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In a video posted to social media on Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio again directly blamed climate change for 2012’s deady Superstorm Sandy — a contention that lacks scientific support - and touted his plan to spend $10 billion to fortify and "protect Lower Manhattan" against future storms.

Even as local leaders warned that de Blasio’s plan to construct new barriers would actually destroy the waterfront neighborhoods he says he wants to protect, de Blasio insisted his views were now mainstream among New Yorkers.

"After Sandy, there weren’t a lot of climate change deniers left in New York City," de Blasio said directly into the camera, after reminding viewers that the storm left dozens dead and cost the city billions in economic losses. "We need to protect this city and this country, and this world, from global warming. There’s no national policy to do it right now. … We have to do it ourselves."

Mayor de Blasio added in the video, which appeared on Facebook and Twitter, that the federal government also must act quickly: "We have to fight for the bigger changes, like the Green New Deal," de Blasio said.

The mayor claimed that studies undertaken by his office and others has determined that if the city does not prepare for climate change, rising seas will expose 20 percent of lower Manhattan to daily flooding by 2100.

However, past expert predictions on the effects of global warming have proven inaccurate at best. For example, United Nations scientists predicted that the world had only 10 years to immediately address climate change all the way back in 1989, in order to protect entire cities from destruction and a resulting flood of eco-refugees. A NASA scientist falsely predicted the same thing in 2006.

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2011 file photo, a bicyclist makes his way past a stranded taxi on a flooded New York City street as Tropical Storm Irene passes through the city.  (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

FILE – In this Aug. 28, 2011 file photo, a bicyclist makes his way past a stranded taxi on a flooded New York City street as Tropical Storm Irene passes through the city.  (AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)

Contrary to de Blasio’s assertions, no study has defintively linked the existence or power of Superstorm Sandy to man-made climate change, or made the claim that such a link can be definitively established at all. Some contested studies have, however, suggested the storm may have become more intense to some degree as a result of warming sea temperatures.

"We suggest that it is more useful to regard the extreme circulation regime or weather event as being largely unaffected by climate change, and question whether known changes in the climate system’s thermodynamic state affected the impact of the particular event," stated one paper produced by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

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The researchers added: "Some examples briefly illustrated include ‘snowmaggedon’ in February 2010, Superstorm Sandy in October 2012 and supertyphoon Haiyan in November 2013, and, in more detail, the Boulder floods of September 2013, all of which were influenced by high sea surface temperatures that had a discernible human component."

The Green New Deal backed by de Blasio has not attracted universal support even among Democrats, after the resolution’s botched rollout in Congress earlier this year included the release of an official document by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office that promised economic security even for those "unwilling to work," as well as the elimination of "farting cows" and air travel.

"We have to fight for the bigger changes, like the Green New Deal."

— New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

The Democratic mayor on Thursday first announced his plan to meet the "existential threat" of climate change, specifically by extending a section of the lower Manhattan coastline as much as 500 feet into the East River. He said the $10 billion effort to protect lower Manhattan from flooding by extending the shoreline between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Battery will be funded partly by private development if federal funds are not available.

WHAT DOES TRUMP ADMIN’S OWN CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT SAY IS COMING?

"If there’s federal money in play, it probably looks one way," de Blasio said last week. "If there’s not federal money in play, we have to get some private money into it and there has to be some development."

Officials have been developing schemes to fortify New York City’s waterfront since Superstorm Sandy destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in 2012.

De Blasio said it will cost about $500 million to fortify most of lower Manhattan from future effects of climate change, including rising sea levels and intense precipitation, with grassy berms and removable barriers.

But planners determined that protecting the lowest-lying area, including South Street Seaport and the financial district, will require adding more land over several years.

FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2017 file photo, a boat crosses New York Harbor in front of the Manhattan skyline. Mayor Bill de Blasio is announcing a plan to protect lower Manhattan from rising sea levels by surrounding it with earthen berms and extending its shoreline by as much as 500 feet. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

FILE – In this Oct. 19, 2017 file photo, a boat crosses New York Harbor in front of the Manhattan skyline. Mayor Bill de Blasio is announcing a plan to protect lower Manhattan from rising sea levels by surrounding it with earthen berms and extending its shoreline by as much as 500 feet. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

De Blasio, who is contemplating joining the crowded field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, said the $10 billion landfill project should be supported by federal funds, but that’s unlikely to happen during the administration of Republican President Donald Trump.

