Stardust in New York but Ardern’s New Zealand garden needs urgent attention

There has been a huge contrast between Jacinda Ardern wowing the world with her week in New York, and they stuttering struggles of her government back in New Zealand.

On New York

NZ Herald editorial: Stardust and substance – PM Jacinda Ardern at the United Nations in New York

Although embattled Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been facing flak on various fronts at home this week, there can be little doubt she has delivered both “stardust” and substance in New York.

She has certainly been in demand on the sidelines, undertaking interviews with media and talk show heavyweights CNN and The Late Show, meeting UN goodwill ambassador and actress Anne Hathaway, and generating media interest the world over with pics of her baby Neve in tow in those hallowed halls.

The images of a smiling, capable, young, progressive female leader and young mum are priceless PR. Some of the engagements may have seemed trivial, but Ardern has ensured mention of motherhood and even hobbits have presented an opportunity to highlight New Zealand as a tourist destination and a progressive, supportive, inclusive society.

She has met other heads of state, taken part in a range of substantive meetings, discussions and panels on issues such as climate change, trade and the sustainable development goals. She has talked about refugees, steel tariffs, foreign investment, foreign aid, gender equality, child poverty, compassion and collaboration.

She has been nothing but diplomatic about US President Donald Trump in the face of difficult meetings on trade and many testing questions – not to mention outright contempt from the General Assembly floor in what must be one of the most extraordinary scenes in that chamber ever witnessed.

Ardern has effectively and memorably presented New Zealand’s interests and values to world leaders and a global audience. Job done.

And generally, done very well. Good on her for that.

Duncan Garner: Jacinda Ardern was masterful in trumping the Don

The prime minister returns from New York this weekend as the big apple in the eyes of her many international admirers.

Her international stocks are high, she’s played her limited cards superbly, and she made dancing through the foreign affairs minefield look effortless.

In reality, it’s not as easy as she made it look, especially with America (well, Trump) all passive-aggressive, and isolationist. In short, Ardern smashed it out of the park.

But she also painted a rosier picture than reality back in New Zealand.

And guess what? The PM got away with not telling the world how we have failed spectacularly to curb our carbon emissions and how they continue to grow at unsustainable levels.

We also don’t punish our big polluters, we don’t punish pollution from transport, we don’t have incentives to drive electric cars, and we can’t swim in 60 per cent of our rivers.

Imagine if Ardern had told the truth about us overseas.

She wouldn’t have been so lauded and applauded if she had.

She didn’t go to Woodstock while she was in the US, but some lyrics come to mind.

We are stardust
We are golden
But we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden

Ardern now has to get herself back to the New Zealand garden, where the pests and weeds look like getting out of control.

John Armstrong:  Jacinda Ardern must stop the rot in ‘drunken sailor’ Government

Stop the rot. And stop it quickly. That has to be Jacinda Ardern’s absolute priority on her return from overseas.

The incumbent three-party governing arrangement was displaying all the coherence and co-ordination of the proverbial drunken sailor long before the Prime Minister left for the relative sanctuary of a Winston Peters-free New York.

The unwieldy contraption has since appeared to be even more sloshed in her absence as its components stumble from one mini-crisis to the next minor scandal with such regularity that you can almost set your watch by it.

This three-headed hydra needs to go on the wagon — and pretty darned soon.

Viewed in isolation, each blunder or botch-up has not amounted to very much in the grand scheme of things.

Viewed in total, however, the various mishaps and miscues add up to a fair-sized catalogue of catastrophe.

Voters will soon forget the details of who was involved in each episode of woe and what happened and when.

What will stick in their minds from this epidemic of embarrassment will be the hard-to-erase impression that Ardern’s regime is riddled with incompetence.

It will leave the public wondering whether Ardern has lost control. That is where the damage is really being done.

Ardern’s has fiddled with aplomb on the world stage, while her government shows increasing signs that it risks crashing and burning.

In her Speech from the Throne last November Ardern said something that highlights the gulf between some of her rhetoric and reality: “This government will foster a more open and democratic society. It will strengthen transparency around official information”

NZ Herald editorial: Govt’s greater transparency vow nowhere to be seen

The Government’s domestic woes continue this week even as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to bask in the global limelight in New York.

First there was the fallout from Derek Handley’s released communications in the chief technology officer saga, then there were allegations in Parliament which reminded the public about the investigations regarding recently appointed Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha.

