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from Photographers' Blog:

Occupy Happy Birthday

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By Lucas Jackson

It has been one year since a group of protesters began sleeping on the ground in Zuccotti Park to protest growing income inequality, corporate influence on politics, climate change, and a number of other issues.

SLIDESHOW: RETURN OF OCCUPY

One year ago no-one had heard of Occupy Wall St. and it was fascinating to watch the excitement and size of the protest grow over time. What began as a rag tag group of people who came together to make a semi-permanent presence near Wall St. to spread their message in the heart of the New York financial district quickly grew. For those of us who live and work in New York it was a refreshing change to have a news story grow organically in a city where everything is always polished and shined to dullness in order to present to the media.

For the first time since living here there was a story that allowed you in to cover not only the unplanned demonstrations and actions but also the participants as they sat in Zuccotti dreaming and planning the direction of this movement. Most of the time demonstrators have to pre-approve everything they did with the NYPD and the city but Occupy was refreshingly obstinate in not pre-approving anything and took advantage of their constitutional right to assemble and demonstrate their displeasure with the direction of the country.

Ironically, throughout the movement it has been the police who are giving the movement it’s biggest boost on the national stage. First when a video captured an NYPD commander named Anthony Bologna pepper-spraying a number of protesters, followed by the NYPD arresting hundreds of protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge, and police in Oakland injuring an Iraqi veteran with a pepper spray canister.

from Anthony De Rosa:

Don’t dismiss the Wall Street occupation

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It would seem that a populist uprising against corporate greed would find a widely approving audience, yet the current occupation of Wall Street has mostly been received with a mix of muted support and mockery. The now week old protest, which has been reported to have attracted several hundred activists this past weekend, is struggling to be understood.

There is no leader, by design, and the demands are still being formed by General Assemblies, a loose group of protesters who gather to discuss their grievances with what they see as a system that takes from the middle class and poor and protects the rich. They represent what they call "the 99%," the population outside of top 1% of income earners.

from Photographers' Blog:

Inside the NYPD’s counter terrorism unit

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When our photo staff began to plan for the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, it was difficult to know where coverage should begin. The first story that came to mind is how Ground Zero has changed. It has been remarkable to watch the buildings being constructed. Not only have we seen them rise above ground level, but slowly surpass the height of every other building in lower Manhattan. Colleagues of mine have done a wonderful job of documenting the evolution of the site and the reactions of those around it, but while that might be the most obvious story to tell, it was not the most profound change that I feel has taken place in New York since the attacks. For me, the most significant modification is that security has become omnipresent in the city.

Security has emerged as a fact of life here. When we fly we have to take off our shoes and throw away our water bottles. Every commercial building in New York has a security team and identification is required to get to work. The speakers in the subway system continually remind us that “if you see something, say something” and photographing a building that lies in full view of the public is considered a suspicious activity. While this all might seem like an Orwellian society in which “Big Brother” is constantly looking down upon us, it is necessary to remember that New York has been the target of two major successful attacks, one foiled attack, and unknown numbers of prevented attacks since the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

from FaithWorld:

NYPD interfaith Holy Land tour, a different kind of New York religion story

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nypd 5 croppedThere used to be a television series about the New York Police Department that ended with the voiced-over sign-off: "There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This has been one of them." We've been hearing mostly about only one of the religion stories in New York these days, the controversy surrounding the planned Islamic center and mosque near the World Trade Center site. On a recent visit to New York, I had the pleasure of hearing a very different type of New York story when I interviewed the NYPD officers who led the unusual interfaith tour of the Holy Land described in my feature here. (Photo: From left - Miller, Nasser, Wein and Reilly at interfaith center in Israel)

I met Sgt. Brian Reilly, Detective Ahmed Nasser and Detective Sam Miller at Reilly's Lower East Side office and spoke to Detective Larry Wein by phone because he was out investigating a case. The Lower East Side has traditionally been so diverse that it's almost tailor-made for the kind of interfaith cooperation they highlighted with this trip. "I've worked here in the Lower East Side and East Village for 29 years and been exposed to people from all over the world," said Miller, who is Jewish. "It's just a melting pot of every race, religion and ethnicity." The NYPD reflects the city's diversity, he said:  "This is the most diversified police department in the world. I’m an investigator. When we need a translator, I don’t have to go outside. We have members of the service who can speak any language in the world."

from Tales from the Trail:

Holder huddles with New York team on 9/11 trials

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday flew to New York to huddle with his team that will be in charge of prosecuting and imprisoning the five men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

GUANTANAMO-USA/The closed-door meeting at the federal courthouse in downtown Manhattan included the prosecutors from the Southern District of New York and Eastern District of Virginia as well as representatives of the FBI, Bureau of Prisons, the Marshals Service, and the New York Police Department, according to an administration official.

from Tales from the Trail:

FBI stresses that it gets along with NYPD

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When U.S. law enforcement authorities launched a series of raids in New York City that culminated in the arrest of an Afghan-born airport shuttle driver (Najibullah Zazi) for an alleged bombing plot, there was a fair bit of speculation afterward questioning whether the FBI or the New York Police Department bungled the investigation by acting too early.

But at a Senate committee hearing, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller insisted that the two organizations were getting along despite the reports which he said were exaggerated.

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