Gas rationing for New York City area after storm

Updated 11 November 2012
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Gas rationing for New York City area after storm

NEW YORK: New York City started rationing gas as tempers remained short, lines remained long and panic buying continued more than 10 days after a deadly superstorm stunned the infrastructure of America’s largest city.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday the shortages could last another couple of weeks and that only a quarter of the city’s gas stations were open. Some had no power, and others couldn’t get fuel from terminals.
“This is designed to let everybody have a fair chance,” Bloomberg said of the new system, based on even-numbered and odd-numbered license plates, that lets drivers fill up every other day.
However, Bloomberg’s estimate was countered by the Energy Department, which said that more than 70 percent of the city’s stations have gas available for sales.
The gas lines appeared to shrink Friday. “It’s a lot better,” said Manhattan driver Luis Cruz said. “A couple of days ago I waited four hours. They should have done this a long time ago.” The line to his station was just a block and a half long. Before Friday, some lines stretched for a mile (1.6 kilometers) or more.
Superstorm Sandy killed more than 100 people in several states, most of them in New York and New Jersey, and its damage has been estimated at up to $50 billion. That makes it the second most expensive storm in US history, behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama plans to travel to New York on Thursday to view recovery efforts and meet with affected families, local officials and first. Obama visited New Jersey shortly after Sandy hit, but Mayor Bloomberg asked him not come to New York because a presidential visit would complicate recovery efforts in the city.
By Friday, the Red Cross had raised $117 million in donations and pledges for relief work across 10 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The Salvation Army had raised $5 million online and by phone.




Red Cross Senior Vice President Roger Lowe said it would likely be the charity’s largest US effort since Katrina. Salvation Army Major Darryl Leedom said the population density of the Northeast may require a response that surpasses Katrina in the number of people served and resources required.
The Red Cross said it has deployed nearly every emergency response vehicle in its fleet with 5,800 workers and volunteers. It has served more than 3.2 million meals and snacks and provided more than 110,000 shelter stays along with other charities and government agencies.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Thursday that it had started to move several hundred mobile homes into New York and New Jersey for the tens of thousands who have to leave their damaged homes as winter weather arrives.
The Energy Department has said the superstorm also left more people in the dark than any other storm in US history. At the peak, more than 8.5 million homes and businesses across 21 states lost power.
As drivers waited on police-monitored lines for gas, thousands more in the region got their power back for the first time since Sandy came ashore 12 days ago.
Still, nearly 400,000 customers were without power in New Jersey and the New York City area. President Barack Obama, who visited the battered Jersey coast two days after the storm, said he would survey the damage from the storm in New York next week.
An angry New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo blasted the local utilities as unprepared and badly managed.
“It’s unacceptable the longer it goes on because the longer it goes on, people’s suffering is worse,” he said Thursday.
The utilities have said they are dealing with damage unprecedented in its scope.
A new, weaker storm on Wednesday dropped a layer of wet snow and knocked out power to more than 200,000 customers in New York and New Jersey, erasing some of the progress made by utility crews.
The Edison Electric Institute, the industry’s main lobbying group, has called restoring power in Sandy’s wake the “single biggest task the utility industry has ever faced.”


More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

Updated 5 min 22 sec ago
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More than 70 countries commit to combat terror financing

  • Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing
  • The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 70 countries committed Thursday to bolster efforts in the fight against terrorism financing associated with Daesh and Al-Qaeda.
Participants at an international conference in Paris agreed to “fully criminalize” terror financing through effective and proportionate sanctions “even in the absence of a link to a specific terrorist act.”
The two-day event was convened by French President Emmanuel Macron to coordinate efforts to reduce the terror threat in the long-term.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani were all present.
Macron, who has returned to France from a state visit to the United States, is expected to close the conference later with a call for the necessity for multilateral action.
Daniel Lewis, executive secretary of the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, said he is hoping that words will be put into action.
“When we have information — for example the UN list of individuals and entities financing terrorism — we need to make sure measures like asset freezing are implemented fully and quickly,” Lewis told The Associated Press.
Participants called for better information-sharing between intelligence services, law enforcement, financial businesses and the technology industry. They also agreed to improve the traceability of funds going to non-governmental organizations and charity associations.
Participants included countries that have accused each other of funding terrorism, notably in the Arabian Gulf.
France has pushed for international coordination and more transparency in financial transactions. But it has recognized how sensitive the issue is, and saw the conference as a first step for coordinated action.
The French organizers noted that Daesh military defeats on the ground have not prevented the group from pursuing its terrorist activities, along with Al-Qaeda — especially in unstable regions of Afghanistan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Yemen, Egypt and sub-Saharan Africa.
Terror groups don’t only rely on the cash economy — they’re using increasingly hard-to-track tools like prepaid cards, online wallets and crowdfunding operations.
Daesh has also invested in businesses and real estate to ensure its financing. Daesh revenues alone were estimated at $2.5 billion between 2014 and 2016, according to the French president’s office.
Though most of the attacks in Western countries do not cost a lot of money, a French official said terror groups “behave like big organizations” in that it “costs a lot to recruit, train, equip people and spread propaganda.” The official was speaking anonymously under the presidency’s customary practice.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor Francois Molins told FranceInfo radio that Daesh uses micro-financing techniques to collect a great number of small amounts of money.
Work with the financial intelligence unit helped identify 416 people in France who have donated money to Daesh over the last two years, he said.
Money, he said, went to “320 collectors mostly based in Turkey and Lebanon from whom jihadis in Iraq and Syria could receive funds.”
In recent years, the US and other Western nations have encouraged Middle Eastern nations to close off such sources.
However, allegations over extremist funding in part sparked a near-yearlong boycott of Qatar by four Arab states.
Qatar denies funding extremists, though it has faced Western criticism about being lax in enforcing rules.
Participants agreed to hold a similar conference next year in Australia.