Tens of thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate coastal areas on Sunday October 28, as big cities and small towns across the Northeast buttoned up against the onslaught of a super-storm threatening some 50 million people in the most heavily populated corridor in the nation.
“The time for preparing and talking is about over,” Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate had warned as a monster Hurricane Sandy headed up the Eastern Seaboard on a collision course with two other weather systems. “People need to be acting now.”
New York City announced its subways, buses and trains would stop running Sunday night because of the risk of flooding, and its 1.1 million-student school system would be closed on Monday October 29. Mayor Michael Bloomberg also ordered the evacuation of part of lower Manhattan and other low-lying neighborhoods.
“If you don’t evacuate, you are not only endangering your life, you are also endangering the lives of the first responders who are going in to rescue you,” he said. “This is a serious and dangerous storm.”
Tens of thousands of people along the coast in Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut and other threatened areas were also under orders to clear out because of the danger of as much as a foot of rain, punishing winds of 80 mph or higher and a potentially deadly wall of water 4 to 11 feet high. Communities opened shelters across the region.
Sandy was headed north from the Caribbean, where it left nearly five dozen people dead.
Forecasters had warned that the resulting megastorm could wreak havoc over 800 miles from the East Coast to the Great Lakes. Parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and North Carolina could get snow — 2 feet or more in places.
The danger was hardly limited to coastal areas, with forecasters worried about inland flooding. They also warned that the rain could saturate the ground, causing trees to topple onto power lines and cause blackouts that could last for several days.
States of emergency were declared from North Carolina, where gusty winds whipped steady rain, to Connecticut. Delaware ordered 50,000 people in coastal communities to clear out by 8 p.m. Sunday.
Sandy was at Category 1 strength, packing 75 mph winds, about 270 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras, N.C., and moving northeast at 14 mph as of 2 p.m. on October 28, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was about 575 miles south of New York City. But the storm was so big that forecasters could not say with any certainty which areas would get the worst of it.
Amtrak began canceling train service Saturday night to parts of the East Coast, including between Washington and New York. Airlines started moving planes out of airports to avoid damage and added Sunday flights out of New York and Washington in preparation for flight cancellations on Monday.
The Virginia National Guard was authorized to call up to 500 troops for debris removal and road-clearing, while homeowners stacked sandbags at their front doors in coastal towns.
In Arlington, just outside Washington, D.C., a few shoppers strolled in and out of a supermarket. Cathy Davis said the supermarket was sold out of the water she wanted to purchase, but she wasn’t doing much else to prepare. She figured she would bring her outdoor furniture inside later in the day, and might make some chili.
She said the storm did lead her to decide against decorating for Halloween.
“I was like, ‘Eh, it will just be blown away anyway,’” she said. “What’s the point?”
President Barack Obama was monitoring the storm and working with state and locals governments to make sure they get the resources needed to prepare, administration officials said.
The storm forced the presidential campaign to juggle schedules. Mitt Romney scrapped plans to campaign Sunday in Virginia and switched his schedule for the day to Ohio. First lady Michelle Obama canceled an appearance in New Hampshire for Tuesday, and Obama moved a Monday departure for Florida to Sunday night to beat the storm. He also canceled appearances in northern Virginia on Monday and Colorado on Tuesday.
Breed reported from Raleigh, N.C. Contributing to this report were AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington; Emery Dalesio in Nags Head, N.C.; Verena Dobnik, Karen Matthews and Samantha Bomkamp in New York; Randall Chase in Lewes, Del.; Dave Dishneau in Wilmington, Del.; Jessica Gresko in Arlington, Va.; and Nancy Benac in Washington.
October 25, 2012
The right to vote is a sacred honor, right and responsibility that so many African Americans have fought and died for. We must honor the memory and remember the pain sacrifice and wisdom of their efforts. The Los Angeles Sentinel encourages everyone to exercise this right to vote.
