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Every Woman's Success Should be an Inspiration to Another — Connecticut by the Numbers

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Every Woman's Success Should be an Inspiration to Another — Connecticut by the Numbers


Roya Rahmani is a true inspiration and role model for me and so many Afghani girls, women and women around the world. Her courage, resilience, and dedication to promoting peace and empowering women serve as a shining example for all of us and her perseverance and determination has inspired my sisters and I to continue our education and get involved with Model UN so we can continue to inspire other Afghan girls and women for equality and justice.

I am an Afghani girl who came to the US one year ago after I spent two years in Afghanistan under the Taliban takeover. My sisters and I went through many challenges as girls were banned from attending school. I missed two years of school. I experienced deep depression and I had to leave my country for a better life. Having passionate, strong brave and resilient women leader like Ambassador Roya Rahmani, someday all the Afghan girls will have my opportunity for a better future.

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Good evening, everyone! I’m Sadaf Hashimi from Afghanistan. I am currently a junior at Hartford Public High School and a member of Model United Nations. I’m truly honored to be here today and to be a part of this group. As we gather for this special occasion, I’d like to wish each incredible woman in here a happy International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the remarkable achievements and contributions of women around the world.

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Today I am here to introduce you to a brave woman. An Afghan diplomat who served as Afghanistan’s first female Ambassador to the United States, Roya Rahmani.

Roya Rahmani is chair of Delphos International, where she plays a pivotal role in expanding the firm’s business networks, enhancing its global reach and amplifying its impact. She is a role model for me and all Afghan girls and women.

I admire her confidence, strength and courage.  No matter how hard, she never gives up and finds a way to succeed and that is what has inspired me to get involved with the Model UN Club.



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Connecticut

Man accused of using Uber to bring girls from CT group home faces decades in prison for sex crimes

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Man accused of using Uber to bring girls from CT group home faces decades in prison for sex crimes


A 28-year old man has been accused of hiring a ride share service to pick up teenage girls living at a state-run group home in West Hartford and deliver them to hotels and shopping malls in Connecticut and New York where he filmed himself sexually abusing them.

Nicolas “Breezy” Brown, who is believed to live in New York City, faces decades in prison after being indicted this week on two child pornography charges by a federal grand jury in New Haven.

The FBI learned in mid-March from the state Department of Children and Families, the group home operator, that someone calling himself Breezy was hiring Uber drivers to pick up girls and deliver them “to different hotels throughout the state,” according to an FBI affidavit. Two of the girls, aged 15 and 16, are minors and one recently turned 18.

Fast rise in AI nudes of teens has unprepared schools, legal system scrambling for solutions

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Subsequent investigation developed evidence that Brown had been arranging, since March 5, to have the girls delivered to hotels and shopping malls where he filmed himself abusing them, according to the affidavit filed in U.S. District Court.

At one point early in March, the 15- and 16-year old girls stayed with Brown at Travelodge in South Hackensack, N.J. for four days. He had promised them a short term home rental in Manhattan, but diverted to New Jersey when that didn’t work out, according to the affidavit

The first interaction with the minor girls apparently took place at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford, where they remained with Brown for seven hours before West Hartford police interceded. The police learned the girls were at the hotel after questioning the Uber driver, but Brown escaped after the 18-year-old girl spotted police in the hotel lobby and tipped him off, according to the affidavit.

Brown is accused of abusing and filming girls at shopping malls or hotels on four more occasions before he was apprehended on March 20 by the FBI and police, who were tipped off by Uber that he was at a Quality Inn in Danbury waiting for girls to be dropped off. Brown tried but failed to escape by jumping out a second floor window, according to the affidavit.

Three spokesmen for the Department of Children and Families were not immediately available to discuss the case. Brown has been denied bail and is in custody.

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He is charged with production of child pornography, an offense that, if convicted, carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, and with possessing and accessing with intent to view child pornography, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.



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New Jersey is pushing local telecommuters who work for New York companies to appeal their Empire State tax bills

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New Jersey is pushing local telecommuters who work for New York companies to appeal their Empire State tax bills


Telecommuting, a pandemic-era novelty that has become a permanent alternative for many people, has some Connecticut and New Jersey employees of New York-based companies questioning why they still have to pay personal income tax to the Empire State.

