Two empty NYPD cop cars set on fire in Flatiron District

Two empty NYPD cop cars set on fire in Flatiron District

Two empty NYPD cop cars were set on fire in Manhattan Monday evening by an arsonist who remained on the loose, authorities said.

An unidentified man approached parked police vehicles in the Flatiron District before setting them ablaze near 29th Street and 6th Avenue around 8:40 p.m., the NYPD said.

One of the police cars was a marked vehicle and the other was unmarked.

Firefighters responded and extinguished the flames. No injuries were reported.

The fires came as New York City braces for possible protests tied to a potential criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump by the Manhattan District Attorney Office.

The ex-president had urged his supporters to take to the streets in protest of his possible arrest. There’s no indication so far that Monday’s cop car fires are connected to any protests surrounding the potential Trump indictment.

No injuries were reported, and NYPD continues to investigate.
No injuries were reported and NYPD continues to investigate.
William Miller

car fire.
The suspects have been arrested in connection to the fire.
William Miller

Some trash was also set on fire in front of 800 6th Avenue, police said. Authorities believe from their preliminary probe the fires were set by the same person.

No arrest has been made, cops said. 

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IMF approves crucial $3B bailout for bankrupt Sri Lanka

IMF approves crucial $3B bailout for bankrupt Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — The International Monetary Fund said Monday that its executive board has approved a nearly $3 billion bailout program for Sri Lanka over four years to help salvage the country’s bankrupt economy.

About $333 million will be disbursed immediately and the approval will also open up financial support from other institutions, the IMF said.

“Sri Lanka has been facing tremendous economic and social challenges with a severe recession amid high inflation, depleted reserves, an unsustainable public debt, and heightened financial sector vulnerabilities,” its statement quoted IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva as saying.

“Institutions and governance frameworks require deep reforms. For Sri Lanka to overcome the crisis, swift and timely implementation of the EFF-supported program with strong ownership for the reforms is critical.”

The approval will unlock financing of up to $7 billion from the IMF and other international multilateral financial institutions, President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said.

Earlier this month, the last hurdle for the approval was cleared when China joined Sri Lanka’s other creditors in providing debt restructuring assurances.

“From the very start, we committed to full transparency in all our discussions with financial institutions and with our creditors,” Wickremesinghe said in a statement from his office. “I express my gratitude to the IMF and our international partners for their support as we look to get the economy back on track for the long term through prudent fiscal management and our ambitious reform agenda.”

Wickremesinghe said he has made some tough decisions to ensure stability, debt sustainability and to grow an inclusive and internationally attractive economy.

Sri Lanka increased income taxes sharply and removed electricity and fuel subsidies, fulfilling prerequisites of the IMF program. Authorities must now discuss with Sri Lanka’s creditors on how to restructure its debt.

“Having obtained specific and credible financing assurances from major official bilateral creditors, it is now important for the authorities and creditors to make swift progress towards restoring debt sustainability consistent with the IMF-supported program,” Georgieva said.

“The authorities’ commitments to transparently achieve a debt resolution, consistent with the program parameters and equitable burden sharing among creditors in a timely fashion, are welcome,” she said.

Sri Lanka last year suspended repayment of its foreign debt amid a severe foreign currency crisis, because of a fall in tourism and export revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, megaprojects funded by Chinese loans that did not generate income, and releasing foreign currency reserves to hold the exchange rates for a longer period.

The currency crisis created severe shortages of some foods, fuel, medicine and cooking gas, leading to angry street protests that forced then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign.

Since Wickremesinghe took over, he has managed to reduce shortages and ended hours-long daily power cuts. The Central Bank says its reserves have improved and the black market no longer controls the foreign currency trade.

However, Wickremesinghe’ s government is likely to face hostility from trade unions over his plans to privatize state ventures as part of his reform agenda and public resentment may increase if he fails to take action against the Rajapaksa family, who people believe were responsible for the economic crisis.

Wickremesinghe’s critics accuse him of shielding the Rajapaksa family, who still control a majority of lawmakers in Parliament, in return for their support for his presidency.


Find more AP Asia-Pacific coverage at

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Cases of rare tick-borne disease on the rise in 8 states, CDC says

Cases of rare tick-borne disease on the rise in 8 states, CDC says

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Tick-borne illness cases in the United States are up 25% since 2011, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including a rare disease now spreading in the U.S. Northeast.

The CDC says cases of babesiosis, which can cause illness ranging from asymptomatic to severe, have increased significantly in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The disease is already considered endemic in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

The tick-borne disease, which is growing in cases but still rare, is transmitted from the bites of black-legged ticks. 

Babesiosis infections can be asymptomatic or cause mild to severe illnesses that can be fatal. Symptoms, which can last for several weeks, typically show up between one and four weeks after a bite. The most common symptoms include fever, chills, sweating, fatigue, and myalgias. They also include hepatosplenomegaly, or an enlarged liver, and hemolytic anemia, a disorder that causes red blood cells to be destroyed faster than they can be created.

