NYPD promises unprecedented security for New Year’s Eve ball drop

NEW YORK — More cops, more bomb-sniffing dogs and more police snipers than ever are being deployed by the New York Police Department for New Year’s Eve to protect the 2 million spectators expected to cram Times Square to usher in 2018, department leaders said Thursday.

“People will be safe, and they should feel safe, too,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said at police headquarters in lower Manhattan.

Terence A. Monahan, the NYPD’s patrol chief, said that beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday, crosstown traffic would be shut from 37th to 59th streets and Sixth to Eighth avenues, and the area will be sealed off with concrete barriers, blocker cars and sand trucks. There will be truck restrictions on those avenues from 34th to 59th streets in effect at 11 a.m., he said.

To stop a suicide bomber from detonating an explosive like the one set off Dec. 11 under the Port Authority bus terminal, police officers will search celebrants twice, once when approaching the Times Square area, then again at each pen — with dogs trained to sniff air off a person’s body, by metal detectors and by officers who look through each person’s bags.

To avert a Las Vegas-style sniper shooting from above, NYPD officers are being assigned to every hotel in the Times Square area, and O’Neill hinted that the guest rosters are being scrutinized, but declined to elaborate.

And to block a vehicle-ramming attack like the rental truck on Halloween that killed pedestrians near the West Side Highway, sand-filled trash trucks are being parked at intersections near Times Square, with all 125 area garages ordered closed and sealed to protect from an exploding vehicle being parked inside.

James Waters, the NYPD’s head of counterterrorism, said that analysts are also monitoring online propaganda put out by groups like the Islamic State, and issuing bulletins to officers on how to identify and neutralize would-be suicide bombers.



Santa Barbara newspaper with history of controversy apologizes after byline includes anti-gay slur

A newspaper that’s no stranger to controversy found itself in hot water with readers this week after an employee changed a reporter’s byline to include an anti-gay slur in its Christmas Day issue.

The Santa Barbara News-Press ran a story from staff writer Paul Gonzales on Monday about last-minute Christmas shoppers. Online, his byline is accurate and identifies him as a News-Press writer.

But readers who picked up a print copy of the paper saw his name printed as “Paul Gayzalez” and his title doctored to include an anti-gay slur.

Readers quickly noticed and posted images on social media. Some called for the paper’s executives to be fired, along with the employee responsible.

The paper addressed the controversy on Wednesday, writing: “In Monday’s News-Press, one of our employees changed another employee’s byline to reflect an offensive slur. The News-Press has taken immediate and swift action with this employee; we do not tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace. We apologize to our readers.”

The paper did not name the employee who altered the byline.

Gonzalez, whose LinkedIn profile says he has been with the paper for three years, said in an email that “this person has offered me a personal apology which I have accepted.”

The person no longer works at the paper, he said. He declined to comment further.

The paper has twice made national headlines in recent years.

In January 2015, the paper sparked protests after it published a story about undocumented immigrants heading to the DMV to apply for driver’s licenses under the headline “Illegals Line Up for Driver’s Licenses.” Last year it became the first daily newspaper to endorse President Donald Trump in the general election, although 62 percent of county residents voted for Hillary Clinton and 32 percent for Trump.

—Los Angeles Times


Veteran Atlanta TV anchor Amanda Davis dies following massive stroke at airport

ATLANTA — Veteran Atlanta news anchor Amanda Davis has died, according to CBS 46. She was 62.

Davis suffered a massive stroke Tuesday night while waiting to board a flight at the Atlanta airport, the station reported.

“Her family is asking for privacy at this difficult time,” CBS 46 posted online. “Amanda’s friends and colleagues at CBS 46 are praying for her family.”

The Emmy-award winning journalist joined CBS 46 as a morning in January after spending 26 years at WAGA-TV. Davis retired from WAGA in 2012 following a DUI-related arrest. In 2016, Davis opened up about her battle with alcoholism in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Davis was planning to fly to Texas for her step-father’s funeral when she suffered a stroke, according to CBS. On Sunday, she posted a message on her Facebook about celebrating Christmas after losing a loved on.

“Stay strong, keep praising the Lord,” Davis wrote.

—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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