We have suggested a slate of candidates who we believe will represent the best interest of the community and we urge you to support them. They represent the ideals, values and leadership that will best serve our community in achieving the quality of life that we continually strive for, not only for this generation, but also for generations to come.
Los Angeles Sentinel Candidates for 2012
MAXINE WATERS (43)
LAURA RICHARDSON (44)
KAREN BASS (37)
Members of the State Assembly
CHERYL BROWN (47)
ISADORE HALL (64)
CHRIS HOLDEN (41)
STEVEN BRADFORD (62)
HOLLY MITCHELL (54)
REGINALD JONES-SAWYER (59)
PROPOSITIONS & MEASURES
YES on PROPOSITIONS: 30, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40
NO on PROPOSITIONS: 31, 32, 33, 38
YES on MEASURES: J, GG, B
NO on PROPOSITIONS: A
By BEN FELLER | Associated Press
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — President Barack Obama said at the start of a 48-hour campaign trip that “trust matters” in a presidential campaign and he has kept the same values throughout his political career.
Obama is seeking to contrast himself with what he considers Republican Mitt Romney’s shifting views.
Obama told voters in Iowa’s Quad Cities on Wednesday that they can take videotape of things he said 10 years ago or 12 years ago and say, quote, “man, this is the same guy.”
Obama says he hasn't finished all the work he and his supporters set out to do in 2008, but says he has fought for people every day.
Iowa is the first stop on a 48-hour trip to key states. The president said: “We’re going to pull an all-nighter. No sleep.”
By ABDI GULED and JASON STRAZIUSO | Associated Press
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The list of murdered Somali journalists keeps growing longer, and no one seems able to stop it.
The death of Ahmed Saakin Farah brought the number to 16 Somali journalists killed this year, most in targeted attacks by gunmen who know there is little chance they will be caught or jailed.
Assailants shot Farah, a 25-year- old reporter for the London-based Universal TV, three times in the head around 9 p.m. Tuesday in the northern region of Somaliland.
"It's a shocking murder, and part of the anti-media campaign," Abdullahi Ahmed Nor, a fellow journalist, said Wednesday. "It was a big loss for us, his friends and family."
Somalia has been one of the most dangerous places to operate as a journalist this year. The irony for journalists is that Mogadishu, on the whole, is far safer than it was when the Islamist extremists, al-Shabab, controlled most of the city from 2007-2011. African Union troops forced al-Shabab out in August 2011, leading to less violence and a general revival of business, the arts and sports.
But a campaign targeting journalists has accelerated this year, and one sad fact seems likely to be fueling the murders: No suspects have been arrested for any of the crimes. Most of the killings have taken place in Mogadishu, but the latest murder, in the northern, semi-independent territory of Somaliland, could be a sign that the scourge of media deaths is spreading.
Killings of journalists during the Mogadishu conflict years was most certainly carried out by al-Shabab in retaliation for stories the group saw as negative, said Tom Rhodes, of the Committee to Protect Journalists. But since 2012, the list of potential killers has come to include business leaders and politicians, he said.
"Everyone knows in Somalia that you can kill a journalist and there will be no repercussions," he said, adding: "The other problem is that some of the perpetrators of these murders may very well be those in authority so they can hide behind their positions."
Though Mogadishu is safer than in years past, and though the government is slowly gaining some strength, the time that a skilled police force and competent judicial system are in operation is far off. The media landscape is blooming, but the killings make clear that some sectors of Somali society do not want a free media. The international community has increased its calls for government officials to stop the attacks and to punish those responsible for previous killings, but no progress has been made.
Mohamed Ibrahim, the secretary of a journalists union in Somalia, believes that most killings are carried out by al-Shabab militants. "And the rest are either politically motivated assassinations or by independent criminals whose aim are all about disrupting the increasing media landscape in Somalia," he said.
The British Ambassador to Somalia, Matt Baugh, and the U.N. representative to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, were among the voices Wednesday pleading with the government to halt the killings.
