‘Why don’t you become a specialist and save somebody’s mother?’

Like many women of her generation and geography, Dr. Sushma Nakra's grandmother perished from complications of childbirth in India. Descriptions of the family matriarch filled Nakra's childhood in her grandmother's native land, along with her physician father's deep regret that there were no good doctors available to save her with a simple surgery. "[My father] told me, 'If [grandmother] had a good gynecology surgeon and if she had a Caesarean section, she would still be around for you to meet,'" said Nakra, associate chairwoman of the  obstetrics and gynecology department at Coney Island Hospital. "He told me, 'Why don't you become a specialist and save somebody's grandmother, somebody's mother?'" This year marks Nakra's 30th anniversary at the hospital - an impressive run during which she has earned a fierce reputation among the patients and staff for her unwavering demands for patient care. Though her unyielding style can make her an intimidating colleague, it also attracts a loyal cadre of devotees extending to the top of the hospital. "My wife is a regular. She's here every six months," said Coney Island Hospital CEO Peter Wolf, "I think it's emblematic of how Dr. Nakra connects with her patients, not just my wife." Yet Nakra, who lives in Jamaica Estates, Queens, spends just as much energy chasing down homeless women reluctant to get followup care, or interceding in the family dynamics of immigrant women. "What I like about Coney Island Hospital is you don't turn away any patient if they have no money, no insurance," Nakra said, "You provide the same care whether a patient is a millionaire or homeless." Nakra's desire to treat all patients equally manifested soon into her medical training in Indore, India, where she completed her medical degree and began her residency before coming to the U.S. One of her formative experiences came during her residency in India, when she asked the family of a hemorrhaging pregnant woman to donate blood Continue Reading

Mega mystery in Queens – somebody’s won $105M!

Check your lottery tickets - there's a mystery $105 million winner in our midst. A single winning ticket to Friday's huge Mega Millions jackpot was sold at a magazine store in Astoria, Queens, and the new multimillionaire has yet to come forward to claim all that cash. "I'm still waiting for the lucky guy to come in," said Harish Mahadik, a clerk at Magazines 'R Us on 31st St., which sold the golden ticket. The ticket - which will be redeemed for the second-largest lottery prize ever awarded in the five boroughs - contained the numbers 24-32-34-36-39 and the Mega Ball number of 6, lottery officials said. If the winner takes a lump-sum payout, he or she gets $61 million before taxes. Mahadik was notified at 7:30a.m. yesterday that his store sold the winning ticket, and while at first he thought he was the victim of a hoax, his shop now stands to claim 6% of the prize. He blanketed the modest store with brightly colored signs proclaiming, "We have a winner! $105 million dollars!" and hung a banner out front that drew big crowds from the neighborhood. "When I saw the signs I was like, 'Oh my god. I hope it's somebody I know,'" said Daisy Aviles, 50, of Astoria. "I play here sometimes but not this time - and now I'm sorry." The second-place winner in Friday's drawing also came from the city. Someone won $250,000 after buying a ticket at Magazine News on E. 68th St. in Manhattan. The largest prize ever awarded in the city went to Queens parking attendant Juan Rodriguez, who won $149 million playing Mega Millions in November 2004. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading


PATRICIA Hammond-Church thought her quiet Bronx neighborhood was a safe place for a teenager - until two 13-year-olds allegedly stabbed her son to death last month. Now she grieves for her only child, 15-year-old Edwin Owusu-Hammond, and can't comprehend how teenage minds could conceive such a monstrous crime. "How can a 13-year-old think like that?" the Morris Heights mom asked. "When I was 13, I was thinking about going to school. How can a kid have it in mind that I'm going to kill somebody?" Cops say the high school freshman was walking home on Feb. 25 at about 6:30 p.m. when the two 13-year-olds tried to steal his cell phone near his Andrews Ave. building. Robberies committed by youths under 16 shot up 26% last year. The targets often were high-tech gear such as cell phones and iPods, cops say. Both of Edwin's attackers had prior juvenile arrest records, cops said. Their cases are now pending in Family Court. They didn't get Edwin's phone, but they stabbed him in the abdomen and chest, cops said. Edwin struggled into his building and banged on his apartment door, then died in his mother's arms. "For a child to take a knife from his house and use it for something like this, it's mind-boggling. I know people fight, but they use their fists," Hammond-Church said. "My son was only 15, and he could never form a thought like that." Edwin studied in a nearby public library after school, worked on his computer at night in his family's tidy apartment and never got into trouble, his mother said. When he grew up, he said, he hoped to be an engineer or an airline pilot. "I still don't know how it happened, why it happened," Hammond-Church said. "I thought this was the safest place." "It's getting worse," Edwin's aunt Mavis Bonsu said. "There's bad people among the good - and they're so young." Join the Conversation: Continue Reading


