Man stabs woman’s hand after he hits on her in Brooklyn Whole Foods parking lot, witness recounts

NEW YORK — A creep trying to hit on women as they walked out of a Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn stabbed one in the hand after she got into her SUV Monday night, according to police and a witness.

A retired police officer turned security guard ran to the woman’s aid and busted the man in the parking lot of the swanky supermarket’s Third Ave. and Third St. location in Gowanus, cops said Monday.

“He was checking out women as they came out of the Whole Foods,” said one man, who witnessed the 9:30 p.m. mayhem, but didn’t give his name. “One of them looked at him like, ‘Not today.’”

She got into her vehicle, and that’s when the man turned violent, he said.

“I heard the scream,” the witness said.

That’s when the retired cop drew his gun and ordered the man to the ground.

An NYPD spokesman said the guard wasn’t a former NYPD officer. What agency he once worked for remained unclear Monday night.

The suspect’s name has not yet been released, and charges against him are pending.

— New York Daily News

9/11 Victim Compensation Fund renewal bill to go before House on Friday

NEW YORK — The bill to replenish the expiring 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund will get a vote in the full House of Representatives on Friday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced Tuesday.

The move is a major step for the bill, which would undo drastic cuts in payments to ill and dying responders and other survivors.

“I’m pleased to announce the House will vote this Friday on the Zadroga Pfeifer Alvarez 9/11 #Renew911VCF,” Hoyer, D-Md., tweeted. “The heroes who ran into harm’s way that day deserve swift action. I thank Jon Stewart @RepMaloney @RepJerryNadler & others for their advocacy on this issue.”

Stewart and ailing former NYPD Detective Lou Alvarez helped catapult the measure to the front of the public’s mind by offering dramatic testimony to Congress in June.

The bill now has more than 330 sponsors in the House and 70 in the Senate.

Although the Congressional Budget Office has not yet set a price tag on the measure, which would fund compensation until 2090, it is likely to pass with so many backers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has pledged he will act on the bill before Congress takes off for August, although he has not specified how he will act.

— New York Daily News

Benign gut virus may be older than humanity, might be useful as therapy

Helped by a global search through sewage, San Diego State University researchers have found that a benign gut virus appears to be older than the human race itself.

Moreover, different strains of this common virus can be traced to countries or even individual cities, said study leader Rob Edwards. Travelers rapidly pick up the local strain, providing a genetic map of their journey.

“For example, we can detect San Diego vs. New York,” Edwards said.

There are also hints that the virus might be usable to treat certain diseases related to imbalances of intestinal bacteria, he said. There’s no evidence the virus causes any human disease.

The study was published Monday in Nature Microbiology.

This virus is a bacteriophage or phage, a group of viruses that kill bacteria. Called a cross-assembly phage, or crAssphage, it infects Bacteroidetes, a genus of anerobic bacteria. The virus was first reported in 2014, by a group including Edwards.

The virus might be used to alleviate disorders such as Crohn’s disease, and possibly diabetes and obesity, he said. There are hints that imbalances in the gut bacterial population are involved in such disorders. So strains of the phage might be engineered to deliver medicines.

“Presumably, because the phage has been around so long, it’s adapted to our immune system, so it’s not going to cause a big response,” Edwards said. “This is a really exciting area of opportunity for us right now, to understand how we can shape the human microbiome with the bacteriophages that we have available to us.”

However, he said a fuller understanding of these gut microbial interactions will first be needed.

— S.D. Union-Tribune

Mexico’s finance minister quits abruptly, sending peso tumbling

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s finance secretary abruptly resigned Tuesday over disagreements with the left-wing government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, which he accused of fiscal “extremism.”

The unexpected departure of Carlos Urzua seven months into Lopez Obrador’s presidency sent stocks and the peso plunging and renewed worries among investors still wary after the president’s cancellation of a $13 billion airport project that was underway outside Mexico City.

It also highlighted what some analysts view as a growing schism within Lopez Obrador’s administration between fiscal conservatives and those who believe major economic changes are needed to achieve the social development the president has promised.

In his resignation letter, Urzua complained that Lopez Obrador and his team had appointed officials to his secretariat “who don’t have any knowledge of public finance” and who have advocated for policy decisions based on political ideology rather than sound economics. Urzua said that some of those officials had been appointed by “influential people in this government who have obvious conflicts of interest.”

Urzua had been a longtime Lopez Obrador ally, serving under him as finance secretary when Lopez Obrador was mayor of Mexico City.

The president responded to news of Urzua’s departure with a video on Facebook in which he said Urzua is obviously “not happy about the decisions we are taking.”

“Because this is a change, a transformation, sometimes people don’t understand we can’t continue with the same strategy,” said the president, who was elected in a landslide last year after vowing to combat Mexico’s endemic corruption and gaping inequality. “We cannot put new wine in old bottles.”

Lopez Obrador appeared in the video alongside Urzua’s replacement: Arturo Herrera Gutierrez, who had served as assistant secretary in the finance secretariat. Herrera, the president said in a tweet, possesses “virtues of humanism and honesty.”

The peso fell more than 2% on the dollar on news of the shake-up, though it later recovered slightly. Business leaders, many of whom have long been critical of Lopez Obrador, reacted with dismay.

Gustavo de Hoyos Walther, president of the Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic, wrote on Twitter that his organization was concerned about “the denunciations of extremist visions and decisions without sustenance” in the finance secretariat.

— Los Angeles Times