projects, and $200 million for border security technology deployments.” The OMB summary also calls for “$18 million for project management, oversight and support for the border wall.” The $1.4 billion Trump wants from Congress in this fiscal year to begin the border wall project equals 0.035 percent of the $3.963 trillion the CBO estimates the federal government will spend this fiscal year. By comparison, the Department of Health and Human Services alone will spend an estimated $1,108,457,000,000 in fiscal 2017, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement. That $1,108,457,000,000 in annual HHS spending equals approximately $126,546,187 for each of the 8,760 hours in the fiscal year. In other words, HHS will spend approximately $126,536,187 per hour this year—assuming that it spends money 24 hours a day. That means that HHS spends in about 11 hours an amount equal to the $1.4 billion that President Trump wants this fiscal year for the border wall project. In half a day—12 hours—HHS spends more than Trump wants for the border wall for the entire year. The $3,404,000,000,000 that the Treasury will collect in taxes this fiscal year, according to the CBO estimate, equals about $388,584,475 in tax collections per hour. The $1.4 billion that Trump wants for the border wall project this year equals about 3.6 hours in federal tax collections. In just 4 hours, the federal government collects more in taxes than President Trump wants to spend for the entire year on the border wall. (Source: CNSNews)

US New-Home Sales Climb To 8-Month High In March

U.S. sales of new homes shot up in March to the fastest pace in 8 months, as more Americans are upgrading their houses in a positive sign for the broader economy. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that new-home sales rose 5.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 621,000, the highest rate since July last year. Sales are running 12 percent higher during the first three months of this year than during the same period in 2016. Homebuilding helps to feed growth across the economy. Housing starts and new-home sales are climbing amid a shortage of existing homes on the market, generating gains in construction jobs and sales of building materials. The real estate sector is still recovering from the bursting of the housing bubble a decade ago, with sales last month on pace to more than double the total for all of 2011. “Strong demand from homebuyers and very tight supply conditions in the overall housing market are fueling demand for new homes,” said Tian Liu, chief economist at Genworth Mortgage Insurance. “In addition, prices on new homes are stabilizing, suggesting more affordable homes are coming to the market, which will help builders capture more demand from first-time homebuyers.” The median sales price has increased just 1.2 percent over the past year to $311,400 in March. New-home sales jumped last month in the Northeast and West, grew modestly in the South and fell in the Midwest. Residential construction firms have added 112,600 workers over the past year, a 4.2 percent increase. Still, there are fewer residential construction jobs than in the middle of 2008 when mortgage defaults began to trigger a financial market crisis. Some of the gains for new housing reflect a lack of supply of existing homes on the market. Even as sales and prices of existing homes have risen, the available inventory has fallen 6.6 percent over the past year to 1.83 million properties. This means there are essentially more buyers chasing fewer properties, causing prices to rise and possibly making new construction an increasingly attractive choice. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index, also released Tuesday, rose 5.8 percent in February. That is the most in 32 months and more than double annual wage growth. Demand might increase further this month as mortgage rates have slipped in recent weeks. Mortgage had been climbing after President Donald Trump won the November election, under the belief that the government would engage in forms of stimulus such as tax cuts and greater deficits that could cause higher levels of inflation. But the path forward on major initiatives such as overhauling the tax code has become much more muddled in recent weeks ahead of the White House announcing his guidelines this Wednesday. The average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans declined to 3.97 percent last week from 4.08 percent previously, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac. The average is now at its lowest level in five months. (AP)

Barghouti Compares Himself To Nelson Mandela In Letter Distributed To The UN Security Council

Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon reacted harshly to a letter by Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti which was distributed to the members of the Security Council. In his letter, Barghouti compared himself to Nelson Mandela and described the Israeli legal system as “judicial apartheid.” “Barghouti is a terrorist and a murderer,” said Ambassador Danon. “His actions glorify death and bloodshed are no different than those of ISIS which seeks to spread its hateful ideology throughout the world using terror,” the Ambassador continued. Barghouti also wrote in his letter that for fifty years Israel, as the “occupying power,” arrested hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, denied them their basic rights and used violence against them. The letter was written to parliamentarians around the world and distributed to the Security Council members as part of Barghouti’s efforts to lead the Palestinian security prisoners strike. Last Thursday, during a meeting of the Security Council, Ambassador Danon clashed with the Palestinians representative to the UN. At the meeting, Ambassadors Danon held up a photo of one of Barghouti’s victims and explained that, “this was Yoela Chen, a mother of two. Glorifying terrorists like Barghouti not only distances us from peace, but dishonors the memories of the innocent victims.” Photo: Ambassador Danon in the Security Council last Thursday (credit: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas) (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

Scams Push Foreclosure Fraud To Limit, Taking Victims’ Homes

The phone call came as Raymond Murray neared the bottom of his luck. His wife had died, his career had been ended by injuries, and struggling to get by on his disability check, he had scraped together just enough to pay a lawyer to avoid imminent foreclosure on his modest Brooklyn home. The voice on the line offered a godsend: No more attorney fees, no more foreclosure, a lower monthly mortgage, and all this help for free. Murray was soon picked up by a black Mercedes-Benz, off to meet the man on the phone. Not long after, he was back at the office again, property deed in hand and a ring of people around a conference room table, finalizing the supposed fix to keep him in the home he hoped to die in. Eventually, the blessing Murray thought he had found was revealed as a curse. Amid unfulfilled promises, unreturned calls and unwelcome visitors at his door, the truth became clear: This aging immigrant, who thought he’d realized an American dream, was scammed out of his home. Around the U.S., deed theft has emerged as one of the most sophisticated and devastating frauds ever to menace homeowners. Foreclosure “rescue” scams that have stolen thousands of dollars from individual homeowners in the years since the housing collapse have been pushed by savvy perpetrators to their limit. They use lies to convince the desperate to sign over their title, then force them into homelessness or a years-long legal battle. “The scammers are no longer content with stealing $5,000. Now they want the whole house,” said Dina Levy, who heads the Homeowner Protection Program in the New York attorney general’s office, which has spread word about deed theft and prosecuted culprits. Although there are no firm numbers on how many cases of deed theft have occurred, they have been reported around the U.S., particularly in markets that have rebounded from the housing crisis or in neighborhoods that are gentrifying. “It’s growing, absolutely,” said Kristen Clarke, who heads the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit that has researched foreclosure-related fraud. “We’re beginning to see these scammers operate in a far more bold way.” — In San Diego, federal prosecutors netted a guilty plea and a six-year prison sentence last year for a man who forged deeds on at least 15 homes, and then quickly sold them to the surprise of unwitting owners. The ringleader of what investigators called a “tangled web of deceit” netted about $2.2 million in the scheme. Buyers coaxed into purchasing the homes were left with worthless claims to titles. — In Detroit, the Wayne County Register of Deeds is looking to expand its mortgage and deed fraud unit to deal with a crush of cases. The problem is so severe the office runs a round-the-clock property fraud hotline and has a marked deed-theft patrol car used by investigators following up on tips. Investors in Kuwait, Australia and the United Kingdom looking to capitalize on Detroit’s resurgence are among those who have been caught up in scams. — In Indianapolis, Crystal Francis, an attorney with Indiana Legal Services, tells of deed theft cases sprinkled throughout the area in recent years, with elderly people the preferred targets. One woman victimized by a scam while in the throes of a […]

Senior Officials In Rishon L’Tzion City Hall Arrested

Senior officials in Rishon L’Tzion City Hall have been arrested by police, including chareidim. They are accused of fraudulently obtaining funds by filing false reports on various event which never took place or held in a more modest format than reported. Ten suspects were arrested on Tuesday morning 29 Nissan during the morning hours, all serving in City Hall following an undercover investigation conducted for over a year. During the past year, a number of the suspects were questioned by police. After police gathered sufficient evidence against them the decision was made to forward with the arrests. In some cases, suspects filed for city funding for events that never took place, which in other cases, they received funding for a lavish event but held a modest version, allegedly pocketing the remainder of the funding. (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

