Prayer zone for a better, empowering, inspiring, promoting, prospering, progressing and more successful life through Christ Jesus

Posts tagged ‘Northeast’

President Jonathan hand pick National conference list of delegates sparks anger.


 

Even before it begins, the National Conference is generating acrimony – the very ailment it is expected to tackle.

The talk shop to which 492 delegates have been invited is to be inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan next Monday. It will be chaired by a retired Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Idris Lagbo Kutigi.

But the Ogoni in Rivers State, the Itsekiri of Delta State and Pensioners, among others, rejected the list yesterday. They are angry that they have been “sidelined”.

The coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOS) in the Northeast has also rejected the delegates’ list.

Besides, a top official of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said the opposition party might not be keen on filling the two slots allotted it at the conference.

But a former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said the conference should be given the benefit of the doubt to succeed.

He urged President Jonathan not to reduce its outcome and concessions to “mere advisory significances”.

The APC chief, who is a member of the Interim National Executive Committee (NEC), doubted the Federal Government’s sincerity.

He said: “If they are still waiting for the list of delegates from the APC, they may have to wait till eternity. If they are waiting for our list before they start it, then, the conference will not hold. Our opinion and disposition are known. They need to understand where we stand.”

Asked to comment on the participation in the conference of some APC chieftains nominated by state governments and other bodies, he said they are not representing the interest of the opposition party.

“There is no evidence that the conference will solve Nigeria’s problems. As at today, we have no delegates’ list. The people expecting us to send a list are not blind and they are not deaf. Our position is clear,” the official said.

The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) at the weekend wrote the Presidency through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, protesting it exclusion.

The union said: “We are strongly protesting the exclusion of our Union from the National conference, which, if not quickly redressed, would lead to mass protest by pensioners all over Nigeria.

“We humbly call on Your Excellency, to use your good offices to rectify this ugly situation as soon as possible. This issue has been referred to the Nigeria Labour Congress for quick intervention as well.”

In the letter dated March 7, titled: “National Conference Nomination: Letter of Protest”, the NUP National President, Dr. Abel Afolayan, said the six slots that were allotted to retired civil servants were all for the Council of Retired Permanent Secretaries (CORFEPS).

According to the the letter, the NUP should have been consulted as the major stakeholders representing the interest of the entire civil service retirees/ pensioners.

Afolayan added: “Ironically, other related retirees’ associations, such as the military, the police, State Security Service, were all given slots to represent the interests of their members with the exception of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners.

“Regrettably, the presence of the National President of the union at the office of the SGF on the 5th of March, 2014 to protest this oversight was rebuffed by the Permanent Secretary (Special Duties) of the office of the SGF.

“I am writing on behalf of over 1 million pensioners in Nigeria who are members of our union.

We consider it necessary to direct our complaint to the office of the SGF because it is the office charged with the responsibility of compiling the list of the delegates to the National Conference.

“It is on this note that we wish to draw your attention to the Federal Government’s announcement in the media on the release of the list of delegates to the National Conference, which indicated that retired civil servants were given six slots to the National Conference.

“As the only union registered and approved by the Ministry of Labour and Productivity for Nigerian civil pensioners/retirees, it was expected that our union, rather than the association of the retired Federal Permanent Secretaries should nominate delegates to the conference. But to our greatest dismay, we discovered that the union was sidelined.

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) has written to President Jonathan to protest the exclusion of Ogoni from the national conference.

MOSOP, through its President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, in the letter to the President accused the Federal Government of marginalising Ogoni people.

It reiterated that the national conference was set up to address lingering imbalances, injustice and instability occasioned by marginalisation and violation of people’s rights, among other issues.

The umbrella organisation of Ogoni people said: “We have reviewed the published list of delegates (to the national conference) and are shocked that while some ethnic groups in the country are represented by over 40 delegates in some instances, others have no representation whatsoever.

“For us (Ogoni) specifically, in spite of the huge sacrifices we have made in our pioneering struggle for justice in the Niger Delta and democracy in the country as a whole, we are appalled that even out of the list of 15 delegates from the Southsouth, while some ethnic groups in the zone were represented by upwards of five delegates, not even one of our people was considered for inclusion.

