NATION â€˘ WORLD â€˘
SUNDAY, JANUARY 12, 2014
African year starts violently
Spill blow to W. Va. capitol CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) â€” On the third day without clean tap water, business owners with empty dining rooms and quiet aisles of merchandise around West Virginiaâ€™s capital were left to wonder how much of an economic hit theyâ€™ll take from a chemical spill. Most visitors have cleared out of Charleston while locals are either staying home or driving out of the area to find somewhere they can get a hot meal or take a hot shower. Orders not to use tap water for much other than flushing toilets mean that the spill is an emergency not just for the environment but also for local businesses. A water company executive said Saturday that it could be days before uncontaminated water is flowing again for about 300,000 people in nine West Virginia counties. The uncertainty means itâ€™s impossible to estimate the economic impact of the spill yet, said the leader of the local chamber of commerce. Virtually every restaurant was dark Saturday,
Members of the West Virginia Army National Guard, along with a member of the Belle Police Department and a volunteer, offload emergency water from a military truck to a forklift as citizens line up for water at the Belle Fire Department, Saturday, in Belle, W.Va. About 300,000 people Saturday entered their third day of not being able to take showers and wash clothes.
unable to use water to prepare food, wash dishes or clean employeesâ€™ hands. Meanwhile, hotels had emptied and foot traffic was down at many retail stores. â€œI havenâ€™t been able to cook anything at home and was hoping they were open,â€? Bill Rogers, 52, said outside a closed Tudorâ€™s Biscuit World in Marmet, just east of Charleston. â€œIt seems like every place is closed. Itâ€™s frustrating. Really frustrating.â€? In downtown Charleston, the Capitol Street row of restaurants and bars were locked up. Amid them, The Consignment Shop was open, but
business was miserable. The second-hand shopâ€™s owner said she relies on customers who come downtown to eat and drink. â€œItâ€™s like a ghost town,â€? Tammy Krepshaw said. â€œI feel really bad for all my neighbors. Itâ€™s sad.â€? The person she doesnâ€™t feel bad for is Freedom Industries President Gary Southern, who told reporters the day before that he was having a long day and quickly wrapped up a news conference on the chemical spill so he could fly out of the area. â€œPeople want answers. They deserve answers,â€? Krepshaw said.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) â€” The death tolls are huge and the individual incidents gruesome. One estimate says nearly 10,000 people have been killed in South Sudan in a month of warfare, while in neighboring Central African Republic combatants in Muslim-vs.-Christian battles have beheaded children. Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a very violent start to 2014, with raging conflicts in South Sudan and Central African Republic, as well as continued violence in Congo, and attacks in Somalia and Kenya. Compared to decades past, Africa and its people are suffering from fewer conflicts today, but several recent outbreaks of violence are cause for concern, said J. Peter Pham, director of the Washington-based think tank Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. The conflicts also lack strong international peacekeeping, he said. â€œPeacekeeping in Africa, whether under the formal
auspices of the United Nations or those of the African Union, suffers today from the same two limitations which they have been burdened with since the very first U.N. peacekeeping mission, the 1960-1964 operation in the Congo (ONUC), namely lack of political will resulting in a weak mandate and lack of adequate forces,â€? he wrote by email. The conflict that broke out in South Sudan on Dec. 15 saw violence radiate across the country as ethnic groups targeted each other. Shortly afterward Uganda dispatched troops and military equipment to aid South Sudanâ€™s central government from breakaway units of that countryâ€™s military. Casie Copeland, South Sudan analyst for the International Crisis Group, said violence in Africa tends to involve other countries and noted a â€œlong history of regional involvement in African conflicts.â€? The U.N. Security Council on Friday, however,
Private email at core of New Jersey traffic scandal cords request last month asking for emails related to the Port Authorityâ€™s decision to close the bridge lanes. The request specifically sought emails between David Wildstein, a Christie-appointed Port Authority official, and employees in the governorâ€™s office. The newspaper received a response from Christieâ€™s office 10 days later, stating that the office â€œreviewed its recordsâ€? but did not find any responsive emails. Weeks later, however, emails similar to what The Record asked for were made public after being obtained under subpoena by state Assembly Democrats. Itâ€™s unclear why the governorâ€™s office didnâ€™t turn over apparently responsive emails from the Yahoo Mail account of Christieâ€™s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly. She used the service to send messages to Wildstein, who ordered the bridge lanes closed. Representatives in Christieâ€™s office did not immediately return messages seeking comment Friday. Public records laws, which can vary widely from state to state, govern how officialsâ€™
documents and correspondence should be stored and released. But those laws largely have been slow to catch up to the digital age. The result creates a gray area for how state and federal employees can use electronic services, such as personal email accounts and phone text messages, to conduct their business. It also creates murkiness for how those records should be disclosed to an inquisitive public. For instance, The Associated Press found last year that some of President Barack Obamaâ€™s political appointees, including Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, used secret, unpublished email accounts at work. Officials said the emails are still searchable under the federal Freedom of Information Act, although the AP was unable to confirm that practice. Christieâ€™s Democratic predecessor, Jon Corzine, had fought to keep secret emails he exchanged with his ex-girlfriend, a former union leader. The stateâ€™s highest court ruled in 2009 he could keep those messages private.
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â€œstrongly discouraged external intervention that would exacerbate the military and political tensions.â€? The U.N. has said more than 1,000 people have died in the South Sudan conflict. But Copeland, after speaking to U.N. workers, aid actors, government officials and combatants, estimates nearly 10,000 have died. Civilians in the Central African Republic â€” a country where violence pits Muslims against Christians â€” have suffered terribly since armed rebels overthrew the president in March 2013. The mostly Muslim fighters were blamed for scores of atrocities after taking power, and inter-communal violence exploded last month leaving more than 1,000 dead in a matter of days. The U.N. childrenâ€™s agency UNICEF says that two children have been beheaded, and that â€œunprecedented levels of violenceâ€? are being carried out on children.
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WASHINGTON (AP) â€” Personal emails at the center of the brewing scandal for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may have remained secret, had the public and press relied solely on the stateâ€™s open records law. Emails disclosed this past week show a top Christie aide asking the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to shut down three lanes on the busy George Washington Bridge, resulting in major backups for days last September. Those emails were leaked to reporters last week, even though one newspaper requested them nearly a month ago, only to be told they didnâ€™t exist. The use of private emails adds Christie, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, to a growing list of administrations that use private email accounts and other digital services to conduct official business. In turn, state and federal officials, regardless of political party, have sidestepped public records laws meant to keep government activities transparent. The Record of Bergen, N.J., said it filed an open-re-
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