"Trying to silence the media will have a devastating effect on the nation's vibrant media community. These attacks must stop and the crimes must be fully investigated by the Somali and Somaliland authorities," Mahiga said. "I call on the authorities to bolster their criminal investigation capacity and bring the perpetrators to justice."
Rhodes said the Somali government is too weak to carry out adequate investigations. Members of the government, he said, have admitted as much to him. "Furthermore it's a war situation where many sources are afraid to speak," Rhodes said.
In addition to the 16 deaths, Mahiga said reports indicate that 20 other journalists have been injured in attacks, including Mohamud Tuuryare, a journalist for the Shabelle media network who was shot Sunday and left in critical condition.
Somalia is the No. 2 country in the world, behind only Iraq, for unsolved journalist killings in recent years, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. The following is a list of Somali deaths in 2012:
— Jan. 28: Gunmen kill Hassan Osman Abdi, the director of Shabelle radio in Mogadishu.
— Feb. 28: Gunmen kill Abukar Hassan Mohamoud, the director of Somaliweyn Radio in Mogadishu.
— March 4: Ali Ahmed Abdi, a reporter for Radio Galkayo, was killed in Galkayo in central Somalia
— April 5: Mahad Salad Aden, a reporter with Shabelle radio, was killed in Beledweyne, central Somalia.
— May 2: Farhan Jeemis Abdulle, a reporter with Radio Daljir, was killed in Galkayo.
— May 23: Ahmed Addow Anshur, a producer with Shabelle radio, was killed in Mogadishu.
— July 31: Abdi Jeylani Malaq, a Somali comedian and TV producer, was killed in Mogadishu.
— Aug. 12: Yusuf Ali Osman, a veteran reporter who had been serving as the director of Somalia's Information Ministry. Journalist Mohamud Ali Yare, killed in crossfire after government troops open fire on each other at a sports stadium.
— Sept. 20: Liban Ali Nur, an editor at Somali National TV; Abdisatar Daher Sabriye, a reporter with Radio Mogadishu; and Abdirahman Yasin Ali, the director of Radio Hamar. All three were killed when suicide bombers blew themselves up inside a popular café in Mogadishu.
— Sept. 21: Hassan Yusuf Absuge, Radio Maanta was killed in Mogadishu.
— Sept. 27: The decapitated body of Abdirahman Mohamed Ali, a sportswriter was found north of Mogadishu.
— Sept. 28: Ahmed Abdullahi Fanah, a reporter with the Yemeni news agency SABA, was killed in Mogadishu.
— Oct. 23: Ahmed Saakin Farah killed by gunmen in Somaliland.
Five suburban Chicago men who were wrongfully convicted of murder as teenagers said on Wednesday October 17 that they are suing local and state police, claiming police officers framed them.
The men were sent to prison for the 1991 rape and murder of 14-year-old Cateresa Matthews. They claim Dixmoor police and Illinois State Police coerced false confessions, withheld evidence and fabricated witness testimony.
The two lawsuits claim that DNA evidence has identified a convicted sex offender for the murder who has no connection to the five men originally convicted _ Robert Taylor, Jonathan Barr, James Harden, Shainne Sharp and Robert Veal. The convicted sex offender has not been charged with the murder, according to the lawsuits.
Taylor, Harden and Barr were freed in 2011 after 19 years in prison. Sharp and Veal were released after 10 years of imprisonment.
“We went through a lot,” an emotional Taylor said. “This one incident destroyed so many lives.”
According to the lawsuits, at least one of the three who confessed was beaten by officers and all those who confessed were coerced and illegally taken advantage of by the officers who were under pressure to solve the case. The officers also falsified witness evidence to secure convictions, the lawsuits claim.
The men’s attorney, Flint Taylor, who isn’t related to Robert Taylor, said important questions need to be asked.
“Why do these cases happen? Why do young African-American men go to prison for crimes they did not commit?” he said.
Telephone calls to Dixmoor police and Illinois State Police officials for comment weren't immediately returned. One lawsuit was filed against Dixmoor police, while the other is against the state police. All five men are plaintiffs on both lawsuits.
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