Buhari Arrives In New York For UN General Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari arrives at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on September 19, 2021. Credit: State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has arrived in the United States of America, Channels Television has learnt.

The President touched down at the John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, at exactly 5:10 pm local time ahead of the high-level General debate of the United Nations Assembly on September 21, 2021.

He was received by Nigeria’s Permanent representative to the United States, Professor Tijani Bande and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama.

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President Buhari will address the assembly during the general debates on Friday, September 24.

The President is expected to speak on this year’s theme which is “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the United Nations” and other global issues.

Buhari and members of his delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as the high-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, themed ‘Reparations, Racial Justice, and Equality for People of African Descent’.

Buhari Departs Abuja To Attend 76th UN General Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari waves as he boards the presidential jet for the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2021. Credit: State House

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has departed Abuja for New York, the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina disclosed this on Sunday, adding that his principal will join other world leaders for the 76th session of the UNGA which opened on September 14.

According to the presidential spokesman, President Buhari will address the assembly during the general debates on Friday, September 24.

The President is expected to speak on this year’s theme which is “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people and revitalize the United Nations” and other global issues.

Buhari and members of the delegation will partake in other significant meetings such as the high-level meeting to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Adoption of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, themed ‘Reparations, Racial Justice, and Equality for People of African Descent’.

Buhari is expected back in the country on September 26. Photo: State House

 

“The delegation will also participate in the food systems summit; high-level dialogue on energy; and the high-level plenary meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons,” Adesina said.

President Buhari will hold bilateral meetings with a number of other leaders of delegations and heads of international development organisations while in the U.S.

He is expected back in the country on Sunday, September 26.

He was accompanied to New York by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; and Minister of State for Environment, Sharon Ikeazor.

The Nigerian leader will hold bilateral talks with other world leaders during the 76th UN General Assembly. Photo: State House

 

Also on the President’s delegation are the National Security Adviser, Major General Babagana Monguno; Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar; Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa; and the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire.

Stars Dazzle In Defiant Fashion At ‘Surreal’ Met Gala

This year’s Met Gala has a distinctively youthful imprint, hosted by singer Billie Eilish, actor Timothee Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman and tennis star Naomi Osaka, none of them older than 25. The 2021 theme is “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.” (Photo AFP)

 

 

New York is done with dressing down: the splashy black-tie Met Gala returned Monday, with a cohort of Gen-Z’s glitterati hosting the A-lister bash famed for its over-the-top panache — and, despite the pandemic, this year the fashion was so fierce one guest wielded a sword.

The crowd of some 400 actors, athletes, poets and performers — all of whom were either vaccinated or had tested negative for COVID-19 — was largely maskless on the cream carpet, defying the global coronavirus pandemic that forced the cancellation of last year’s event.

“It’s so surreal,” US rapper Megan Thee Stallion, attending the Gala for the first time and dressed by designer Coach to evoke old Hollywood glamor, told AFP.

 

US rapper Megan Thee Stallion arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021, in New York. (Photo by Angela WEISS / AFP)

 

“I feel like, oh my gosh, Houston, Texas we made it! … I’m excited to be here.”

But she did admit that it was “kinda weird” to be around so many people, more than 18 months into the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’ve kinda gotten used to being a little introvert like — but I’m back on side so I’m excited to see everybody,” she said.

Canadian musician Grimes, who was one of the few wearing a face mask, set Twitter alight by carrying a sword — perhaps to, as one user suggested, “make sure people stay 6 ft away.”

 

Dutch YouTuber and makeup artist Nikkie de Jager arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

US lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added to the revolutionary spirit with a white off-shoulder dress, on the back of which was written in scarlet capital letters: “Tax the rich” — an inflammatory statement at an event where tickets cost $35,000 apiece and tables were up to $300,000.

Singer Normani said her yellow Valentino gown “chose me.”

“I feel like a princess… sorry I’m breathing heavy, my waist is snatched,” she said. “I feel like… amazing. A Black queen.”

Rapper Lil Nas X stripped down to reveal not one, but three gold outfits, singer Frank Ocean appeared with lime green hair and carrying what Twitter users described as a “robot baby” and Simone Biles’ glittering silver-and-black dress was so heavy that the gymnastics superstar could only climb the stairs one foot at a time and needed six men to help her lift it.