“We had thought that the Federal Government’s nominations would help address cases of such obvious omissions, but surprisingly, we found that it suffered the same fate.

“Given the internationally-acknowledged contributions and huge sacrifices of the Ogoni people, under the leadership of MOSOP, to the struggle for democracy, justice, human rights, including indigenous people’s and minority rights, environmental justice and true federalism, we see the exclusion of Ogoni people as another major step in the continuing government policy to malign and oppress the Ogoni people and diminish their huge contributions to nation building.

“This our protest is predicated on our firm belief that any dialogue process to address the injustice of marginalisation cannot succeed, if erected on the shallow foundation of exclusion and that the best way of perpetrating injustice is to exclude those most afflicted by it from discussions aimed at addressing it.

“Our people and others like us have been the barometer by which injustice in Nigeria has over the years been measured and that explains why we have been in the forefront with others to advocate national discourse to address the national question. Our exclusion not only sends a dangerous, even if inadvertent message, but asks important questions about the credibility of the process.”

It declared that Ogoni people and other indigenous/minority communities would not consider themselves bound by whatever decisions that would be reached at the national conference, should the organisation’s protest not be considered.

The Volunteers for Protection of Itsekiri Rights accused Jonathan of “rigging” the list of delegates to achieve a predetermined agenda in favour of his Ijaw kinsmen.

VPIR, in a statement by Robinson Ariyo, Leleji Augustine and Okpeyeghan Toju, National Coordinator, Secretary and Public Relations Officer, said the exclusion of the Itsekiri ethnic group from the original list of delegates was suspicious.

It also faulted the explanation of “anomaly” proffered by the state government for the exclusion of Chief Isaac Jemide, the Itsekiri delegate, saying, “We suggest that it is because in this instance, the selection criteria for the delegates were rigged from inception to favour one ethnic group above every other ethnic group in Nigeria.”

It said the assertion was buttressed by The Presidency’s presentation of an delegate in each of the categories, stressing that other ethnic groups must also vet the list properly to ensure that the agenda of a group is not imposed on Nigerians.

“With the conspiracy to exclude the Itsekiris from participating in this conference and the fact that over 20 delegates of Ijaw ethnic extraction are on board, Nigerians need to revisit the set of criteria finally chosen by the Presidency to make this possible,” the statement added.

The Itsekiri group said the hoopla generated by the exclusion of their kinsmen and other ethnic groups from the list of delegates justified initial calls that selection of delegates be done along the lines of ethnic nationalities as suggested by constitutional lawyer, Prof. Ben Nwabueze.

They claimed that the decision not to make selection on ethnic line was to “guarantee that Ijaw have the well over 20 slots which they now have. While the Itsekiris have none, Isokos and Urhobos have only about three jointly.

“Now that the Presidency has gone ahead to execute its strategy of lopsided representation of delegates to suit the President’s ethnic group, we call on all other ethnic groups in Nigeria to peruse the list of delegates against the alleged criteria and determine how much each has been cheated in this scheme before we proceed any further with the conference.

Secretary of the Coalition of the Northeast Civil Societies, Alhaji Baba Shehu told reporters in Damaturu yesterday that the conference is a jamboree of fraudulent and selfish government agents without the full representation of the people at the local level.

Alhaji Shehu noted that 25 CSOs in the region met and nominated four delegates but the list was thrown into the dust bin by the Federal Government.

“We the Civil Society Organisations in the Northeast receive the news of the delegates of the CSOs in our region with a rude shock.

“The list as released by the Federal Government is completely strange from the criteria and procedure of selection of the delegates as earlier directed.

“Apart from our complete ignorance of the names of delegates on the list, we are also noticed that the region has been short-changed by two delegates. Instead of the four names that we forwarded after our meeting on the 12/02/2014, none of the names came out only for us to see just two strange names on the list.

“We make bold to say that the Northeast more than any other region in this country at the moment needs a more true representation at this conference to discussion its problems. It is rather unfortunate that some people would sit in Abuja and make a decision on such a sensitive matter of this nature.”