"Lower Manhattan is one of the core centers of the American economy," he said. "It’s where the financial capital of the United States is. The security of lower Manhattan should be a national priority. The fact is it is not. And it’s incomprehensible to me that there’s no sense of urgency from the federal government."

He added, "We can’t afford to bury our head in the sand and that’s right now what our federal government is doing."

The plan to extend the coastline will go through the city’s environmental review process, de Blasio said, but he hopes to avoid "the endless dragging on that usually accompanies something of this scale."

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But the prospect of private development on the newly built land is sure to meet resistance from downtown Manhattan community members.

City Council member Margaret Chin, who represents the area, said a more resilient future "cannot be paid for by private real estate development that would destroy the waterfront neighborhoods that we are trying to protect."

De Blasio announced the climate resilience plan at a news conference after previewing it in New York magazine .

"This is the existential threat," de Blasio said. "This is the core issue we all must face as aggressively as humanly possible."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Nicaragua’s government and opposition are accusing each other of undermining the latest round political dialogue, after police arrested more than 100 people at a weekend protest.

The opposition Civic Alliance condemned the government’s "violent repression" of Saturday’s protest march. It said some 164 people were arrested.

The government on Monday complained that opposition representatives participating in negotiations had participated in the demonstration, which it labeled a "provocation." It said there were 107 arrests and the detainees were released hours later.

Vatican Ambassador to Nicaragua Waldemar Sommertag has been mediating the talks and he urged patience Monday.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights says at least 325 people have died in protests or related violence since April 2018.

Source: Fox News World

Baltimore County police arrested an off-duty trooper with the Maryland State Police for allegedly pointing a gun at another driver in a road rage incident while on Interstate 695 in Baltimore Sunday evening.

The suspect, identified as Zachary Tyler Bowen, 28, allegedly sped up next to a man and woman driving on the outer loop of the freeway after the duo changed lanes. Bowen then allegedly pointed a handgun at them. It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the alleged altercation.

The passengers in the other vehicle were able to identify Bowen to the police and he was later arrested at his home in Baltimore County without incident, police said.

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He is being charged with two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault and the use of a firearm in a felony crime.

Bowen, who has been a state trooper since 2012, was suspended without pay, according to The Associated Press.

Source: Fox News National

Former Democratic National Party chairwoman Donna Brazile made her Fox News contributor debut Monday, saying Democrats within the party must “stop yelling at each other.” She also called former first-daughter Chelsea Clinton a leader and a healer for handling a confrontation this past weekend.

“I think we have to lower the temperature, lower the rhetoric.  We need to stop yelling at each other,” Brazile said on “The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” in response to a video of Clinton being confronted by an angry activist.

“This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,” Activist Leen Dweik told Clinton, blaming her in part for the massacre of 50 Muslims by a white nationalist in New Zealand last week.

“I’m so sorry that you feel that way, certainly it was never my intention, I do believe words matter,” Clinton said calmly.

DONNA BRAZILE: WHY I AM EXCITED TO JOIN FOX NEWS AND TAKE PART IN A CIVIL – AND SENSIBLE – DEBATE

Dweik, along with Rose Asaf who filmed the confrontation, were upset that Clinton condemned Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., for anti-Semitic comments.

“There’s no question that we’re a big tent party but we do not in any way tolerate any forms of bigotry, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, racism,” Brazile added. “We’re not going to allow these ‘ism’s’ to divide us and distract us from what we’d like to accomplish as Americans.”

Brazile praised Clinton for her composure during the tense video.

"Chelsea Clinton is a woman of valor and I admire her courage and the way that she was composed during that entire process. But she is a leader and I also believe that she is a healer," Brazile said.

Brazile also told Perino that 2020’s crop of Democratic presidential hopefuls offers a new path for an America that is looking for leadership.

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“I think the American people… they want leadership. They want someone who’s not only compassionate but who empathize with their plight,” Brazile said. “One of the things that President Trump was able to do in 2016 was to reach those voters who felt like they belong on the outskirts of hope.  And he said ‘I will fight for you, I’m going to bring you jobs back.’”

“But I think what Democrats will offer is a new path, a new direction with policies that will lift everybody up and give everyone whether you’re poor, part of the middle-class a fair shot and a fair chance,” Brazile added.

Source: Fox News Politics

A West Virginia man accused of sexually assaulting and killing his girlfriend’s 10-month-old baby says he consumed several beers and could not recall what happened to the girl the night of her death.

