Regional Briefs – December 23, 2014

AG Seeks Benefits for Families of Slain Officers

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday directed the Justice Department to expedite death benefits to the families of the two NYPD officers killed on Saturday, The Associated Press reported. The benefits go when first responders die in the line of duty.

Man Vandalized N.J. Town’s 9/11 Memorial

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – A man was charged with vandalizing a town’s Sept. 11 memorial, including painting a beam from the World Trade Center with red Cyrillic letters along with the name “Bozhena,” The Times of Trenton reported. Daniil Strukov was arrested in Georgia on Sunday and is awaiting extradition to New Jersey.

Medicare Cuts Payments To 23 N.J. Hospitals

TRENTON – New Jersey is one of ten states where a third or more of its hospitals will be penalized by Medicare because of errors and infections, The Record reported. The federal government will reduce payments by 1 percent to 23 hospitals, including Capital Health in Mercer County, University Hospital in Newark and St. Mary’s in Passaic.

NY Settles Bank Leumi Probe for $130 Million

ALBANY – New York regulators say Bank Leumi will pay $130 million and has fired two senior employees to settle an investigation into a scheme to help U.S. clients evade taxes, The Associated Press reported. The consent order signed Monday notes the bank, one of Israel’s largest, had $313 billion in assets.

Obama Signs N.Y. State Disaster Declaration

WASHINGTON – President Obama declared a major disaster in upstate New York, allowing federal aid to clean up after a blockbuster storm buried the region under more than 7 feet of snow last month. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the storm had cost more than $46 million.

NYC Sees 25-Percent Drop In Tickets to Bicyclists

NEW YORK – New York City bicyclists got 25 percent fewer tickets from Jan. 1 through Nov. 30, the New York Post reported. About 32,500 tickets have been issued for going the wrong way to going through red lights.