The death toll of Superstorm Sandy along the Eastern Seaboard has jumped to 98 as more bodies are recovered by the day. Forty people have been killed in New York City, half of them on Staten Island, which was overcome with devastating flooding.
Staten Island residents have criticized local and federal officials for allegedly ignoring recovery there, saying they are in desperate need of aid. New York City is also facing criticism for continuing with its famed annual marathon on Sunday despite calls for postponement. Supporters of a delay have argued that the marathon will divert attention and resources from aiding the hundreds of thousands who still lack power and are in need of relief.
Utility officials have predicted that electricity will be mostly restored to lower Manhattan by the weekend, though several million from Long Island to New Jersey could be in the dark for at least another week. Some 1.6 million people remain without power in New Jersey, the state hardest hit by the storm.
New Jersey officials have disclosed that some 336,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Arthur Kill waterway when a Shell facility was hit by flooding Monday night. The spill has reportedly been contained by booms placed in the water.
Estimates of the economic damage caused by Superstorm Sandy have now topped $50 billion, more than double previous estimates. The storm has also caused a major shortage of fuel, prompting long lines at gas stations across the New York area.
President Obama has returned to the campaign trail after suspending events to address the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. On Thursday, Obama picked up an endorsement from former Republican and now independent New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In an op-ed article, Bloomberg wrote that Obama is best equipped to tackle climate change in light of the “devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the north-east.” Bloomberg also cited Obama’s support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage, while noting that Republican challenger Mitt Romney has “reversed course” after previously holding “sensible positions.”
New figures show U.S. companies added 158,000 jobs last month, the fastest pace in eight months. The figures were released by the payrolls processor ADP on the eve of today’s official employment report from the Labor Department.
Former Penn State President Graham Spanier has been indicted for his role in the cover-up of child sex abuse by former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier was initially charged one year ago after it was revealed he and other top Penn State officials failed to report Sandusky to police despite evidence that Sandusky was abusing young boys. Sandusky was convicted in June of molesting 10 boys and sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. On Thursday, Spanier was charged with child endangerment, perjury and criminal conspiracy for hiding Sandusky’s crimes. Two other former Penn State officials were also hit with new charges.
A Massachusetts physics graduate has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for planning to build explosives-laden drones to attack the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. The FBI says Rezwan Ferdaus conducted detailed surveillance to map out the attack and acquired a small aircraft as part of his plan to carry it out. The plot would have marked the first time that militants deployed the drone technology used by the United States to strike targets in foreign countries for an attack inside the United States. Ferdaus was caught with the help of undercover agents posing as al-Qaeda operatives who gave him the money to buy the drones, a tactic that has led to allegations of entrapment.
A new video has been released from Syria showing armed rebels executing a group of government soldiers. On the tape, 10 prisoners are forced to lie on top of one another at an overrun military checkpoint. Anti-government fighters are seen kicking and taunting the captured soldiers before opening fire. Amnesty International has condemned the footage, saying it depicts “utter disregard for international humanitarian law.”
A new report is warning global inequality has reached a 20-year high. According to the group Save the Children, poverty that had previously been concentrated in the world’s lowest-income countries is now on the rise in “middle-income” countries, which account for 70 percent of the world’s poor.