Now, the Department of Internal Affairs is set to investigate how the draft report of the investigation into the Meka Whaitiri incident was leaked to the Herald.

The draft report finds it was agreed Whaitiri did have words with her press secretary for not alerting her to a photo opportunity with the PM during a function in Gisborne. It showed the staff member was allegedly left with bruising to her arm.

Although Whaitiri denies touching the staffer, David Patten, the lawyer who conducted the inquiry, found on the balance of probabilities the staff member’s version that she was grabbed was the more likely explanation of what happened.

That is damning — and clearly what led to Ardern’s sacking of Whaitiri as a minister last Thursday, a day after seeing the draft report.

So why the ongoing secrecy?

At the very least it raises questions about anger management and suitability for public office. And, for those who believe the alleged incident is minor, teachers now have strict new rules that prohibit manhandling pupils.

The public had the right to know exactly why Whaitiri was stripped of one of her roles. It would still be helpful to know why she was deemed okay to remain the Māori caucus co-chair, or whether there was any thought of expulsion from the party.

This Government promised to usher in a new level of transparency and openness. But there has been little evidence it is any more transparent than any other administration it seeks to better.

So returning from the euphoria of a very successful trip to New York Ardern has a lot to do in her real job, as Prime Minister in a government that looks lacking in leadership beyond Winston Peters’ wagging of the Labour dog, with the Green flea clinging on.

Ardern only had a temporary gig at the United Nations, for now at least.  She will return to a far more difficult job as Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The stardust of New York won’t keep masking the garden back home looking increasingly unkempt.

Jacinda Ardern on ‘Redefining successful government”

In a speech while in New York Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined what she sees as successful government, as in her lofty agenda.

Redefining successful government

Speech at International Conference on Sustainable Development

I began preparing my comments for today’s event while sitting at my constituency office in Auckland, New Zealand…

You could say the artefacts I sit amongst in that office sum up my life in politics.  It started with my family, has been full of role models and support, but ultimately is motivated by the idea that politics is a place you can address injustice.

I was raised the daughter of a policeman, and was a product of the 1980s where New Zealand went through a rapid period or privatisation and economic liberalisation. We called it Rogernomics after our Finance Minister of the time, in America the same phenomenon was called Reaganonmics, and the impact on working families was similar. Jobs were lost, manufacturing moved off shore, regulations removed and the gap between rich and poor rapidly expanded.

Then came the 1990s. A conservative government in New Zealand introduced reforms that brought user pay to the fore and welfare cuts for the poorest.

I was young when all of this was happening around me, but I still remember it. If it’s possible to build your social conscience when you are a school girl, then that is what happened to me. I never looked at the world through the lens of politics though, but rather through the lens of fairness.

And that sentiment captures one of the most pervasive values that we have in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are proud but also self-deprecating. Dreamers but also pragmatists. And if there is one thing we hate, it is injustice.

These are the values I believe we need to display in our politics. Because politics is increasingly a dirty word, but values are not.

An earnest politician would be hard pressed to argue with goals like halving poverty, preserving the sustainability of our oceans or inclusive education.

And we’ve started by redefining what success looks like.

Traditionally, success or failure in politics has been measured in purely economic terms. Growth, GDP, your trade deficit and the level of debt you carry. On those terms, you would call New Zealand relatively successful. But in the last few years the deficiency of such measures has become stark.

So we are establishing brand new measure of national achievement that go beyond growth.

Like many, New Zealand has not been immune to a period of rapid and transformational change these past few decades. Globalisation has changed the way we operate, but it has also had a material difference on the lives of our citizens.

Not everyone has been well served by those changes, however.

While at a global level economic growth has been unprecedented, the distribution of benefits has been uneven at the level of individuals and communities. In fact for many, the transition our economy made in the wake of globalisation has been jarring,

Now as politicians, we all have choices in how we respond to these challenges.

We’re investing more in research and development so that we improve the productivity of our economy, we’re focusing on shifting away from volume to value in our export, and we are committed to lifting wages.

We are modernising our Reserve Bank so that it works to keep both inflation and keeps unemployment low, and we’re committed to a better balanced and fairer tax system.

But we also need to do better at lifting the incomes of New Zealanders and sharing the gains of economic growth.

We are signing pay equity settlements with new groups of predominantly women workers, taking the pressure off families by extending paid parental leave to half a year, closing the gender pay gap and raising the minimum wage.

