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85,000 Museum Artifacts Feared Lost in NYC Chinatown Fire – NBC New York

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What to Know

  • A fire started in a former school that more recently housed a senior center in Chinatown this past week
  • The Museum of Chinese in America is nearby and stored its collection in the structure that was hit by fire
  • A museum official said thousands of artifacts that tell the story of the Chinese migration to the U.S. may have been lost in the fire

Some 85,000 artifacts that tell the story of the Chinese migration to the United States may have been lost in a fire that struck a building in the heart of Manhattan’s Chinatown, a museum official said Friday.

The president of the Museum of Chinese in America told The New York Times that most of the thousands of historic and artistic items in its collection were probably lost in the fire that started Thursday night and tore through a building where the museum’s acquisitions were stored.

“One hundred percent of the museum’s collection, other than what is on view,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, the president of the museum. She said that the collection was one of a kind and that she was “just distraught” after receiving the news.

The fire started in a former school that more recently housed a senior center, the Chen Dance Center and a number of community groups. The museum is nearby and stored its collection in the structure that was hit by fire.

A Fire Department spokesman said the fire was still not under control Friday night, 24 hours after it was first reported.

Videos and photos posted to social media Thursday night showed flames bursting out of windows and flowing heavily from the roof of the building, which Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Twitter was “a pillar to the Chinatown community.”

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said firefighters were forced to battle the blaze from the outside.

“The interior became untenable and the units had to be withdrawn,” he said. “It was too dangerous in the building.”

Maasbach said she was told by emergency responders that no one will be able to enter the building to retrieve items for at least three weeks. She said the museum’s artifacts, which include textiles, restaurant menus and tickets for ship’s passage, have likely been soaked by water and will be irreparably damaged by then.

About 35,000 items in the collection had been digitized and those files were backed up, she said.

Nine firefighters and a 59-year-old man were injured in the blaze. The man was rescued from the fifth floor of the building and was reported to be in serious but stable condition. The firefighters sustained minor injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The fire comes ahead of the Lunar New Year, which is Saturday.

City Council member Margaret Chin tweeted that the fire was “devastating.” “We will work to make sure vital services aren’t lost,” Chin told WNBC.

“I know the neighborhood is in shock,” de Blasio tweeted. ”We’re going to help the community get through this.”



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Bernie Sanders should ‘terrify’ Democrats and other commentary

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From the left: Bernie Should ‘Terrify’ Dems

Bernie Sanders’ supporters “have every incentive to imagine away his many flaws and seize on the real but unlikely possibility he can defy the odds and win,” notes New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait. The shocker is “how many other progressives have joined in this fantasy.” Sanders “combines discrete, deeply unpopular policy positions with an unpopular socialist label, which, in turn, reinforce the fact that his campaign is premised on radically changing the economy,” the one issue most voters believe Trump has delivered on. Indeed, Sanders has “functionally reverse-engineered Trump’s preferred attacks into a series of campaign promises.” For Bernie’s base, “the small chance of success is worth the risk to a party they don’t care for.” But “progressives who very much do care about denying Trump a second term” have “explained away the risks of a Sanders nomination with a series of fallacies” that boil down to “anything can happen.”

Economist: Corona Hits the Global Supply Chain

“The global supply chain … faces strain from the coronavirus,” warns Bloomberg’s Tyler Cowen. The chain usually has “a kind of immunity to small disruptions,” but when it breaks, it breaks fast. It’s at serious risk of facing “complete cutoffs in materials or labor” — exactly what “may happen if Chinese coronavirus casualties continue and workplaces find it hard to operate effectively.” And Chinese factories produce most of the ingredients for US medicines, so this outbreak threatens “a very real public-health risk for the US, even if the coronavirus itself does not.”

From the right: The Real 2020 Meddlers

“Recently, the intelligence community made clear it will be a player in the 2020 presidential election,” sighs The Washington Examiner’s Byron York, when officials told Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Intelligence Committee that “Russia is working to re-elect President Trump.” The lack of evidence presented left Republicans members “deeply skeptical” — and recent news suggests they were right. Not only did the officials, who supposedly work for the president, brief the committee before they told their boss, but CNN has since “reported the officials had apparently ‘overstated’ the Putin-wants-Trump story,” and leaks suggest that “Russia is also trying to help elect Bernie Sanders.” The real reason for the briefing? Trump dared to take on intelligence-community bureaucrats — who, as Sen. Chuck Schumer said in 2017, “have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.”

Iconoclast: The Absurd Logic of ‘Russiagate’

Last week’s Washington Post report on Russia trying to boost the Bernie Sanders campaign was just “the latest act in the comedy” of Russiagate, snarks Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi. Almost instantly, “officials quietly ­began admitting their ideas about ‘what Russia wants’ rested upon perhaps ‘overstated’ interpretations of intelligence.” The farce has run for more than three years now, despite its foul odor: “Stories kept coming up wrong. There were too many unnamed sources, too frequently contradicting one another and/or overstating facts. Every hoof print was a zebra’s.” It all amounts to a “campaign to identify basically the entire universe of political thought outside of establishment Democrats in the US as Russian assets.” And “the only vision of ‘unity’ ” these “official cranks” offer “is one of obedience to the crackpot anti-utopia of neoliberalism that populations around the world are currently rejecting at the ballot box.”