WCHS-TV reports Benjamin Taylor testified Monday in his trial in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Asked by a prosecutor whether he denied committing the crimes, Taylor said, "I don’t know how I could deny it if I don’t remember. I wouldn’t feel comfortable denying it."

Taylor says he recalled doing laundry and listening to music.

A sheriff’s deputy testified last week Taylor had blood on his torso and a wet spot on his pants when officers went to the home in Fairplain in October 2016.

The defense rested after Taylor’s testimony and the trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday.

___

Information from: WCHS-TV, http://www.wchstv.com

Source: Fox News National

DURHAM, N.H. – Contrasting himself with fellow Texan Beto O’Rourke and other rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Julian Castro on Monday stressed that he’s “spoken in concrete and specific terms” and “didn’t grow up the front runner.”

Castro, the former San Antonio mayor who later served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, also acknowledged his bid was a long shot, saying “if the election were held tomorrow, I know that I wouldn’t win tomorrow. But the election’s not held tomorrow. We still have 47 weeks until New Hampshire votes.”

Castro spoke with Fox News during a jam-packed, 24-hour trip to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House. His visit came as O’Rourke announced a massive $6.1 million fundraising haul in the first day of his presidential campaign, the most yet by any 2020 Democratic White House hopeful. O’Rourke declared his candidacy last week, grabbing large crowds and extensive media coverage.

BETO O’ROURKE DRAWS BIG BUCKS AND CROWDS BUT ALSO BIG GAFFES OUT OF THE GATE

“I didn’t grow up the front runner. In the neighborhood that I grew up in, the way that I grew up, the way that a lot of people of different backgrounds grow up, they don’t grow up the front runner,” said Castro, the only Latino candidate in the race.

While O’Rourke’s been criticized the past few days for growing up with white male privilege, Castro emphasized that being a longer shot candidate who grew up with modest means could benefit him at the ballot box.

Julian Castro taking questions Monday from faculty and students at an event at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham.

Julian Castro taking questions Monday from faculty and students at an event at the University of New Hampshire, in Durham. (Fox News)

BETO O’ROURKE’S EYE POPPING FUNDRAISING HAUL

“I’m going to go out there and speak to a whole bunch of people in New Hampshire and across the country that don’t feel like they’re the front runner either these days. And I believe that’s a lot of people,” he said.

Castro – who launched a presidential exploratory committee in December and formally declared his candidacy in January – also appeared to pick up on the criticism over O’Rourke’s lack of policy specifics on the campaign trail.

“I’ve spoken in concrete and specific terms about the kind of things that we need to do,” he touted.

Castro also contrasted himself with O’Rourke and other 2020 rivals who have served in Congress, saying “I’m one of the few folks in this race that have executive experience. That has a track record of getting things done. And I believe that people are ready for somebody who actually knows what they’re doing in that position.”

Asked about the wall-to-wall media coverage of O’Rourke’s launch and his early foray on the campaign trail, Castro said “my hope is that all of the candidates that are in this race, the 15 or 16 in this race, will have an opportunity to show the American people what they’re about.”

“The Democratic Party learned a lot from the experience in 2016 and because of that they’ve made positive changes to ensure that people across the spectrum have a voice. The networks hopefully have learned a lot as well. And hopefully they’ll make changes in terms of how they treat all of the candidates. That’s just as important because the voters rely on those networks to get their information,” he added.

Castro was making his second swing through New Hampshire since formally declaring his candidacy. His trip to the Granite State came directly after stops in Nevada, the first western state to vote in the primary and caucus calendar, and South Carolina, which holds the first southern primary.

Source: Fox News Politics

The 24-year-old man charged with killing the reputed boss of the Gambino crime family wrote a string of slogans on his hand, including "MAGA Forever," and flashed them before a court hearing Monday.

Anthony Comello held up his left hand while waiting for a hearing to begin in Toms River, New Jersey, in which he agreed to be extradited to New York.

On it were scrawled slogans including “MAGA Forever,” an abbreviation of President Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” It also read “United We Stand MAGA.”

It’s unclear what his motivations were for showing off the hand-written words.

Comello was arrested Saturday in New Jersey in the death of Francesco Cali last week in front of his Staten Island home.

Comello’s lawyer, Brian Neary, would not discuss the writing on his client’s hand, nor would he say whether Comello maintained his innocence.

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The New York Times reported Monday afternoon that Comello told detectives he was high on marijuana and allegedly shot Cali because he feared for his life.

