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No party for the poor.
PS 120 in Flushing held a carnival for its students Thursday, but kids whose parents did not pay $10 were forced to sit in the auditorium while their classmates had a blast.
Close to 900 kids went to the Queens schoolyard affair, with pre-K to fifth-grade classes taking turns, each spending 45 minutes outside. The kids enjoyed inflatable slides, a bouncing room and a twirly teacup ride. They devoured popcorn and flavored ices. DJs blasted party tunes.
The must-pay rule excluded some of the poorest kids at the elementary, where most parents are Chinese immigrant families crammed into apartments and “struggling to keep their heads above water,” staffers said.
“It’s breaking my heart that there are kids inside,” one teacher said.
The teacher hugged a 7-year-old girl who was “crying hysterically.”
“She was the only one from her class who couldn’t go, so she was very upset,” the teacher said.
The girl told others, “My mom doesn’t care about me.” But the teacher said parents possibly did not see or understand the flier that went home or didn’t have $10 to spare.
On Thursday morning, Monroe used the school loudspeaker to remind teachers to send in a list of kids who did not pay.
While teachers were handed a bag of little stuffed animals to give kids who paid for the carnival, one withheld them until she could add her own gifts for the half-dozen or so kids in her class who didn’t go.
Another teacher was sickened by the inequity.
The honeymoon was a brief moment for love, away from the front lines of Syria’s war. In the capital of the Islamic State group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate,” Syrian fighter Abu Bilal al-Homsi was united with his Tunisian bride for the first time after months chatting online. They married, then passed the days dining on grilled meats in Raqqa’s restaurants, strolling along the Euphrates River and eating ice cream.
It was all made possible by the marriage bonus he received from the Islamic State group: $1,500 for him and his wife to get started on a new home, a family — and a honeymoon.
“It has everything one would want for a wedding,” al-Homsi said of Raqqa — a riverside provincial capital that in the 18 months since IS took control has seen militants beheading opponents and stoning alleged adulteresses in public. Gunmen at checkpoints scrutinize passers-by for signs of anything they see as a violation of Shariah, or Islamic law, as slight as a hint of hair gel. In the homes of some of the IS commanders in the city are women and girls from the Yazidi religious sect, abducted in Iraq and now kept as sex slaves.
The Islamic State group is notorious for the atrocities it committed as it overran much of Syria and neighboring Iraq. But to its supporters, it is engaged in an ambitious project: building a new nation ruled by what radicals see as “God’s law,” made up of Muslims from around the world whose old nationalities have been erased and who have been united in the “caliphate.”
To do that, the group has set up a generous welfare system to help settle and create lives for the thousands of jihadis — men and women — who have flocked to IS territory from the Arab world, Europe, Central Asia and the United States.
The thieves accessed a system called “Get Transcript,” where taxpayers can get tax returns and other filings from previous years. In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address, the IRS said.
“We’re confident that these are not amateurs,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “These actually are organized crime syndicates that not only we but everybody in the financial industry are dealing with.”
Koskinen wouldn’t say whether investigators believe the criminals are based overseas — or where they obtained enough personal information about the taxpayers to access their returns. The IRS has launched a criminal investigation. The agency’s inspector general is also investigating.
Motorists obeying the speed limit in the left lanes of highways soon will be required to move over to allow faster vehicles to pass them or risk a $500 fine under a new Indiana law.
The law signed by Gov. Mike Pence earlier this month and taking effect July 1 gives faster drivers the right of way in so-called highway fast lanes and permits police to issue tickets to left-lane drivers who fail to budge when they should reasonably know another vehicle is overtaking them, The (Munster) Times reported (http://bit.ly/1Ki6qjs ).
State Rep. Jud McMillin, R-Brookville, said he sponsored the law to ensure “individuals who are driving in the fast lane slowly are properly incentivized to get out of your way.”
The mandate does not apply during traffic congestion, bad weather, while exiting on the left, paying a toll or pulling over for an emergency vehicle.
However, at all other times motorists risks fines if they are in the left lane and do not move to the right when another vehicle wants to pass.
The law was approved by the Indiana House 97-0 and cleared the Senate in a 29-20 vote.
State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, said during debate on the measure that it was “the silliest, most unjustifiable proposal of the entire session.”