 

The rapper ASAP Rocky appeared wrapped in a patchwork quilt, which he said was a sartorial message of unity.

“We part of the same cloth, part of the same quilt, you know?” he said with a grin — later tossing the quilt to the ground to reveal a sharp black suit underneath, to the delight of singer Rihanna, his date.

 

 

One mysterious guest appeared head-to-toe in black — her face, mouth, eyes and head also covered, with only a long black ponytail visible, leading many to identify her as reality star Kim Kardashian.

“Maybe? We think it’s her?” tweeted New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman.

 

US singer/songwriter Billie Eilish arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

‘Evolving Language Of Fashion’

Actor Timothee Chalamet, poet Amanda Gorman, singer Billie Eilish and tennis player Naomi Osaka co-chaired the charity ball often heralded as the celebrity world’s “party of the year.”

 

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

Normally held in early May, the Manhattan soiree on steroids was postponed to Monday with the hope that Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted. The 2020 edition was canceled due to the pandemic.

The honorary co-chairs were Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, who has turned the gala into a global event, designer Tom Ford and Adam Mosseri, director of Instagram, which is sponsoring the extravaganza.

 

English actor Kit Harington arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

Plans for an opulent spectacle as much of the United States and the world is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic had risked criticism, but the primary reason for holding the benefit was almost certainly financial.

 

US actor Channing Tatum arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute relies on the Met Gala to fund its work, including exhibitions and acquisitions, and the cancellation of last year’s event badly damaged its finances.

The bash heralded the opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual sartorial exhibit, which this year will happen in two parts.

 

US tennis player Serena Williams arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

The first show, titled “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” is opening to the public on September 18 to celebrate The Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary.

The second exhibit — “In America: An Anthology of Fashion” — will kick off May 5, 2022. Both will run until September 5 of that year.

 

Mexican actress Eiza Gonzalez arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

The exhibits themselves will see Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton continue to explore broad themes — “Camp,” Catholicism and China were among the focuses in recent years — rather than offer retrospectives of a specific designer.

 

Brazilian model-actress Valentina Sampaio arrives for the 2021 Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021.

 

The two-part show will assess the state of American fashion — its contemporary players, the industry’s identity, and important figures the rarified world of fashion may have overlooked or left out.

Bolton said the exhibit’s first stage would focus on modernizing fashion vocabulary in connection with “equity, diversity and inclusion,” as part two would see collaborations with American filmmakers to “further investigate the evolving language of American fashion.”

 

 

Biden Warns Of Climate Change During Visit To Storm-Damaged New York, New Jersey

WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 07: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to the media as he departs the White House on September 07, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden is traveling to New Jersey and New York to tour storm damage from Hurricane Ida. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

President Joe Biden flew Tuesday to storm-ravaged New York and New Jersey, just days after inspecting the damage caused by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana — a trail of destruction the Democrat blames on climate change.

Biden — who is pushing a giant infrastructure spending bill, including major funding for the green economy — argues that extreme weather across the United States this summer is a harbinger of worse to come.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, told reporters aboard Air Force One that Biden believes the latest devastation shows “the average costs of extreme weather are getting bigger and no one is immune from climate change.”

Ida struck the US Gulf Coast as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing major flooding and knocking out power to large parts of the heavily populated region, which is also a main hub for the oil industry.

The departing remnants of the hurricane then caught authorities in the New York region by surprise, with ferocious rainfall triggering flash flooding.

The final blast of the storm killed at least 47 people in the US Northeast as it turned streets into raging rivers, inundated basements and shut down the New York subway.

And while one part of the country buckles under hurricane fallout, California and other parts of the west are struggling to combat ever fiercer wildfires.

Biden was to tour Manville, New Jersey and the New York borough of Queens before making remarks at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT).

With his presidency straining from the aftermath of the Afghanistan pullout and surging Covid infections at home, Biden faces a difficult coming few weeks, including a struggle to get his infrastructure plans through the narrowly divided Congress.

The White House hopes that the dramatic impact from Hurricane Ida in two different parts of the country will galvanize action on the spending bills.

“It’s so imperative that we act on addressing the climate crisis and investing… through his ‘Build Back Better’ agenda, which is working its way through Congress,” Psaki said.

