After leaving 44 people dead in the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy was downgraded to a tropical storm yesterday as it inched toward the US east coast, threatening to wreak havoc on a large slice of the country in the final week of an election campaign.
What has been dubbed “Frankenstorm” was expected to make landfall somewhere between Virginia and Massachusetts during the frenzied final week of campaigning in advance of the Nov. 6 presidential, congressional and local elections.
Concern is mounting that storm damage and power outages could have a major impact on voter turnout, polling station readiness and last-minute campaigning by US President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candiadate Mitt Romney.
US Vice President Joe Biden canceled an appearance yesterday in Virginia Beach to allow officials to focus on storm preparations and Romney did the same.
Forecasters predicted the storm could collide early next week, with a seasonal “nor’easter” weather system that would super-charge it while dragging it west on to land and hitting states such as Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and even inland Ohio.
Before then, Sandy is expected to lumber up the coast as a huge, slow-moving system, while the eastern US braces for huge tidal surges, power outages, inland flooding and even heavy snowfall on high ground far from the coast.
As emergency response teams and frightened families stocked up on essential supplies, meteorologists said Sandy could affect as much as a third of the country, from the Carolinas up to New England and as far inland as Ohio.
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
TARGETED TEXTS: The center’s head said that visitor numbers at scenic spots were greater than expected and people did not do a very good job of social distancing The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday sent two warning text messages to urge people to practice social distancing, especially by avoiding crowded scenic areas. The two messages were sent at 11:55am on the third day of the four-day Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, reminding people about social distancing and hand hygiene to help prevent COVID-19 infection. “When visiting crowded scenic spots during the Tomb Sweeping Day weekend, please keep a social distance of at least 1.5m indoors and 1m outdoors, wear a mask and wash your hands frequently. Please wear a mask and seek immediate medical attention if you are feeling ill
The US National Security Council yesterday thanked Taiwan for its support amid the COVID-19 pandemic following President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) announcement that Taiwan would donate 10 million masks to hard-hit countries. The donation includes 2 million masks to the US on top of the weekly 100,000 announced previously; 7 million to Europe; and 1 million to diplomatic allies, on top of 1 million Taiwan procured for allies from their neighboring countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Wednesday. After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed appreciation for the donations, the US body yesterday wrote its thanks on Twitter. “We