Afternoon Bulletin: Special Court Opens to Handle City Gun Crimes

Also: a possible ban on smoking under age 21, and a new style of breakfast sandwich

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images) George Frey/Getty Images

New York authorities hope that two new State Supreme Court divisions for gun crimes will expedite trials  for these offenses. The program, announced on WNYC this morning, will affect those charged in possession of illegal firearms, and also aims to create a task force of 200 police officers specifically designed to combat gun crimes. City officials hope the plan will give those charged with gun crimes far speedier trials, aiming to resolve illegal gun cases within six months rather than multiple years, which is currently the norm. (WNYC)

New Jersey may become the second state—after Hawaii—to raise the legal smoking age to 21 following the passage of a bill in the state legislature that would fine businesses  up to $1,000 if they are caught distributing cigarettes to those 20 years of age or younger. Gov. Chris Christie has until Tuesday to decide if he will sign the bill. The push to raise the smoking age to 21 has become more prominent, with many large cities—including New York, Boston, Kansas City and Cleveland—adjusting their laws. Similar measures are currently being debated in eight states and the District of Columbia. Projections indicate that raising the smoking age to 21 could result in roughly 250,000 fewer premature deaths; however, it could also cost New Jersey millions in tax revenue. (NBC New York)

Three Columbia University students died Wednesday when the bus they were on crashed near the Honduran capital city of Tegucigalpa. Several other students from the two schools were injured in the crash, Columbia’s President Lee Bollinger said in a statement. Daniella Moffson was a Barnard student, Olivia Erhardt was a student at Columbia College and Abigail Flanagan was a nurse practitioner and general studies student at Columbia. Honduran officials believe the crash was the result of a mechanical failure, and the U.S. Embassy in Honduras has stated that it will work closely with local authorities to resolve the case. (WNYC)

Noted doctor and health care reform advocate David Newman has been accused by a patient of masturbating in her presence and ejaculating on her face before wiping his handiwork clean with her blanket at Mt. Sinai Hospital. According to the 22-year-old patient’s complaint, Dr. Newman, 45, sedated her heavily with morphine after she had already been dosed with the drug by a nurse, and once she was unconscious he ejaculated on her. Once she awakened, he patient spoke to another physician in the group, Dr. Andrew Jagoda; he offered to call the police but could not speak to his supervisor since his supervisor was Dr. Newman. The hospital will conduct an internal investigation. Dr. Newman has been questioned by police, but is not in custody. (Daily News)

Aficionados of traditional breakfast food may wince at the news that a whole new style of breakfast sandwich is coming to the West Village. Chefs Wylie Dufresne and Dominique Ansel have collaborated on the sandwich, which will sell for $20 from Saturday, Jan. 16 to Monday, Jan. 18 at Mr. Ansel’s Dominique Ansel Kitchen. Dubbed the “wd~Ansel Egg Melt” (we hope the opening initials are a reference to Mr. Dufresne’s initials and not penetrating oil spray WD-40), the sandwich consists of soft scrambled eggs, a confit egg yolk, homemade cheese, black truffles, bacon and maple flakes, all served on a toasted English muffin with hash browns on the side. Mr. Dufresne is currently without a restaurant, but plans to open one early this year. (Grub Street)

Afternoon Bulletin: Special Court Opens to Handle City Gun Crimes