NJ school teacher yells at students she hopes they die ‘painful death’ from coronavirus for playing at park

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Virtue-signaling vigilantes of “Coronaville” are out there roaming the streets looking for victims.

In Trenton, NJ, one such patrolling, self-appointed warden of the peace was caught on video screaming at a group of teens playing football in a park and telling them she hopes they “get coronavirus” and “die a long, painful death.”

The most interesting thing about it all is that the woman is a long-time public school math teacher at Steinert High School in Trenton.

According to The Trentonian, Nicole Griggs has been a school teacher in the district for 15 years, including time at a local middle school. A freshman at Steinert told the reporter that he and a group of friends were playing ball on Thursday when Griggs began to yell at them from behind a fence.

Watch for yourself …

One of the students filmed the incident and posted it to Snapchat. Another student shared the clip on TikTok with a caption of “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind how tf is she a teacher #coronavirus.”

Griggs, who was recognized by the students and according to property records lives close by the park, was apparently out walking her dog when she came upon the heinous display of juvenile lawlessness on the playing field.

The captured video shows the teacher asking them if they need her to yell “loud enough so you can hear me over your music. Parks closed. You will get arrested if the cops come.”

“Wait, can we go over there?” one of the teens asks before Griggs loses her grip.

“Parks closed,” she yelled. “The whole area. Get it through your thick head.”

From there, she blamed the kids for the pandemic.

“You are the reason we are in this situation,” she accused. “You are the problem, not the solution.”

At that point, she seemed to notice that she was being recorded. Rather than using a logical, reasoned approach one might expect from a mathematics practitioner, Griggs went all polynomial on the young people.

“Go ahead keep recording. Who are you going to show it to? Post me on social media,” she yelled. “You’re the idiot doing the wrong thing. I’m just trying to save your ass and save your life. But die, OK? I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death.”

Nice.

The Steinert freshman told the newspaper that Griggs threatened to call police and that a cop did show up and warned them to leave the park. They did leave and they said that they now know it was wrong to be there. Nonetheless, he said that he was shocked that a teacher would say that she wished death on them.

“When she said that, I was shocked,” the student said. “I didn’t know someone would say something like that, especially a teacher. She should be smarter with her words.”

Trenton Mayor Jeff Martin was made aware of the video and said that nobody should be “wishing death or harm on people.”

“This is a very serious thing,” he said. “We’ve got at least 50 people who have actually died from it, 50 families. It’s not something to joke around about. Teacher or not, it’s unacceptable.”

The paper noted that the township had at that point a total of 724 cases of COVID-19 and 51 deaths.

Schools superintendent Scott Rocco commented that the district will investigate. “We will address the issue immediately,” he said.

Griggs a serial quarantine enforcer?

The Trentonian found evidence that Griggs apparently has a habit of trying to intimidate others into lockdown compliance. Earlier in the month, Griggs proudly posted to Facebook that she had “wished illness on” a young couple with a two- to three-year old daughter for daring to allow the girl to use a slide at a local park’s jungle gym.

The paper reported:

In an April 6 post on the Facebook page of Nikki Leigh, which Griggs appears to operate under an alias, she says: “We are surrounded by idiots!!!!!! Rode our bikes near Kuser Park this afternoon and what to [sic] we see but a younger couple with their daughter maybe 2/3 years old UNDOING the caution tape around the jungle gym so she could slide. I totally called them out on it, wished illness on them and commented that it was scary to even think they were parents. Their response: ‘We were going to put it back.’”

Staff Writer

Victor Rantala is an Army vet who lives in Minnesota, he is a former intelligence analyst and business owner, and is an NRA Life member who is officially retired but has yet to slow his roll.

Latest posts by Victor Rantala (see all)

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Coronavirus live updates: U.S. death toll nears 55,000

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The U.S. coronavirus death toll neared 55,000 early Monday, with more than 972,000 confirmed cases, according to NBC News’ tally.

The grim milestone comes as the White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned that many of the social distancing measures that have upended American life will be a fixture through the summer.

To get a more accurate picture of the virus’ spread, the U.S. needs a “breakthrough” on coronavirus testing, she said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday.

Meanwhile in Italy, Europe’s hardest hit country, the prime minister laid out plans for a phased end to restrictions, including the opening of restaurants and libraries in mid-May.

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

45m ago / 12:13 PM UTC

British Grand Prix could take place behind closed doors, French race cancelled

The British Grand Prix and French Grand Prix are the latest global sporting events to be affected by coronavirus.

France has called off its event altogether, while Britain’s race might take place without fans this year as the U.K. government continues to ban large gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Silverstone, the track that has hosted the race since 1952, said it was discussing with the government a plan to show the event on TV for free instead. Silverstone said it would give health care workers tickets for the 2021 event.