Police said Cali, 53, was shot 10 times.

Federal prosecutors referred to Cali in court filings in 2014 as the underboss of the Mafia’s Gambino family, once one of the country’s most powerful crime organizations. News accounts since 2015 said Cali had ascended to the top spot, though he never was charged with leading the gang. His only mob-related conviction came a decade ago, when he was sentenced to 16 months in prison in an extortion scheme involving a failed attempt to build a NASCAR track on Staten Island. He was released in 2009, and hadn’t been in legal trouble since then.

The last Mafia boss to be rubbed out in New York City was Gambino don “Big Paul” Castellano, who was assassinated in 1985.

Anthony Comello was arrested Saturday in New Jersey in the death of Francesco Cali last week in front of his Staten Island home. (AP)

Anthony Comello was arrested Saturday in New Jersey in the death of Francesco Cali last week in front of his Staten Island home. (AP)

Officials haven’t confirmed that the Gambino crime family has posted a bounty on Comello, but “the general feeling is that there’s an ‘X’ on this guy’s back,” one source said.

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“He’s going to have some issues in jail,” a high-ranking NYPD official said.

“Maybe there’s some guys who are wiseguys in jail who will show their allegiance to the Gambinos and say, ‘We’ll take care of this guy.’”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

A New Jersey man has finally returned a school library book he checked out 53 years ago.

Harry Krame, of Fair Lawn, said he recently discovered “The Family Book Of Verse” by Lewis Gannet while cleaning the basement of his home.

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“When he asked my name I told him I can’t give it to him because I was in the witness protection program,” Krame, 65, told WCBS-TV. “I took it out to read and never brought it back.”

Krame checked out the novel when he was 13 years old in 1966. When he realized he still had the book all these years later, he said he felt guilty for "a few seconds. … It was like, I still have (it), sorry about that."

Dominick Tarquinio, the vice principal of Memorial Middle School, told the news outlet he was shocked when a former student returned his late book. He said that at today’s rate, Krame would owe around $2,000 in late fees.

However, he said: "We’re not looking to collect."

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The school’s librarian told the North Jersey Record that the book was so old, it didn’t have a barcode and so they couldn’t even scan it into their system.

“We were very surprised to receive this book, needless to say,” Susan Murray said.

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“I sometimes have to chase students to get their books, so this was wonderful to have someone who did this,” the librarian said. “He could have just placed it in a recycling bin, but he choose (sic) to return it, which was really kind.”

Murray said she plans to put the book on display to teach kids about the importance of returning their library books.

Source: Fox News National

A Vermont daycare operator was arrested Monday in the death of a six-month-old baby who police said fatally overdosed after being given an antihistamine to help her sleep.

Stacey Vailancourt, 53, of Rutland, was taken into custody on suspicion of manslaughter and cruelty to a child arising from the January death of six-month-old Harper Rose Briar, Vermont State Police said in a news release.

“Toxicology testing determined that Harper Briar had high concentrations of diphenhydramine in her body,” the news release said.

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The autopsy report noted that diphenhydramine, the active sedating ingredient in over-the-counter antihistamines, is not to be used on infants without a doctor’s order, according to the news release. There was no such order for Harper.

Vailancourt ran a licensed daycare out of her home.

Police said Harper’s parent left her with Vailancourt, who called 911 when the baby became unresponsive.

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The baby’s obituary in the Rutland Herald said she was daughter of Marissa Colburn and Blake Briar, and was the light of their lives and brought joy to everyone who met her.

“Harper Rose quickly gained the title of ‘Perfect Princess,’ her beautiful smile made everyone instantly fall in love with her,” it said.

Source: Fox News National

Defense lawyers for a man charged with killing eight people in a New York City terrorist attack say the U.S. surveilled their client surreptitiously and perhaps illegally for years.

The lawyers said in a court filing Monday that they think Sayfullo Saipov’s (sy-foo-LOH’ sah-YEE’-pawf’s) electronic communications may have been vacuumed up through bulk surveillance or by targeting individuals overseas.

They are demanding more U.S. disclosures to defend Saipov in a death penalty case arising from the Oct. 31, 2017 attack.

Saipov has pleaded not guilty to charges that he drove a truck down a Manhattan bike path on Halloween in 2017, running over cyclists, before crashing his vehicle into a school bus. He was shot by a police officer and arrested at the scene.

Source: Fox News National


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