Yale scientist Goudarz Molaei told Nexstar’s WTNH one of the factors that could be causing the increase in tick-borne diseases could be shorter winters. 

“Understandably because of climate change and other environmental conditions we are seeing increases in tick abundance and tick activity,” Molaei said. 

The CDC states on its website:

Because warmer average temperatures can mean longer warm seasons, earlier spring seasons, shorter and milder winters, and hotter summers, conditions might become more hospitable for many carriers of vector-borne diseases.

When will the Lyme disease vaccine be available?

Molaei said that, in Connecticut, for example, one in two ticks on average is infected with at least one disease agent. 

“We have to be aware of the areas that might be infested with ticks, so wooded areas, tall grasses areas, try to avoid those areas at any costs,” he said. 

Molaei says if you have no other choice, you’ll have to consistently perform a tick check on yourself and your pets, as they can often bring home ticks with them.

The CDC is urging anyone spending extended time outdoors to use tick repellents and wear long sleeve shirts and pants if they can. 

If you are bitten by a tick, the CDC recommends the following:

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can.
  • Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick.
  • After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol or soap
    and water.
  • Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet. If you would like to bring the tick to your healthcare provider for identification, put it in rubbing alcohol or place it in a sealed

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Pro-cop GOP mom of two looks to topple Democratic socialist Tiffany Caban in Queens

Pro-cop GOP mom of two looks to topple Democratic socialist Tiffany Caban in Queens

Left-wing “Defund the Police” Democratic Councilwoman Tiffany Caban is about to get a challenge for her Astoria, Queens seat — on the turf of fellow socialist ally Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Republican mom-of-two Kelly Klingman tells The Post she will seek Caban’s ouster at the ballot box on a crime-fighting agenda that would seek to increase NYPD funding and empower first responders while promoting education choices for parents — including more charter schools.

“I’m not a politician. I’m not doing this as a stepping stone.  But I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines,” Klingman, 44, the mom of 9-year-old twins, told The Post Monday.

“Public safety is my No. 1 issue. Education is No. 2.”

Klingman, who has lived in Astoria since before her twins were born in 2012, said she also wants to help small businesses in District 22  as well as solve New York’s vexing housing problems.

She claims that Caban, who ran for Queens district attorney before landing in the council, is too far to the left of Astoria constituents, particularly noting the councilwoman’s support of defunding the police and shifting taxpayer dollars elsewhere.

Republican real estate broker Kelly Klingman
A Republican mom-of-two, Klingman will try to boot Caban from her spot.

“I have a lot of people in my community who are not happy with Caban’s viewpoints, such as `defund the police,’” Klingman said.

“I support funding the police. I support working with police to come up with solutions.”

She said she supports Gov. Kathy Hochul’s plan to lift the cap to open more charter schools in New York City, a plan that is facing stiff resistance from state lawmakers allied with the anti-charter United Federation of Teachers.

“I’m for school choices,” said Klingman.

Klingman initially enrolled her kids in Public School 122, but then switched to Immaculate Conception, a Catholic school, after the peak of the pandemic.

That was in large part because Immaculate Conception went to a full-day of in-person classes sooner than the city public school system, which made it easier for her to work because her kids were in school and not at home.

She’s part of the new Ronald Reagan Republican in Astoria founded by Curtis Sliwa, the 2021 Republican candidate for mayor and Guardian Angels founder turned WABC radio host, who vowed to bring the fight to the heart of democratic socialism in New York City.

The Reagan club is meeting Tuesday night at the Rocco Moretto VFW Post in Astoria, where Klingman will speak and kick off her campaign.

Klingman acknowledges an uphill climb given how badly Republicans are outnumbered, though GOP candidates have picked up some council and Assembly seats in southern Brooklyn and northeast Queens in the law two election cycles — including Inna Vernikov, Vickie Paladino and Lester Chang.

“Sometimes it’s good to have different viewpoints represented,” she said.

Caban had no immediate comment on her impending challenge.

Queens district attorney candidate Tiffany Caban smiles while greeting commuters Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in the Queens borough of New York.
Democratic Councilwoman Tiffany Caban is getting challenged for her spot in Queens.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

She has come under fire for backing defunding the police and putting out a guide last year urging small business owners to call 311 or other agencies instead of police when encountering people with mental illness.

Two days after she and Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani released the guide, an FDNY paramedic was randomly stabbed to death on the street, allegedly by a diagnosed schizophrenic.

“We’re going into the belly of the beast of the Democratic Socialists of America in New York City,” Sliwa told The Post last month.

“We’re going to take on AOC and Caban.”