Biden is due to “highlight how one in three Americans live in counties that have been impacted by severe weather events in recent months,” she said.

“Just over the summer, 100 million Americans have been impacted by extreme weather — obviously in the northeast, out west with wildfires, and then in the Gulf Coast.”

AFP

Djokovic Continues Slam Hunt As New York Recovers From Flash flooding

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic prepares to throw tennis balls to fans after winning his 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men’s singles first round match against Denmark’s Holger Rune during their at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on August 31, 2021. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

 

Australia’s top-ranked Ashleigh Barty rolled into the third round of the US Open on Thursday while New York struggled to recover from a deadly storm and flash flooding.

Remnants of Hurricane Ida killed at least eight people and triggered a rare state of emergency for the city, flooding subways and turning roads into rivers.

With abandoned cars scattered across streets near the National Tennis Center and many highways shut down, only a smattering of spectators watched in a cavernous Arthur Ashe Stadium as Barty dispatched Danish 18-year-old Clara Tauson 6-1, 7-5.

Barty send a backhand long to surrender a break in the 10th game of the second set while serving for the match but held her nerve, broke back and held again to win in 90 minutes.

“I’ve always been quite a calm person,” Barty said. “That’s certainly part of my game.”

Barty, who next plays American Shelby Rogers or Romania’s Sorana Cirstea, seeks her third career Grand Slam title, her second in a row after Wimbledon, and her sixth trophy of the year as well as her first US Open quarter-finals appearance.

World number one Novak Djokovic was set to continue his quest for the calendar-year Grand Slam in the night feature on Ashe against Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.

Djokovic is eyeing the first men’s singles calendar Slam since Rod Laver in 1969 if he captures a fourth career US Open crown.

The 34-year-old Serbian is also six wins away from his 21st career Grand Slam crown, which would give him the men’s all-time record, one more than the mark he now shares with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both absent with injuries.

Swiss 11th seed Belinda Bencic, the Tokyo Olympic champion, beat Italy’s Martina Trevisan 6-3, 6-1 in windy conditions.

“That was a little bit tricky but after yesterday’s bad weather I’m not complaining,” Bencic said. “Thanks to everyone for coming. I know it was not easy.”

Above the US Open grounds, there were sunny blue cloudless skies. Outdoor furniture scattered by high winds had been restored or replaced. High water that flooded plazas the night before had drained away.

Wind-blown rain went under and through the closed roof at Louis Armstrong Stadium, forcing a match to be finished at Ashe, but the swamped venue had players practicing Thursday morning.

“Thank you for your patience with last night’s events and we hope that you are safe,” the tournament tweeted.

“The safety of our fans, players and staff is of the utmost importance,” said a statement from the US Tennis Association, which delayed outer court starts by an hour to allow extra time for cleanup.

– Pizza stop for Sloane –

Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner, tweeted a warning on Wednesday night as she departed, saying, “This weather is scary. Please be careful.”

Later she shared a photo of a huge pizza, tweeting, “We’ve been stuck in flooding and stand-still traffic for more then 2 hours so we decided to stop and make the most of it.”

Massive traffic jams in the region, emergency conditions and calls by authorities for people to stay at home appeared set to limit attendance on the fourth day of the year’s final Grand Slam.

Germany’s fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, the Tokyo Olympic champion and last year’s US Open runner-up, has the second match on Ashe against 33rd-ranked Spanish left-hander Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Czech fourth seed Karolina Pliskova faces American Amanda Anisimova after Djokovic is finished.

Japan’s Kei Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, faces Mackenzie McDonald, seeking revenge for a Washington semi-final loss to the American last month. The winner books a potential third-round matchup against Djokovic.

Either American Maxime Cressy or German Oscar Otte could become the fifth qualifier into the men’s third round. There haven’t been so many so deep at any Slam since six at the 2011 French Open and not at the US Open since five made it in 1984.

Otte, ranked 144th, plays 92nd-ranked American Denis Kudla while Cressy, ranked 151st, meets 39th-ranked Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia.

AFP

UPDATED: Death Toll In New York Storm Rises To At Least 13: Officials

A man walks through a flooded Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx as dozens of cars and trucks sit abandoned following as night of heavy wind and rain from the remnants of Hurricane Ida on September 02, 2021 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

 

At least 25 people in the New York region have died from flash flooding caused by rainfall brought by the remnants of Hurricane Ida, officials said Thursday.