Olanipekun said no constitution disallows President Jonathan from organising a National Conference, noting that “sovereignty resides in and with the people.”

The former chair of the University of Ibadan Governing council explained that the NBA had long been in the struggle for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC) since the 1980s under the leadership of Chief Alao Aka-Bashorun.

“Whether it is National Conference or Sovereign National Conference, Nigerians must start from somewhere. We have to cross-fertilise ideas on how best to run the country, whether the Presidential system should continue or not. We have to go there and listen to discussion”.

He said: “Are we saying the maiming and killing of innocent Nigerians presently in some parts of the country should not be discussed? Are we saying these human lives have no meaning to us?, he queried”.

“It is the conference that would determine the type of constitution and system of government that would be operated in Nigeria. It is the conference that will give us a groundrum and not to advise Mr President”, Olanipekun said.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Advertisements

Insecurity Northern agenda, N2b Biafra money; N2b inadequate for Northeast’s security – Nyako.


Nyako

Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako yesterday decried the N2 billion Federal Government’s proposed budget for security in the Northeast.The region has been facing the Boko Haram insurgency for over four years.He said it was appalling that the Federal Government could not increase the budget when it proposed more than the amount on less important things.Nyako, who addressed reporters in Yola noted that the N2 billion budget proposal showed the unserious stance of the Goodluck Jonathan administration to tackling security in the region.President Jonathan, on December 3 in Gombe, announced that his administration would provide a special intervention package for the Northeast to stimulate it’s economy, following the destruction of property and residents livelihood.It was learnt that in the 2014 budget the Federal Government provided N2 billion under ‘Service-Wide Vote’ as “counterpart funding” for the Northeast.The use of ‘counterpart funding’ shows that the programme would be jointly funded with the six states in the zone.Nyako said the budget was “grossly inadequate” to tackle the security and sundry challenges confronting the zone.The governor urged the Federal Government to increase the proposed budget.He noted that if the central government could give ‘’Nollywood’’ a N3 billion stimulus package, the proposed security budget to fight Boko Haram in the Northeast was “not encouraging or engendering confidence.”Nyako noted that since 2011, the Adamawa State had spent billions to support security forces in the state.He said: “As far as we are concerned, N2 billion for six states is inadequate. Commerce and agriculture have been seriously affected; so many people have lost their livelihood and shelter.“The issue is about development of infrastructure. We have the worst roads; no electricity…. If the Presidency is serious, these issues must be considered and we expect that before the release of any fund, an outline should be given to know the areas of intervention and who the beneficiaries are.”The governor objected to the proposed counterpart funding of security

matters by states and local governments.According to him, the two tiers were already funding security operations, which the Federal Government should be handling.Also, the Northeast Vice Chairman of the All Progressives Change (APC) Dr Umar Duhu said the amount was inadequate and unacceptable.Duhu said the proposed N2 billion “came as a shock and disappointment to many of us from the Northeast.”

Source: Radio Biafra.

This Is What It Looks Like in Boston Right Now.


Of all the major northeastern cities, Boston got the worst of the storm. A car ban has been in effect since yesterday evening while nearly two feet of snow fell in some areas. But a Boston covered in snow and without any traffic sure brings in some amazing pictures.

RELATED: If You Live in the Northeast, It’s Snowed a Lot and You Might Not Have Power

Around 400,000 are still without power while the city, and state, try to recover from the effects of one of the biggest storms in the state’s history. There was one reported casualty: a boy who had been helping shovel out his driveway sat in a running car to stay warm and died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Logan airport recorded nearly 25 inches of snowfall, making this the 5th highest recorded snowfall total in its history. They even canceled tonight’s Bruins game.