Conservative: It’s Elites Who Lack ‘Gray Matter’

In 2016, Michael Bloomberg contrasted farming with “the ‘skillsets’ ” of people like himself, who “have a lot more gray matter.” That disdain, thunders ­National Review’s Victor Davis Hanson, is typical of the modern left. While Democrats “profess allegiance” with workers, they — along with “progressive government bureaucrats,” establishment media types and “left-wing Hollywood celebrities” — actually look down on “the working and middle classes” and aren’t “especially comfortable with either poor people or minorities.” And their “snobbery” holds “an element of fear, even apprehension,” because working people provide the “power, food and consumer goods” that keep society going. After all, “the world could do without Bloomberg News” — but it “could not survive without skilled farmers.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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Khloé Kardashian calls Tristan Thompson a ‘great person’

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Khloé Kardashian is singing Tristan Thompson‘s praises nearly a year after he cheated on her with Kylie Jenner‘s former best friend Jordyn Woods.

Khloé, 35, and Thompson have continued to co-parent their 1-year-old daughter True following the very public cheating scandal.

“I know her dad is a great person. I know how much he loves [True] and cares about her. So I want him to be there,” the reality TV star told Laura Wasser on her podcast in a sneak-peak clip of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”

The “Revenge Body” star explained that she doesn’t want True to feel like there’s any animosity between her parents.

“True is one and, like, a month old so she doesn’t really know what’s happening, but to me, she does know and she feels energy,” she said. “I’m a big believer of that so I do everything in my power to not put any sort of heavy energy around her.”

For inspiration, Khloé looks to the way her parents, Kris Jenner and the late Robert Kardashian, continued to co-parent after they divorced.

“I always remember though, how amazing [they were],” she explained. “I’m sure now that I have gone through it myself, trying to co-parent, that they were so seamless with it. I never, ever heard my parents talk disrespectfully about the other one.”

Khloé and Thompson have managed to keep things civil since their breakup and even forgave Thompson and Woods in December 2019.

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New Delhi Streets Turn Into Battleground Between Hindus and Muslims

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NEW DELHI — In one part of New Delhi, President Trump was sightseeing and talking about his warming relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In another, a neighborhood was ripping apart in flames, along religious lines.

A mob of Hindu men, their foreheads marked by a saffron stripe, angrily patrolled the streets carrying iron bars, clubs and baseball bats. They were itching for a fight.

The streets were littered with scraps of brick. All shops were closed and almost no women or children were out — except for two Hindu women brandishing sticks and threatening journalists. The whole area felt as if it were about to ignite.

Gangs of Hindus and Muslims have been clashing in the neighborhood, Maujpur, and surrounding areas since Sunday, killing at least 11 people, including a police officer bashed in the head with a rock.

As Mr. Trump and his counterpart, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, continued with their program on Tuesday, discussing geopolitics and lunching together, thousands of furious residents faced off again, hurling petrol bombs, attacking vehicles, hospitalizing several journalists and drawing more and more police officers and paramilitary troops.

The violence is connected to the ongoing protests against India’s divisive citizenship law, but this was the first time that the protests have set off major bloodshed between Hindus and Muslims. It’s an old and dangerous fault line, and any sign of communal violence raises alarm instantly.

“The situation is volatile and tense,” said Alok Kumar, a senior police officer. “It’s a mixed neighborhood, and in seconds you can have crowds of tens of thousands. Even a small thing can lead to violence.”

Mr. Modi had choreographed Mr. Trump’s visit as a demonstration of India’s rising stature on the world stage, seeking to turn the page on months of street protests.

Demonstrations keep breaking out against the citizenship law, which makes it easier for migrants of every significant South Asian religion except Islam to become Indian citizens. Hundreds of thousands of Indian Muslims have protested, joined by students, academics, human rights activists, and those worried about the country’s direction. Many of them say the new law is a grave threat to India’s traditions of being a secular and inclusive nation.

Since last year’s election handed Mr. Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party another term in power, many Indians feared a resurgence of communal violence, sparked by Hindu triumphalism and Muslim desperation. Until now, however, most of the demonstrations remained peaceful.

Maujpur is a working-class neighborhood about a half-hour’s drive from the center of Delhi. Gray, two- and three-story buildings stand along its roads, housing small factories and many migrant workers.

For the past several weeks, Muslim residents, many of them women, have been protesting the citizenship law. On Saturday night, they began to block a major road.

The next day, Kapil Mishra, a local leader from Mr. Modi’s political party, showed up. He threatened to mobilize a mob to clear out the protesters. He said he didn’t want to create trouble while Mr. Trump was visiting but warned the police that as soon as Mr. Trump left India on Tuesday night, his followers would clear the streets if the police didn’t.

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