AT THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY Queen of Angels in East Harlem, the Rev. Gerard Mulrey offered words of hope yesterday to parishioners worried their parish and school will soon be shuttered. As Mulrey looked out at his flock, he could see tears in some of their eyes as he encouraged them to fight. "None of this is definite," Mulrey said. "There is still hope and there is still possibilities for us. Demonstrations and pickets are helpful to a certain point, but we need to assemble a plan of action." Similar calls for action resounded from altars around the city yesterday on the first Sunday after the Archdiocese of New York announced plans for major cutbacks. Some 15 churches and 14 schools have been targeted for possible closure because of what archdiocesan officials call financial woes and dramatic demographic shifts from the city to upstate. On the hit list are eight churches and 11 elementary schools in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island. In addition to the closures, 16 other parishes - including 11 in Manhattan and the Bronx - would be scaled down to missions or chapels. "We would be lost without it. It's our second home," parishioner Gladys Rivera said of the Church of Our Lady Queen of Angels on E. 113th St. At St. Paul's Church on Staten Island, the Rev. Vincent Bartley pleaded with parishioners to attend a candlelight vigil Thursday to show Edward Cardinal Egan how necessary their parish and school are. "We're going to enlist the help of every parish in Staten Island to help keep this parish and school open," Bartley said. Parishioners said the news came as a surprise considering the church's work in the New Brighton area. After 9/11, the parish stayed open around the clock to provide counseling and prayer for bereaved families and rescuers working at Ground Zero. "I was outraged that they would put finances before Christian charity," said Dennis Cotter, 59. "This is a vibrant community and it's a diverse one. There's a lot of outreach Continue Reading


DAVID THOMPSON awakened yesterday and quickly learned that his nice little niche in NBA history - only Wilt Chamberlain had scored more points in a game than the former Denver Nugget - officially was a thing of the past. "For 28 years, I was No. 2, and for it to last that long was pretty special," said Thompson, who scored 73 points in a 1978 game against the Detroit Pistons. "But I always figured that somebody was going to pass me. "I always thought it would be (Michael) Jordan or (Allen) Iverson or Kobe (Bryant)," Thompson continued, speaking from his North Carolina office where he works on the youth ministry he co-founded. "They're all great scorers and nowadays, with the three-point shot, it's easier to score points. And I thought the way that guys have been scoring this year, somebody had a chance do it. " That somebody was Bryant, who had a performance for the ages Sunday night while continuing one of the great scoring tears in league annals. He became only the second player to top the 80-point plateau, pouring in 81 during the Lakers' 122-104 win over the Toronto Raptors at Staples Center. He made 28 of 46 shots - including seven of 13 three-pointers - and connected on 18 of 20 free throws. "This is something that just happened," he said. "It is tough to explain. It is just one of those things. " It comes at a time when the NBA could use some favorable publicity. Bryant wrote his name under Wilt's only four days after the Knicks' Antonio Davis went into the United Center stands, putting the league and its players back back under the microscope. Only four players had ever topped the 70-point mark before Kobe, with Chamberlain leading the way with his legendary 100-point game against the Knicks in 1962, plus five other games of at least 70 points. Aside from Wilt, the only other players to surpass 70 in a game were Thompson (on 28-of-38 shooting), Elgin Baylor (71 points) and David Robinson (71). "You know how much energy it takes to score Continue Reading

Shailene Woodley on what she wants from love: ‘Somebody who holds me high, keeps me safe, (has) my f—ing back’

Shailene Woodley learned to love from her "deep heart" because of her grandmother's advice. "One day I was having one of my teenage crises, when you think everything's falling apart — your estrogen and progesterone are freaking out," the "Insurgent" star said for Elle's April cover story about the day her grandmother told her things that would change her way of life. "She said, 'Shai, the most important thing in life is self-love. You've gotta take care of yourself, and you gotta live from your deep heart.'" the 23-year-old actress recalled. "What I've come to determine in my life is that my deep heart is my — it's my compassion, empathy and intuition," she continued, adding "my grams is the most banging 69-year-old I've ever met in my life. She's so fit. She's so rad!" Woodley took that advice and ran with it in her young life when it comes to opening her heart to others. "I never want to love like this," the actress, who was coy about her current relationship status, told the mag with her arms outstretched. "I always want to love like this," Woodley said with her arms behind her back while pressing her chest forward. "Heart centered, like, 'This is who I am! And I love you if you love me for who this person is. And if not, I'll still love you, but I ain't fallin' in love with you!" Woodley was last linked to musician Nahko Bear, front man of the band Nahko and Medicine for the People. The pair was spotted together on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island in Hawaii in early November. They appeared to be quite fond of each other as they engaged in what appeared to be an intense conversation, Yahoo reported. There's no confirmation about their relationship, but with Yahoo describing his music as promoting "a message of personal empowerment," he seems to fit the bill when it comes to Woodley's carefree, love-for-all approach to life. “I’m all-loving. I fall in love with people based on who they are,” she Continue Reading

2016 candidate Mike Huckabee mocks being transgender in shocking comments: ‘I wish somebody had told me I could have felt like a woman’ so I could shower with them