Twelve people have now lost their lives in New York City, including 11 who were trapped in the basements of their home, the NYPD said.

Ten were known to have died in New Jersey, according to officials there and another three succumbed to heavy flooding near Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.

AFP

Eight Dead In New York City As Ida Brings Flash Flooding

A worker unblocks drains on a street affected by floodwater in Brooklyn, New York early on September 2, 2021, as flash flooding and record-breaking rainfall brought by the remnants of Storm Ida swept through the area. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

 

The remnants of Hurricane Ida triggered spectacular flash flooding and a rare state of emergency in New York City overnight into Thursday, killing at least eight people in what was called a historic weather event.

Streets turned into rivers while water cascaded down subway platforms, flooding tracks, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority effectively shut down services.

“I’m 50 years old and I’ve never seen that much rain ever,” said Metodija Mihajlov whose basement of his Manhattan restaurant was flooded with three inches of water.

“It was like living in the jungle, like tropical rain. Unbelievable. Everything is so strange this year,” he told AFP.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled at LaGuardia and JFK airports, as well as at Newark, where video showed a terminal inundated by rainwater.

Flooding closed major roads across multiple boroughs including Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens.

Ida slammed into the southern state of Louisiana over the weekend, bringing severe flooding and tornadoes as it blazed a trail of destruction north.

New York state governor Kathy Hochul declared an emergency as the remnants of the storm caused massive flooding in the country’s financial and cultural capital, leaving the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens badly hit.

The New York City victims ranged from the ages of 2 to 86, police said. They were found at various homes in Queens and Brooklyn.

New Yorkers woke to beautiful blue skies Thursday as the city slowly edged back to life. Residents moved fallen tree branches from roads as subway services resumed.

But around 98,000 homes in Pennsylvania, 60,000 in New Jersey and 40,000 in New York were without power, according to the website poweroutage.us.

State governor Phil Murphy also declared a state of emergency in neighboring New Jersey, where CNN reported at least one person was killed in the city of Passaic, bringing the confirmed death toll from Ida to 16.

“We’re enduring an historic weather event tonight with record-breaking rain across the city, brutal flooding and dangerous conditions on our roads,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a tweet as he declared a state of emergency in the city.

The city earlier issued a rare flash flood emergency warning urging residents to move to higher ground.

As footage showed cars submerged on streets across the city, authorities urged residents not to drive on flooded roads.

 

Floodwater surrounds vehicles following heavy rain on an expressway in Brooklyn, New York early on September 2, 2021, as flash flooding and record-breaking rainfall brought by the remnants of Storm Ida swept through the area. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

“You do not know how deep the water is and it is too dangerous,” the New York branch of the National Weather Service (NWS) said in a tweet.

The US Open was halted ass howling wind and rain blew under the corners of the Louis Armstrong Stadium roof.

The NWS recorded 3.15 inches (80 millimeters) of rain in Central Park in just an hour — beating a record set just last month during Storm Henri.

It is rare for such storms to strike America’s northeastern seaboard and comes as the surface layer of oceans warms due to climate change.

The warming is causing cyclones to become more powerful and carry more water, posing an increasing threat to the world’s coastal communities, scientists say.

“Significant and life-threatening flash flooding is likely from the Mid-Atlantic into southern New England,” the NWS said in a bulletin, adding that three to eight inches of rain could drench the region through Thursday.

In Annapolis, 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the US capital, a tornado ripped up trees and toppled electricity poles.

– Lingering tornado threat –
The NWS warned the threat of tornadoes would linger, with tornado watches in effect for parts of southern Connecticut, northern New Jersey, and southern New York.

“This is extremely dangerous and potentially deadly flash flooding ongoing in Somerset County, as well as others in the area,” the NWS account for the Philadelphia metropolitan area tweeted late Wednesday, along with a video of a car trapped in churning water.

Ida is expected to continue steaming north and bring heavy rainfall on Thursday to New England.

US President Joe Biden is due to travel Friday to Louisiana, where Ida destroyed buildings and left more than a million homes without power.