When fully rolled out our Families Package – a tax credit policy aimed at low and middle income earners – will lift thousands of children out of poverty.

But economic gains and growth matter for nothing if we sacrifice our environment along the way, or if we fail to prepare for the future. That’s why we are transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand.

But of course, we are nothing without our people. We have set ourselves some big goals, like ensuring that everyone who is able is either earning, learning, caring or volunteering – including making the first year of tertiary study completely free of fees.

We’re supporting healthier, safer and more connected communities, ensuring everyone has a warm, dry home, and last but not least, making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

This agenda is personal to me.

I am the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.

If I were to sum up our agenda though, it would be simple. I want to demonstrate that politics doesn’t have to be about three or four year cycles. It doesn’t have to be self-interested or have a singular focus.

It can think about long term challenges, and respond to them. It can be designed to think about the impact on others, and show that it’s making a difference. And it can even be kind.

As an international community I am constantly heartened by our ability to take a multilateral approach, to sign up to a set of aspirations that are values based.

But perhaps it’s time to also challenge ourselves to move beyond aspiration to action.

That is what we will be doing in our corner of the world.

And I can assure you we will never, never, never give up.

Highly idealistic. It will be good if some of this can be achieved reasonably well over time.

This is in stark contrast to the succession of problems of competence the government is having to deal with back here while she is away in New York – the realities of politics can be quite different to the lofty speech written rhetoric.

Ardern has already stumbled on her ideal of ‘open transparent government’, this has blown up further in her absence this week.

She has admirable goals, and is adept at talking the talk, but the challenge for her and her government will be walking the walk. They seem to be stumbling somewhat more than she cares to admit.

It will take time to see whether New Zealand will improve noticeably under Ardern’s leadership. If things like inequality, child poverty and climate change are substantially improved she will have done very well, but it will take much more than successful speeches on the world stage.

Charges filed against Trump charity

More potential legal distractions and problems for Donald Trump and his children.

Reuters: New York sues Trump and his charity over ‘self-dealing’

The New York state attorney general sued U.S. President Donald Trump, three of his children and his foundation on Thursday, saying he illegally used the nonprofit as a personal “checkbook” for his own benefit, including his 2016 presidential campaign.

Barbara Underwood, the attorney general, asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation and to ban Trump, his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and his daughter Ivanka from holding leadership roles in New York charities. The three children joined the foundation’s board in 2006, although Ivanka stepped down to work at the White House in 2017.

Underwood said her office’s 21-month investigation, begun under her predecessor Eric Schneiderman, uncovered “extensive unlawful political coordination” by the foundation with Trump’s campaign, as well as “repeated and willful self-dealing” to benefit Trump’s personal, business and political interests.

“Mr. Trump ran the Foundation according to his whim, rather than the law,” the lawsuit said.

CNN: New York attorney general sues Trump Foundation

The complaint alleges that the Trump Foundation engaged in repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Trump’s personal and business interests.

“As our investigation reveals, the Trump Foundation was little more than a checkbook for payments from Mr. Trump or his business to nonprofits, regardless of their purpose or legality,” Underwood said. “This is not how private foundations should function, and my office intends to hold the Foundation and its directors accountable for its misuse of charitable assets.”

The investigation also found that the board existed in name only and did not meet after 1999. Additionally, Trump allegedly made all decisions related to the foundation.

“This is politics at its very worst,” a Trump Foundation representative said in a statement. “The Foundation has donated over $19 million to worthy charitable causes — more than it even received. The President himself — or through his companies – has contributed more than $8 million. The reason the Foundation was able to donate more than it took in is because it had little to no expenses. This is unheard of for a charitable foundation. The Foundation currently has $1.7 million remaining which the NYAG has been holding hostage for political gain. This is unconscionable — particularly because the Foundation previously announced its intention to dissolve more than a year and a half ago. The prior NYAG, who was recently forced to resign from office in disgrace, made it his stated mission to use this matter to not only advance his own political goals, but also for his own political fundraising. The acting NYAG’s recent statement that battling the White House is ‘the most important work (she) have ever done’ shows that such political attacks will continue unabated.”

Fox News: New York AG files lawsuit against Trump Foundation for alleged ‘illegal conduct;’ Trump says he ‘won’t settle’

The New York state attorney general’s office on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation for alleged illegal conduct and “unlawful political coordination” to benefit personal and business interests, drawing a harsh Twitter rebuke from President Trump.

