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Former Three-Term NYC Mayor, Ed Koch, dies at age 88

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Ed Koch Died

Edward Koch was the former NYC mayor from 1978 to 1989 and held the position for three terms. During that time period, he helped rescue a city that was near-financial ruin as well as having to deal with a high crime rate, racial tensions, homelessness, corruption involving several of his political allies and the rise of HIV and AIDS.

However, he was the embodiment of New York chutzpah for the rest of the world to see and personified the city with his outspoken and wry style. Unfortunately, the former NYC mayor who was known to greet his constituents with a “How’m I doin’?” has passed away on Friday at 88-years-old, according to his spokesman.

George Arzt, Koch’s spokesman, said that following a year of being in and out of the hospital, Koch felt very tired Thursday morning and was taken to New York Presbyterian hospital. He was admitted into the intensive care unit and lost consciousness later that afternoon. His death was said to be as a result of congestive heart failure that happened at roughly 2 a.m. Friday morning.

Koch was given credit for taking New York out from its’ economic crisis to the point of prosperity that other U.S. cities envied. The city was able to undergo a building renaissance as well as maintain a financial footing under his leadership. Pretentious and paunchy, bald and bombastic, Koch was known not only for being quick with a kind quip but also in being equally fast with a remark towards his political enemies.

He once memorably observed that, “You punch me, I punch back. I do not believe it’s good for one’s self-respect to be a punching bag.” Had his reputation not taken a hit due to his association with some political allies involved with corruption, he might have acquired a fourth term in office. Instead, he lost the Democratic nomination in 1989 and his bid for another term.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, flags at all city buildings would fly at only half-staff in honor of Koch’s memory. In regards to Koch, the mayor said, “In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader. His spirit will live on not only here at City Hall, and not only on the bridge the bears his name, but all across the five boroughs.”

Koch was known for having a quip no matter what the occasion was and even said he wanted to be mayor for life. His bestselling autobiography was turned into an off-Broadway musical and is the only U.S. mayor to accomplish this. A documentary about his three terms as mayor, called “Koch,” premiered this week at the Museum of Modern Art.  Unfortunately, Koch was not able to make the premier.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is hoping to become the next mayor of the city, attended the premier of the movie and said, “I don’t think there was anybody who had more fun being mayor as Ed Koch.” The film is set to open in theaters on Friday.

Despite all that he accomplished while in office, his reputation with voters became damaged when his ally in Queens Borough President Donald Manes became involved in a corruption scandal. Though Koch was not implicated by Manes, the damage was done and lost his party’s nomination to Manhattan borough President David Dinkins, who would end up being the city’s first black mayor.

Mitchell Moss, the director of the Urban Research Center at New York University, speculated on why Koch did not win a fourth term in office. “People became tired of Koch’s personality. He was a remarkable mayor but one with a big mouth. After 12 years you have to change the lyrics.”

Upon leaving office, Koch kept busy with writing articles on all sorts of topics from movie reviews to Middle East politics, served as a judge on the popular television show “The People’s Court” and was a host on a radio show. He also wrote a book about another famous former NYC mayor, Rudy Giuliani, which was titled “Giuliani: Nasty Man.”

Up to his death, he stayed as a formidable figure in regards to New York politics by offering political commentary on a local NY1 TV station and endorsing candidates. He was known for his support of New York’s present mayor and in 2010, was able to form New York Uprising. This political action committees purpose is to fight corruption with regards to state politics.

In a 2005 discussion of Koch’s legacy, New York writer Pete Hamill said, “Here was a mayor who was a combination of a Lindy’s waiter, a Coney Island barker, a Catskill comedian, an irritated school principal and an eccentric uncle.

He talked tough and the reason was, he was tough.” Koch announced three years later that he decided to secure a plot in Manhattan’s Trinity Cemetery. He told the New York Times: “The idea of leaving Manhattan permanently irritates me.”

Ed Koch, Mayor Who Became a Symbol of NYC, Dies

Former Mayor Ed Koch, the combative, acid-tongued politician who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during a three-term City Hall run in which he embodied New York chutzpah for the rest of the world, died Friday. He was 88.

Ed Koch Dead: Former New York City Mayor on Life and Career

In an interview conducted in 2007, Former Mayor Edward I. Koch reflected on his life and political career, and talked of how he would like to be remembered.

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Apple

US-China Trade War Plaguing Tech Industries

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Laest on us-china tariffs have cause tech companies to suffer

As news about the never-ending trade war between the United States and China began to emerge last week, there’s only one thing that’s sure: it’s not going to be good news. As the tension escalates between the two countries, the latest on the trade talks would most likely affect you.