Kathy Hochul Sworn In As First Female Governor Of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – AUGUST 24: (L-R) Matthew Gloudeman, Caitlin Hochul, Bill Hochul, William Hochul and Christina Hochul watch as New York Gov.  Hans Pennink-Pool/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by POOL / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

 

 

Kathy Hochul, has been sworn in as the 57th governor of New York early Tuesday, becoming the first woman to hold the state’s highest office.

Hochul was sworn in at the State Capitol by the state’s chief judge, Janet DiFiore, in a private ceremony, after series of events that saw Cuomo being engulfed in accusations that he covered up the true extent of COVID-19 deaths at nursing homes.

Several women also came forward this year alleging that the former governor  had behaved inappropriately towards them.

Governor Hochul, a Democrat, has vowed to lead the state through a still surging pandemic and economic uncertainty, while ushering in a new era of civility and consensus in state government.

More to follow . . .

Rare Tropical Storm Downgraded After Hitting US Northeast

Strong winds, rain, and a tidal surge keep boats at their piers and moorings during Tropical Storm Henri in New London, Connecticut on August 22, 2021. (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO / AFP)

 

Tropical Storm Henri was downgraded to a tropical depression late Sunday after slamming into Rhode Island on the US east coast, knocking out power to thousands of Americans, uprooting trees, and bringing record rainfall.

The storm hit land near the town of Westerly, Rhode Island, at approximately 12:15 PM (1615 GMT), the National Weather Service said. Henri had already been downgraded from a Category 1 Hurricane earlier on Sunday.

But the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its 5:00 am (0900 GMT) advisory that Henri was “nearly stationary” and winds had reduced to 30 miles per hour (48 kilometers per hour) — much lower than predicted gusts of 75 mph — with “little change in strength” forecast.

Henri is a rare tropical storm to strike America’s northeastern seaboard and comes as the surface layer of oceans warms due to climate change.

The warming is causing cyclones to become more powerful and carry more water, posing an increasing threat to the world’s coastal communities, scientists say.

Millions of residents in New England and New York’s Long Island had been told to prepare for violent winds, days without electricity, and storm surges of up to five feet.

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee said there was “significant flooding” in areas. There were no immediate reports of any casualties.

 

TOPSHOT – The New York Skyline is seen as Tropical Storm Henri approaches, in Weehawken, New Jersey on August 22, 2021. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

 

By mid-afternoon, the NHC had lifted all surge warnings and initial reports from residents indicated the storm was not as bad as projections feared although fallen trees nearly damaged homes in Groton, Connecticut.

“We dodged a bullet,” James Kiker, of Newport, Rhode Island, told AFP, saying he saw only “minimal damage” in his area, including a few broken branches.

Residents on Long Island, home to the plush Hamptons villages where wealthy New Yorkers retreat in summer, expressed relief that the storm’s path had skirted east of them.

“I will continue to stay alert as still plenty of wind, rain and surging seas await us but I am breathing a little easier,” Amy Pedatella, a 46-year-old property manager who spent Saturday securing seaside homes in the Hamptons, told AFP.

– Emergency rescues –

In Newark, New Jersey, flash flooding caused havoc with emergency services rescuing 86 people, including 16 children, from submerged vehicles.

In Helmetta, 30 miles south, volunteer firefighters waded through waist-deep water to help evacuate residents from waterlines rising dangerously close to their homes.

Some 79,000 people lost power in Rhode Island and another 33,000 suffered blackouts in Connecticut, according to the tracking website poweroutage.us.

More than 200 flights were canceled at Newark airport while New York’s LaGuardia and JFK airports canceled almost 200 between them, they said.

 

The skyline of lower Manhattan is seen under fog as a person with an umbrella walks along the promenade in New York City on August 23, 2021. – Tropical Storm Henri was downgraded to a tropical depression late August 22, 2021after slamming into Rhode Island on the US east coast, knocking out power to thousands of Americans, uprooting trees, and bringing record rainfall. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

President Joe Biden ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate disaster relief efforts in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York, where Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed 500 National Guard soldiers.

“We’re doing everything we can now to help those states prepare, respond and recover,” he told reporters.

Henri missed New York City by several miles but still caused tropical storm conditions overnight and throughout Sunday, where a flash flood warning was in effect until 5:45 pm.