No one should be surprised by Fox promoting Trump’s views, and no one will be surprised by Trump reacting via Twitter.

The New York  Attorney General responded:

“This is not either a sleazy or political action. … this is a straightforward case of violation of the laws governing charitable foundations and nonprofit corporations in New York.”

It will be settled in the legal system – no doubt with a lot of public posturing.

But this is an awkward and unwelcome distraction for Trump. It also drags in his three children.

Weinstein in court on sex crime charges

Harvey Weinstein revelations and accusations triggered the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment, especially involving people in positions of power. Many women have claimed improper behaviour over decades, and Weinstein was the subject of many.

For the first time, Weinstein has been charged and has appeared in court in New York. This may be the tip of a legal iceberg for him.

Reuters: Movie mogul Weinstein handcuffed in court to face sex crime charges

Film mogul Harvey Weinstein appeared in handcuffs in a New York court on Friday to face charges of rape and other sex crimes against two of the scores of women who have accused him of misconduct, ending his reign as a Hollywood kingpin.

Weinstein, the 66-year-old co-founder of the Miramax film studio and the Weinstein Co, intends to plead not guilty to the two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act, his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told reporters outside the Manhattan courthouse.

Prosecutors did not identify the two women, but said the crimes took place in 2004 and 2013. If convicted on the most serious charges, Weinstein could face between five and 25 years in prison.

Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women, with some of the cases dating back decades, has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone.

The accusations, first reported last year by the New York Times and the New Yorker, gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.

Weinstein earlier turned himself in at a lower Manhattan police station around 7:25 a.m. EDT (1125 GMT). He carried thick books under his right arm, including what appeared to be biographies of Broadway musical legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and Elia Kazan, the director of such classic Hollywood films as “On the Waterfront.”

About 90 minutes later, Weinstein was led by officers into court in handcuffs, grimacing with his head bowed, his books nowhere in sight, to await arraignment.

“This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said at Weinstein’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Judge Kevin McGrath ordered Weinstein released on $1 million cash bail. The defendant surrendered his U.S. passport and agreed to wear a monitoring device that tracks his location, confining him to the states of New York and Connecticut.

An irony on the legal privileges of the wealthy:

Attempted bomb attack in New York

A bomb was set off by a man in a busy New York bus terminal, It has been described as an attempted terrorist attack. Four people have been reported as injured.

NY Post: Suicide bomber strikes New York City at rush hour

An ISIS-inspired would-be suicide bomber set off a homemade explosive device at the Port Authority Bus Terminal subway station Monday morning, seriously wounding himself and injuring three others, law enforcement sources said.

The man — a 27-year-old Brooklyn man identified by high ranking police sources as Akayed Ullah — had wires attached to him and a 5-inch metal pipe bomb and battery pack strapped to his midsection as he walked through the Manhattan transit hub.

The man partially detonated the device, which he was carrying under the right side of his jacket, prematurely.

Police quickly took the man into custody.

Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the man was inspired by ISIS and possibly born in Bangladesh.

Bratton, who said the man had been living in the US for seven years, “was supposedly setting the device off in the name of ISIS.”

“So, definitely a terrorist attack, definitely intended,” Bratton said.

The man, who suffered the most serious injuries, was taken to Bellevue Hospital.

Three others suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

This will be disconcerting for New Yorkers in particular.

Trump reaction to New York terror attack

The vehicle terror attack in New York has not surprisingly been used by President Trump to promote tougher immigration restrictions, but he has also tried to blame a Democrat Senator.

NBC: Trump: ‘Terrorist’ Attack, Suspect ‘Deranged,’ ISIS Stay Out of U.S.

Police said the driver of a rental truck deliberately drove onto a bike path on the west side of lower Manhattan hitting bicyclists and others before getting out of the vehicle and being shot by police, law enforcement officials and witnesses said.

At least eight people were killed and 11 injured. Saipov is hospitalized and in police custody.

A law enforcement official told WNBC that a note found in the suspect’s truck claimed that he carried out the attack for ISIS.

This is the first ISIS claimed vehicle attack in the US but not the first vehicle attack.

President Donald Trump called the murderous spree by a rental truck driver in New York City on Tuesday “another attack by a very sick and deranged person,” sent condolences to victims of what the president referred to as a “terrorist attack,” and pledged to step up extreme vetting of those seeking to enter the U.S.

Later, Trump tweeted, “I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”

The problem here is that this attacker was already living in the US – Saipov entered the United States in 2010 on a diversity visa and had become a lawful permanent resident.