Apparently, the United States has decided to raise tariffs on over $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. That’s a significant leap from the previous 10% to 25%. In obvious retaliation, China has also decided to impose tariffs on over $60 billion on U.S. goods starting June 1. Moreover, another $300 billion could be subjected to higher tariffs from China as early as July. According to the list released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative, it will include a large majority of imports from China. Bluntly, covering nearly all products that the U.S. buy.

Ideally, what President Trump is trying to achieve with the on-going trade war is to pressure China into accepting a deal that would be more beneficial or, at least, less exploitative to American businesses whose manufacturers and resources come from China.

In a series of tweets that Trump has sent out to Twitter this week, he seems to consistently point out that Tariffs are actually a good thing and that the U.S. will gain more in the long run, that is if China will still refuse to accept the deal has previously been offered.

In a tweet, he claims that this year’s “good” first quarter was significantly aided by tariffs from China. That may be true, coming from an economic perspective. However, he seems to have sugarcoated the issue quite too much. The effects of U.S.-China trade wars and tariffs are consequential and definitely not a harmless battle.

In this next string of tweets, Trump seems to have completely been alluded by the idea that China will, in fact, give in to the terms set by the U.S. and that if they won’t, China is still on the losing end because U.S. companies could easily move out of China and source other resources in neighboring countries in Asia such as Vietnam. Better yet, U.S. companies can move their businesses back to provide more jobs for the American people.

But what Trump claims are easier said than done. As of the moment, most U.S. companies rely on China for manufacturing and resources. Particularly, companies like Apple would need to pay much less with Chinese employees compared to the U.S.

Moreover, tech companies source materials such as steel from China, which is vital in phone or tablet making, to name a few. In other words, having a manufacturing house in China would be more cost-effective for U.S. companies because they wouldn’t need to pay for tariffs of moving resources from one country to the other.

Specifically, companies like Apple are the ones at the front to absorb the impact of the latest set of tariffs since tech companies manufacture most of their consumer goods in China. In this case, Apple products like iPhones, iPads, and MacsBooks. So in a couple of months, if you’re looking to buy a Mac charger, expect to pay a few dollars more.

In numbers, Apple had its biggest drop of the year in the stock market since President Trump started to tweet about China tariffs last May 5. It fell 5.8% at $185 and lost almost 12% of its market value. This means a significant $120 billion loss for its shareholders.

In relation to President Trump’s tweet above, tech companies aren’t the only ones who will suffer the latest tariff adjustments. Most of the U.S. farm and produce exports mainly go to China to meet their large demand. However, by increasing tariffs on these products, the Chinese would most likely be forced to buy less or, worse, to source goods outside the U.S.

The trade game that two of the most powerful economies in the world may be a power play between who will give in to whom but the fact still exists that its effects directly affects its citizens. It’s true that the United States may earn from the upsurge of tariff implementations on China but the ones who are really paying are American households and businesses.

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Politics

Michael Cohen: President Trump’s Loyal Lawyer and ‘Fixer’ to Serve a Three-year Sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York.

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Michael Cohen

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen has now checked into the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, for a three-year sentence.

The ex-lawyer arranged hush payments for the two women who claimed to have sexual encounters with President Donald Trump. He also had been lying in Congress and had done several financial crimes.

Cohen, serving as Trump’s fixer, said that he still has more secrets to reveal about Trump as reporters outside his residence in Manhattan were ambushing him before being driven to Otisville. There is still much to be brought into the light and the right time will come for all these hidden truths are to be revealed to the world, he added.

According to surveys, Otisville is included in America’s top 10 “cushiest” prisons as it is known to cater to Jewish offenders with a touch of services of a rabbi and a kosher kitchen. This reality that Cohen will be taking for the next three years of his life will be a total change of lifestyle from the limelight that he used to have from following and being the president’s backbone in Congress and his career. But unlike any other person who gets into prison, there shall be no special treatment for the ex-lawyer.

Some former celebrities also share cells in the Federal Correctional Institution. He might be seeing Michael Sorrentino who is currently in an eight-month sentence for tax fraud, Billy McFarland who is serving a six-year sentence because of a $26 million fraud, Darren Sharper who is sentenced for drugging and raping women and is now serving for 20 years. And lastly, Dean Skelos, former New York Senate Majority Leader jailed for four years for corruption.

Serving prison is an irony to Cohen’s profession, but as for him, it is the only way that the truth may be out and justice will be served. He is sold out to clear his name as he also blames himself for helping the United States in compromise. As time went by, his loyalty to the president has blinded him from the core truth of why he was in the position to serve the country. He said in an interview that it had led him to choose the “path of darkness over light.”

He emphasized that this country is full of injustice and lies, fear of hatred from foreigners or strangers or what he calls the president has—xenophobia. He hopes that after his three-year sentence, he will be reunited with his family and friends in this country that is actually “united” rather than doing things just for the show will all the pretentions and lies.

