The death toll to yesterday's massive explosion in East Harlem grew to seven overnight as emergency officials continue to sift through the rubble of two buildings that were leveled by a natural gas explosion. More than 75 people are injured and at least four are still missing, according to an FDNY spokesman.
At least 100 people are staying in a nearby American Red Cross shelter. Area hospitals reported that a woman and a teen came in critically hurt, with the 15-year-old suffering from burns and several broken bones. The woman, who was pulled from the debris, is being treated for neck and back injuries.
A New York Times/CBS News poll has found that Americans view Hillary Clinton more favorably now than they did earlier this year.
The number of Americans who believe Clinton has strong leadership qualities is up eight percentage points to 65 percent from 57 percent, and about 48 percent say she is honest and trustworthy. Among Democrats, 52 percent said they are not familiar with the Clinton Foundation, only 9 percent said they would not consider voting for her, and nearly 9 in 10 said it's time for the U.S. to have a woman president. Her husband remains extremely popular among Democrats: 76 percent have a favorable view of former President Bill Clinton, and just 4 percent view him unfavorably.
On the Republican side, nearly 75 percent have a favorable opinion of former President George W. Bush, but almost 70 percent do not have an opinion one way or another about his brother and likely presidential candidate Jeb Bush. When asked who they would not support, 13 percent of Republicans said they would not consider voting for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), 17 percent said they would not back Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), 26 percent said they would not support Mike Huckabee, and 42 percent said they would not consider backing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).
Overall, 43 percent of Americans said they had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, and 29 percent said the same about the Republican Party. On same-sex marriage, two-thirds of Democrats support legalizing it, while roughly the same percentage of Republicans are opposed. Regarding immigration, 46 percent of Republicans said undocumented immigrants should have to leave the U.S., while just 16 percent of Democrats agreed. The poll was conducted by telephone, both landlines and cell phones, between April 30 to May 3, with 1,027 adults responding. Catherine Garcia
Ferry service for authorized U.S. travelers between Florida and Cuba could start within the next few weeks, now that four companies have received approvals from the U.S. Treasury and Commerce departments.
It's the first time approvals have been handed out since the U.S. imposed a trade embargo on Cuba nearly five decades ago, the Sun Sentinel reports. The companies are based in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, and will charge passengers less than what it would cost to take a charter flight. For now, the ferries can only take passengers from 12 categories who no longer need a license in advance to visit Cuba, including people who are visiting family and people taking a religious pilgrimage.
The companies are hoping to start service within the next few weeks. Havana Ferry Partners, for example, wants to launch a 200-passenger vessel between Key West and Havana. It would likely cost around $300 or $350 round trip, and passengers could bring up to 200 pounds of luggage free of charge. There are still some companies waiting for their licenses, but they're not worried about missing out on a business opportunity. "We know ours is coming," President Brian Hall of CubaKat, based in the Jacksonville area, said. "One ferry company can't pull this off by itself. There's so many people who want to go to Cuba." Catherine Garcia
The editor-in-chief of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo says that unlike the organizers behind a Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, his publication never intends to denigrate entire swaths of people.
"When we make a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, or Jesus, or Moses, we don't mock or attack people," Gerard Biard said Tuesday at an event in New York, according to The Guardian. "We mock or attack institutions, representatives, powers, and, again, political powers."
Organized by anti-Islam crusader Pamela Geller, the Texas event challenged participants to draw caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Two gunmen attempted to attack the contest but were shot dead after injuring only one person.
Distancing himself and his publication further from the contest, Biard added that while Geller "wakes every morning and thinks, 'How can I defy these people?,'" he wakes up wondering, "Where's my coffee?" Jon Terbush
At a dinner on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) made quite an unfortunate gaffe when speaking about the Middle East.
"Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula... Everything that starts with 'Al' in the Middle East is bad news," Graham apparently said at a dinner with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), according to investigative journalist Uri Blau.
What Sen. Graham may not have realized is that "Al" is the Arabic word for "the."
Blau reports that Graham also hinted about a 2016 presidential run. Participants at the dinner told Blau that Graham said to them, "You will see me in New Hampshire." Meghan DeMaria
Four months after terror attacks rocked France, the lower house of the nation's parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would broaden the government's spy powers. The bill, which passed by a 438 to 86 vote, heads to the Senate where it is expected to easily pass as well.
Drafted days after gunmen killed 17 people in separate attacks — including one on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo — the bill would allow intelligence agencies to tap phones and monitor email accounts without first obtaining permission from a judge. It would also compel internet service providers to hand over user data upon request. Critics contend the bill is an unnecessary encroachment on liberty, likening it to America's Patriot Act. Jon Terbush
New research suggests that food stamp recipients are more likely to be obese than the rest of the U.S. population.
A U.S. Department of Agriculture study looked at data from thousands of participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 2007 to 2010. The researchers found that Americans who received food stamp benefits were more likely to be obese than those who did not, including those who qualified for benefits but didn't receive them.
Of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) beneficiaries surveyed, 40 percent of them were obese. Of the poor who qualified for SNAP benefits but did not receive them, 32 percent were obese, as were 30 percent of higher-income Americans. Food stamp recipients also reported eating less fruits and vegetables and drinking more soda than the rest of the country.
But while food stamp recipients may be eating less healthy foods, the rest of the population isn't doing great, either. The average diet of food stamp recipients scored a 56.8 on the healthy eating index, versus 60.3 for eligible non-participants and 60.2 percent for wealthier people. As The Huffington Post notes, that's "the difference between an F and a D-minus," so most people could stand to improve their diets. Meghan DeMaria
A survey by the Daily Caller of the 2015 commencement speaker choices of the top 25 universities in the country finds that just three have selected a right of center dignitary. Those three are former Secretary of State Colin Powell, scheduled at Rice University; Sen. Shelley Moore Capito at Washington and Lee; and political commentator David Brooks at Dartmouth.
The other 22 schools all selected more liberal speakers, ranging from Arianna Huffington to Obama mega-donor Marc Benioff, and including eleven current or former Democratic politicians and appointees.
Fortunately for conservatives, none of this matters, because no one pays attention to their graduation speaker, anyway. Bonnie Kristian