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police

Memphis Braces for Video Showing Fatal Police Beating of Tyre Nichols

On Thursday, five Memphis police officers were charged with second-degree murder in the death of Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man who was killed after a traffic stop turned violent. The video of the incident is expected to be released Friday evening.

memorial

Man Who Stopped Monterey Park Mass Shooter Speaks On Tragedy

Brandon Tsay is the individual responsible for stopping the Monterey Park mass shooter at the Lai Lai Ballroom in Alhambra, California. Tsay is being hailed as a hero who saved multiple lives after disarming 72-year-old Huu can Tran, who later died due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Tsay recently spoke to ABC News about the shooting which left him completely “shook.”

“It was Chinese New Year’s. We were hosting a social dance party. I was in the lobby. It was late into the evening, most of our customers had already left. I wasn’t paying attention to the front door — I was looking into the dance ballroom, the dance floor, and this is when I heard the sound of the front door quickly closing and instantly followed by the sound of metal objects clinking together as if they were rubbing. That’s when I turned around and saw that there was an Asian man holding a gun,” Tsay explained.

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“He didn’t seem like he was here for any money, he wasn’t here to rob us. When he was looking around the room it seemed like he was looking for targets – people to harm. I needed to disarm him or else everybody would have died,” Tsay stated.

“Something came over me – I realized I needed to get the weapon away from him. When I got the courage I lunged at him with both my hands, grabbed the weapon and we had a struggle. We struggled into the lobby, trying to get the gun away from each other.”

“He was hitting me across the face. Bashing the back of my head. I was trying to use my elbows to separate the gun away from him, creating some distance. At this point I thought he would run away, but he was just standing there, contemplating whether to fight or to run away. I really thought I would have to shoot him,” Tsay said.

Tsay then called the police after noting that the shooter walked out of the studio and into his van. The struggle with the shooter left Tsay with bruising on his body, across his face, and the back of the head.

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“After the incident, I was shook. I was shaken all night. I couldn’t believe what happened.”

“A lot of people have been telling me how much courage I had to confront the situation like this, but you know what courage is? Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to have adversity of fear when fearful events happen such as this,” Tsay explained when discussing the public hailing him as a hero.

Representative Mark Takano, who represents Riverside County near where the mass shooting took place, said the area “has vibrant communities, Asian American communities. The shooting is a tragedy of incomprehensible proportions.”

The shooting took place as the community and world celebrated the Lunar New Year, which is a very important holiday for Asian Americans.

“It’s a very joyous time of year for families to get together and to have a tragedy like this happen on the eve of the Lunar New Year is just incredibly sad and tragic,” said Takano.

“I just want to emphasize to the community that thanks to the good work of L.A. County Sheriff [Robert] Luna and his deputies, the suspect was identified very quickly. We know the suspect took his own life, so the community can feel safe from that threat,” Takano noted.

strike

7,000 Nurses Go on Strike at Two of NYC’s Largest Hospitals

After a weekend of talks failed to produce agreements for new contracts, more than 7,000 nurses at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Montefiore Medical Center in New York City are going on strike to demand better pay and working conditions.

The walkouts began at 6 a.m. Monday morning. The New York State Nurses Association, representing 42,000 nurses, said that chronic understaffing prompted the strike. Hiring has not been sufficient to cover the nursing shortages created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nancy Hagans, president of the NYSNA, said the nurses “do not take striking lightly, but that’s what’s going to happen if our bosses give us no other choice.”  The failure of hospital administrators to hire nurses left behind hundreds of unfilled slots, leaving current nurses to pick up the workload.  

“Our No. 1 issue is a crisis of staffing. It is an issue that our employers have ignored.” 

Despite having 760 open nursing positions, Montefiore Medical Center did not fill any of them. According to Ms. Hagan, some nurses tend to up to 20 patients at a time. This puts tremendous pressure on workers, especially in the emergency room, which is “so overcrowded that patients are admitted in beds in the hallway instead of hospital rooms.”

The union desires adequate enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance with safe staffing levels. They are also requesting pay increases commensurate with inflation rates. Sunday night’s negotiation session failed to produce an agreement. Monday has no scheduled bargaining sessions, but the nurses are eager to return to the table.