✍️An update from our Managing Director, Stuart Pringle about the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2020. pic.twitter.com/APIXq8F2OS

— Silverstone (@SilverstoneUK)

Nursing home industry pushes for immunity from lawsuits during coronavirus emergency

As the COVID-19 death toll at nursing homes climbs to nearly 12,000, the nursing home industry is pushing states to provide immunity from lawsuits to the owners and employees of the nation’s 15,600 nursing homes.

So far at least six states have provided explicit immunity from coronavirus lawsuits for nursing homes, and six more have granted some form of immunity to health care providers, which legal experts say could likely be interpreted to include nursing homes.

Patient advocates worry that nursing homes accused of extreme neglect could avoid liability.

“I can’t even believe this is a topic of discussion,” said Anny Figueroa, whose 55-year-old mother was a resident at Andover Subacute & Rehab Center in New Jersey, where law enforcement discovered 17 bodies in a makeshift morgue this month.

1h ago / 11:52 AM UTC

Italian expat in Sweden shows off country’s lack of restrictions

An Italian PhD candidate living in Sweden has documented the “parallel universe” of daily life in Sweden, a country where the government has not enforced strict social distancing measures amid Covid-19.

Alessandra Palusco, 28, who is studying at the University of Orebro, posted several videos on social media showing life in Sweden and the difference with countries living under lockdown. Palusco told NBC News via text message that she lied to her family back in Italy to reassure them that locals are wearing masks in public,”otherwise they would go crazy.”

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Anne Linde denied in a news conference on April 17 that “life goes on as normal in Sweden,” but Palusco believes that the Swedish government has not taken firm enough action on the virus. “I really don’t understand, if they implement certain measures, it means that they basically know that the situation is dangerous,” Palusco told NBC News.

“Masks do very little, if anything at all”. We wont forget the way you misinformed people, and this is the result 👏👏👏 @Folkhalsomynd #COVID19 #COVID19sverige #covid19swed pic.twitter.com/BaUEDro1J4

— Alessandra • 桑德拉 (@alex_paiusco)

1h ago / 11:37 AM UTC

Salons, florists and garden centers allowed to reopen in Switzerland

Hospitals in Switzerland reopened for outpatient and non-urgent procedures on Monday as the country began easing measures put in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 

Beauty salons, DIY stores, garden centers and florists were also permitted to reopen, the government announced as it laid out its staged plans to lift the lockdown. On May 11th, elementary schools and other shops will be allowed to reopen “if the situation allows,” the government said in a statement. Then in June, high schools, zoos and libraries will be allowed to open their doors.

Switzerland has nearly 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,600 deaths since the pandemic began.

2h ago / 11:19 AM UTC

Two funeral home workers in Harlem, N.Y. said they are turning away families whose loved ones have died because there are more bodies than they can handle.

“We want to be able to help everyone,” manager Alisha Narvaez told “Kasie DC” Sunday evening, adding that they often have to tell families to call back because they have no room. Both women, who work at International Funeral and Cremation Services, said the emotional toll of helping the families weighs heavily on them.

“Just today I had a family call because they’re pretty much at the cut-off time for the hospital to hold their loved one. And out of desperation, she cried to us and she begged,” said funeral director Nicole Warring, adding the woman was fearful her father would end up buried in an unmarked grave. “It’s tough when we just don’t have the capacity.”

Iran to open mosques in areas with few coronavirus cases

Iran plans to loosen restrictions in some parts of the country by classifying regions as either white, yellow or red based on the spread of the coronavirus, President Hassan Rouhani has said.

Iran has been one of the Middle East’s worst hit countries with more than 91,000 cases of coronavirus recorded as of Monday, as well as around 5,800 deaths.

2h ago / 10:37 AM UTC

Nearly 2 million people download Australia tracking app

More than 1.8 million people downloaded a new tracking app released by the Australian Government that claims to “speed up contacting people exposed to coronavirus,” according to the country’s Health Department.

COVIDSafe is available to all Australian residents, though participation is not mandatory. It tracks the movement and interaction of residents with the aim of quickly locating and informing anyone that may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. If a user tests positive, the other users of the app that have been in close proximity to that initial user will be informed so they can get tested and isolate themselves. Health officials will not name the person who was infected.

Officials have said 40 percent of the population will need to download the app for it to work effectively. Australia has been one of the most successful countries in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, recording just 83 deaths and 6,700 cases.

3h ago / 9:53 AM UTC

Italy’s prime minister lays out plan to slowly reopen in May

Construction workers and factories will restart in Italy on May 4, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said as he laid out plans for a phased end to the country’s strict nationwide lockdown. 

Public parks will reopen then as will restaurant takeout and delivery services. “We will live with the virus and we will have to adopt every precaution possible,” Conte said Sunday evening. Shops, museums, exhibitions and public libraries will reopen on May 18, and hairdressers, bars and restaurants will be open from June 1. Schools however, will remain closed until September.

The announcement comes a week after the country reported its first decline in the number of people sick with coronavirus since the virus hit. The country has recorded 26,384 coronavirus deaths and 195,351 confirmed cases.