– Concert abandoned –

Rain late Saturday forced New York to halt a star-studded Central Park concert billed as a “homecoming” for a metropolis hard hit by the pandemic.

An announcer cut off pop legend Barry Manilow mid-song to urge revelers to proceed swiftly but calmly to the nearest exit.

The National Weather Service said 1.94 inches of rain fell in the park between 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm Saturday, the wettest hour on record in the city of eight million people.

By the time it blows out, Henri is expected to have produced three to six inches of rain (7.5 to 15 centimeters) across the region, with isolated maximum totals near 12 inches, the NHC said.

Before the downgrade, Henri was set to be the first hurricane to hit New England in 30 years. Hurricane Bob in 1991 killed at least 17 people.

The warnings also reignited memories of Hurricane Sandy, a more powerful storm that knocked out power for much of Manhattan and flooded subways in 2012.

AFP

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo Resigns After Harassment Claims

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 26, 2020 Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at Wall Street in New York City. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP)

 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, facing possible impeachment over sexual harassment claims from 11 women and mounting pressure to quit from fellow Democrats, announced his resignation on Tuesday.

It was a stunning reversal of fortune for the 63-year-old Cuomo, who just a year ago earned praise for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic before being engulfed in the harassment allegations and claims that he covered up the scale of deaths in nursing homes.

“I think that given the circumstances, the best way I can help now is if I step aside and let government get back to government,” Cuomo said in a live televised address.

“My resignation will be effective in 14 days.”

Cuomo, who will hand over the reins to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat, denied the accusations of sexual harassment outlined in a report released last week by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.

“The report said I sexually harassed 11 women,” Cuomo said. “That was the headline people heard and saw. The reaction was outrage. It should have been. However, it was also false.”

But he said he wanted to “deeply, deeply” apologize to any women who may have been offended by his actions.

“I have been too familiar with people,” said Cuomo, who was once touted as a potential Democratic presidential candidate. “I do hug and kiss people casually, women and men. I have done it all my life.”

“In my mind I’ve never crossed the line with anyone,” he said. “But I didn’t realize the extent to which the line has been redrawn.

“There are generational and cultural shifts that I just didn’t fully appreciate. And I should have. No excuses.”

“I thought a hug and putting my arm around a staff person while taking a picture was friendly, but she found it to be too forward,” Cuomo said.

“I kissed a woman on the cheek at a wedding and thought I was being nice, but she felt that it was too aggressive.”

‘A fighter’

Cuomo, whose father Mario also served as governor of New York, was elected governor in 2010 and easily won reelection in the heavily Democratic state in 2014 and 2018.

Cuomo described himself as a “New Yorker, born and bred” and a “fighter” and said his “instinct is to fight through this controversy because I truly believe it is politically motivated.”

But he said he had decided instead to step aside because an impeachment fight would “consume government,” cost taxpayers millions of dollars and “brutalize people.”

“Government really needs to function today,” he said. “Government needs to perform. And wasting energy on distractions is the last thing that state government should be doing.”

Cuomo described Hochul, who will become the first ever female governor of New York, as “”smart and competent” and promised a “seamless” transition.

Cuomo had been under mounting pressure to resign in recent days with President Joe Biden, the two Democratic senators from New York and multiple state lawmakers calling on him to step down.

His announcement came just days after the resignation of a top aide, Melissa DeRosa, and the filing of a criminal complaint against him by a former executive assistant, Brittany Commisso.

In her complaint, Commisso said Cuomo touched her inappropriately twice, groping her behind and her breast last year while they were working at his executive mansion.

AFP

Biden Asks New York Governor To Resign After Damning Harassment Report

A photo combination of US President Joe Biden and New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo.
A photo combination of US President Joe Biden and New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

 

US President Joe Biden joined leading Democrats Tuesday in calling on powerful New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to resign after an independent investigation concluded that he sexually harassed multiple women.

Cuomo, who drew praise nationwide for his early pandemic response, denied inappropriate conduct and resisted immediate calls to quit after the probe found he harassed current and former New York state employees.

But his position was looking increasingly untenable late Tuesday after Biden and House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the three-term governor should step down and state lawmakers moved to impeach him.

“I think he should resign,” Biden told reporters in Washington.

The explosive report detailed allegations by 11 women that paint a “deeply disturbing yet clear” picture of a pattern of abusive behavior by Cuomo and his senior staff, state Attorney General Letitia James said, announcing the findings.

