Mayor envisions flood defense
Giant removable floodwalls would be erected around lower Manhattan, and levees, gates and other defenses would be built elsewhere around the city under a nearly $20 billion plan proposed Tuesday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to protect New York from storms and the effects of global warming.
It is one of the most ambitious projects ever proposed for defending a major U.S. city from the rising seas and severe weather that climate change is expected to bring. It was outlined seven months after Superstorm Sandy drove home the danger by swamping lower Manhattan and smashing homes and businesses in other shoreline neighborhoods.
Bloomberg said the city and federal money already allocated for Sandy relief would provide $10 billion for the project, and the city believes it could get at least an additional $5 billion in federal money.
Shouts erupt at Bulger trial
A federal prosecutor and a lawyer for reputed gangster James “Whitey” Bulger shouted at each other and traded insults Tuesday over an allegation that state police thwarted an investigation into a key prosecution witness.
The heated exchange between Assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Wyshak and Bulger attorney J.W. Carney Jr. came just after a jury was picked for Bulger’s racketeering trial. Twelve regular jurors and six alternates were chosen.
Opening statements are expected today.
Bulger, 83, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is accused of a long list of crimes, including participating in 19 murders during the 1970s and ’80s. He was one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994.
Bridge collapse witness sought
The driver of an oversize load that triggered an Interstate 5 bridge collapse told investigators that he felt “crowded” by a passing vehicle and moved closer to the side of the bridge that had less clearance, according to a preliminary federal report released Tuesday.
A brief assessment issued by the National Transportation Safety Board said the oversize load collided with the far right side of the truss structure on the evening of May 23, resulting in the collapse of the bridge into the Skagit River. The driver reported that his load was 15 feet, 9 inches tall while the lowest portion of the bridge braces was only 14 feet, 8 inches.
The NTSB has been looking to speak with the driver of the truck and trailer that passed the oversize load, but board spokesman Peter Knudson said officials still have not found the person or vehicle.
Bill bans gay ‘propaganda’
A bill that stigmatizes gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality won overwhelming approval Tuesday in Russia’s lower house of parliament.
Hours before the State Duma passed the Kremlin-backed law in a 436-0 vote with one abstention, more than two dozen protesters were attacked by hundreds of anti-gay activists and then detained by police.
The bill banning the “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” still needs to be passed by the appointed upper house and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin, but neither step is in doubt.