RELATED: How to Get Ready for the Nemo Blizzard, the Internet Way

It all started last night. The high winds and heavy snow contributed to this Reuters picture, which ended up on the front page of The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post andthe Washington Post:

RELATED: The Best Ways to Track the Big Blizzard

At first the storm gave way to some pretty beautiful landscape shots, like this one of Beacon street:

RELATED: Occupy Boston Protesters Got Married Instead of Evicted

Or this one, of Commonwealth Avenue:

But then by morning, weary shovelers were pretty tired of all the snow. You can only see the cars on this Beacon Hill street because their mirrors are showing:

A dog walker came along the same street eventually. Their feet seems to be level with the cars’ doorhandles:

You have to dig out the world before you can dig out your car, though:

This person was brave enough to head out into the cold, albeit covered from head-to-toe with a lotta layers on:

And despite the car ban, some people still need to get around. It just means they need to switch to alternative transportation methods like this:

Or a classical storm transportation method like this:

Though the human chariot is our favorite:

This person decided to watch the rest of the crazy people from the safety of a coffee shop:

And if you do have to go out today, do remember to bundle up tight:

On the city’s south side, the scenes captured in these Associated Press photos are even scarier. There used to be cars on this street. You can barely see them now; there are only snow drifts:

This is what it’s like trying to dig out:

Or try another angle, one where you can see how far up the drifts go: well over this guy’s head, and the rest of the snow is up to his chest:

This person was thinking about going outside, but then they said, “NOPE.”

Heed their advice. (Unless you have a sled.)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Connor Simpson | The Atlantic Wire

Cold hangs on as wintry storm takes aim at Northeast commute.


RELATED CONTENT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Frozen cash machines and canceled classes marked another day of a cold snap gripping large swaths of the United States on Friday, with a winter storm threatening the Northeast’s evening commute.

A rapidly moving storm glazed the Midwest and South and headed east, threatening to bring snow and ice to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast for the evening rush hour, forecasters said.

“It’s the type of conditions that cause extreme travel nightmares because things just get so slippery,” said meteorologist Evan Myers on Accuweather.com.

Because the storm is dumping ice and no more than an inch of snow, it was difficult for plows to clear the roadways, he said.

“It’s so cold out that all the anti-skids and things that they use on a highway (are) really not very effective,” the meteorologist said.

In upstate New York, authorities considered charging a father who left his 1-year-old son strapped in a car seat for 8 hours while he went to work on Thursday, when temperatures never got above 15 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius).

He had forgotten to drop the child at day care and became aware of the error when his wife called to ask about the child, said Lieutenant Robert Winn of the Colonie Police Department.

“Luckily the car was parked in a spot that received sunlight through the day,” said Winn, noting the child was examined at a local hospital and released.

After a week of frigid temperatures in New York City, chilled residents seeking cash for a warming cup of hot cocoa were frustrated to find their assets frozen as some automated teller machines stopped working in the cold.

In Indiana, ice-slickened roadways were blamed for more than 50 crashes, and sections of Interstates 69 and 64 were shut because of accidents, Indiana State Police said.

Treacherous travel conditions in Tennessee, caused by freezing rain, caused pileups on roads and led to canceled flights at Nashville airport. Classes at most schools in the middle of the state were closed or delayed.

In North Carolina, public schools announced early closures in anticipation of worsening weather conditions.

Forecasters said the cold would continue on Saturday and temperatures would start creeping up on Sunday.

(Additional reporting by Tim Ghianni in Tennessee, Susan Guyett in Indiana, Colleen Jenkins in North Carolina; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sofina Mirza-Reid)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Barbara Goldberg | Reuters

Storm rakes half of nation; Arkansas still dark.


RELATED CONTENT

As winter storm blasts eastern half of nation, Arkansas to face power outages into new year

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — As the muted ends of a powerful winter storm that has killed more than a dozen people plodded through the Northeast, many in Arkansas were seeking warmth and shelter against the cold prospect of life without electricity into the new year.

A Christmas Day blizzard dumped more than 15 inches of snow on the state, causing massive damage to power lines that have affected more than 200,000 customers.

With the bleak word from the state’s largest utility that the lights could be out until after the start of the new year, many residents who awoke snowbound Wednesday morning found themselves jamming the city’s hotel rooms by Thursday night.

“I’m coping with hot toddies and peanuts,” said Lynda Johnson, who lined up a series of hotel stays through hotels.com to make it at least through Saturday night. She has already been to the movies — she saw “Django Unchained” — and checked in with neighbors multiple times to see if the lights are back on.