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Worshippers at the Al Noor mosque photographed in terror threat | Stuff.co.nz

Worshippers at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch were photographed in an apparent terror threat, two weeks before the first anniversary of the March 15 attack in which 51 worshippers were gunned down. 

The threat was issued on Sunday night on an encrypted messaging app, accompanied by a photo of a masked man sitting in a car outside the mosque. 

A police spokeswoman has confirmed an investigation into the threat is underway. 

Christchurch’s Al Noor was one of two mosques targeted in a racially motivated mass-shooting on March 15, 2019. The alleged terrorist, an Australian national, awaits a trial due to begin in June. 

Police and St John staff outside the Al-Noor mosque after the March 15, 2019 terror attack. (file photo)

Security Intelligence Service director Rebecca Kitteridge last month warned that some Kiwis have been inspired by the March 15 terror attack, and monitoring such people had been difficult.

The threat and accompanying photo was posted anonymously to more than 2000 followers on a messaging channel on the encrypted communication app Telegram.

Do you know more? Email thomas.manch@stuff.co.nz

The image shows a man wearing dark sunglasses and a balaclava printed with an image of a human skull. Through a car window the front of the Al Noor mosque can be seen. 

In the background, four people are visible at the entrance of the mosque. 

The message attached, written in both English and Russian, implies the people at the “same mosque” would be greeting each other for the “last time”. A gun emoji, or symbol, is also used in the message. 

The image was posted on a messaging channel dedicated to celebrating the March 15 terror attack. 

CHRISTEL YARDLEY/STUFF
Islamic Women’s Council national co-ordinator Anjum Rahman said police were already conducting enquiries into the threat.

Police were aware of the threat and enquiries were ongoing, a spokeswoman said.

Such threats to the community were taken “extremely seriously”. The spokeswoman declined to answer questions about security arrangements for the anniversary of the March 15 terror attacks. 

An SIS spokesman declined to comment on the specific threat.  

Islamic Women’s Council national co-ordinator Anjum Rahman​ said she was told of the threat early on Monday morning, and notified both mosque leaders and senior police officers. 

“[The police] were already aware and were looking into that threat,” she said. 

“There have been threats, more oblique threats, to other mosques in the last six to eight months or so. We know there is ongoing activity, I would just say the public should be vigilant and report anything that they see as suspicious.”

She said it would be helpful to have a visible police presence at the mosques as the anniversary of the attack approached.

Al Noor imam Gamal Fouda has been contacted for comment. 

In February, Kitteridge said New Zealand’s spy agencies were investigating some 30 to 50 people for a potential terror risk at any one time. 

She said it was challenging to monitor such people as they “tend to live in encrypted chat rooms” — such as Telegram. 

Kitteridge would not say if any specific terror plans had been intercepted.

Messages on the Telegram app first alerted the public to the arrest of a 27-year-old soldier connected to far-Right groups, in November 2019. 

The soldier now awaits a military trial, facing charges of accessing a computer system for a dishonest purpose and for disclosing information that prejudiced the security or defence of New Zealand. 

Authorities across western nations continue to grapple with the terror threat posed by adherents to far-Right and white supremacist ideologies. 

The director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Mike Burgess, last week told reporters that small cells of such extremists posed a growing and enduring threat.

Days earlier, in the United States, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security increased the terror threat level regarding homegrown white supremacists to “high”. 

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Why Donald Trump’s Twitter Account Should Be Suspended – US Presidential Aspirant | How Africa News

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U.S. senator, Kamala Harris, seized the Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday night to advance her proposal for the suspension of President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

Appearing alongside 11 other aspirants in the live television debate, Harris accused Trump of abusing the platform where he has over 65 million followers.

“Here we have Donald Trump, who has 65 million Twitter followers, and is using that platform as the President of the United States to openly intimidate witnesses, to threaten witnesses and obstruct justice.

“He and his account should be taken down,’’ she said, adding that the Aug. 3 mass shooter in El Paso, Texas, was inspired by Trump’s hate tweet against Latinos.

As a matter of corporate responsibility, she argued, “Twitter should be held accountable, and made to take down that site; it is a matter of safety and corporate accountability’’.

The California senator was responding to a question on whether it was necessary to break up big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter over their use for election interference by foreign interests.

She said she was surprised that her rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, opposed her idea of what should be the rules around corporate responsibility.

Harris said it was “grave injustice’’ for the social media accounts of ordinary people to be suspended over abuse, but those of powerful individuals like Trump were spared.

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Warren responded saying, “I don’t just want to push Donald Trump off Twitter. I want to push him out of the White House. That’s our job.”

Harris disagreed, urging her to back the campaign for the president’s Twitter account to be shut down.

Also speaking on the subject, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Andrew Yang, said breaking up the tech companies would not solve the problem, and suggested the use of “21st century solutions’’.

Sen. Cory Booker (New Jersey), said American democracy was in “massive crisis’’ with the way the big tech companies were being used not only in anti-competitive practices but also in undermining the country’s democracy.