NY Reminding Drivers To Move Over For First Responders

New York state is launching an outreach campaign to remind motorists to move over for emergency vehicles. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the week-long effort Monday. It’s intended to raise awareness of the state’s 2011 “Move Over Law,” which subjects drivers to fines and other penalties if they fail to slow down and move over for police cars, firetrucks, ambulances and highway maintenance and construction vehicles. As part of the campaign, the state will place signs about the law at Thruway service areas. On Friday, Thruway employees and members of the state police will hand out flyers to Thruway travelers about the need to move over for emergency workers. Law enforcement will also step up its enforcement of the law throughout the week. (AP)

Netanyahu Cancels Meeting With German FM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday canceled a meeting with the visiting German foreign minister over the latter’s plans to sit down with Israeli rights groups, sparking a rare diplomatic feud with one of Israel’s closest and most important allies. The last-minute cancellation cast a cloud over a visit that had been meant to draw attention to years of friendship between the two countries and coincided with Israel’s annual Holocaust memorial day. An Israeli official said Netanyahu was upset that German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was meeting with Breaking the Silence, a whistleblower group critical of Israeli military actions in the West Bank. The Israeli official spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement. At a news conference with Israel’s president, Gabriel made no mention of Netanyahu’s snub. But earlier, he had said it would be “regrettable” if Netanyahu canceled their planned talks in Jerusalem. “It would be regrettable if there were a cancellation,” he told Germany’s ZDF television. “But it’s not as though it would be a catastrophe for me. I have been in this country so often and have a lot of friends, and it wouldn’t change my relationship with Israel.” “You can’t get a proper and comprehensive picture in any country on Earth if you only meet in government offices,” added Gabriel. “I can’t imagine that we would not do such things in the future just to get government appointments.” Gabriel has been Germany’s foreign minister since January and its vice chancellor since 2013. This is his first visit to Israel in the new job.   (AP)

Canadian PM Responds To Lumber Tariffs Imposed By The US

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that Canada and the U.S. could suffer from what he called a “thickening” border, a day after the Trump administration imposed new tariffs on softwood lumber and trade tensions between the two countries escalated. Trudeau was responding to the announcement of new U.S. duties of up to 24 percent on softwood lumber entering from Canada. Canada’s Liberal Party leader said the two countries are economically interconnected, but it’s not a one-way relationship. “There are millions of good U.S. jobs that depend on the smooth flow of goods, services and people back and forth across our border,” Trudeau said during a press conference. He cited free trade in the North American auto sector as an example of how a typical car part can cross the border up to six times before it ends up in a finished automobile. “You cannot thicken this border without hurting people on both sides of it,” Trudeau said. “Any two countries are going to have issues that will be irritants to the relationship. Having a good constructive working relationship allows us to work through those irritants. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr echoed Trudeau’s sentiment, saying that the tariff hurts people in both countries, including American homebuyers, who will now pay more for wood. The U.S. and Canada typically enjoy a friendly trading relationship, but things have soured in recent months. Trump has been railing against Canada’s decision to change its policy on pricing domestic milk to cover more dairy ingredients, leading to lower prices for products, including ultra-filtered milk. Trump has called the move “a disgrace” that hurts U.S. producers in dairy states like Wisconsin. Trump tweeted Tuesday that Canada is making life “very difficult” for American dairy farmers and that the government “will not stand” for it. Lumber and dairy issues were also problems under previous presidents. In softwood lumber, the countries have had a once-a-decade cycle of tariffs, trade litigation, and ultimately settlements. Officials said Canada is not likely to challenge the new tariff legally under the North American Free Trade Agreement or with the World Trade Organization until next year. The softwood spat is unfolding amid a much bigger trade issue — renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Despite remarks from the president and his cabinet secretary, neither lumber nor dairy are actually part of the current NAFTA. (AP)

