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The Boston bombing suspects allegedly discussed bombing Times Square while driving around after the attack in a stolen car that ran out of gas eventually. The talk was characterized as spontaneous. One senior law enforcement official played it down as more "stream of consciousness" than plan. Mayor Bloomberg says he doesn't know if they could have been stopped had they made it. But at this point, their faces were plastered all over television and the internet, and Times Square is heavily surveilled at all times. Bloomberg also used the plot as an argument to expand the city's counterterrorism capabilities and intelligence gathering activities. The Daily News reports that Commissioner Kelly was upset that the FBI didn't share the information about Times Square sooner, but wouldn't criticize them publicly.
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More than half of Mexican - and over a third of Ecuadorean - immigrants in NYC do not have a bank account, according to this study by the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs. But 80 percent of immigrant survey participants who make less than $300 a week report having savings. To address these gaps, the city plans to offer specially designed direct deposit bank accounts and free, one-on-one financial counseling, along with low-cost tax preparation.
Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday announced legislation that would raise the legal age for purchasing cigarettes to 21, up from 18. The idea was originally proposed by Queens Councilman James Gennaro. Mayor Bloomberg supports the proposal, although he opposed a similar plan in 2006. His office said his position changed after seeing data from the UK showing that a higher age limit would cut smoking for among teens. Data from the journal Health Policy also found similar results.
Bloomberg: Interpretation of Constitution Should Change After Bombing (Politicker)
NYPD Commissioner Calls For More Surveillance Cameras (WNYC)
Day Centers Sprout Up, Luring Fit Elders And Costing Medicaid (NY Times)
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that there have been no specific threats to New York City, but the department is reviewing security plans for upcoming public events. The police received 77 reports of suspicious packages in the past 24 hours, while the norm is 21. La Guardia Airport's main terminal was temporarily evacuated after an unattended parcel was found. Mayor Bloomberg used the Boston incident to highlight that the city must remain vigilant against terrorists and that "special interests" must not shape security strategies. He continues to take the subway part of the way to City Hall. The Saudi national that the NY Post had reported on was a witness, not a suspect.
Raising The Salary Bar For Some State Workers (Albany Times Union)
Medical Marijuana Gaining Steam In Albany, Cuomo Stalls (Daily News)
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Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Mayor Bloomberg said 1,000 counter-terrorism NYPD officers have been mobilized until more is known about the attack. Law enforcement also went on high alert throughout the transit system, although there appeared to be no specific threat. Gov. Cuomo has directed state agencies to be on heightened alert as well. The New York Post published a controversial report that a Saudi man is being held for questioning in Boston.
City Grant Aids Quinn Housing Plan (Wall Street Journal)
Senate Democrats Push Tough Reforms (Albany Times Union)
Supreme Court Refuses To Hear Case On NY’s Gun-Carry Licensing Law (Daily News)