Another problem is Trump’s diversion in trying to lay some blame on a Democrat Senator for the attack – Reuters: After New York attack, Trump blasts senior Democratic senator

In Twitter posts, the Republican president linked Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to a visa program under which Trump said the man suspected of Tuesday’s attack, an Uzbek immigrant, entered the United States.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Schumer responded that Trump should stop “politicizing and dividing America” at times of national tragedy.

Trump reprised what has been his stance as a White House candidate and as president – that tougher immigration laws should be a first line of defense against terrorism.

He said the suspect entered the country through the so-called diversity visa program, which was created by Congress in 1990, to provide a path to U.S. residency for citizens from a range of countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States.

“The terrorist came into our country through what is called the ‘Diversity Visa Lottery Program,’ a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based”.

In another post, Trump cited an analyst who appeared on a Fox News Channel program, writing, “‘Senator Chuck Schumer helping to import Europes problems’ said Col.Tony Shaffer. We will stop this craziness!”

But:

Schumer helped create the program in 1990 when he was a member of the House of Representatives, but he was also a member of a group of lawmakers who crafted a bipartisan immigration bill in 2013 that would have done away with the program. That bill was passed by the Senate but was killed by the Republican-led House.

Schumer responded:

“Instead of politicizing and dividing America, which he always seems to do at times of national tragedy, (Trump) should be bringing us together and focusing on the real solution, anti-terrorism funding, which he proposed to cut in his most recent budget.”

Sad to see a terror attack being used in political bickering.

Stopping the diversity lottery and stepping up the Extreme Vetting Program won’t address problems already in the US. The division stoked by President Trump is probably as big a risk as anything.

Donald roasts Hillary roasts Donald

At the AL Smith charity dinner in New York Donald Trump mostly attacked Hillary Clinton, sometimes to boos.

Clinton returned fire.

The Nation – Key, Clark, UN

On The Nation this morning:

Patrick Gower sits down with Prime Minister John Key and former PM Helen Clark at the UN in New York.

Audrey Young interviewed Key in New York, including on Clark and her UN bid: John Key among friends in the big apple

And should 17 year olds be tried as adults? The Police Association’s Greg O’Connor and Victoria University law lecturer Nessa Lynch discuss…

  and are on the panel…

and are on the Twitter panel

…at 9.30am on TV3.

From @TheNationZTV3 on the Key interview:

Key says big countries were telling him choosing to debate Syria on the Security Council was a risky move.

Why don’t we do something militarily in Syria? Key says you have to have the military capabilities.

Does Russia have blood on their hands over Syria? “In my view, yeah” Key says.

NZ spies aren’t involved in a co-ordinated team planning airstrikes, but we “gather intelligence where it makes sense”.

Why don’t we do more for refugees? Key says we’re helping with a political solution in Syria to help them go home.

UNHCR says NZ had 0.3/1000 refugees last year, US 0.85/1000, Aus 1.54/1000

Key says his intention is to stay for a whole fourth term… if he wins it.

Key “not as negative” to think a political resolution in Syria is still years away. Big call!

On ‘17 year olds be tried as adults”:

Nessa Lynch from says there’s not the same emphasis on the causes of offending for 17 year olds in the adult system.

Greg O’Connor from says 55% of youth aid workers are opposed to raising the youth justice age

He says it’s a pragmatic concern – that Police won’t be well resourced enough for the move to work.

Dr Lynch says all the data says victims are much more satisfied with the youth justice process than the adult system.

And there’s a “safety valve” for moving serious offenders to the adult court.

O’Connor: New Zealand police “creaking at the seams”. And that gangs deliberately use 16 year olds for things like burglary as there is less risk of severe penalties.


Greg O’Connor says 17 year-olds change behaviour when they know the punishments are worse.. I call bollocks on that.

Some of this comment from O’Connor is pretty out there. Facts or beating it up to prove a point?

Most often based on police officer feedback rather than systematic research. That’s a real flaw.

Flogging a dead TPPA?

On his trip to new York John Key has been promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Is the TPPA a dead horse?

Today’s Herald editorial still thinks the TPPA is worthwhile – Key plays a strong geopolitical card on the TPP

John Key stated it as plainly as he dared in New York yesterday: failure to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement would be a “massive lost opportunity” for the United States, he said, “because in the end is that vacuum isn’t filled by the United States, it will be filled by somebody else”.