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Monday’s strike put a strain on the NYC healthcare system, with hospitals having to relocate patients, reroute ambulances, and reduce other services. Hospitals were already feeling the impact of the citywide tripledemic of RSV, influenza and COVID-19. Because of nursing shortages, hospitals brought in temporary staff, including doctors, to continue operations.

Mario Cilento, the president of the New York State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, showed support for the nurses in a statement released on Monday.

“It is time for the hospitals to treat these nurses fairly, with the dignity and respect they deserve, to ensure nurses can get back to serving their communities by providing superior care to their patients.”

 Gov. Kathy Hochul called for binding arbitration on Sunday night to postpone the strike, but the union rejected the offer.

“Gov. Hochul should listen to front-line COVID-19 nurse heroes and respect our federally protected labor and collective bargaining rights. Nurses don’t want to strike. Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients.”

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 The union leaders at Montefiore Medical Center turned down management’s offer of a 19.1% compounded wage increase over three years and a commitment to add more than 170 new nursing jobs. Mount Sinai administrators released a statement addressing the latest negotiations, during which union leaders walked out at 1 a.m. on Monday morning.

 “We remain committed to seamless and compassionate care, recognizing that the union leadership’s decision will spark fear and uncertainty across our community. Our first priority is the safety of our patients. We’re prepared to minimize disruption, and we encourage Mount Sinai nurses to continue providing the world-class care they’re known for.”

 The pandemic has left front-line medical workers with a distrust of hospital management. In recent years, nurses have walked out in states across the country as well as worldwide. Nurses in the United Kingdom went on strike last month for the first time in seven decades.

 Nurses and doctors still remember the dangerous working conditions when COVID-19 first swept through the city in 2020, inundating hospitals with patients and killing more than 22,000 residents. Hospitals were inadequately prepared, and there was insufficient personal protective equipment for medical staff.

Foreseeing the impending strike, both Montefiore and Mount Sinai have rushed to make preparations in recent days. Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement released Sunday night that the city is in contact with the hospital networks. Still, he acknowledged that some parts of the city’s hospitals would likely be overburdened.

 “In the event of a strike, our system will be prepared to meet the challenges. If there is a nurses’ strike, hospitals in certain areas may experience impacts to operations, including possible delayed or limited service. We encourage all New Yorkers to call 911 only for emergencies, and be prepared to seek an alternate facility in case their preferred hospital is impacted.”

bike

Opening Statements Set For Case Against Sayfullo Saipov Over 2017 NYC Bike Path Killings 

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in the trial of Sayfullo Saipov, who is currently facing terrorism charges after he allegedly ran over pedestrians in a rented truck on the West Side bike path in Manhattan on Halloween in 2017; killing eight people and injuring many more.

Saipov has pleaded not guilty to eight counts of murder, 18 counts of attempted murder, and other terrorism charges. His plea makes him eligible for the death penalty in what is the first federal capital case heard under the Biden Administration. 

Authorities reported that Saipov plowed through cyclists and pedestrians on the bike path before crashing the rented truck into a school bus, exiting the vehicle while waving a pellet and paintball gun before being shot and taken into custody by an NYPD officer. 

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According to a criminal complaint, Saipov told investigators that he planned the attack throughout the course of a year and chose to execute it on Halloween due to the volume of people that would be on the streets. 

“He planned to use the truck to hit pedestrians in the area the attack took place and then proceed to the Brooklyn Bridge to continue to strike pedestrians.”

The criminal complaint also revealed that Saipov told investigators ISIS inspired his attack, and he chose to use a truck as a means of “inflicting maximum damage against civilians.”

Prosecutors stated that Saipov initially wanted to display ISIS flags on the truck during the attack, but decided not to as a means of avoiding attention. 

The complaint also said that investigators found around 90 videos and 3,800 pictures of ISIS-related propaganda on his cell phone, including graphic videos of ISIS members killing “prisoners, beheadings, and instructions for how to make a homemade improvised explosive device.

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Investigators also cited in the complaint that Saipov asked to hang an ISIS flag in his hospital room after being shot and captured, and that he said he “felt good about what he had done.”