They aren’t.

Deena Brazell spent a night in her car for warmth, though she hadn’t planned it that way.

“Everything in the apartment is electric. I stayed in the apartment the first night. After that, it got cold really quick,” she said. “I went out to charge the phone and fell asleep, then I just decided to stay.”

After the storm’s peak early Wednesday, homes and businesses from border-to-border had lost power. Johnson, and several others, said they were hoping the power would be back on Wednesday after spending Christmas night in the dark. Butut then the president of the state’s largest utility announced that some of the outages would persist at least into New Year‘s Day. Little Rock was among the cities hardest hit.

“We spent the first night at home and turned on the fireplace, but it doesn’t give off a lot of heat,” said Kathy Garner, who sought refuge at her sister and brother-in-law’s house in Maumelle, a Little Rock suburb.

In a typical year, tornadoes bring Arkansas’ worst weather, but the damage is isolated and linemen have a relatively easy time fixing the power grid.

This week’s storm was epic by comparison, and despite the jokes — “In Wisconsin, we call this Tuesday” — as of Thursday night there was more snow on the ground in Little Rock than Milwaukee.

“You run out of money fast,” Johnson said. “The things you had planned to do, you can’t do. You need food, clothing and shelter. Since I’m not home, I have to find someplace for shelter. Then you have to find something to eat.”

The storm system responsible for the misery roared out of the Rockies early Tuesday with blizzard conditions in southwestern Oklahoma and tornadoes along the Gulf Coast.

After sweeping across Arkansas, giving Little Rock its first white Christmas since 1926, it rolled into the Midwest and Northeast before moving on to Canada. Up to 20 inches of snow fell in the Adirondacks of New York; Indianapolis had 7.5 inches, its greatest snowfall in four years; and 4-6 inches fell in and around Concord, N.H.

“I’m going to be shoveling all day, just trying to keep up with the snow, which is impossible,” said Dale Lamprey, clearing the sidewalk outside the legislative office building near the New Hampshire Statehouse.

Nationwide, at least 17 people died because of the ice, snow and wind. Deaths from wind-toppled trees also were reported in Texas and Louisiana, but car crashes caused most of the fatalities.

A Michigan woman who was riding in a car that struck a tree and two people riding in a car that slid across the center line of a road in Arkansas and hit another vehicle.

Two people were killed in Kentucky crashes, a New York man was killed after his pickup truck skidded on an icy road in northwest Pennsylvania, and an Ohio teenager died after losing control of her car and smashing into an oncoming snowplow.

Forty-two students traveling to London and Dublin were stuck in the Nashville, Tenn., airport thanks to poor weather in the Northeast. The frustrated students, from universities in Tennessee and Kentucky, were supposed to leave Wednesday and arrive in London on Thursday.

“It’s a two-week program, so it’s shortened already,” said Joe Woolley, spokesman for the Cooperative Center for Study Abroad.

Farther east, the storm knocked out power to more than 7,000 homes and businesses in Maryland. In New Jersey, gusts of more than 70 mph were recorded along the coast, and the weather service issued a flood warning for some coastal areas. There were about 800 power outages in Vermont, but only a handful in neighboring New Hampshire.

Back in Arkansas, utility workers struggling in freezing temperatures restored power to nearly a third of their customers that lost power during the Christmas storm, but that still meant that more than 135,000 homes and businesses were in the dark as forecasters predicted another round of freezing rain for Friday.

“You just want to be home,” Garner said at her sister’s house. “You just want to be in your own bed. There’s nothing like the comfort of your own home.”

___

Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz in New York; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H.; Chuck Bartels in Little Rock; Travis Loller in Nashville; Ben Nuckols in Washington; Dave Porter in Newark, N.J.; Dave Gram in Montpelier, Vt.; and Janet McMillan in Philadelphia.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Kelly p. Kissel, Associated Press | Associated Press

Storm’s high winds, snow, sleet lash Northeast.


