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Curtis Sliwa, Fernando Mateo have feisty GOP mayoral debate

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Republican mayoral candidates Curtis Sliwa and Fernando Mateo threw mud at each other during a raucous debate Wednesday.

Guardian Angels founder Sliwa went for the jugular right away, seeking to paint Mateo as a “de Blasio Republican” for raising campaign cash for the Democratic mayor.

“You raised money for him, straw-purchased donors, which is illegal. You helped elect the man who single-handedly has destroyed this city,” said Sliwa, sporting the Guardian Angels’ trademark red beret, during the debate on WABC radio.

Mateo bundled money for de Blasio but wasn’t charged with any crime.

“Shame on you, Curtis. You lied. It’s fake news,” Mateo said.

“Straw donations are illegal. You got jail for that. I never did that … It’s not true.

“You did raise illegal contributions,” Sliwa insisted, saying The Post and the Times wrote stories about Mateo’s fundraising for the mayor.

Mateo bundled money for de Blasio but wasn't charged with any crime.
Mateo bundled money for de Blasio but wasn’t charged with any crime.
Matthew McDermott

Mateo later added, “You know what? I have enough dirt to cover your body 18 feet over.”

Mateo then turned the tables on Sliwa, noting until recently he was a member of the Reform Party that backed a Democrat who defeated a Republican incumbent for a state Senate seat in Brooklyn in 2018.

The Dominican-born Mateo also said, [Sliwa] “never owned a business. He’s lived off his nonprofit … You live off the Guardian Angels.”

Sliwa said he has long stumped and backed Republicans — including Rudy Giuliani for mayor and George Pataki for governor.

“You can’t say I haven’t been out there for Republicans,” he said.

The lightning round of questions that demanded yes or no answers elicited agreement and disagreement.

Both candidates said Gov. Andrew Cuomo should be criminally indicted for the COVID-19 nursing home scandals.

Both said they expected Donald Trump to run again for president in 2024.

Sliwa said he has long stumped and backed Republicans -- including Rudy Giuliani for mayor and George Pataki for governor.
Sliwa said he has long stumped and backed Republicans — including Rudy Giuliani for mayor and George Pataki for governor.
Stephen Yang

Mateo said he voted for Trump in 2020; Sliwa said he didn’t.

Mateo opposes legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. Sliwa, who used medicinal marijuana to treat an illness, supports legalization.

Both would replace Dermot Shea as police commissioner.

They both said they would restore broken windows policing for low-level and quality of life crimes.

77 WABC Radio was an odd venue to host the debate.

Until recently, Sliwa was a radio host at the radio station. Its owner, John Catsimatidis, has endorsed Sliwa. Andrea Catsimatidis, the Manhattan Republican Party chairwoman and John’s daughter, endorsed Mateo.

Another Republican candidate running for City Hall, financier Sara Tirschwell, declined to participate in the debate, claiming it was not an impartial forum because the station owner supports Sliwa and Sliwa had worked there.

But longtime TV and radio news anchor Dominick Carter declared at the beginning of the debate that Sliwa’s employment at WABC radio “will curry no favor” with him. And it didn’t.

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NYPD releases video of gunman firing into group in the Bronx

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New video tweeted by the NYPD Sunday shows a gunman wildly firing down a Bronx street into a group of people in Fordham Manor, leaving two men wounded, cops said.

“WANTED for ASSAULT: Do you know this guy?” the NYPD wrote on Twitter.

“On 6/25/21 at approx 11:10 PM, in front of 2710 Morris Ave in the Bronx, the suspect fired several rounds towards a group, striking a 26-year-old male and a 20-year-old. Any info? DM @NYPDTips, or anonymously call them at 800-577-TIPS.”

The suspect who shot at a group of people in the Bronx on June 25, 2021.
The suspect who shot at a group of people in the Bronx on June 25, 2021.
NYPD
The suspect firing the gun in the Bronx.
The suspect firing the gun in the Bronx.
NYPD
The shooting left two people injured, according to the NYPD.
The shooting left two people injured, according to the NYPD.
NYPD

The 26-year-old was shot in the buttocks and the 20-year-old was shot in the leg, police said. Both were expected to survive.