Sliwa vowed Republicans will reach out to moderate Democrats who believe the lefty pols are out of touch on issues such as crime and taxes.

Kelly Klingman
Klingman said she’s a proponent of school choice.

A generation ago, Astoria and Long Island City were populated by Greek and Italian immigrant homeowners and represented on the council by moderate-to-conservative Democrats Peter Vallone Sr. and Jr.

Since the younger Vallone left office in 2013, the area’s demographics have shifted as younger, college-educated and tech-savvy residents with left-leaning views have moved into the sleek new condos that have sprung up across the area.

The political earthquake struck Queens in 2018, when Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Joe Crowley, the then-Queens Democratic leader, in the House primary. The Democratic Socialists of America had arrived.

The following year, a leftist coalition that included Ocasio-Cortez and state Sen. Michael Gianaris forced Amazon to withdraw its plan to build a massive new East Coast headquarters in Long Island City.

Other democratic socialists — including Caban and Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani — soon took their places in City Hall and Albany.

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Putin welcomes China’s Xi to Kremlin amid Ukraine fighting

Putin welcomes China’s Xi to Kremlin amid Ukraine fighting

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping to the Kremlin on Monday, sending a powerful message to Western leaders that their efforts to isolate Moscow over the fighting in Ukraine have fallen short.

Xi’s trip — his first abroad since his re-election earlier this month — showed off Beijing’s new diplomatic swagger and gave a political lift to Putin just days after an international arrest warrant was issued for the Kremlin leader on war crimes charges related to Ukraine.

The two major powers have described Xi’s three-day trip as an opportunity to deepen their “no-limits friendship.” China looks to Russia as a source of oil and gas for its energy-hungry economy, and as a partner in standing up to what both see as U.S. aggression, domination of global affairs and unfair punishment for their human rights records.

The two countries, among the five U.N. Security Council’s permanent members, also have held joint military drills. U.S. officials have picked up indications China is considering supplying Russia with weapons for its fight in Ukraine but have seen no evidence they’ve actually done so.

The leaders smiled and shook hands before sitting down and making brief statements at the start of their meeting, calling each other “dear friend” and exchanging compliments. Putin congratulated Xi on his re-election and voiced hope for building even stronger ties.

“China has made a colossal leap ahead in its development in recent years,” Putin said, adding that “it’s causing genuine interest all around the world, and we even feel a bit envious,” as Xi smiled.

The Kremlin leader welcomed China’s proposals for a political settlement in Ukraine and noted Russia is open for talks.

“We will discuss all those issues, including your initiative that we highly respect,” Putin said. “Our cooperation in the international arena undoubtedly helps strengthen the basic principles of the global order and multipolarity.”

Both Moscow and Beijing have accused Washington of trying to isolate them and hold back their development as they challenge it for regional and global leadership.

In an increasingly multipolar world, the U.S. and its allies have been unable to build a broad front against Putin. While 141 countries condemned Moscow in a United Nations vote marking the first anniversary of Russian troops rolling into Ukraine, several members of the G-20 — including India, China and South Africa — abstained. Many African nations also have refrained from openly criticizing Russia.

“We hope that the strategic partnership between China and Russia will on the one hand uphold international fairness and justice, and on the other hand promote the common prosperity and development of our countries,” Xi said.

In their 4 1/2 hours of talks, along with a dinner that included a Pacific seafood platter and roast venison in cherry sauce, Putin had planned to offer Xi a “detailed explanation” of Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. Broader talks involving both countries’ officials on a range of subjects are scheduled for Tuesday.

For Putin, Xi’s presence is a prestigious, diplomatic boost to show partnership in the face of Western efforts to isolate Russia over Ukraine.

In an article published in the Chinese People’s Daily newspaper, Putin described Xi’s visit as a “landmark event” that “reaffirms the special nature of the Russia-China partnership.”

Putin also said the meeting sent a message to Washington that the two countries aren’t prepared to accept attempts to weaken them.

“The U.S. policy of simultaneously deterring Russia and China, as well as all those who do not bend to the American diktat, is getting ever fiercer and more aggressive,” he wrote.

Xi’s trip came after the International Criminal Court in The Hague announced Friday it wants to put Putin on trial for the abductions of thousands of children from Ukraine.

China portrays Xi’s visit as part of normal diplomatic exchanges and has offered little detail about what the trip aims to accomplish, though Ukraine cast a long shadow on the talks.

At a daily briefing in Beijing on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China “will uphold its objective and fair position on the Ukrainian crisis and play a constructive role in promoting peace talks,” he said. Xi didn’t directly mention the Ukraine fighting or his peace plan when he sat down for the talks with Putin on Monday.

Beijing’s leap into Ukraine issues follows its recent success in brokering talks between Iran and its chief Middle Eastern rival, Saudi Arabia, which agreed to restore their diplomatic ties after years of tensions.