Booker said such practices used in the 2016 presidential election had not been corrected, and as president he would pursue a reform in America’s anti-trust laws.

The Russian government is accused of creating thousands of social media accounts to harm the campaign of the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, in favour of Trump during the 2016 election.

This has triggered calls for the unbundling of the big tech companies to guard against their use in election interference.

However, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, warned that splitting up the companies would boost election interference, because they would not be able to work together to fight it.

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Bernie Sanders and the 2020 age debate

(CNN)With only120daysuntil the Iowa caucuses, the 2020 election will be here before you know it.Every Sunday, I round up the5BIG storylines you need to know to understand the upcoming week on the campaign trail. And they’re ranked — so the No. 1 story is the most important of the coming week.

5. Trump, unleashed: Donald Trump has spent the last week talking and tweeting almost nonstop as he tries to fight his way out of mounting allegations over his pressure campaign to get the Ukrainians to look into debunked allegations of wrongdoing against Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
And the rhetoric from Trump has gone to previously unseen heights — even for Trump. He’s accused Rep. Adam Schiff (California) of treason, he’s attacked Mitt Romney in deeply personal terms — more on that directly below — and he’s repeating, repeating, repeating long disproven lies.
All of which means that when Trump travels to Minneapolis on Thursday for a “Keep America Great” rally, well, look out. Trump is always at his most, well, Trump-y at these campaign rallies — and, given the walls closing in on him in Washington, he could well use the Minnesota rally as a venting session the likes of which even longtime Trump observers rarely see.
Stay tuned. It’s going to be a doozy.
4. Any other Mitt Romneys out there?: Republicans have, almost uniformly, closed ranks around Trump even as a second whistleblower has emerged regarding the President allegedly using the power of his office for political gain during interactions over the summer with Ukraine.
Only Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) has publicly criticized Trump in any way, calling the President’s urgings of China and Ukraine to investigate the Bidens “wrong” and “appalling.” Trump immediately struck back, referring to Romney as a “pompous ‘ass'” (I have no idea why he put “ass” in quotes) and suggesting that the 2012 Republican nominee was “begging” to be his secretary of state.
Any Republican who was weighing speaking out about Trump’s behavior with Ukraine (and his plea for China to investigate his main rival for the 2020 nomination) now can have no illusions about what such criticism will be met with: Pure, unadulterated anger from Trump — and likely vilification from the President’s base.
Is any prominent Republican other than Romney willing to risk speaking out when that reaction is assured? Principle vs. politics, anyone?
3. Fundraising losers…: With the third fundraising quarter ending at the close of last month, most of the major candidates have released how much they brought in and how much they spent between July 1 and September 30.
Let’s go through the losers first.
* Joe Biden: When you are a former vice president and the race’s frontrunner, you need to be at or very close to the top of the money chase. Biden’s $15 million raised in the third quarter is well off the pace and a significant drop-off from when Biden raised $21.5 million from April 1 to June 30 — his first three months of active fundraising. His numbers will re-ignite the debate over whether he has real grassroots energy behind his establishment candidacy. Think about this: The mayor of South Bend, Indiana — Pete Buttigieg — raised $4 million more than Biden in the third quarter and has now out-raised the former vice president for six months straight.
* Cory Booker: The New Jersey senator’s plea for $1.7 million in the final days of the quarter — in order, he said, for him to remain in the race — drew a ton of publicity. Even though Booker met his goal, he still only brought in $6 million for the entire three-month period. That likely means he will be facing another dire financial deadline in the not-too-distant future.
2. … and fundraising winners: 
* Bernie Sanders: Even as his poll numbers have stagnated somewhat, the Vermont senator’s small-dollar, online fundraising network continues to deliver. Sanders topped the field in the third quarter with more than $25 million raised and has now raised more than $71 million this year. That ensures he will not only have real organizations in all of the early states but will also be able to continue fighting for the nomination for months.
* Elizabeth Warren: While Sanders edged out Warren for the top spot by about $500,000, Warren’s third quarter fundraising is yet another data point proving how much momentum she has built behind her candidacy. Warren already has the best organization in Iowa, and fundraising like she put on the board over the last three months ensures her campaign will be able to fund a (TV) air assault as well.
* Andrew Yang: The tech entrepreneur raised $10 million in the third quarter, which, at least to me was the single most surprising result of the fundraising race. Yang’s total put him well above what Booker, as well as Sen. Michael Bennet (Colorado) and Gov. Steve Bullock (Montana) raised, and within shouting distance of Sen. Kamala Harris (California). That’s a stunner, and shows how far he’s come since the year started and almost no one knew who he was.
1. The age/health debate is here: It was probably inevitable, given that the four most likely candidates to be president in 2021 are 70+ years old, but Bernie Sanders’ recent heart attack has officially injected the issue of age and health into the 2020 campaign.
After several days of uncertainty, Sanders’ campaign confirmed that he had suffered a heart attack on the campaign trail and, following his release from the hospital late last week, he has returned to Vermont. His campaign has canceled its events until further notice but has said Sanders will be at the next debate — set for October 15 in Ohio.
While the relatively advanced ages of Sanders (78), Joe Biden (76) and Elizabeth Warren (70) has been a sort of low buzz in the background of the Democratic race so far, those days are now over. All three candidates had previously pledged to release their medical records before the Iowa caucuses on February 3, 2020, but the urgency of those releases is significantly higher now than it was even a week ago.
(Remember that Donald Trump was the oldest person ever elected to a first term when he won the presidency in 2016 at age 70. During the campaign, his personal physician released a letter proclaiming that Trump “would be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.” Trump is now 73. In January of this year, he underwent a physical which found him in “very good health overall.”)
In a May Pew Research Center poll, just 3% of Democrats said their ideal candidate would be in their 70s. A near- majority — 47% — said a candidate in their 50s would be best. On the other hand, more than 6 in 10 people told Gallup in May they would vote for a presidential candidate over 70 years old.