As they say, the government along with politics will always be a dirty game, a messy place, and a messy life to protect the people and to make a nation “clean” (on the outside) for foreign countries. For Cohen, he has come to a point in his life where he has found the fine line of compromising and fighting for truth and justice for his fellowmen.

He has admitted that he was under the direction and coordination of the president to silence women who have been longing for justice from spilling the tea with his power and payments which he was found and pleaded guilty. He is also admitted to making falsification to Congress and lying about some details concerning the Trump Tower.

In February, Cohen publicly testified before the House Oversight Committee bringing with him evidences to implicate Trump, reimbursement check copies that he used signed by the president and his son, Donald Trump Jr. that were for the hush money.

He was in great dilemma of whether to serve the Trumps in loyalty as it was his duty to stand for them or to serve as a lawyer for who he pledged to be. Nevertheless, Cohen takes full responsibility for all the misconduct that he had done. It is now about telling the truth and that there is no turning back for him. If serving three years is the only solution to lift his mistakes, then he is more than ready and willing to do so.

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Arts & Entertainment

Priest Slammed And Fined For Burning Harry Potter Books In Poland

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Harry Potter books were burned at a Polish church

A Catholic organization lead by priests was under fire after a set of photos of them burning things after a mass in the Polish town of Gdansk, Sunday. The post originated from a Facebook page that belongs to the “SMS from Heaven,” a Catholic Evangelical foundation set up to spread the Christian doctrine through mobile phone text messages.

In the post with the caption “We obey the Word,” the group was seen burning items that they deemed to violate the Christian faith which includes Harry Potter books, a Hello Kitty umbrella, some Hindu figurine, and an African mask.

The group responsible for the burning justified their actions by stating quotations from the Bible, specifically from the book of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament. The priests and other religious individuals in the burning event cited the passage that exhorts believers to destroy the enemies of God, including the passage “burn their idols in the fire.”

The viral photographs show priests carrying out a box of items as they parade towards the burning pit outside the church. The priests were also photographed as they say prayers at the hole as the said items were being burned.

The founder of the infamous organization is Father Rafal Jaroseiwicz. Fr. Jarosweiwicz said in a press statement that “that fact of burning books and other objects was unfortunate, but it was not irreverent to any social group or religion, nor was it aimed at the books as such or culture. If anyone took my action in this way, I would like to welcome him in this place to apologize.”

As if it justifies the action, the priest also said that his foundation has been distributing hundreds of thousands of books for free. He also noted that it was “unfortunate” that the burning was taken out of context because the participants of the retreat voluntarily brought the objects burned at the event.

“Unfortunate” and “shocking”

The Primate of Poland, Roman Catholic Church’s highest official in the country, condemned the act saying that it was “unfortunate” and “shocking.” He also said that books are not supposed to be burned but to be read and their contents should be discussed.

“The burning books reveals the illusory belief that removing in a spectacular way the bad or harmful spiritual contents, which – in the opinion of the organizers of the event – contain burned books or objects, at the same time will free their readers from infecting with harmful content,” the Church official added.

The Metropolitan of Gniezo also explains that “the road to freeing from what harms people is not destroying these or other books containing harmful spiritual content, but on the basis to lead, through critical thinking and openness to the grace of God, which certainly it was the content of retreats to reject what is harmful.”

The church leaders also warn that conversation will never be achieved by burning books. They said that the priests should show the faithfulness as the basis for a “critical assessment of what they read.”

Environmental Implications

It appears that the event did not just upset the heads of Church but also the Polish government following the apparent irresponsible burning of objects to get rid of everything that “brings bad power.” On April 3, the priests who took part in the burning event were fined by the municipal guards for violation of environmental laws.

“The person suspected of having committed the offense was asked by us to appear at the guard’s office and provide explanations. They presented themselves, made an explanation, admitted their guilt, and was fined,” explained Wojciech Siolkowski, a spokesperson from the City Guard of Gdansk.

However, many activists said that the punishment should not end at fining the priests involved in the event.

According to Zdzislaw Kuczma from Rybnicki Smog Alert, the burnt object has ink and plastic which causes the smoke to emit carcinogenic substances. They also said that they are not interested in the political context of the event, but only in the environmental implications of burning plastic and ink.

“The impulse was, as we saw in the pictures, children are near the campfire. Their health could have been compromised. In our opinion, a simple mandate is not enough […] It doesn’t matter if you are a priest or a construction worker,” he adds.

The environmental organization has sent the prosecutors office a notification regarding their suspicion of committing a crime against environmental protection through the event. Grazyna Wawryniuk from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Gdansk confirms that their office received the complaint on Tuesday.

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