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he thinks being transgender is a choice and that he wished he could have pretended to feel "like a woman" in high school "when it came time to take showers in P.E." The 2016 Republican presidential candidate appears to have made the comments at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville, Tenn., in February, but footage of the remarks wasn't released until late last week. In a video of the speech, released by conservative news site World Net Daily and first uncovered by Buzzfeed, Huckabee is seen talking crassly about transgender individuals and claiming that accommodations being made for them pose a "threat" to society. "For those who do not think that we are under threat, simply recognize that the fact that we are now in city after city watching ordinances say that your 7-year-old daughter, if she goes into the restroom cannot be offended and you can't be offended if she's greeted there by a 42-year-old man who feels more like a woman than he does a man," said Huckabee, a socially conservative former pastor who announced his White House bid last month. "I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in P.E.," Huckabee continued. "I'm pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, 'Coach, I think I'd rather shower with the girls today.' You're laughing because it sounds so ridiculous, doesn't it?" "There's something inherently wrong with forcing little children to be a part of this social experiment," he said. "I'm not against anybody, I'd just like for somebody to bring their brain to work someday and not leave it on the bed stand when they show up to govern." ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE Continue Reading

Suspected ‘Gumball Bandit’ claims he ‘was working for somebody else’

A man suspected of swiping 100 gumball machines claimed Thursday he was simply caught up in someone else’s sticky web. “No, no, I was working for somebody else at the time,” Jason Bietsch, 39, told the Daily News after appearing in Bronx Criminal Court. The Scarsdale native is accused of stealing the sweets dispenser from a Westchester Ave. laundromat Feb. 5 after telling a shop worker, “I will bring it back.” The accused gumball bandit left a trail of 100 missing machines in Bronx and Westchester County, cops said, but Bietsch is charged with petty larceny and criminal possession of stolen property from just the one haul. He said nothing during a brief court appearance, as a trial date was set for July 21. His alleged accomplice, Raymond Congro, was sentenced to 60 days in jail after pleading guilty in April to the caper. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Justin Bieber, Usher facing $10 million copyright lawsuit over ‘Somebody to Love’

Justin Bieber and Usher might want to consult Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams for some legal advice. The music stars were ordered by a U.S. appeals court Thursday to face a $10 million lawsuit alleging copyright violation for the 2010 single “Somebody to Love.” The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., voted 3-0 to revive a 2013 lawsuit by singer Devin Copeland (stage name De Rico) and songwriting partner Mareio Overton, according to Reuters. Copeland and Overton claim Bieber's "Somebody to Love" shares the "beat pattern, time signature and similar chords and lyrics" with their song of the same name, which was written in 2008. The duo's lawsuit was dismissed last year, when a judge ruled that the two songs were not "substantially" similar. But the appeals court found differently. "After listening to the Copeland song and the Bieber and Usher songs as wholes, we conclude that their choruses are similar enough and also significant enough that a reasonable jury could find the songs intrinsically similar," Circuit Judge Pamela Harris wrote for the appeals court. “Somebody to Love” appeared on Bieber’s 2010 album “My World 2.0.” The song, for which he is credited as co-writer, peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified platinum. Bieber and his mentor also released a remix of the track in 2010. Copeland and Overton claim that they wrote “Somebody to Love” for Copeland’s 2008 album, “My Story II.” The pair allege that music scouts played their song for Usher, who brought the track to Bieber. The plaintiffs’ lawyer Duncan Byers said that the appeals court “recognized what my clients have said all along: It's the same melody and the same chorus.” Representatives for Bieber and Usher did not immediately respond to request for Continue Reading

Missouri man kills home intruder for second time in four months: ‘I am not going to let somebody take my life’

They keep breaking in, and he keeps killing them. A Missouri man has slain a home intruder for the second time in four months — this time stabbing an ax-wielding friend who started a bizarre argument with him early Tuesday. The frequent self-defender, Mike Wieners, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch his former neighbor Eric Frazer broke into his Robertsville home around 2 a.m., ax in hand, demanding money and a ride to Arkansas. Frazer was fuming over child support he hadn't paid and was looking to take out aggression on the first person he could find, Wieners said. Wieners fearied for his life and agreed to drive him, but said he wanted to grab beer for the hours-long drive. Instead, he grabbed a knife. FOLLOW THE DAILY NEWS ON FACEBOOK. CLICK HERE TO "LIKE" “I struck him,” Wieners, 55, told the paper. “I didn't mean to kill him. I wasn't looking for that. I am not that type of person. But I am not going to let somebody take my life.” Plus, Wieners said, his former neighbor was smashing furniture and making some strange threats. “He said, ‘I will kill you, I’m going to kill you,’ ” Wieners told KMOV. “He says, ‘I think I’m going to chop your feet off,’ and I’m like, ‘What? ’” After the stabbing, Frazer fled in Wiener’s car, but died later that morning in a hospital, police said. Wieners, meanwhile, had minor injuries to his arm and jaw. This comes after Wieners shot and killed a 60-year-old man who entered his rural home in February, armed with a revolver after the two had fought over a woman. Wieners said that man, Richard Wagnon, was just about to shoot but hesitated, at which time Wieners “grabbed ahold of the barrel and it went off and killed him,” he said. Wieners once lived with Wagnon for Continue Reading