eyes on the U.S.

Sandy Set To Clobber Eastern Seaboard



NEW YORK - As day breaks, Hurricane Sandy is bearing down on the east coast of the United States, with schools, stock exchanges, airports, subways and a presidential election on lockdown, as residents and rescue personnel brace for what may be the worst storm in a generation.

Sandy's full force is expected to strike New York City and other major population areas on Monday night. The slow-moving storm is more than 500 miles wide, the largest storm since recording of the size of hurricanes began in 1988—even larger than some that caused billions of dollars of damage, like Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The U.S. National Weather Service site announces that the hurricane will bring a “life-threatening storm surge to the mid-Atlantic coast.” Sandy will affect the seacoast from South Carolina to Maine and its effects will reach hundreds of miles inland. Heavy snows of up to two feet are possible in the mountains of West Virginia.

The storm has already caused billions of dollars in damage in the Caribbean and killed 66 people in Cuba, Jamaica and other places where it has touched down. Sandy is more dangerous than other storms not only because of its size, but because, as the Baltimore Sun explained, “A full moon will drag tides up the shore,” and the storm’s slow progress means more flooding.

Meanwhile, air traffic around the world has already been affected by the “Frankenstorm,” as airports were closed and flights canceled along the entire eastern seaboard, stranding thousands of passengers worldwide, the Los Angeles Times reports. Traffic is not expected to get back to normal until Wednesday at the earliest.

The storm is headed for the most populated region of the United States, right before the U.S. elections next Tuesday. Sixty million people and dozens of large cities will be in the storm’s range, including Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Providence and Boston. Lower Manhattan, which is only about five feet above sea level, was issued a mandatory evacuation warning for low-lying areas (see map here for more detail) and warned that power outages are to be expected.

The city is on “lockdown,” like other cities up and down the east coast, reported the U.K. Independent, with schools, stores, private and government offices, the United Nations headquarters, and the New York Stock Exchange all closed. The subway is closed as workers try to shore up tunnels against flooding with sandbags and dams; the buses have been ordered to stop at 7 p.m. tonight, reports Germany’s Stern.

The Chesapeake Tunnel, connecting the Washington area to Baltimore, reported Monday morning that the water in the tunnel was already more than three feet higher than predicted. A state of emergency was declared in Washington, D.C. John Hopkins University issued a news release saying that computer models based on past hurricanes show that ten million people are likely to lose power.

In the worst-case scenario, which meteorologists hope will be avoided, the storm could combine with the peak of a full-moon high tide at 9 p.m Monday night, and with a nor’easter, a fierce ocean storm from the northeast.

As in most hurricanes, the storm surge, or flooding, is more dangerous than the wind itself. Manhattan’s sea walls, which protect the city, are only five feet above sea level, while the storm surge could go as high as eleven feet, flooding the city’s subway and tunnel system and causing billions of dollars’ worth of damage. In 2011, Hurricane Irene, caused more than $15 billions of damage, killed at least 50 people, and caused power outages that continued in some places for weeks.

The Stratford Patch reported Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy leaving no doubt about his view of the storm: “It is the largest threat to human life that our state has experienced in anyone's lifetime… The last time we saw anything like this was never."

The storm could have a big impact on the election, the Independent points out. “Four of the eight most hotly contested swing states are in the storm's sight: Virginia, North Carolina, New Hampshire and even parts of Ohio.”

*Note: a photograph of the New York skyline that initially appeared in this post appears to have not been a current/authentic image. Sorry about that.

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A Mother In Spain Denied Child Custody Because She Lives In Rural Area

A court in Spain usurps custody of the one-year-old boy living with his mother in the "deep" part of the Galicia region, forced to instead live with his father in the southern city of Marbella, which the judge says is "cosmopolitan" with good schools and medical care. Women's rights groups have taken up the mother's case.

A child in Galician countryside

Laure Gautherin

A Spanish court has ordered the withdrawal of a mother's custody of her one-year-old boy because she is living in the countryside in northwestern Spain, where the judge says the child won't have "opportunities for the proper development of his personality."

The case, reported Monday in La Voz de Galicia, has sparked outrage from a women's rights association but has also set off reactions from politicians of different stripes across the province of Galicia, defending the values of rural life.

Judge María Belén Ureña Carazo, of the family court of Marbella, a city on the southern coast of 141,000 people, has ordered the toddler to stay with father who lives in the city rather than with his mother because she was living in "deep Galicia" where the child would lack opportunities to "grow up in a happy environment."

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - October 25, 2021

Front page of La Voz de Galicia - Monday 25 October, 2021

La Voz de Galicia

Better in a "cosmopolitan" city?

The judge said Marbella, where the father lives, was a "cosmopolitan city" with "a good hospital" as well as "all kinds of schools" and thus provided a better environment for the child to thrive.

The mother has submitted a formal complaint to the General Council of the Judiciary that the family court magistrate had acted with "absolute contempt," her lawyer told La Voz de Galicia.

The mother quickly accumulated support from local politicians and civic organizations. The Clara Campoamor association described the judge's arguments as offensive, intolerable and typical of "an ignorant person who has not traveled much."

The Xunta de Galicia, the regional government, has addressed the case, saying that any place in Galicia meets the conditions to educate a minor. The Socialist party politician Pablo Arangüena tweeted that "it would not hurt part of the judiciary to spend a summer in Galicia."

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