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On my radar: Salman Rushdies cultural highlights

The novelist on his favourite new writing, the thrill of baseball and the director whos adapting Midnights Children for Netflix

books

Born in 1947 in Mumbai, Salman Rushdie is the author of 14 novels including Midnights Children, which won the Booker prize in 1981, and has twice been named the best of all the Booker prizewinners. The 1988 publication of The Satanic Verses led Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran to issue a fatwa calling for Rushdies assassination. The author now lives in New York, where he is a writer in residence at NYU. His latest novel, Quichotte, is published on 3 September.

1. Documentary
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am

Toni
Toni Morrison in a scene from The Pieces I Am. Photograph: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders / Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

I saw this before Toni Morrison died and it seemed like a wonderful portrait of her, but now it feels even more significant. Its directed by the American photographer and film-maker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, who secured amazing archival footage as well as extensive access to Morrison herself, even in these last years when she wasnt very well. I was lucky enough to know her a little bit. People sometimes think she was a very grand lady, a giant figure in literature, but actually she was very down to earth and great fun to be around she loved dancing, for example and the film does a good job of getting this across. Its a beautiful piece of film-making.

2. Music
The Rolling Stones live in New Jersey

The
The Rolling Stones performing in New Jersey. Photograph: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Last month, I went to see the Rolling Stones live at the MetLife stadium and it was an amazing evening. Ive seen the Stones a lot over the years the Observer sent me to report on the Voodoo Lounge tour at Wembley stadium in 1995 and Ive seen their latest show twice. Its extraordinary that theyre still doing it and are as good as they ever were. Mick appears to have recovered from his heart procedure hes still zinging around the stage as fast as he ever did, while Keith remains firmly planted. When I went to see the show in London with my sons, I have never seen them so excited about going to a rock concert. It demonstrated to me that their music really has transcended all generations. Its music that everybody can share.

This

3. Nonfiction
This Land Is Our Land: An Immigrants Manifesto by Suketu Mehta

This is a brief, extremely passionate polemic on the issue of immigration, which of course is a very heated subject in America, where the book was aimed at originally, as well as everywhere else. Mehtas book is a brilliant, deliberately political rebuff to the increasingly popular view that immigrants are a problem. He talks about the history of empire and quotes someone in his family who answered the question, But why are you here? by replying, We are here because you were there. And he has a comic line about how immigrants are the creditors weve come to collect the debt. Its a very powerful book, but it also has a wit about it, which makes it very attractive. Mehta has been getting the usual hate messages and threats on social media, which seems to be the inevitable consequence of putting your head above the parapet these days.

4. Sport
The New York Yankees

Masahiro
Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium. Photograph: Wendell Cruz/USA Today Sports

Im a pretty addicted New York Yankees fan these days and going to Yankee stadium is for me one of the great pleasures of living in New York. Apart from anything else, I really like the atmosphere at baseball games, which is rather different from football. Here, its very much a family occasion and very good-natured. And its really a good time to be a Yankees fan: theyre runaway leaders of their division and have the equal best record of the season along with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In general, its more fun than being a fan of Tottenham Hotspur, who I started supporting in 1961, when they won the double, but who have never won the league again. More than half a century Ive been waiting to see it.

The

5. Novel
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste

This is a novel I read in manuscript and is just about to be published in the US. Mengiste is an Ethiopian writer based in New York and The Shadow King, her second novel, is about the Italian invasion of Ethiopia during world war two, showing history very much from a female perspective. Its on the edge of magic realism, but an amazing portrait of that moment in Ethiopian history. It seems to me that there is a new wave of wonderful writing from younger African women writers, from Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, and I think that Mengiste is very much a part of that. Her book is tightly written and has a visionary quality.

