U.S. East Coasts Braces for Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy, the largest tropical system ever recorded on the Atlantic, caused floods along the northeastern coast of the U.S. and power failures even before it hit land just after 6 p.m EST in Southern New Jersey, with surges as high as 10 feet (3 meters). Almost 1,000 miles across, it approached at 28 miles per hours with winds at 90 miles per hour. At around 8 a.m., Atlantic City officials said 70 to 80 percent of the town was underwater. The top part of crane in Manhattan near a building construction gave out, and dangled 80 stories above the ground, forcing even more evacuations. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued an evacuation order for more than 370,000 people. City and state authorities all called for evacuation orders to be strictly followed to avoid endangering rescue workers. Those who don’t are “both stupid and selfish,” said New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. “When they tell you to evacuate, you need to evacuate,” said President Barack Obama, who interrupted his campaign today and tomorrow to address the emergency. Asked if he was worried about the impact of the hurricane on next week’s presidential election, Obama said “the election will take care of itself next week. Right now our number one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives.” Company Eqecat, which models catastrophic risk for the government, estimates the economic damage could be anything between $10 billion to $20 billion.
Elections in Ukraine Draw Heavy Criticism from International Observers
The Ukranian parliamentary elections, which took place yesterday, drew heavy criticism from international observers, who accused President Viktor Yanukovich’s party of using government resources, media coverage, and the jailing of two of his opponents to win the race. After 80 percent of the ballots were counted, the Party of Regions came ahead with 33 percent of the vote, followed by jailed former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko‘s Fatherland Party. The imprisonment of Yuri Lutsenko, another opposition leader, was described as political repression and abuse of human rights by the European Court of Human Rights in July. “Considering the abuse of power, and the excessive role of money in this election, democratic progress appears to have reversed in Ukraine,” said Walburga Habsburg Douglas, a member of the Swedish Parliament who observed the election for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly.
U.S. Secretary of State Clinton Presses Algeria on Mali Intervention
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew today to Algeria to meet with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in hopes to win his support for an armed intervention in Northern Mali. On March 22nd, a military coup in Mali toppled the democratically elected government, creating a power vacuum that allowed Tuaregs to take over the north of the country in a claim for independence. The Tuaregs then lost it to a number of Islamic groups, including one linked to Al Qaeda. The African Union, now backed by the international community, is preparing a plan for an intervention to push the country towards a political solution. Clinton’s visit to Algeria comes after one by French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius, showing both the U.S. and France see the North African nation as crucial in resolving the conflict. While Algeria has the best-equipped and trained army in the region, it has also been reluctant to take part in military meddling in the region.
Early Voting Gives Head Start to Democratic Party
Early voting in Iowa and Nevada is giving President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party a marked advantage, according to Obama advisers. While the first results are less clear in Ohio and Florida, Colorado gave Republican Candidate Mitt Romney an edge. Almost 15 million people have already voted, said the U.S. Elections Project at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. At this rate, it may be very hard for Romney to win Iowa, said George Mason Professor Michael Mc Donald. “That’s got to be troubling for Romney. Election Day would have to be a Republican parade for Romney to win the state.” Early voting is gaining in popularity compared to four years ago, experts said. Even still, it the race is close. “The data are confirming what we are seeing in the polling,” McDonald said. “These state races are going to be narrower than in 2008.”
San Francisco Giants Win World Series
Baseball fans celebrated last night in the streets of San Francisco and the Bay Area after their team, the Giants, won the World Series as they defeated the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep. This is the Giant’s second World Series title in three seasons. Their last was in 2010, the first since 1954. “Detroit probably didn’t know what they were in for,” said San Francisco General Manager Brian Sabean. “Our boys had a date with destiny and the rest is history.” Pablo Sandoval, who hit three home runs on Game One, was voted Most Valuable Player of the World Series. With this October 24th feat, he joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols as the only players to hit three home runs during a World Series game. The celebratory atmosphere turned more aggressive early this morning as riots began. Fires were lit in the streets, a bus was set aflame, bottles were thrown, and people were injured.