ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Nearly two tons of trinkets, statues and jewelry crafted from the tusks of at least 100 slaughtered elephants are heading for a rock crusher in New York City's Central Park to demonstrate the state's commitment to smashing the illegal ivory trade.[...] state environmental officials, who are partnering with the Wildlife Conservation Society and Tiffany & Co. for Thursday's "Ivory Crush," say no price justifies slaughtering elephants for their tusks.Last year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service instituted a near-total ban on the domestic commercial ivory trade and barred sales across state lines.Since August 2014, New York law has prohibited the sale, purchase, trade or distribution of anything made from elephant or mammoth ivory or rhinoceros horn, except in limited situations with state approval.The World Wildlife Fund says the illegal wildlife trade not only threatens animal populations, but also endangers national security by funding terrorist cells.
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Around the Web
- Nearly 2 tons of seized ivory to be crushed in Central Park
By MARY ESCH, Associated Press - Thursday Aug 3, 2017
- NY state's new free tuition program covers 22K students
Monday Oct 2, 2017
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state's first-in-the-nation tuition-free college program will pay the bill for about 22,000 students this year.The governor's office says an additional 23,000 students who applied also qualified to have their tuition covered, but by existing state and federal financial aid.About 75,000 people applied for the new Excelsior Scholarship, which pays the balance of tuition for New York residents from families earning $100,000 or less who attend a State University of New York or City University of New York school full-time.Cuomo says thanks to the new program 53 percent of full-time SUNY and CUNY in-state students now go to school tuition-free.
- Lawmaker seeks probe after AP reveals maggots in NY facility
By DAVID KLEPPER, Associated Press - Saturday Aug 12, 2017
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A New York state lawmaker is demanding a federal investigation into New York state's care for the disabled following a recent Associated Press story that revealed the case of a man infested with maggots in a state-run group home.Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, of Utica, told the AP on Saturday that he is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the group home and other state-regulated facilities for the disabled where there have been allegations of abuse and neglect.A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press, which found that New York state is not alone in making it difficult for members of the public to access records about allegations of abuse and neglect in state-regulated facilities for the disabled.
- Trump tweets that transgender people can’t serve in military
Wednesday Jul 26, 2017
President Trump set off a bipartisan firestorm Wednesday morning by tweeting that the government will not allow transgender people to serve in the military “in any capacity.”In a series of early morning tweets, Trump wrote, After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.Republicans also expressed disappointment and outrage at Trump for posting policy decisions on social media.Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who also serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Trump’s statement unclear and promised that the committee would conduct oversight on the issue of transgender people serving in the military.In a White House press briefing later that day, Sarah Huckabee, the White House press secretary, said that the announcement was “something that the Department of Defense and the White House iwll have to work together on as implementation takes place.”Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) filed an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations bill to block Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from entering the military service.The amendment states that government funds for defense can’t be used to “implement, enforce, or observe any directive” from the president that “bars or restricts the ability of transgender persons to serve in the Armed Forces.”The order, signed by Truman on July 26, 1948, stated, “It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.”The RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research group, found that the costs of gender-transition related to health care treatment is “relatively low.”The total cost of medical care for transgender troops would increase health care costs by between $2.4 million and $8.4 million annually, representing a 0.04- to 0.13-percent increase in health care expenditures.Transgender reassignment surgery — which not every trans person chooses to undergo — can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars per person to nearly $100,000, depending on how extensive it ias, according to Courtney D’Allaird, founding coordinator for the Genderal and Sexuality Resource Center at the University of Albany, N.Y.“Weren’t we just last year christening the Harvey Milk vessel in the Navy?” D’Allaird said, referring to the 2016 announcement that a Navy supply vessel is being named after the gay rights pioneer of San Francisco.Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a public policy think tank at UC Santa Barbara, said Trump’s announcement would cause discrimination and ultimately harms military readiness.In June 2016, former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced that transgender individuals would be able to serve in the U.S. armed forces.In June, Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s defense secretary, delayed Carter’s plan to accept transgender troops and to accommodate transgender service members’ medical needs by six months.In February, Trump rescinded federal protections that were implemented for transgender students, allowing them to use bathrooms that coincided with their gender identity.Trump’s tweeted announcement comes about a year after he pledged in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention to protect the rights LGBTQ people.
- Inside a Secretive Group Where Women Are Branded
By BARRY MEIER - Wednesday Oct 18, 2017
A self-help organization in Albany called Nxivm has begun to unravel as members reveal disturbing practices and fears of blackmail.
- Fix New York's government? Some say key is new constitution
By MARY ESCH, Associated Press - Sunday Aug 6, 2017
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Corruption and a rigged political system are battle cries of both sides in a debate over whether New Yorkers should vote this fall to rewrite the state constitution.Advocates of a "yes" vote say a constitutional convention is the only way to fix dysfunction, corruption and inefficiency in government and throw the bums out of Albany.Environmental groups fear a convention could open the door to delete or weaken protections for clean air and water, healthy forests and the 6-million-acre (2.4-million hectare) Adirondack Park.The real money involved in this is the labor unions that are trying to block a convention because they have great sway with this government and don't want it to change, said Gerald Benjamin, a political science professor and co-editor of a new book, New York's Broken Constitution:Right-to-Life and Planned Parenthood; the Conservative Party and left-leaning Working Families Party; LGBT Network and New York State Rifle and Pistol Association.Benjamin said a convention is the only way to fix problems with administration of elections, campaign finance, the structure of the court system and the Legislature, which he believes would be more effective with one house instead of two.