Graphic by Jay Lane

Obama picks Jacob Lew of Queens as new chief of staff

Six days a week, newly minted White House chief of staff Jacob Lew will be at President Obama’s beck and call. On the Sabbath, Lew answers first to God. An Orthodox Jew from Queens, Lew learned to balance the secular and sacred while cutting his political teeth working for Democratic powerhouses like legendary House Speaker Tip O’Neill. Later, Lew learned his way around the West Wing as a member of Bill Clinton’s administration. Read More: Daily News

Jon Huntsman officially drops out of GOP presidential race

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman announced Monday he was bowing out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination and threw his support behind front-running contender Mitt Romney. Speaking at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center just days before South Carolina’s primary, Huntsman said “this is the most important election of our lifetime” and said the race for the nomination had “denigrated into an onslaught of negative and personal attacks not worthy of the American people.” With his family behind him, Huntsman said, “Today I suspend my campaign for the presidency” and endorsed Romney, whom he had vigorously criticized on the campaign trail. Read More: New York Post

Man who ‘killed’ wife went against family’s wishes in her burial

A man identified as a suspect in the murder of his estranged money-manager wife in her Upper West Side apartment initially insisted that she be buried in Israel — which her rabbi says would have thwarted her exhumation and a resulting autopsy ruling that said she’d been strangled, The Post has learned. The rabbi and brother-in-law of slain Shele Danishefsky also accused her hubby, Rod Covlin, of pouring salt into her grieving family’s wounds by placing a stone marker on her grave reading “Beloved mother and wife” — despite the fact she’d obtained a religious divorce, or get, from him before her 2009 slaying. Read More: New York Post

Woman dies after being burned alive in Harlem apartment building

A woman died after being severely burned in the hallway of a New York apartment building. Another woman is under arrest in connection with the case. The New York Police Department got a 911 call just before 4:00pm local time Sunday to respond to the East Harlem building. They found 38-year-old Hilda Santiago of the Bronx in the hallway with severe burns. She was rushed to Cornell Medical Center but it was too late. Police said Krystale Ortiz, 26, also of the Bronx, was at the scene with minor burns. She was transported to Cornell Medical Center and was listed in stable condition. After an investigation, police arrested Ortiz and charged her with criminal trespass. The police did not release any further details. Read More: New York Post

Hackers steal 24 Million Zappos customers’ account details

Popular online US shoe retailer Zappos said that hackers accessed its network, stealing account information from as many as 24 million customers. Credit card information was not stolen, CEO Tony Hsieh said in a statement late Sunday, but email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers, the last four digits from credit cards — and more — may have been compromised. “We were recently the victim of a cyber attack by a criminal who gained access to parts of our internal network and systems through one of our servers in Kentucky,” a statement posted on the company’s blog said. “We are cooperating with law enforcement to undergo an exhaustive investigation.” Read More: New York Post

Seven-year-old boy killed in Bushwick, Brooklyn blaze and father is badly burned trying to save him

A 7-year-old Brooklyn boy died in a fast-moving blaze early Sunday after his dad was pushed back by flames and critically injured during two attempts to reach his sleeping son. Relatives didn’t realize little Joel Smith was missing until they reached the front of the burning Bushwick building about 1:20 a.m. “There were so many people outside we couldn’t tell who was who,” said family friend Shawn Payne, who was playing Uno with Joel’s mom, Mia Smith, when they smelled smoke in the first-floor flat. Read More: Daily News

Queens rapper turned activist adds star power to electoral redistricting battle

The tug of war over redrawing electoral districts in Queens has forged an unlikely friendship between a community organizer and a globe-trotting rapper. Prominent Queens-bred rapper Himanshu Suri is adding his voice to the contentious redistricting debate, joining the board of directors of SEVA, a Richmond Hill-based immigrant rights group. “This is ground zero for gerrymandering in New York City,” said Suri, 26, who will perform at a SEVA event Monday to coincide with the release of his solo album “Nehru Jackets.” Read More: Daily News


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