International news briefs

Hurricane Sandy hits Bahamas and East Coast of U.S.

Hurricane Sandy swept through the Bahamas recently and killed two people during its travel through Cuba, Jamaica, and Haiti.

Some schools, airports, and bridges have been closed in the Bahamas as a safety precaution. The storm caused massive flooding on Cuba’s southeast coastline and has moved over 50,000 people from their homes as a precautionary measure.

Warnings have also been issued to southern U.S. as it is expected that Sandy will affect areas of the east coast. Heavy winds and rain have already been lashing out in some southern areas of Florida.

Evacuations in New York City began on Oct. 28, which included the evacuation of 375,000 residents from areas such as Coney Island and Battery Park City. New York mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered mandatory closures of schools for the next day.

The Nov. 6 presidential election is at risk of low voter turnout due to the hurricane.

Failed Syrian cease-fire originally intended for Muslim holiday

The Syrian army agreed to a cease-fire with the intention of lasting four days in conjunction with the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha.

The holiday lasted from Oct. 26 to 29. The cease-fire was originally proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in order to promote a peaceful process thereafter. In a statement previous to the cease-fire, the Syrian armed forces said that the cease-fire would not, however, be applied to any threats made from outside the country.

“Syrian armed forces will, however, reserve the right to reply to terrorists attacks, attempts of armed groups to reinforce or resupply, or attempts to infiltrate from neighbouring countries.”

The cease-fire failed to remain intact when violence erupted on Oct. 28. An estimated 110 individuals were killed during missile and barrel bomb attacks and an air strike in northern Syria.

Obama casts early vote

U.S. President Barack Obama has cast the first vote for the upcoming election in his hometown of Chicago.

Obama is the first president to vote early as he hopes to increase early ballots for this year’s election. As it stands, a national poll suggests that contender Mitt Romney has between 50 to 47 per cent support among estimated voters.

It has been estimated that approximately 7.2 million people have already cast and early ballot. It is also predicted that about 35 per cent of the voters will have already voted by polling day.

DR Congo rebels kill three

Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have killed two rangers and a solider in Congo’s Virunga National Park.

According to park director Emmanuel de Merode, the rangers were being escorted by an armed united when members of the Mai Mai militia ambushed them.
“They came under attack from a quite substantial Mai Mai unit [ . . . ] It was very heavy fire received.”

Five rebels were also killed during the attack in Virunga. More than 130 park rangers have been killed in the park since 1996. The M23 rebel group, one of the groups that has bases in the park, recently allowed tourist visits to resume, as the park is a national tourist attraction.

This year’s rebellion by the M23 group has forced approximately 500,000 people to flee their homes.