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Millions across the northeastern United States are on their fourth day without power as the region continues the slow recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Rescue efforts are still underway in coastal areas of New York and New Jersey, including in the New Jersey town of Hoboken where thousands of residents have been trapped in their homes. The deal toll from Sandy continues to grow by the day, with at least 70 dead in the United States and 71 dead in the Caribbean.
The number without power along the Eastern Seaboard stands at an estimated six million, including more than three million in New York state and 900,000 in New Jersey. The utility ConEd says it restored power to a few thousands residents of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn on Wednesday, but more than 230,000 are still living in the dark. One exception is the New York Stock Exchange, which re-opened on Wednesday with power from a generator.
On Wednesday, more than 300 patients were evacuated from New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center after backup generators failed, the second major New York hospital to lose power as a result of the storm. A fuel oil spill, meanwhile, has been reported in New Jersey at a facility jointly owned by the oil giant Shell. The site’s operator, Motiva, said an unknown amount of fuel was released into the Arthur Kill waterway, which separates New Jersey from Staten Island.
New York City’s subway system is re-opening today with limited service, although no trains will run in or out of Lower Manhattan. The city’s public schools will remain shut down through Friday.
President Obama toured ravaged coastal areas of New Jersey on Wednesday with Gov. Chris Christie, vowing to ensure speedy delivery of federal aid. With just five days until the election, Obama is returning to the campaign trail today after halting events to address Hurricane Sandy.
The Obama administration is calling for a radical overhaul of the Syrian opposition, signaling a major break with the Syrian National Council. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Syria’s opposition should become more representative of those fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad inside Syria, not just of those opposing him from abroad. Clinton said an international gathering in Qatar next week will be used as a forum to broaden the coalition against Assad, and added that the United States has already played a heavier role than previously thought. The United States has smuggled opposition members out of Syria to attend meetings and has recommended names of people who should be included in the new proposed coalition.
U.S. regulators have threatened to fine Barclays bank about $470 million to settle claims the company manipulated electricity markets in California in order to turn a profit. It could be the largest fine ever imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and potentially surpasses the amount Barclays paid to settle allegations it rigged the key global interest rate known as Libor.
Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein was arrested Wednesday after bringing food to a group of activists in Texas who are trying to block the path of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. In a statement before her arrest, Stein criticized President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney for ignoring climate change during the campaign, saying: "I’m here to connect the dots between Superstorm Sandy and the record heat, drought and fire we’ve seen this year — and this Tar Sands pipeline, which will make all of these problems much worse." Stein and vice-presidential running mate Cheri Honkala were also arrested last month for attempting to enter the presidential debates at Hofstra University so that Stein could take part.