It was not clear if the governor would face criminal prosecution, with James saying the investigation was “civil in nature,” but US media reported that the district attorney’s office in state capital Albany had opened an investigation.

The five-month investigation “concluded that Governor Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed multiple women and in doing so violated federal and state law,” James told a news conference.

She said Cuomo engaged “in unwelcome and non-consensual touching and making numerous comments of a suggestive sexual nature that created a hostile work environment for women.”

The investigation also found that Cuomo and his senior team took retaliatory action against at least one former employee for coming forward with her story, she added.

Cuomo issued an unequivocal denial.

“I never touched anyone inappropriately or made inappropriate sexual advances,” he said in a pre-recorded televised statement.

“I am 63 years old. I have lived my entire adult live in public view. That is just not who I am. And that’s not who I have ever been.”

And he suggested that resignation was not on his mind, saying: “What matters to me at the end of the day is getting the most done I can for you.

“And that is what I do every day. And I will not be distracted from that job. We have a lot to do.”

Cuomo also published a response to every allegation made by the women against him on his website, adding: “Please take the time to read the facts and decide for yourself.”

Defending his actions, he included photos of prominent Americans, including Biden and ex-president Barack Obama, kissing and hugging people.

– ‘Climate of fear’ –

One former employee said Cuomo slipped his hand under her blouse last year, while a trooper on Cuomo’s protective detail said he inappropriately touched her stomach and hip.

His conduct was “not just old fashioned affection and behavior as he and some of his staff would have it, but unlawful sex-based harassment,” said Anne Clark, one of the lawyers heading the investigation.

None of the women welcomed his attentions, the other lawyer leading the probe, Joon Kim, said. “All of them found it disturbing, humiliating, uncomfortable and inappropriate.”

Clark detailed one incident where Cuomo prepared a letter he wanted to release to the press attacking one of the alleged victims, though he was ultimately persuaded not to.

And Kim said Cuomo and his staff fostered a “climate of fear” that kept women from speaking out.

The investigators said that at least one report has been made to police about Cuomo’s behavior, and that their findings could be used in any criminal investigations.

The women involved can also decide whether they want to sue Cuomo, they said.

“I am inspired by all the brave women who came forward. But more importantly, I believe them,” said James.

The charismatic Cuomo, a moderate who still enjoys considerable support amongst voters, had hoped to go one better than his father Mario Cuomo by winning a fourth term in November 2022 elections.

But it looked increasingly likely that he could be forced out before then as state assembly speaker Carl Heastie announced that Cuomo had “lost the confidence” of its Democratic majority and “can no longer remain in office.”

 

AFP

NYC Orders COVID-19 Vaccines Or Weekly Tests For All Public Workers

File Photo: Carl Court / POOL / AFP

 

New York City will require all municipal workers to get vaccinated against coronavirus or take a weekly test, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday as the Delta variant fuels an uptick in cases in the metropolis.

The order will go into effect from September 13 and will apply to more than 300,000 city personnel, including police officers, fire fighters and teachers.

“This is about our recovery. This is about keeping people safe,” de Blasio told a press conference.

The move comes after the mayor announced last week that the city’s 30,000 public hospital workers would need to get vaccinated or face weekly testing from August 2.

The measure announced Monday is the most stringent measure taken so far in the US megacity to boost vaccination rates following a campaign based on voluntary participation and incentives.

In New York, 59 percent of the entire population has received at least one dose of a vaccine against Covid-19 but the speed of injections has slowed.

Controversy is building in the United States over what steps should be taken to increase vaccination rates against the Delta variant, which accounts for more than 89 percent of US infections, according to estimates.

READ ALSO: World Bank To Finance Extra COVID-19 Jabs For Poorer Nations

Many health officials are pushing to make vaccination mandatory, at least for certain segments of the population.

On Monday, 57 medical groups representing millions of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health workers called for mandatory vaccinations for all health staff.

“The health and safety of US workers, families, communities, and the nation depends on it,” said the statement, whose signatories included the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association.

Several Republican-led states have instead passed laws banning coercive measures, though, particularly in schools.

The September 13 date will coincide with the return of one million students to New York’s public schools for the new academic year.

AFP