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Terror plot latest, and the passing of a print giant

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
October 18, 2012 1:53:03 PM PDT
When will we ever learn? A lot of folks asking that question tonight about how Quazi Navis, the 21-year-old Bangladeshi now accused of plotting to blow up the Federal Reserve, got into this country and New York on a student visa.

He was enrolled in a local college, although authorities won't say which one and there are conflicting reports whether he was full-time (the feds say he was) or part-time (NYPD Commissioner Kelly says he was part-time, which should have invalidated his visa), but he quickly made it known via the Internet that he hated the U.S. and wanted to do harm.

He wanted to disrupt the U.S. economy and kill a high level official, confirmed by authorities as Pres. Obama.

It appears unlikely that this young man had either the resources, means or intelligence to pull off any kind of real attack. But the FBI saw his postings, and targeted him for an undercover sting operation. The feds built, according to court documents, what Navis thought was a 1,000 pound bomb, had him tape a "suicide" video, and even managed to convince him to push a button on a cell phone that he thought would trigger the bomb. It was all a fake of course, and the feds insist no one or no building was in danger.

We're following the latest developments, tonight at 11.

Also at 11, Meteorologist Lee Goldberg tracking heavy rain moving into our area overnight, and it figures to make a mess of the morning commute.

And two nights ago they were going at it in a verbal slugfest at Hofstra University. Tonight Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will break bread, sort of. They'll both be at the Alfred E. Smith charity dinner at the Waldorf, a sort of roast with lots of laughs. Uncomfortable laughs at times. Our political reporter Dave Evans is there for us, at 11.

And Carolina Leid takes a look at the biggest scofflaws in New York City, and they're some of the biggest corporations. Giant companies that are way way way way behind in paying parking tickets for their delivery trucks. We're talking FedEx, Verizon, Frito-Lay. We're talking nearly $2 million as of last April. We're talking "say what?"

Finally, a note about the passing of a print giant. Newsweek announced today that it will cease print publication at year's end, and be published only online. I say "only" advisedly, since online is quickly becoming the dominant information highway. It makes sense, of course, but it's still sad.

I was once, early in my journalism career, a "stringer" for Newsweek. That meant I reported stories, small stories, and then sent "files" to the Newsweek desk. This was in the mid-70s, and the preferred form of transmission for these files was Western Union. During the recession of '74-75, the folks at Newsweek decided that, to save money on Western Union bills, their stringers should send their files without using articles or prepositions or easily droppable words.

That meant that the information we sent along was abbreviated to say the least. For example, here's what the previous two sentences would look like without articles or prepositions and easily droppable words.

"During recession '74-75, folks Newsweek decided save money Western Union bills stringers send files without using articles prepositions. Means information sent along abbreviated say least."

As I recall, the cost-saving policy lasted 2 weeks. The editors were simply dumbfounded, understandably, by the shortened files.

Newsweek isn't dead, its editor said, it's just not printing anymore. But it's the end of an era. I'm just sayin'.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Rob Powers with the night's sports, including the fateful game for the Yankees vs. Detroit. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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