According to officials, Saipov initially came to the US in 2010, moving from Uzbekistan to New Jersey with his wife and three children, and drove for Uber. He entered into the US on a diversity immigrant visa, which “allows people from countries with low recent immigration to apply for a visa and green card,” according to the Department of Homeland Security. 

Police have stated that of the eight people killed in the attack, five were from Argentina, two were Americans, and one was from Belgium. The Argentinians were in a group of people celebrating their 30-year high school reunion. 

Reported by CNN, “Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Ministry identified the group as Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi.

Nicholas Cleves, 23, from New York, and Darren Drake, 32, from New Milford, New Jersey, were the two Americans killed. Ann-Laure Decadt, a 31-year-old Belgian woman, was also among those killed, according to a statement from her husband, Alexander Naessens.”

government

President Joe Biden Signs $1.7 Trillion Bill Leading Into 2023

President Joe Biden signed a $1.7 trillion spending bill this week that will keep the federal government in full operation, and allocate necessary funding to various sectors.

walmart

Walmart Shooter Purchased Gun Just Hours Before Killing, Authorities Say

The gunman who shot and killed six co-workers at a Walmart in Chesapeake, VA, earlier this week legally purchased the gun hours before the massacre. He also left what he titled a “death note” on his phone detailing grievances with various people in his life.

flu

Americans May Face a ‘Tripledemic’ This Winter With the Spread of Influenza, RSV and Covid-19

At least three viruses—influenza, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)—are threatening to overwhelm the country this holiday season. Americans will grapple with multiple respiratory pathogens, both old and new.

interest

Mortgage Rates Hit a 20-Year High of 6.92%

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates reached a 20-year high last week due to rising interest rates, now at a whopping 6.92%. The Federal Reserve is continuing its aggressive monetary policy to squash surging inflation, sending shockwaves throughout the housing market.

The federal funds rate is projected to reach 4.4% by the end of 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues and record low interest rates during the pandemic led to unprecedented inflation, prompting the Fed’s policy initiative.

While the Fed continues to wrangle with inflation, the housing market is especially feeling the pinch of higher interest rates. The S&P 500 and the New York Stock Exchange also fell 20% from this time last year as a result of these rate hikes. The declines have continued for several weeks.

Despite the Fed’s efforts, the consumer price index has not significantly budged. The index rose to 8.2% in September, far from the Fed’s eventual target of 2%.

For the last 15 years, mortgage rates in the U.S. have been relatively low. Thirty-year fixed mortgage rates were notably low during the previous two years, hovering between 2.5% and 3.5% between 2020 and early 2022.

However, mortgage rates spiked in recent weeks. As of Oct. 13, the thirty-year mortgage rate is at a two-decade high of 6.92%. The fifteen-year rate is at 6.09%.

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Freddie Mac’s chief economist Sam Khater released a statement regarding the rates.

“Rates resumed their record-setting climb this week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reaching its highest level since April 2002. We continue to see a tale of two economies in the data: strong job and wage growth are keeping consumers’ balance sheets positive, while lingering inflation, recession fears and housing affordability are driving housing demand down precipitously. The next several months will undoubtedly be important for the economy and the housing market.”

The Fed has been clear about its plan to continue increasing the federal funds rate until prices begin to level out. Mortgage rates tend to rise alongside the federal funds rate.

In September, the chairman of the Fed, Jerome Powell, said there is no way to avoid the rising unemployment and slowing growth that will follow the Fed’s current monetary policy. The consequences of out-of-control interest rates may be even more disastrous for the economy than necessary rising interest rates. The Fed estimates unemployment will climb to 4.4% in 2023 and 2024, up from the current rate of 3.5%.

“We have to get inflation behind us. I wish there were a painless way to do that. There isn’t.”

Some experts are taken aback by how quickly mortgage rates are rising. Economist Matthew Speakman from Zillow told ABC News that “few could have predicted exactly how far and how fast they have risen.”

“There’s not a lot of incentive for rates to come down dramatically in the near-term, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to keep running away at this pace.”

The relationship between homebuyer behavior and rising mortgage rates is complicated. In general, higher mortgage rates reduce demand, which drives down the prices of homes. Real estate prices are falling, but not as rapidly as expected, in the face of the skyrocketing mortgage rates.

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Daryl Fairweather, an economist at Redfin, spoke on the complexity of the current housing market.