6. Film
Vishal Bhardwajs Shakespearean trilogy

Shahid
Shahid Kapoor in a scene from Haider. Photograph: UTV Motion/Vishal Bhardwaj/Kobal/Rex/Shutterstock

An adaptation of my novel Midnights Children is currently being developed for Netflix. The showrunner is an Indian director called Vishal Bhardwaj, who made a trilogy of films based on Shakespeare plays. Omkara is basically Othello and the subject of an angry, jealous husband murdering his wife for an imagined infidelity fits so easily to India. In Maqbool, he brilliantly transposes the story of Macbeth into the Bombay criminal underworld. And Haider took Hamlet into Kashmir. Considering whats happening there right now, its an even more important film than when it came out, because it really shows you what life has been like for people in Kashmir under the heel of the Indian security forces and military. His films are visually astonishing and Im very interested to see how he brings all that talent to Midnights Children.

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Ground Zero Memorial and Rebuilding Fast Facts

Architecture

(CNN)Here’s a look at the rebuilding of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and the memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks.

April 28, 2003 – The World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition launches.
June 2003 – The Memorial Competition submission period closes. 5,201 submissions are received from 63 nations.
    November 19, 2003 – Eight prospective plans chosen from the submissions are displayed for the public in the World Financial Center in New York.
    January 6, 2004 – The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announces its choice of “Reflecting Absence” by Israeli-born architect Michael Arad.
    September 10, 2005 – Supporters of the Take Back the Memorial campaign protest the inclusion of an International Freedom Center in plans for the memorial.
    September 28, 2005 – In a written statement, Governor George Pataki announces that plans for the International Freedom Center adjacent to the planned memorial at the World Trade Center site have been abandoned.
    July 12, 2011 – More than 42,000 passes to the memorial are reserved in the first 24 hours they are made available.
    September 11, 2011 – The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the dedication of the memorial.
    September 12, 2011 – The memorial opens to the public.
    2012 – A dispute between the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey delays construction of the 9/11 museum planned for the memorial site. The museum was originally supposed to open on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
    September 10, 2012 – The budgetary dispute delaying the opening of the museum is resolved when all parties enter into a “memorandum of understanding,” an agreement that allows them to restart construction.
    May 15, 2014 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens its doors for the 9/11 community — survivors, families and rescuers. Within it are 12,500 objects, 1,995 oral histories and 580 hours of film and video.
    May 21, 2014 – The museum opens to the public.
    Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan:
    Fall 2001 – New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani create the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The mission of the LMDC is to “help plan and coordinate the rebuilding and revitalization of Lower Manhattan.”
    The LMDC also administers the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, a separate process from that of rebuilding the World Trade Center area.
    A 15-member board of directors governs the LMDC. The governor of New York and the mayor of New York City each appoint half of the members. The LMDC is also assisted by nine advisory councils.
    According to an audit conducted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the rebuilding cost grew from approximately $11 billion in 2008 to $14.8 billion in 2012.
    August 12, 2002 FEMA and the Federal Transit Administration announce $4.55 billion in federal aid for transportation improvements in Lower Manhattan.
    September 26, 2002 Six design teams are hired, out of 407 submissions, to create land use plans for the 16-acre site.
    December 18, 2002 An exhibit of nine possible designs opens at the World Financial Center.
    February 27, 2003 Daniel Libeskind’s “Memory Foundations” is selected as the new design for the site.
    September 17, 2003 The LMDC releases a revised Master Plan for the site.
    November 23 2003 – PATH train service is restored, linking Lower Manhattan and New Jersey. Trains operate out of a temporary station in the area.
    December 19, 2003 Plans for the Freedom Tower to be built at Ground Zero are revealed.
    January 22, 2004 – Architect Santiago Calatrava unveils his plans for the area transportation hub.
    July 4, 2004 Construction at Freedom Tower begins. A 20-ton slab of granite, inscribed “the enduring spirit of freedom,” is laid as the cornerstone of one of the new skyscrapers that will stand on the site.
    May 4, 2005 Governor Pataki calls for a redesign of the new tower for safety reasons.
    June 29, 2005 – New York officials release the latest design for the signature building at the site after revising it to make the tower more secure.
    September 6, 2005 Architect Santiago Calatrava and public officials dedicate the first steel rail for the future transportation station.
    December 15, 2005 Architect Lord Norman Foster agrees to design the next major building planned for the site. Foster will design a 65-story tower for the northeast corner of the 16-acre site.
    April 26, 2006 The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and developer Larry Silverstein reach an agreement about the financing of Freedom Tower, resolving problems that had delayed construction.
    April 27, 2006 The formal groundbreaking of Freedom Tower takes place.
    March 26, 2009 The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announces dropping the name “Freedom Tower,” and that the first commercial lease in the building has been signed. Upon completion, the building will be named One World Trade Center.
    May 10, 2013 Construction workers bolt the last pieces of a 408-foot spire into place atop One World Trade Center, bringing the building to a height of 1,776 feet. This height references the year the United States declared its independence. It also makes the building the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the third tallest in the world.
    November 3, 2014 – One World Trade Center opens for business, when the first tenant, Conde Nast, moves in.
    May 29, 2015 – The observatory opens in the top three floors of One World Trade Center.
      March 3, 2016 – The first phase of the World Trade Center transportation hub opens.
      June 29, 2016 – Liberty Park opens to the public.