Trump Asked To Work For Release Of 2 Jailed By Iran

A relative of two Iranian-American citizens imprisoned in Iran says their health is failing rapidly due to inhumane conditions and is urging U.S. President Donald Trump to take “personal responsibility” for their lives. Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi, were sentenced to 10-year prison terms last year for “collusion with an enemy state” — the United States. Babak Namazi has been working behind the scenes since then, seeking the release of his father and brother. Their supporters deny the charges and say the two are being held as leverage on the U.S. Their supporters went public with their campaign Tuesday, appealing to Trump and formally asking the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for “urgent action” to secure their release. Babak Namazi and Jared Genser of the Washington-based Freedom Now human rights group said Trump should assume responsibility for the two imprisoned dual citizens. Namazi said he is “counting on the president to take personal responsibility” for his relatives’ lives. Genser cited Trump as declaring “this doesn’t happen if I’m president” after the Namazi convictions in October and said the U.S. president now needs to be “good to his word and do whatever is necessary to secure their release.” The Namazi family fled Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but appears to have kept business ties in Iran. Siamak Namazi’s arrest in late 2015 followed criticism by hardliners over his advocacy for improved Iran-U.S. ties. His 80-year old father is a former UNICEF representative who served as governor of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province under the U.S.-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He was arrested after traveling to Iran, apparently in efforts seeking his son’s release. Both Namazis appear to be ensnared by hard-liners within Iran’s security services who oppose the moderate administration of President Hassan Rouhani and the nuclear deal it struck with world powers. Dual nationals in detention have been used as bargaining chips in negotiations with the West, and Genser said U.S. officials in Vienna planned to bring up the case later in the day in what is the first U.S.-Iran meeting on the nuclear deal since Trump took office. Babak Namazi said both his father and brother are in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, out of reach for Iran’s judiciary and under control of the Revolutionary Guard. He told reporters his brother sleeps on the concrete floor of a “dark, humid cell,” mostly in solitary confinement; he has been physically “tortured, beaten” and subjected to “psychological torture” and has lost 12 kilograms (over 26 pounds). “He feels that he has nothing left to live for and (is considering) the taking of matters in his own hands,” Namazi said. He said that his father is “completely cut off from his doctor” despite serious health problems following triple bypass surgery and needing medication for various other ailments, While doctors in Iran refused to disclose his condition after several hospital visits, “we know from his own rapidly expanding list of self-observed symptoms including severe weight loss, dizziness, exhaustion, confusion, lightheadedness and shortness of breath, that time is not on his side,” Babak Namazi said. Other detained dual nationals include Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years in prison on allegations of planning the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government. Robin Shahini, an Iranian-American, is serving 18 years in prison for […]

TEHILLIM – Vishnitzer Rebbe of Monsey Taken To The Hospital For ‘Scheduled Testing’

Please be Mispallel for the Vishnitzer Rebbe of Monsey, who was taken to the hospital for scheduled testing on Monday afternoon. The Rebbe has reportedly not been feeling well the past few days, and was complaining of general weakness. A source close to the Rebbe tells YWN that the rebbe was scheduled to visit the hospital in the near future to have some testing done, so his medical staff decided to have the Rebbe stay overnight in the hospital. The Rebbe, Hagaon HaRav Mordechai Hager Shlita, is the elder of the admorim today. The Rebbe, who is around 95-years-old, is known for his devotion to learning Torah: He learns around 18 hours a day and asks his Chasidim to study at least two hours every day. He has thousands of Chassidim around the globe. Please be Mispallel for Mordechai ben Margulia. (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

2000 Kollel Yungerleit To Begin The Zman With Words Of Inspiration Fom HaGaon HaRav Edelstein

About 2,000 avreichim (Kollel Yungerleit) of the ‘יששכר באהלך’ network will begin the new zman on Thursday, 2 Rosh Chodesh Iyar, with words of inspiration from Ponevezh Rosh Yeshiva HaGaon HaRav Gershon Edelstein Shlita. The network includes 38 kollelim and they will convene to hear from Edelstein and HaGaon HaRav Elchanan Weisbard Shlita. The event they hope will also be in the presence of HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita. It is pointed out that many of the avreichim have not received payment in months, but Rav Weisbard, with the assistance of Gedolei Hador, has managed to bring in funds to pay them what they are owed. (YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

