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World’s costliest train station opens in NYC next to 9/11 site

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The world’s most expensive train station opened Thursday in New York, nearly $2 billion over budget and years behind schedule, but the European architect who designed it called it a gift of love to the city.

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub, which is expected eventually to serve more than 200,000 commuters daily, is built next to the site of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Santiago Calatrava, the Spanish-Swiss architect who unveiled his ambitious design 12 years ago, removed a barrier at the entrance of the Oculus, a giant oval hall with walls of steel ribs and glass.

“This is a great moment. This is a gift for all New Yorkers,” he said of the opening to rail commuters.

“I hope the New Yorkers embrace it like we do and that they see the message of love to them,” he added.

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The building has become a major source of controversy — for its daring aesthetic, for spiraling drastically off budget and for closing seven years behind schedule.

Intially budgeted at $2 billion, it ended up costing $3.85 billion, according to a spokesperson in Calatrava’s office. That would make it the most expensive station in the world.

Calatrava said he hoped America’s financial and entertainment capital would enjoy a building that he hoped would become a “big civic monument like Grand Central” — one of New York’s most beloved landmarks.

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The building has an elliptical shape, reaching for the sky like the wings of a bird. The space measures 350 feet (107 meters) long by 115 feet (35 meters) at its widest point.

Calatrava thanked the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which commissioned the project and paid for the huge edifice with taxpayers’ dollars.

Thursday was only a partial opening — with a giant shopping and restaurant plaza not due to be up and running until August.

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The center connects the PATH commuter rail to New Jersey with New York subway lines and provides indoor pedestrian access to the Trade Center towers.

The Port Authority admitted in a 2008 report that the original cost estimate was “too low to begin with” but stressed the advantages the transit hub would afford the city.

It said that when completed, the hub will serve 250,000 visitors or shoppers as well as more than 200,000 commuters each day, making it the third-largest transportation center in the city, behind Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station.


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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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Megan Rapinoe trashes ‘disgusting’ Trump for his ugly racist tweets in CNN interview

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In an interview with CNN's Van Jones that will air on Saturday night, U.S. Women's soccer champion Megan Rapinoe condemned President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four progressive congresswomen of color.

"It's disgusting, to be honest. To say it's disappointing is ... it doesn't even come close," said Rapinoe. She added, "The more that we just are upset about it and don't accept that kind of behavior from all sides, then the better place we're going to be."

Trump has faced escalating criticism in the wake of his tweet that Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) ought to "go back" to where they came from if they disagree with his agenda (three of them were born in the United States). The controversy escalated when attendees of his rally in Greenville, North Carolina chanted "Send her back!" about Omar.

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