At least two women are dead, 18 are injured and several others are missing following an explosion that toppled two buildings in Manhattan this morning. In a press conference, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the East Harlem blast was a "tragedy of the worst kind." He confirmed that the cause was a gas leak and not an act of terrorism. The gas leak was reported to Con Edison about 15 minutes before the explosion, he said.
"This is going to be an extended operation," he said, adding that the FDNY will conduct a "thorough search" of the area. The fire is still not under control, and is hampering search efforts by rescuers. Once the flames are contained, firefighters will begin sifting through the debris to locate victims.
Newsday has more from the mayor's press conference.
On Tuesday, former NBA star Lamar Odom was found unconscious at a Nevada brothel, Hof's Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof told the Los Angeles Times.
Odom was treated by paramedics and stabilized at the scene before being taken to Desert View Hospital; he was going to be delivered to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas via helicopter, but was unable to be transported by air because of his height. Hof said Odom "wanted to get away from everybody, wanted to have fun," and had stayed in Hof's home attached to the brothel. Workers told Hof that Odom was "somber" on Sunday, but "other than that, [was in] good spirits." Hof said that his employees did not see him with any illegal drugs, and he ordered a bottle of cognac over the weekend, but a third of the bottle was still left on Tuesday, the Times reports.
In addition to playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, Odom appeared on the reality shows Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Khloe and Lamar with his former wife, Khloe Kardashian. Us Weekly reports that Khloe Kardashian, along with her mother, Kris Jenner, and sister Kim Kardashian, is on her way to Las Vegas to be with Odom at the hospital. Catherine Garcia
Hillary Clinton does not believe that mandated maternity leave would mean fewer jobs, and said it's time for the United States to join other countries around the world who provide it.
When asked by CNN's Dana Bash if she is proposing another government program at the "expense of taxpayer money," Clinton responded: "When people say that, it's always the Republicans or their sympathizers who say you can't have paid leave, you can't provide health care. They don't mind having big government to interfere with a woman's right to choose and to try to take down Planned Parenthood. They're fine with big government when it comes to that. I'm sick of it."
An animated Clinton continued: "We should not be paralyzed by the Republicans and their constant refrain 'big government this, big government that,' except for what they want to impose on the American people. I know we can afford it because we're going to make the wealthy pay for it." Catherine Garcia
In Thursday's Democratic presidential debate, CNN's Anderson Cooper asked the five contenders to name one thing they would do differently than President Obama, that would make them something other than "Obama's third term."
Lincoln Chafee: "We've got to stop these wars. We've got to have a new dynamic, a new paradigm."
Martin O'Malley: He would reinstate the Glass-Stegall banking law.
Hillary Clinton: "Well I think that’s pretty obvious. I think being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had up until this point." She also named a few other issues where she would go beyond Obama, including education and immigration.
Bernie Sanders: He would push for a "political revolution" in the U.S. against giant corporations and lobbyists.
Jim Webb: Webb started out criticizing Sanders for proposing "revolution," prompting a clarification from Sanders that he's essentially proposing greater voting and engagement that allows the American people to know what's really going on in Washington and change it with their indignation. Peter Weber
As expected, Hillary Clinton was asked during the CNN Democratic debate about her use of a private email server while secretary of state, but it was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who had the best response to Anderson Cooper's question.
Clinton said that she answered all of the questions asked of her by the official committee, which she called an "arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle, as admitted by House Republican Majority Leader Mr. McCarthy to drive down my poll numbers. Big surprise, that's what they have attempted to do. I am still standing, I am happy to be part of this debate, and I intend to keep talking about the issues that matter to the American people."
Before Cooper could move on, Sanders jumped in: "Let me say something that may not be great politics, but I think the secretary is right, and that is the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails." Sanders said he goes around the United States and knows what people really want to talk about: "The middle class in this country is collapsing, we have 27 million people living in poverty, we have massive wealth and income inequality, our trade policies have cost us millions of decent jobs, the American people want to know if we're going to have a democracy or oligarchy as a result of Citizen's United. Enough of the emails, let's talk about the real issues facing America."
The room erupted in cheers, and Clinton shook hands with Sanders. Cooper gave Lincoln Chafee the opportunity to say he believes there is an issue of "American credibility" with the world, and "we need someone who has the best in ethical standards as our next president." When asked if she'd like to respond, Clinton gave a quick one word answer: "No." Catherine Garcia
The other four Democrats on stage with Hillary Clinton during Tuesday's presidential debate all agreed on one thing: Clinton's vote to authorize the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a huge blunder. "Well, I recall being on a debate stage about 25 times with then-Sen. Obama, debating this very issue," Clinton responded. "After the election, he asked me to become secretary of state. He valued my judgment." Watch below. Peter Weber
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) told Anderson Cooper during the CNN Democratic debate Tuesday that he isn't worried about people not voting for a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist.
Cooper said a new poll shows that half of the U.S. would not put a socialist in the White House, and asked Sanders: "How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?" First, Sanders said, he would explain just what being a Democratic Socialist means: "What Democratic Socialism is about is saying that it is immoral and wrong that the top one-tenth of one percent in this country own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent." It also means, he added, acting like Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, and giving mothers family paid leave.
Cooper pointed out that Denmark has 5.6 million residents, and said his question was more about electability. "The facts are very simple," Sanders said. "Republicans win when there is a low voter turnout and that is what happened last November, 63 percent of the American people didn't vote, 80 percent of young people. We are creating excitement all over this country. Democrats from the White House down will win when there's a large voter turnout, and that's what this campaign is doing."
Cooper asked if he considers himself a capitalist, to which Sanders responded: "Do I consider myself part of the casino capitalist process by which so few have so much and so many have so little? By which Wall Street's greed and recklessness wrecked this economy? No, I don't. I believe in a society where all people do well, not just a handful of billionaires." Catherine Garcia
Hillary Clinton on flip-flop charge: 'I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done'
The first question for Hillary Clinton at Tuesday night's debate, from CNN's Anderson Cooper, was pretty brutal, and came after he rattled off her changing positions on several issues: "Will you say anything to get elected?" Clinton defended herself by saying that she is open to changing her opinion if the facts change, citing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Cooper then asked Clinton if she is a "moderate or a progressive," and Clinton didn't hesitate: "I'm a progressive, but I'm a progressive who likes to get things done." That means working with Republicans, she added, but "I don't take a back seat to anyone when it comes to progressive experience and progressive commitment." Peter Weber