Their home states are wondering as well.

Fed up with losing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year, New Jersey is now offering a state tax credit to residents who work from home and successfully appeal their New York tax assessment. Connecticut is considering a similar measure.

The Garden State’s bounty — a rebate worth roughly half a person’s refund of income taxes they paid to New York for the 2020-2023 period — has been claimed so far by one winning litigant since the state made the offer in July, according to the state’s Division of Taxation. That taxpayer received a $7,797.02 refund for their efforts. Officials hope that person’s windfall will encourage others to follow suit.

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Another New Jersey resident who is taking up the state’s offer is Open Weaver Banks, a tax attorney who prefers working from home to braving an “awful” commute into the Big Apple. She’s also filed one of a growing number of similar challenges.

“The process of doing the refund and the appeal isn’t all that intimidating to me,” said Banks, a tax partner at Hodgson Russ LLP. “I’m on New Jersey’s team here. I would like to see more residents doing this. I think they have a really fair point.”

New York requires out-of-state commuters who work for New York-based companies to pay New York income taxes, even if they’ve stopped physically going in to the office most days a week, unless they can satisfy very strict requirements for what constitutes a bona fide home office.

A home office near a specialized track to test new cars, for example, might qualify if it couldn’t be replicated in New York. But a worker with specialized scientific equipment set up in their home that could be duplicated over the border would still have to pay, according to a memorandum from the New York State Department of Taxation.

When the nature of work was upended in 2020, New York should have “softened” these requirements, Banks said. “And they didn’t. They are just standing by and fighting the claims.”

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Both neighboring states have implemented “retaliatory” tax rules that affect New Yorkers who work remotely for Connecticut or New Jersey-based companies, but these workforces are far smaller and their overall tax payments don’t make up the difference.

Out-of-state taxpayers paid New York nearly $8.8 billion in 2021 in taxes, roughly 15% of the state’s total income tax revenues, according to the Citizens Budget Commission in New York. Of that, $4.3 billion came from New Jersey taxpayers and $1.5 billion from Connecticut taxpayers.

It’s unclear how much of that was earned at home. But out-of-state employees of New York-based companies who work remotely are increasingly appealing their tax bills, Amanda Hiller, the acting commissioner and general counsel for the New York Department of Taxation and Finance, told state legislators recently.

Hiller acknowledged that New York’s decades-old policy, known as a “convenience of the employer rule,” has created a financial burden for New Jersey and Connecticut, which provide tax credits to their residents for the income taxes they’ve paid New York so they are not double-taxed.

New Jersey’s Division of Taxation said the state’s long-term goal is to have New York’s rule overturned entirely, something that will likely require a taxpayer’s legal challenge to succeed before the U.S. Supreme Court. That could be a tall order: New Hampshire tried to sue Massachusetts for temporarily collecting income tax from roughly 80,000 of its residents who worked from home during the pandemic, and the Supreme Court rejected the complaint without comment.

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Officials in New Jersey estimate it could reap as much as $1.2 billion annually if residents working from home for New York companies are taxed at home. Connecticut could recoup about $200 million, its officials say.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has proposed an initiative similar to New Jersey’s that needs final legislative approval. It’s unclear, however, whether it can pass before the session ends May 8.

“We think it’s an unconstitutional overreach by the state of New York,” Jeffrey Beckham, secretary of Connecticut’s state budget office, said recently. “We think our residents should paying tax to us and they’d be paying at a lower rate.”

Indeed, the top marginal state income tax rate, as of Jan. 1, for individuals in New York is 10.90%. Connecticut’s top rate is 6.99% and New Jersey’s is 10.75%, according to the Tax Foundation.

“An awful lot of people are hurt by these laws,” said Edward Zelinsky, a Connecticut resident, tax law expert and professor at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law in New York City. “While New York and other states like to pretend that these are wealthy people, the people who are most hurt by this rule are often people of modest income, middle income, people who can’t afford lawyers.”