  • Traffic moves in the U.S. 41 By-Pass in Henderson, Ky., Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 as a snow storm moves through the area making travel treacherous. (AP Photo/The Gleaner, Mike Lawrence)

    Enlarge PhotoAssociated Press/The Gleaner, Mike Lawrence – Traffic moves in the U.S. 41 By-Pass in Henderson, Ky., Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 as a snow storm moves through the area making travel treacherous. (AP Photo/The …more 

RELATED CONTENT

A powerful winter storm system that pounded the nation’s midsection, wrecking holiday travel plans and dumping a record snowfall in Arkansas, began lashing the Northeast on Wednesday with high winds, snow and sleet.

The storm, which knocked out power to thousands of utility customersm mainly in Arkansas, was blamed in at least six deaths.

Hundreds of flights were canceled or delayed, scores of motorists got stuck on icy roads or slid into drifts and blizzard warnings were issued amid snowy gusts of 30 mph that blanketed roads and windshields, at times causing whiteout conditions.

“The way I’ve been describing it is as a low-end blizzard, but that’s sort of like saying a small Tyrannosaurus rex,” said John Kwiatkowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.

The system, which spawned Gulf Coast region tornadoes on Christmas Day, pushed through the Upper Ohio Valley and headed into the Northeast Wednesday night. High winds, snow and sleet slickened roads in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut, causing dozens of minor accidents and spinouts. Forecasts called for 12 to 18 inches of snow inland from western New York to Maine into Thursday.

The National Weather Service said early Thursday that snow was falling heavily in Pennsylvania, upstate New York and some New England states. Among the highest snow totals were 2 to five inches in southeastern Massachusetts, 3 to 6 inches in Connecticut, up to a foot in some Pennsylvaniacounties and 10 to 11 inches in some parts of western New York.

The system was expected to taper off into a mix of rain and snow closer to the coast, where little or no accumulation was expected in such cities as Philadelphia, Boston and New York.

The storm left freezing temperatures in its aftermath, and forecasters also said parts of the Southeast from Virginia to Florida would see severe thunderstorms.

Schools on break and workers taking holiday vacations meant that many people could avoid messy commutes, but those who had to travel were implored to avoid it. Snow was blamed for scores of vehicle accidents as far east as Maryland, and about two dozen counties in Indiana and Ohio issued snow emergency travel alerts, urging people to go out on the roads only if necessary.

About 40 vehicles got bogged down trying to make it up a slick hill in central Indiana, and four state snowplows slid off roads as snow fell at the rate of 3 inches an hour in some places.

Two passengers in a car on a sleet-slickened Arkansas highway were killed Wednesday in a head-on collision, and two people, including a 76-year-old Milwaukee woman, were killed Tuesday on Oklahoma highways. Deaths from wind-toppled trees were reported in Texas and Louisiana.

The day after Christmas wasn’t expected to be particularly busy for AAA, but its Cincinnati-area branch had its busiest Wednesday of the year. By mid-afternoon, nearly 400 members had been helped with tows, jump starts and other aid, with calls still coming in, spokesman Mike Mills said.

Jennifer Miller was taking a bus Wednesday from Cincinnati to visit family in Columbus.

“I wish this had come yesterday and was gone today,” she said, struggling with a rolling suitcase and three smaller bags on a slushy sidewalk near the station. “I’m glad I don’t have to drive in this.”

Traffic crawled at 25 mph on Interstate 81 in Maryland, where authorities reported scores of accidents.

“We’re going to try to go down south and get below” the storm, said Richard Power, traveling from home in Levittown, N.Y., to Kentucky with his wife, two children and their beagle, Lucky.

He said they were well on their way until they hit snow in Pennsylvania, then 15-mph traffic on I-81 at Hagerstown, Md.

“We’re going to go as far as we can go. … If it doesn’t get better, we’re going to just get a hotel,” he said.

More than 1,600 flights were canceled, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.com, and some airlines said they would waive change fees. Lengthy delays were reported Wednesday at the three major New York City-area airports, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

In Arkansas, some of the nearly 200,000 people who lost power could be without it for as long as a week because of snapped poles and wires after ice and 10 inches of snow coated power lines, said the state’s largest utility, Entergy Arkansas.