Don’t Miss Yeshiva Elementary’s Chinese Auction

[COMMUNICATED CONTENT] Yeshiva Elementary School, located in Miami, Florida, provides the highest quality Jewish education for over 500 students. Under the leadership of our principal Rabbi Yisroel Moshe Janowski, shlita, the school has grown tremendously. We are fortunate to have Rabbi Yochanan Zweig, the Rosh Yeshiva, to help guide our school. Students are energized and inspired each and every day. We are excited to announce our Annual Chinese Auction which will take place Wednesday, May 3. There is a wide selection of prizes including jewelry, electronics, luxurious getaways and more. Although there is officially only one winner per prize, every participant is a winner, for he or she is supporting the finest in Jewish education. The Early Bird deadline for purchasing your tickets is tomorrow, Wednesday, April 26. Please participate by purchasing tickets at yeshivaauction.com or call 305-867-3322. Let us join together to secure the future of our people by supporting an institution sincerely committed to the transmission of Torah values and traditions.

Hikind Reports Dramatic Change At Newark Liberty Airport

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) had high praise for Adele Fasano, Port Director at Newark Liberty Airport, who successfully implemented a number of important changes that Hikind requested. The requests followed horror stories from Hikind’s constituents regarding their treatment at the hands of customs and border patrol agents. Complaints included the refusal to allow an elderly Holocaust survivor to sit during questioning as well as callous disregard for religious items, which agents dumped on the floor despite protests. Assemblyman Hikind met with Fasano and her team to discuss the complaints. Following Fasano’s assurance that all of the complaints would be investigated, Fasano wrote, “We are pleased to report that with the additional information you provided, we have taken positive steps to ensure our officers treat the public with the utmost professionalism and respect with regard to their religious, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. CBP will also ensure that additional work surfaces and seating are available in the locations when we conduct these examinations.” “Constituents complained of being mistreated, I advocated for them, and Port Director Fasano took swift and effective action,” said Hikind. “That is what I call excellent leadership. Port Director Fasano has made certain that her officers and agents abide by their own rules regarding treating individuals with dignity and respect regardless of what they are being questioned for. “In evidence of Port Director Fasano’s leadership, my staff was advised by a constituent, who was recently on her way to Israel, of a questioning procedure she experienced. This traveler was escorted into a private room and asked to sit comfortably at a table while being questioned. Everyone was professional and the procedure took no longer than necessary.” Assemblyman Hikind has promised to continue monitoring the situation and asks New Yorkers to contact him if additional problems are encountered. (YWN Headquarters – NYC)

JetBlue’s Profit Sinks 59 Percent As Fuel Costs Rise

JetBlue’s first-quarter profit sank 59 percent from a year ago as fuel costs and other expenses rose and the airline made less revenue from every seat flown. But the airline’s earnings still beat Wall Street expectations and its shares rose more than 4 percent Tuesday morning. The carrier said revenue for every seat flown one mile, a figure that is closely watched in the airline business, fell 5 percent from a year ago. CEO and President Robin Hayes said the company “took quick actions” to improve those numbers, which he said were below its expectations. In the second quarter, JetBlue said it expects revenue for every seat flown one mile to rise between 3 percent and 6 percent from the same period the year before. JetBlue reported net income of $85 million, or 25 cents per share, in the three months ending March 31, compared with $207 million, or 61 cents per share, in the same period a year before. Its earnings per share just topped Wall Street expectations of 24 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research. Revenue slipped less than 1 percent to $1.6 billion, missing Wall Street forecasts for $1.62 billion, according to Zacks. Costs rose 15 percent to $1.46 billion, as expenses for fuel and related taxes grew 50 percent. Shares of JetBlue Airways Corp. rose 94 cents to $22.69 in morning trading Tuesday. (AP)

Judge Blocks Trump’s Order To Cut Funding To Sanctuary Cities

A federal judge has blocked a directive from President Donald Trump seeking to deny federal funding to so-called “sanctuary cities” and other localities that decline to cooperate in enforcement of federal immigration laws. San Francisco-based U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday barring federal officials nationwide from carrying out the portion of a Jan. 25 Trump executive order aimed at cutting off grants to local governments that won’t provide assistance to federal authorities in locating and detaining undocumented immigrants. DEVELOPING STORY

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