The victims said they were standing with a group of friends when the “guy just came up and started shooting,” a police spokesman said.

No words were exchanged, video shows. 

There were no immediate arrests.

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FDA finds peeling paint, debris at US plant making J&J’s COVID vaccine

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A US plant that was making Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine must fix a long list of problems including peeling paint and unsanitary conditions and practices to resume operation, according to a highly critical report by the Food and Drug Administration.

Experts said addressing the issues raised in the scathing FDA inspection report could take months.

Neither J&J nor the FDA has said when they expect vaccine production to restart at the Baltimore plant owned by Emergent Biosolutions. Only two other plants are currently equipped to supply the world with the key drug substance for J&J’s vaccine.

“It may take many months to make these changes,” said Prashant Yadav, a global health care supply chain expert at the Center for Global Development. He described some of the issues raised by the FDA as “quite significant.”

No vaccine manufactured at the Emergent plant has been distributed for use in the United States. However, J&J said it will exercise its oversight authority to ensure that all of the FDA observations are addressed promptly and comprehensively.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on a pause in the US over a potential link to a blood clotting condition.
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The health care conglomerate has drawn scrutiny for months over its halting process to scale up production of a vaccine that is easier to handle and, by virtue of being a single shot, easier to use than other authorized vaccines.

Its use in the United States has been paused since last week as health officials study a possible link to a very rare but serious blood clot condition.

Emergent has been seeking regulatory authorization to make the J&J vaccine in the United States. It stopped production at the plant recently, saying the FDA had asked it to do so after an inspection.

J&J’s plant in Leiden, the Netherlands, is still producing doses for the world. It has another facility in India, which is currently curtailing exports of the shot as it struggles to vaccinate its own population.

Johnson & Johnson reiterated on Wednesday that it was working to establish a global supply chain in which 10 manufacturing sites would be involved in the production of its COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to the Leiden plant.

The company has a US government-brokered agreement with rival drugmaker Merck, which is preparing to make doses of J&J’s vaccine.

Failure to train personnel

The FDA in its final 12-page inspection report said it had reviewed security camera footage in addition to an in-person site visit to the Emergent plant.

It found a failure to train personnel to avoid cross-contamination of COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which had also been produced at the site. The agency also cited staff carrying unsealed bags of medical waste in the facility, bringing it in contact with containers of material used in manufacturing.

The FDA reviewed security camera footage and visited the Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore.
Getty Images

Earlier this week, the House launched an investigation into whether Emergent used its relationship with a Trump administration official to get a vaccine manufacturing contract despite a record of not delivering on contracts.

Emergent said in a statement that it is working with the FDA and J&J to quickly resolve the issues outlined in the report.

Production of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the United States, was previously stopped at the Emergent plant after ingredients from that shot contaminated a batch of J&J vaccine, ruining millions of doses.

The FDA also noted that Emergent did not produce adequate reports showing that the vaccines it was producing met quality standards.

The inspection, carried out between April 12 and April 20, also found the building not of suitable size or design to facilitate cleaning, maintenance or proper operations.

J&J said it was redoubling its efforts to get authorization for the facility as quickly as possible.

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One dead after pair of fires breaks out in Manhattan

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One person was killed and several others were injured in a pair of Manhattan fires Wednesday morning, officials said.

The first blaze erupted in Midtown around 8:15 a.m. inside a DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse at 213 W. 34th St., where an escalator became fully engulfed in flames — sending smoke billowing into the first and second floor and the interconnected 40-story hotel building, fire officials said.

It was not immediately clear which hotel it was.

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries putting out the blaze.

“The fire went out, but we have a smoke condition that we’re trying to alleviate,” FDNY Battalion Chief John Porretto said at the scene. “Units are going to remain on scene until all the smoke alleviates.”

The fire marshal will determine the causes of the fire.

A second blaze broke out 15 minutes later on the Upper East Side at 1576 2nd Ave., officials said.

A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th Street in Manhattan that left one dead
A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th St. in Manhattan left one dead.
NYFD

One man died in the fire and a second man was in serious condition at Lenox Hill Hospital, police said.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries battling the blaze and was taken to Cornell Hospital, fire officials said.

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