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      September 11 Hijackers Fast Facts

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      (CNN)Here’s some background information about the 19 hijackers of September 11, 2001.

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        The 28 page report on 9/11 you can’t see

      — 8:46 a.m. ET (approx.) – American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The plane is piloted by plot leader Mohamed Atta.
        — 9:03 a.m. ET (approx.) – United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The plane is piloted by hijacker Marwan al Shehhi.
        — 9:37 a.m. ET (approx.) – American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) strikes the Pentagon Building in Washington. The plane is piloted by hijacker Hani Hanjour.
        — 10:03 a.m. ET (approx.) – United Airlines Flight 93 (traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco) crashes in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The plane is piloted by hijacker Ziad Jarrah.
        Hijackers by Airplane:
        American Airlines Flight 11
        Mohamed Atta – Egypt, tactical leader of 9/11 plot and pilot
        Abdul Aziz al Omari – Saudi Arabia
        Wail al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
        Waleed al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
        Satam al Suqami – Saudi Arabia
        United Airlines Flight 175
        Fayez Banihammad – United Arab Emirates
        Ahmed al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
        Hamza al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
        Marwan al Shehhi – United Arab Emirates, pilot
        Mohand al Shehri – Saudi Arabia
        American Airlines Flight 77
        Hani Hanjour – Saudi Arabia, pilot
        Nawaf al Hazmi – Saudi Arabia
        Salem al Hazmi – Saudi Arabia
        Khalid al Mihdhar – Saudi Arabia
        Majed Moqed – Saudi Arabia
        United Airlines Flight 93
        Saeed al Ghamdi – Saudi Arabia
        Ahmad al Haznawi – Saudi Arabia
        Ziad Jarrah – Lebanon, pilot
        Ahmed al Nami – Saudi Arabia
        Hijackers by Nationality:
        Egypt
        Mohamed Atta
        Lebanon
        Ziad Jarrah
          Saudi Arabia
          Ahmed al Ghamdi
          Hamza al Ghamdi
          Saeed al Ghamdi
          Hani Hanjour
          Nawaf al Hazmi
          Salem al Hazmi
          Ahmad al Haznawi
          Ahmed al Nami
          Khalid al Mihdhar
          Majed Moqed
          Abdul Aziz al Omari
          Mohand al Shehri
          Wail al Shehri
          Waleed al Shehri
          Satam al Suqami
          United Arab Emirates
          Fayez Banihammad
          Marwan al Shehhi

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          The star of the annual Muslim convention was a Jewish man from Brooklyn

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          (CNN)This Labor Day weekend, thousands of Muslim Americans descended on Houston, Texas, for the annual three-day Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention. This year’s ISNACON featured many well-known figures, such as Trevor Noah, who shared his story of growing up in South Africa and joked about the ups and downs of “The Daily Show.”

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          Fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro also spoke. This was part of ISNA’s first ever presidential forum, as the Muslim community strives to engage in politics on all levels. Castro, a Catholic, received a great reception from the audience, especially when he declared, “Muslim Americans for generations have been part of the fabric of our American family. They have helped make America the great nation it is, and we need to fully embrace it.”
          But the night truly belonged to Sanders, or “Uncle Bernie,” as many Muslims affectionately refer to the junior senator from Vermont. And the reason for that is simple: Sanders has worked hard to earn the support of the Muslim community. It began during the 2016 presidential primary when he was running against Hillary Clinton. Many in the Muslim community were wary of Clinton, given her support of the Iraq War. Sanders opposed the war — a fact of which he reminded the audience on Saturday, earning him loud applause.
            And, during the 2016 campaign, Sanders was very passionate in standing up for our community and opposing then-candidate Donald Trump’s hateful lies about Muslims. For example, in December 2015, when Trump repeated the debunked tale that Muslims in New Jersey had cheered the 9/11 attack, Sanders slammed Trump as a “pathological liar.”
            Sanders also did something not often heard from mainstream politicians — and that’s speak of Palestinians as human beings. He told the audience at an April 2016 debate with Clinton that if we ever want to achieve peace in the Middle East, “we are going to have to treat the Palestinian people with respect and dignity.”
            The star of the annual Muslim convention was a Jewish man from Brooklyn (Opinion) - CNN
            It’s no surprise that in the 2016 Michigan Democratic primary, a state that boasts a sizable Muslim population, the Muslim community came out in large numbers for Sanders and were credited with playing a role in his upset victory over Clinton.
            And, since 2016, Sanders has also been outspoken on issues that have impacted the Muslim community, including Trump’s travel ban, which Sanders slammed as “a racist and anti-Islamic attempt to divide us up.” At Saturday’s event, he renewed his commitment to rescind that measure if elected president. He also added, “We must speak out at hate crimes and violence targeted at the Muslim community and call it what it is: domestic terrorism,” generating even more applause for the 2020 presidential candidate.
            Sanders’ enthusiastic embrace by the Muslim community serves as a visible contrast to Trump’s vile attacks on Rep. Tlaib and Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, the two female Muslim members of Congress, whom the President recently accused of hating “all Jewish people” because they question some of the policies of the Israeli government. (Both Tlaib and Omar deny any accusations of anti-Semitism.) Numerous Muslims I spoke to at ISNA expressed the concern that Trump’s true goal in attacking the two congresswomen is to divide Muslims and Jews. But the love shown to Sanders by this Muslim crowd was an inspiring rejection of Trump’s efforts.