He could have gone further and suggested the “somebody else” could be China. Talks involving China, India, Japan, South Korea, the Asean members and Australia and New Zealand are under way on a project called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Key had no need to spell out the implications to his New York audience, the Council for Foreign Relations, but his real targets are in Washington. Some of them – but not all – are seeking re-election for Senate and House seats. Some will be defeated at the elections on November 8, but all of them retain their seats until the next Congress is sworn in late in January. That “lame duck” period is a chance for legislators to do what is right, though it may not be popular.

Americans are well accustomed to their representatives doing this and they do not protest vehemently enough for the practice to become politically untenable. It almost seems to have tacit approval. The American public and the incoming Congress appear to accept that contentious things need to be done when the Constitution provides the opportunity.

Both presidential candidates say they want to renegotiate the TPP. Hillary Clinton will know, if Donald Trump does not, how long it took to get the TPP to the point of agreement and how hard it was. It would do the partners no harm to indicate to American voters that a renegotiation cannot be taken for granted.

The TPP has not come from nothing. It grew out of the World Trade Organisation’s stalled Doha round, which itself resulted from collapse of communism and almost universal realisation that competitive markets are the source of prosperity. If the US turns inward and protectionist under its next President, trading countries will look elsewhere for global progress.

Is Key wistfully whistling in the Washington wind?

What he or the Herald say will hardly sway the  USA.

Is the TPPA a lame duck or will the lame duck period givbe it another gasp of breath?

Bombs in New York and Syria

John Key could be heading for a very tense United General Assembly and also a Security Council special debate on Syria that he is due to chair next week.

Bombs have gone off recently in New York and New jersey. Injuries have been reported but as yet no deaths have been confirmed.

Stuff: New York blast: 29 reported hurt after explosion rocks Chelsea

Police in New York have found a suspicious device, hours after a “deafening” explosion rocked Manhattan, injuring 29.

New York City police and fire department personnel swarmed the Manhattan neighbourhood of Chelsea after the blast about 8.30pm on Saturday (12.30pm, Sunday NZT).

The New York Fire Department said at least 25 people were sent to the hospital with injuries, none considered life-threatening. Police put the number of injured at 29.

Since then, a second device has been found; NBC News and ABC News describe it as having the appearance of a “pressure cooker”. NYPD was asking residents in the area to stay away from windows.

Another bomb, thought to be unrelated, is reported to have gone off in nearby New Jersey with no reported injuries.

It is not yet known if terrorism is involved.

Meanwhile tension between the  US and Russia has blown up after US planes are thought to have bombed Syrian troops, with Australian planes also involved.

NZH: Russian UN envoy says Syria deal in trouble

8:45 p.m.

Syria’s military says the U.S.-led coalition struck its base in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, allowing the Islamic State group to advance in the fiercely contested area.

11 p.m.

The U.S. military says it halted an air raid against the Islamic State group in eastern Syria after being told by Russia that it might have struck Syrian government forces.

The U.S. Central Command statement was issued late Saturday, after Syria and Russia said the U.S.-led coalition had struck a Syrian military base in Deir el-Zour that is surrounded by IS militants, enabling them to advance.

11:30 p.m.

The leader of an al-Qaida-linked insurgent group in Syria has condemned a U.S. and Russian-brokered cease-fire, saying it places Washington on the side of President Bashar Assad and against the Syrian people.

12:45 a.m.

The United Nations Security Council has scheduled an emergency meeting for Saturday night at Russia’s request to discuss a U.S. airstrike that Moscow says struck Syrian government troops battling the Islamic State group.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says Moscow is demanding “full and detailed explanations about whether this was deliberate support of the Islamic State or another mistake.”

1:35 a.m.

A senior Obama administration official says the United States has “relayed our regret” for the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group.

2:50 a.m.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power is expressing regret for the loss of life in a U.S. airstrike in Syria that may have struck Syrian government troops, but is accusing Russia of pulling a “stunt” by calling for an emergency Security Council meeting over the incident.

Power said the U.S. is investigating the incident in remarks made outside the Security Council chamber Saturday night as Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was condemning the U.S. airstrike inside the closed meeting.

She told reporters that “Even by Russia’s standards tonight’s stunt ” a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding ” is uniquely cynical and hypocritical.”

It’s a regretful mistake when the big ones do it.

It looks being a tense week in New York, and death and destruction as usual in Syria despite a ceasefire.