Crowded Times Square welcomes 2016
Nearly a million people, many of them wearing eyeglasses with a big “2016” worked into the frames and purple top hats, crowded into New York‘s Times Square Thursday night to celebrate the arrival of the new year.
British vocalist Jessie J sang John Lennon’s Imagine to the revelers just before the traditional huge crystal ball lit up at the stroke of midnight high in the city’s skyline.
Confetti flew and fireworks light up the night sky in the biggest celebration in the U.S. Afterwards, the crowd was treated to songs by Frank Sinatra (New York, New York), Ray Charles (America) and Louis Armstong (Wonderful World).
Security was tight in the iconic New Year‘s celebration site where city officials said 6,000 uniformed, undercover and mounted police were dispatched. Some police officers were equipped with rifles or radiation detectors and bomb-sniffing dogs. There were no reports of anything but celebrations as the new year arrived along the U.S. east coast. VOA
Authorities have arrested an accused ISIS supporter who allegedly planned to commit an armed attack at a bar in Rochester on New Year’s Eve on behalf of the terror group, officials said Thursday. Emanuel Lutchman, 25, of Rochester, has been charged with attempt to provide material support and resources to ISIS.
Many major cities around the globe remain on high alert Thursday evening, with extra precautions being taken in Turkey and Belgium. However, U.S. authorities have maintained that there is no credible terror threat to New York City or the tri-state region. NBC News
Ben Carson’s presidential campaign manager Barry Bennett, deputy campaign manager Lisa Coen and communications director Doug Watts all resigned Thursday, as the retired neurosurgeon continues to struggle in the polls.
Carson was rivaling Donald Trump for the lead in the Republican presidential race in mid-October, but he has since fallen to 10% in the latest CNN/ORC poll, which ties him for a distant third place with Marco Rubio, behind Trump and Ted Cruz.
His campaign has been marked of late by rumors of personnel changes and public sniping between Bennett and Watts with Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager and sometimes public surrogate who has no official role in the campaign. Williams has criticized Bennett and Watts for not adequately preparing the candidate for public appearances, especially on foreign policy, an issue that has dominated the race in recent months.
Bennett and Watts have been unhappy with Williams’ role with Carson, especially as Williams publicly criticized the campaign’s struggles, such as the Republican Jewish Coalition speech where Carson repeatedly mispronounced the name of Palestinian group Hamas. CNN
President Obama is reportedly planning to announce executive action on guns as soon as next week, Reuters reported Thursday.
Obama’s policy would expand background checks to all gun sales and impose licensing requirements for small-scale sellers. Stricter rules for how to report lost or stolen guns would also be enacted. The executive action will allow the president to bypass the Republican-controlled Congress, where he has been unable to find sufficient support for new gun control legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings. Reuters
January 1 marks the official end of China’s one-child policy that for 36 years has forced couples to limit their offspring to slow the country’s population growth.
Last week Chinese authorities also decided to drop a plan to ban surrogate motherhood. Now aspiring parents can seek the help of Chinese women to act as surrogate mothers to gestate and give birth to their children. If China had banned surrogacy, only those Chinese wealthy enough to hire surrogates overseas, in countries such as the United States, would have been able to use the practice.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which is the main law-making body in China, decided last week to withdraw the draft legislation for banning surrogacy. The move was surprising because China rarely reverses itself on a draft law after it has been publicized. Such a move could be seen as the government being indecisive, which could hurt its public image. VOA
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