“It’s like a standoff between buyers and sellers. Buyers can’t afford higher prices, and sellers don’t want to sell for lower prices.”

Recession worries, rising inflation and high-interest rates have made things appear bleak, but many experts believe mortgage rates will not continue to skyrocket. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, predicts that rates will hover around the resistance point of 7%.

“We don’t want to see a bursting out of that second resistance and going up, because you’re talking about 8.5% mortgage rates, something that we clearly do not want to see. The 7% interest rate could be the new normal.”

In July, Yun released a statement predicting that higher mortgage rates will persist as long as the high inflation rate persists.

“If consumer price inflation continues to rise, then mortgage rates will move higher. Rates will stabilize only when signs of peak inflation appear. If inflation is contained, then mortgage rates may even decline somewhat.”

house

US Home Prices Decline at Fastest Pace Since 2008 Financial Crisis

We are in the middle of the most significant two-month drop in home prices since shortly after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers in September 2008. Prices have been declining at the fastest pace since the Great Recession, prompting some experts to believe we are entering a housing market correction.

hurricaine

Hurricane Ian Barrels Toward South Carolina, Leaving Destruction in Its Wake

After pummeling Florida, Hurricane Ian has its sights set on South Carolina. The death toll from Ian, which made landfall as a category four hurricane in Florida, has now risen to 21. Authorities still have to confirm that the deaths were related to the storm.

Ian downgraded to a tropical storm before strengthening into a category one hurricane on its trajectory toward South Carolina. Meteorologists expect Ian to make landfall again in South Carolina today before moving northeast toward North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia Friday night through Saturday morning. It will be the first hurricane to hit South Carolina since Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

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Florida is still assessing the damage of Hurricane Ian, mostly from flooding. Early estimates say that the damage could cost up to $40 billion. Florida’s former emergency management chief told NYTimes, “Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island look like they will need to be 80% rebuilt.” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said it would be a yearslong recovery.

President Joe Biden said it could prove to be the deadliest hurricane in Florida’s history. Over two and a half million residents who were in the hurricane’s path are without power. Many are left with uninhabitable homes or do not have access to water, such as in Lee County, where a water main line broke.

“My message to the people of Florida and to the country in times like this: America comes together. We’re gonna pull together as one team, as one America. First thing this morning as I talked to Gov. DeSantis and again offered the fullest federal support.”

Kevin Guthrie, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said that Floridians affected by Ian need to rely on their own supplies for food and water for the next day or so. The government advises residents to save enough food and water for seven days before a significant storm. From days 3 to 5 after the storm, the National Guard and local community distribution will serve water and dry food. Hot food distribution will follow shortly after.

Governor DeSantis said 700 rescues had been conducted so far by air. Before the storm hit, the state government asked residents planning to shelter in place to fill out a survey to allow officials to have demographic information.

“Some of the damage was almost indescribable. I would say the most significant damage that I saw was on Fort Myers Beach. Some of the homes were wiped out, some of it was just concrete slabs.”

In 2013, during his time in the House of Representatives, DeSantis was against federal aid for the New York region after the damage of Hurricane Sandy. Now, he is asking for governmental assistance to help his state. He told Tucker Carlson, “when people are fighting for their lives, when their whole livelihood is at stake, when they’ve lost everything — if you can’t put politics aside for that, then you’re just not going to be able to.”

At the time, DeSantis and Ted Yoho were the only House members to oppose the assistance package for Hurricane Sandy.

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President Biden said that the government would provide uninsured people in Florida an assistance of $37,900 for home repairs and another $37,900 for property loss. In Thursday’s speech, President Biden thanked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for their prompt response.

“I’ve seen you in action all across the country from the West Coast of the Northwest and the Northeast, down in Louisiana, all across this country. And just in the last two weeks, you’ve been working 24/7. No matter what, when emergencies happen, FEMA is always there. You deserve the nation’s gratitude and full support.”

South Carolina is already feeling the effects of Hurricane Ian, with 10,000 residents without power. In anticipation of Ian’s arrival, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia declared a state of emergency. The National Weather Service says Hurricane Ian will likely not strengthen beyond a category one hurricane as it approaches South Carolina, sustaining wind speeds of 85 mph.