Gov. Mike Beebe, who declared a statewide emergency, sent out National Guard teams, and Humvees transported medical workers and patients. Snow hadn’t fallen in Little Rock on Christmas since 1926, but the capital ended Tuesday with 10.3 inches of it.

Other states also had scattered outages. Duke Energy said it had nearly 300 outages in Indiana, with few left in Ohio by early afternoon after scores were reported in the morning.

As the storm moved east, New England state highway departments were treating roads and getting ready to mobilize with snowfall forecasts of a foot or more.

“People are picking up salt and a lot of shovels today,” said Andy Greenwood, an assistant manager at Aubuchon Hardware in Keene, N.H.

As usual, winter-sports enthusiasts welcomed the snow. At Smiling Hill Farm in Maine, Warren Knight was hoping for enough snow to allow the opening of trails.

“We watch the weather more carefully for cross-country skiing than we do for farming. And we’re pretty diligent about farming. We’re glued to the weather radio,” said Knight, who described the weather at the 500-acre farm in Westbrook as being akin to the prizes in “Cracker Jacks — we don’t know what we’re going to get.”

Behind the storm, Mississippi’s governor declared states of emergency in eight counties with more than 25 people reported injured and 70 homes left damaged.

Cindy Williams stood near a home in McNeill, Miss., where its front had collapsed into a pile of wood and brick, a balcony and the porch ripped apart. Large oak trees were uprooted and winds sheared off treetops in a nearby grove. But she focused instead on the fact that all her family members had escaped harm.

“We are so thankful,” she said. “God took care of us.”

___

Associated Press writers Rick Callahan and Charles Wilson in Indianapolis, Kelly P. Kissel in Little Rock, Ark.; Jim Van Anglen in Mobile, Ala.; Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Miss.; Julie Carr Smyth and Mitch Stacy in Columbus, Ohio; Amanda Lee Myers in Cincinnati; David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md.; Holly Ramer in Concord, N.H.; and David Sharp in Portland, Maine, contributed to this report.

___

Contact Dan Sewell at http://www.twitter.com/dansewell

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By DAN SEWELL | Associated Press

Gasoline prices post biggest fall in nearly 4 years: survey.


NEW YORK (Reuters) – The average U.S. price for a gallon of regular gasoline took its biggest drop since 2008 in the past two weeks, due to lower crude oil prices, a big price drop in pump prices in California and Hurricane Sandy, according to a widely followed survey released on Sunday.

Gasoline prices averaged $3.5454 per gallon on November 2, down 20.75 cents from October 19 when drivers were paying $3.7529 at the pump, Lundberg said.

The decline was the biggest two-week price drop since the survey recorded a 21.9 cents price declineDecember 5, 2008 due to a crash in petroleum demand during the global recession.

Even though many people had to line up for gasoline for hours after Sandy devastated much of the Northeast coast, the storm played a part in the price decline as many would-be consumers were not able to travel as a result, according Trilby Lundberg, editor of the Lundberg Survey.

Lundberg also cited the seasonal dip in demand that typically comes after August.

While demand appeared to be very high for gasoline in New York and New Jersey after the storm, Lundberg said that purchases were down because many people could not get to fuel.

However, supply shortages were not causing an increase in the average price of gasoline, according Lundberg.

“There is a fear among retailers that they will be accused and prosecuted for price gouging if they raise prices enough to prevent running out,” she said, adding that the problems would be unlikely to end soon.

“It’s going to be a long and hard recovery for infrastructure and fuel supply but also for fuel demand,” Lundberg said.

Another reason for the total U.S. price decline in the latest survey is California, the biggest state consumer, where pump prices fell 49 cents in past two weeks after an extreme price increase a month ago because of refinery problems.

The November 2 survey shows that gas prices have fallen a total of 29.21 cents in the last month, Lundberg said.

The highest prices for regular gasoline recorded in the November 2 survey were in San Francisco at $4.05 a gallon, while drivers in Memphis, Tennessee were paying the least at $3.11 per gallon.

(Reporting By Sinead Carew; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

Reuters

Tag Cloud