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Zelinksy has been trying, so far without success, to challenge New York’s tax rule for about 20 years, including a pending case over the income he earned working from home while his school was closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A small number of states, including Arkansas, Delaware, Nebraska and Pennsylvania, have tax rules similar to New York’s. New Jersey and Pennsylvania have a reciprocal income tax agreement.

Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff, who is in the unique position of being the former New Jersey state treasurer and a former New York commissioner of taxation and finance, believes eventually the right litigant will “get it before the right court to challenge it.”

But former New Jersey state Sen. Steven Oroho, an accountant who commuted for nearly two decades into New York City and who pushed as a legislator to address the inequity, said he’s skeptical of New Jersey’s commitment to the effort, which puts the financial onus of a potentially lengthy and expensive legal challenge on the individual taxpayer.

“New York is very, very aggressive and unfortunately, in my view,” said Oroho, “New Jersey has been extremely passive.”

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These are the best ranked high schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in 2024

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These are the best ranked high schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in 2024


NEW YORK — U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday released their 2024 high school rankings, including nearly 2,000 public high schools in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut combined.

Best high schools in New York

  1. Queens High School for the Sciences at York College in Queens
  2. Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan
  3. High School Math Science and Engineering at CCNY in Manhattan
  4. Bronx High School of Science in the Bronx
  5. Staten Island Technical High School in Staten Island
  6. Brooklyn Latin School in Brooklyn
  7. Brooklyn Technical High School in Brooklyn
  8. High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx
  9. Townsend Harris High School in Queens
  10. Baccalaureate School for Global Education in Queens

The top ten high schools in the state are all located in New York City, with all five boroughs being represented.

In addition to landing the top two spots in the state, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College in Jamaica and Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan came in 25th and 26th in the national rankings, respectively.

Nine New York City Public Schools made it into the top 100 U.S. high schools in the country.

Best high schools on Long Island

Jericho Senior High School is the highest ranked school on Long Island, coming in 11th in the state. It is followed by Garden City High School at number 22, Manhasset Secondary School at number 23, Great Neck South High School at number 26 and Syosset Senior High School at number 33.

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Best high schools in New York state outside NYC

Outside of New York City and Long Island, the highest ranked schools in the state are:  Edgemont Junior-Senior High School in Scarsdale, coming in 14th in the state; Bronxville High School in Bronxville, coming in 16th in the state; Byram Hills High School in Armonk, at 21st; Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua at 19th, and City Honors School at Fosdick Masten Park in Buffalo at 25th in the state.

Best high schools in New Jersey

  1. High Technology High School in Lincroft
  2. Edison Academy Magnet School in Edison
  3. Middlesex County Academy for Allied Health in Woodbridge
  4. Bergen County Academies in Hackensack
  5. Biotechnology High School in Freehold
  6. Dr. Ronald E McNair High School in Jersey City
  7. Bergen County Technical High School – Teterboro in Teterboro
  8. Union County Magnet High School in Scotch Plains
  9. Academy for Information Technology in Scotch Plains
  10. Academy for Allied Health Sciences in Scotch Plains

High Technology High School ranked 24th overall in the United States.

According to U.S. News & World Report, 1.97% of the top 100 high schools in the country are in New Jersey, topped only by Arizona with 3.3% and Washington, D.C. with 6.1%.

Best high schools in Connecticut

  1. Connecticut IB Academy in East Hartford
  2. Darien High School in Darien
  3. Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern in Groton
  4. Weston High School in Weston
  5. Greenwich High School in Greenwich
  6. Hall High School in West Hartford
  7. Simsbury High School in Simsbury
  8. Farmington High School in Farmington
  9. Staples High School in Westport
  10. Conard High School in West Hartford

How are the best high schools ranked?

U.S. News & World Report says they look at six factors when determining their rankings:

  • College readiness
  • State assessment proficiency
  • State assessment performance
  • Underserved student performance
  • College curriculum breadth
  • Graduation rate

Schools are scored on a scale of 0-100 in each category. College readiness accounts for 30% of the ranking, state assessment proficiency and performance account for 20% each, and the remaining three categories count for 10% each.

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