More than eight million people remain without power across the mid-Atlantic United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Millions of homes and businesses have gone dark since Sandy made landfall and pounded the East Coast Tuesday night. In New York City, hundreds of thousands in Manhattan face the loss of power at least through the weekend in what utility officials call the worst storm outage in the city’s history. Commuters across the city will also have to go without the subway system for at least several more days after severe flooding in tunnels and stations.
The death toll from Sandy across the United States has surpassed 48, nearly half of the victims in New York. President Obama has declared a “major disaster” in New York and New Jersey and will be visiting the tri-state area to survey the damage today. Two of the New York City area’s three main airports are due to open today with limited service. New Jersey’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant remains under alert due to dangerous levels of floodwater. The death toll from Sandy in the Caribbean has topped 70, with more than 50 killed in Haiti. The United Nations has warned of a new food crisis in Haiti as a result of the flooding, as well as a heightened risk of waterborne disease.
With less than a week before Election Day, questions have now turned to how Hurricane Sandy will impact the 2012 vote. Despite millions of people facing the loss of power, it is unlikely that any states will seek to delay the election, although voting stations in a number of affected areas will remain open longer.
President Obama has suspended his re-election appearances to focus on the post-Sandy storm recovery, while Republican challenger Mitt Romney continues to campaign in battleground states. At a so-called “storm relief event” on Tuesday, Romney refused to answer repeated questions from reporters about his campaign vow to eliminate the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA — the government agency tasked with responding to disasters like Sandy — and turn it over to the private sector.
Meanwhile, the former head of FEMA, Michael Brown, known for overseeing the Bush administration’s tepid response to Hurricane Katrina, drew ridicule on Tuesday when he criticized President Obama for responding “too quickly” to Sandy. Comparing Sandy to the killings of U.S. personnel in Libya last month, Brown said, “Why was this so quick? … At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question.”
Two Guatemalan nationals have reportedly been shot dead along the U.S.-Mexico border in the latest in a spate of border killings by U.S. agents. The male victims were killed last week when a Texas Department of Public Safety sharpshooter fired from a helicopter on a pickup truck near the border town of La Joya. The incident is under investigation, with officials claiming the helicopter crew believed the truck was carrying drugs. The Guatemalan consul says both victims were seeking employment to support their children in Guatemala.
Two soldiers from the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan were shot dead Tuesday by a man wearing an Afghan police uniform. The shooting follows a recent uptick in apparent insider attacks, which have killed more than 50 international troops this year.
The Syrian government continues to carry out deadly air strikes and ground attacks on residential neighborhoods. On Tuesday, witnesses and opposition activists claimed 18 people, including five children, were killed in attacks on the city of Douma. The killings followed a major air strike on the northwestern province of Idlib that reportedly left 28 civilians dead. At least 500 people were killed over the four days that a U.N.-brokered
ceasefire was supposed to have been in effect until it ended on Monday.
A top official at the Bank of England has been quoted heaping unlikely praise on the Occupy movement for challenging the financial system over the past year. At a recent event in London, Andrew Haldane, the Bank’s executive director of financial stability, said the call by the Occupy movement to stop financial-sector greed and excess has been “loud and persuasive” on policymakers, leading to a “reformation of finance that Occupy has helped stir.” Haldane added that Occupy resonated with large sectors of the public because “they are right.”