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              In my conversations over the past few days with a large swath of attendees at ISNA about who they were supporting in 2020, Sanders’ name was continually, although not exclusively, cited. Many mentioned interest in Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with a few mentioning support for former Vice President Joe Biden. And all were greatly appreciative that Castro attended.
              But there’s no denying that on Saturday night, the audience belonged to a feisty Jewish politician from Brooklyn. He has made a concerted effort to meet with and listen to members of the Muslim community, and he has been at the forefront of advocating for our rights. Other 2020 candidates could benefit from taking a cue from him.

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              This Is Life for Muslim-Americans 18 Years After 9/11

              When you speak with the author of a new childrens book, you typically dont expect to hear words like neo-fascist movement or how the current U.S. president has unearthed bigotry.But that was the discussion I had with Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history in 2016 when she became the first American Olympic athlete both to wear a hijab and win a medal while doing it. (She won a bronze medal as part of the womens sabre team.)Her new book, The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family depicts an African-American Muslim girl wearing a hijab and confronting the challenges and celebrating the joys that brings.

              Muhammad recalled that as a kid growing up in New Jersey before 9/11, she was taunted for wearing a hijab, with one kid calling her head covering a tablecloth, and said she hopes her book can help kids feel strong in the face of being made to feel different.

              She added something that I know resonates with countless Muslim Americans today, I believe its a lot harder in this moment to be Muslimthan it was right after 9/11.

              I heard that sentiment countless times over Labor Day weekend at the Islamic Society of North Americas annual convention in Houston.

              It truly is a tale of two experiences for Muslims today. On one hand, Muslims in America are seeing our greatest successes ever in ways that can be objectively measured. There are now three Muslims in Congress, the most ever. Keith Ellison last year became the first Muslim American to win statewide office when he was elected attorney general for Minnesota. And more Muslim Americans than ever before now serve as elected officials from school boards to state legislatures, with historic wins in 2018 from New Hampshire to New Mexico to California.

              In the world of entertainment there has also been never before seen success. In 2018, Mahershala Ali became the first Muslim American to win an Academy Award for acting, which he repeated in 2019 with an Oscar for his performance in The Green Book. For years, the Muslim American community longed for a TV series focused on a Muslim family. That finally happened in 2019 with the critically acclaimed Hulu Series Ramy, starring Ramy Youssef, about growing up Muslim in New Jersey. Theres also comedian Hassan Minhaj becoming the first Muslim American host of late-night show with his Netflix series, Patriot Act.

              Yet at the very same time theres a growing a sense of unease and even fear that something horrible is waiting around the corner for us. And I mean that last part quite literally, given the spike in hate crimes directed against the Muslim community since Trump first called for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States back in December 2015 through 2018.We have seen our mosques firebombed and self-professed Trump supporters plotting terror attacks to kill American Muslims in places from New York to Kansas. (I was even the subject of death threats and an organized smear campaign by Trump-supporting Neo-Nazis, causing me to sue them in federal court.)

              And while it didnt occur in the United States, the white supremacist terror attack on a New Zealand mosque that killed over 50 Muslims sent shockwaves through the U.S. Muslim community, as did the man espousing white supremacist views who killed 11 Jewish Americans while they were in the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

              As one mental health professional explained to NPR recently about the rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes and rhetoric, What is going to be the long-term impact of this persistent exposure to trauma that our kids are facing right now? No one knows for sure, but there has been a documented spike in bullying of Muslim students in recent years.

              Consider for a moment what it would feel like to be part of a faith community that the man in the White House declares he wants to ban from our nation and that other GOP elected officials have demonized over the years amidst plots to murder people in your community. Add to that Trumps recent attacks on the two female Muslim members of Congress, Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, urging them to go back to their own country.How would that impact your sense of being an other? Your sense of being unwanted in your own country?

              Despite the dreams of Trump and people like him, we as a community arent going anywhere. Muslims were here before the United States and literally help build this country, given that 10 to 15 percent of African slaves were Muslims. And we are a growing community; as Pew notes, by 2040 Muslims are expected to be the second largest faith group in the country, behind Christians and moving ahead of Jews.

              The future for our community in the near term, however, will likely be more of what weve seen recently. The hope, though, is that in the long run the best of times will eclipse the worst.

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