Following that success, Xi called for China to play a bigger role in managing global affairs.

Although they boast of a “no-limits” partnership, Beijing has conducted a China First policy. It has shrunk from supplying Russia’s military — a move that could worsen relations with Washington and turn important European trade partners against Beijing. On the other hand, it has refused to condemn Moscow’s aggression and criticized Western sanctions against Moscow, while accusing NATO and the United States of provoking Putin’s military action.

Western pressure has made Russia increasingly reliant on Beijing, observers said.

Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment, noted that Beijing is aiming at “getting Russia as a junior partner deeper into China pocket.”

Dmitry Oreshkin, professor at Free University in Riga, Latvia, observed that Beijing stands to benefit from tensions between Moscow and the West, by getting access to cheap Russian energy resources. “It’s very convenient for China, which couldn’t get such a discount before,” he said.

China last month called for a cease-fire and peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cautiously welcomed Beijing’s involvement, but the overture fizzled.

The Kremlin has welcomed China’s peace plan, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday any proposal that left Russian forces in place in Ukraine would merely let Moscow reequip and otherwise regain strength to resume its offensive.

“Calling for a cease-fire that does not include the removal of Russian forces from Ukrainian territory would effectively be supporting the ratification of Russian conquest,” he told reporters in Washington. “The world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms.”

Kyiv officials say they won’t bend in their terms for a peace accord.

“The first and main point is the capitulation or withdrawal of the Russian occupation troops from the territory of Ukraine in accordance with the norms of international law and the UN Charter,” Oleksiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, tweeted Monday.

That means restoring “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” he wrote.

Ukraine’s allies, meanwhile, are stepping up their support. The State Department announced Monday that the U.S. will send Ukraine $350 million in weapons and equipment. The latest package of aid includes ammunition, such as rockets for the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, fuel tanker trucks and riverine boats.

In Brussels, European Union countries endorsed a fast-track procedure to provide Ukraine with artillery shells, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said. He hailed “a historic decision” for the 27-nation bloc and Norway to send Ukraine 1 million 155 mm artillery shells within 12 months.

The Kremlin doesn’t recognize the International Criminal Court’s authority and has rejected its move against Putin as “legally null and void.” China, the U.S. and Ukraine also don’t recognize the ICC, but the court’s announcement tarnished Putin’s international standing.

China’s Foreign Ministry called on the ICC to “respect the jurisdictional immunity” of a head of state and “avoid politicization and double standards.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee said Monday it is opening a criminal case against a prosecutor and three judges of the ICC over the arrest warrants issued for Putin and his commissioner for children’s rights, Maria Lvova-Belova. The committee called the ICC’s prosecution “unlawful” because it was, among other things, a “criminal prosecution of a knowingly innocent person.”


Follow the AP’s coverage of Ukraine at


Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer in Washington contributed.

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It’s the first day of spring: Here’s what that really means

It’s the first day of spring: Here’s what that really means

NEW YORK (AP) — Spring has sprung!

Monday marked the spring equinox — at least for those in the Northern Hemisphere.

But what does that actually mean?


As the Earth travels around the sun, it does so at an angle.

For most of the year, the Earth’s axis is tilted either toward or away from the sun. That means the sun’s warmth and light fall unequally on the northern and southern halves of the planet.

During the equinox, the Earth’s axis and its orbit line up so that both hemispheres get an equal amount of sunlight.

The word equinox comes from two Latin words meaning equal and night. That’s because on the equinox, day and night last almost the same amount of time — though one may get a few extra minutes, depending on where you are on the planet.

The spring — or vernal — equinox can land on March 19, 20 or 21, depending on the year. This year it landed on Monday at 5:24 p.m. Eastern time.


There are two different ways to carve up the year: Meteorological and astronomical seasons.

Meteorological seasons are defined by the weather. They break down the year into three-month seasons based on annual temperature cycles.

By that calendar, spring already started on March 1, and will run until May 31.

But astronomical seasons depend on how the Earth moves around the sun.

Equinoxes, when the sun lands equally on both hemispheres, mark the start of spring and autumn. Solstices, when the Earth sees its strongest tilt toward or away from the sun, kick off summer and winter.


For those north of the equator, the start of spring means daylight will start to stretch longer— with earlier sunrises and later sunsets — until the summer solstice in June. The new season signals warmer weather, budding plants and migrating animals.

The Southern Hemisphere will see the opposite: Days will get shorter as this half of the planet heads out of summer and into autumn.

According to the U.S. government’s national outlook for the season, this spring is expected to bring wet weather that will continue to ease drought conditions in the western parts of the country. Melting snowpack may also bring flood risks in the Midwest.

Much of the southern and eastern U.S. may see warmer than usual temperatures this spring, while parts of the Great Basin and northern Plains will likely be chillier than average.


The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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