Archive | November 2012

Two killed after bad weather batters Britain

Hundreds of homes have been flooded after storms hit parts of England and Wales, the Environment Agency has said.

It confirmed that 816 houses have been affected after storm weather swept across the country.

A woman has been killed by a falling tree in Exeter when flooding and high winds hit the South West of England on Saturday night and a 70-year-old man died after his car crashed into a swollen river in Cambridgeshire.
Flooding in some parts of Britain have caused two deaths this weekend Photo courtesy of Xerone on Flickr
Two severe flood warnings remain in place for parts of Cornwall, although the situation is said to be improving.

 

There are more than 200 other flood warnings in place across England  including Malmesbury in Wiltshire and Kempsey in Worcestershire

 

The M25 is closed clockwise at the QE2 bridge in Kent because of high winds, and parts of the M50 of Gloucestershire are closed because of flooding.

 

David Cameron said on Twitter there were “shocking scenes of flooding in Cornwall and around the country”.

 

The prime minister’s tweet also said the government “will help ensure everything is being done to help”.

 

 

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Church in turmoil after Synod says no to women bishops

The next Archbishop of Canterbury Rev Justin Welby has called the rejection of women bishops a “very grim day”, as bishops prepare for an emergency meeting on the issue.

The ordination of women bishops in the Church of England was narrowly rejected by its ruling general synod on Tuesday.
The Church of England has said no to women bishops Photo courtesy of Kristina Krug on Flickr

Critics have said the change would not bring unity to the Church whilst some Synod members were adamant that the teachings of the bible are clear and against female bishops.

The proposed legislation paving the way for women bishops needed to gain two-thirds majority support in each of the synod’s three houses – bishops, clergy and laity – but fell short by six votes in the House of Laity. While 324 synod members voted for women bishops, Church voting rules mean 122 votes against were enough to block it.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has said: “the Church of England has “lost a measure of credibility” after rejecting the introduction of women bishops.”

The Most Reverend Rowan Williams told the ruling general synod that the Church could be seen as “wilfully blind” to modern trends and priorities.

It will be years before there is another vote and meantime the house of bishops are in London this morning discussing the consequences of the decision.

Push for ceasefire in Gaza Israel conflict

Violence continues in Gaza after an explosion on a bus in Israel’s commercial capital Tel Aviv, injured 10 people.

Emergency services say five of the wounded in the bus explosion are in a serious or moderate condition.

The bus was reportedly passing the military headquarters in the city at the time in what police are calling a “terrorist attack”.

A Gaza citizen Photo courtesy of Trey Ratclif on Flickr

Hamas reportedly “bless the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres… in Gaza”

The incident comes as Israel continued its strikes on Gaza, including a key compound of the Hamas government, and militants fired more rockets at Israel.

Hillary Clinton is currently meeting with Israeli leaders to discuss a peace process and will visit the West Bank and Cairo.
Palestinian sources had suggested a truce would be announced on Tuesday, but Israel said no deal was struck.
Some 136 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed since the flare-up began eight days ago, officials say.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also visiting leaders in the region trying to cement a ceasefire.

Wall Street shuts as storm tempers North

The nation’s two biggest trading platforms, the New York stock exchange  and the Nasdaq stock market  have shut down today amid severe storm warnings from Hurricane Sandy. The US stock exchange will be closed Monday and possibly Tuesday while the National Hurricane Center monitors the storm’s trajectory.

The New York stock exchange closes for three days due to flooding after the hurricane Photo courtesy of Alex E. Proimos

This is the first time that trade has halted in all US stocks since the four days following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

New york is one of the major cities in Hurricane Sandy’s path and low lying areas of the city could see serious flooding, including the financial districts and Wall Street.

The New York stock exchange has said it will close till Wednesday but will continue electronic transactions.

The storm has triggered some of America’s biggest financial exchanges and bankers to go into emergency mode, warning their traders and employees to stay at home.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the world’s largest investment bank, told all but essential employees to work remotely. Outside its world headquarters in New York, on West Street near an evacuation zone, barricades were being installed to protect against potential surging waters.

Meanwhile, residents in New York have been emptying supermarket shelves and stocking up on batteries and tinned food in panic of the impending storm.

President Obama has made an announcement telling populations of affected areas to take warnings seriously and listen to state and local elected officials.

After promising to boost the US economy upon his re-election, the President’s campaign could potentially be affected by closing Wall Street, and how he handles the events over the next few days could determine the results.

Hispanic voters determine election?

The Hispanic population of the US is one of the largest minorities in the country and could determine the outcome of the 2012 US election.

Since they passed a significant demographic milestone of 50 million people, or 16.3% of the entire American population, Latinos have become a more and more significant minority group whose votes the candidates are keen to win.

President Obama and wife Michelle Obama Photo courtesy of Joshua Wanyama on Flickr

Belinda Reyes, professor of Latin Studies at San Francisco State University told the BBC, “When the white vote is very divided, other ethnic groups become key to deciding the outcome. This election will probably be defined by who secures a few votes in the middle – the votes of those people who have still not decided who to vote for.”

According to the 2010 US Census Bureau data, between 2000 and 2010, the Latino population in the US increased by 43%, four times the growth of the overall population. This means that this minority of voters is becoming less of a minority and more important for candidates to get on side with, many of which reside in the swing states.

With two days left to Election Day, President Obama has decided to target Hispanic voters in key states that traditionally have voted democrat in the past. In a recent 48-hour campaign effort, he made a tour to the basement of the Bellagio hotel in swing state Nevada’s Las Vegas.

He was not there to gamble on the casino floor but headed straight to the workers cafeteria to take a chance on the 8,000 people working beneath the glittering floors.

He specifically targeted Democratic union members and Hispanics who fill the service-trade ranks, and who have boosted his party’s fortunes in Nevada in recent elections.

“Don’t wait to vote. You have got to go and cash in your chips now,” Obama told the cheering crowd of cooks, cleaners, and card dealers.

Every month 50,000 young Latinos turn 18. Since the last presidential election in 2008, there are 2,400,000 eligible first time voters. The Hispanic youth of the US is therefore also a growing population of eligible voters to be considered.

Despite Republicans not having the best record with the Latino vote, Romney has not given up on Hispanic voters. In fact, he, too, has targeted them across the country.

He has dispatched his Spanish-speaking son, Craig, to campaign on his behalf in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada and has ditched his primary campaign immigration rhetoric about encouraging “self-deportation”.

An Oct. 29 poll by Latino ­Decisions, which tracks the ­Hispanic vote, found that President Obama had the support of 73 percent of all ­Latino registered voters nationally, compared with 21 percent for Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

The 52-point gap matched the largest difference in Latino Decisions surveys this year.