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As confirmed by the New York Police Department, rescuers were recently able to retrieve two bodies from the rubble left by a massive East Village building explosion.

Authorities have yet to confirm the identities of both victims, although relatives have come forward to identify Nicholas Figueroa as one of the bodies retrieved from the explosion scene. Figueroa was among the two victims reported missing since the explosion last week. Also missing was Moises Lucon, who is believed to have been working in a restaurant inside the building at the time of the accident.

Both The Huffington Post and Reuters report that twenty-two individuals were injured in the explosion, which officials suspect was caused by a gas leak. In particular, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the blast could have been caused by someone illegally tapping into the building’s gas line. Aside from the affected building, two other near-by apartment buildings collapsed in the blast. Several other near-by establishments and homes were evacuated.

While rescue workers continue to search the area, authorities believe that it is unlikely anyone still buried in the rubble could have survived the explosion. Still, rescuers continue their effort to clear up the scene and search for other victims that have yet to be accounted for.

Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by this horrible tragedy.

 

The Internet has been all agog about the declared intention of an 18-year-old New Yorker to marry her biological father, to whom she had lost her virginity two years previously. New York is notoriously liberal on many issues, and has even legalized the marriage between a half-uncle and niece, whose shared sanguinity is estimated at 1/8. But a marriage between a father and daughter is stretching a point a bit much.

Incest is frowned upon not only because of social taboos but because offspring of closely-related individuals tend to have health or other genetically-associated problems.

Laws on incest in the U.S. vary from state to state. In New York, cousins are allowed to marry, for example. However, a marriage between a father and daughter is not legal anywhere in the US, and in many states sexual relations between persons of first-degree sanguinity (father-daughter, mother-son, between siblings) is a criminal offense with sanctions ranging from one year to lifetime imprisonment. In New York, sexual relations between a father and daughter is a Class E felony, which is punishable for up to 4 years in prison.

But the barely-adult woman pointed out that an incestuous relationship between two adults is legal in New Jersey (it is), which is why they moved there. They still can’t get married legally, but she stated in the interview with New York Magazine that “I don’t believe you need a piece of paper to prove that you want to be with the person you love.” They intend to have children. The couple maintains their anonymity for obvious reasons.

A breath of hope is sweeping across New York City as Condé Nast, the mass media publishing division of Advance Publications, announces that it has contracted a significant area of the 104-story skyscraper that was built in the space formerly occupied by the World Trade Center. Aptly named One World Trade Center, the building is the tallest one in the Western Hemisphere, and houses the National September 11 Memorial Museum.

Condé Nast moved in about 175 of its employees on November 1, the first wave of the more than 2,300 employees that will eventually occupy 1,100 million square feet of real estate. The announcement symbolized the recovery of the city from the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was targeted for terrorist attacks, resulting in the deaths of about 2,800 people, most of whom were in the building at the time of the attack, or who succumbed in the aftermath including firefighters and law enforcement officers.

It is hoped that the initiative shown by the publishing company will inspire others to do the same and revitalize the area. Because of the associations with the site, many had believed that the community would never recover. Hopefully, Condé Nast will be only the first of many to step on the road to healing.

New York's Central ParkMany strange and unexplained things happen in New York City, and this is no exception. A 3-foot-tall black bear cub was found under a bush in Central Park by two women walking their dog. Black bears are native to the state and their population is growing, but none are known to live in the middle of New York City.

It was highly unlikely that the bear cub on its own had wandered into the city from the wild, and there were no reports of a missing black bear cub from any of the city’s zoos. Bears are not allowed to be kept as pets in the city, so if it was privately-owned it was brought in illegally.

Police and investigators are at a loss to explain the presence of the animal, and as of now, the cause of death is undetermined. When it was discovered, its head was resting on a bicycle.

Some suspect that the cub was a victim of animal cruelty and dumped in the park to avoid prosecution. The bicycle is being dusted for prints in an attempt to find the owner and perhaps an answer to the mystery of the black bear cub in Central Park. The remains were sent to the Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany for a necropsy.

ebolaA man who came into a New York hospital with suspicious symptoms was screened for a deadly virus, but was unlikely to have it. Two earlier patients in other hospitals have also been screened and were negative for the disease.

In the latest case, the man, whose identity was not revealed, had flown into the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York from West Africa and was detained for a minor transgression. While waiting, he started complaining of fever and a headache and was brought to the emergency room of Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was put in isolation to see if he developed more definite symptoms of an Ebola virus infection. Results are not yet in but doctors believe that he does not carry the virus.

A recent outbreak of the Ebola virus in various parts of West Africa that claimed more than 800 lives and counting has sparked worldwide concern, and airports are especially keeping a sharp eye out for anyone coming from the affected areas who may be symptomatic. The infection manifests within 21 days of contact, and is only considered contagious when symptoms appear.

Two other patients who had recently been in West Africa and who were admitted to NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital Center for fever were observed for 24 hours but were released when it was apparent they had not been infected.

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