East Coast states from North Carolina to New York declared states of emergency as Hurricane Sandy moves north after killing 41 people in the Caribbean. Numerous power outages that could last until election day are possible in the New England area. The storm is expected to make landfall between Long Island and Ocean City, Maryland early Tuesday morning.
Economic growth picked up in the third quarter as consumer spending offset cutbacks in investment by businesses. Worries of an impending fiscal cliff set to drain about 600 billion dollars from the economy hampered business spending, which dropped 1.3 percent in the third quarter. GDP expanded at a two percent annual rate as consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity, grew two percent.
A car bomb exploded in Damascus on Friday breaking a temporary truce in the Syrian conflict. State television reported that the car bomb killed five people and wounded 32. The Syrian military responded to attacks by insurgents, following an announcement that it would cease military activity but still react to rebel actions during a four-day Muslim religious holiday.
Police in Belgium are investigating the murder of Nicholas Mockford, a British oil executive for ExxonMobil who was shot in Brussels. Mockford and his wife left a restaurant at about 10 pm and crossed the street when an assailant hit Mockford’s wife several times trying to steal her bag. A second attacker then fired three shots at Mockford who died at the scene. Authorities are investigating the case from multiple angles and family members said they believe Mockford may have been the victim of a professional hit.
Sudan blamed Israel for an explosion at an arms factory in Khartoum that killed two people on Wednesday. Sudan has blamed Israel for similar explosions in the past, but Israel has refused to comment. The explosion at the Yarmouk Military Industrial Complex sent ammunition flying through the air, damaged nearby buildings and caused panic in the area. Officials showed a video from the site revealing a huge crater and what appeared to be a rocket lying on the ground.
Since the start of the child sex abuse scandal regarding the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), 300 have victims told police they were abused by BBC TV host Jimmy Savile. Savile hosted TV shows, worked for charities, and was awarded a knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. He was a British celebrity. Savile died last year, but the BBC has been the focus of this scandal as new allegations were made against nine other BBC staff members. The BBC is central to British culture, with even Prime Minister David Cameron weighing in. He said, “These allegations do leave many institutions, perhaps particularly the BBC, with serious questions to answer.”
Students at Rice University in Texas will be able to take a class called “Scandinavian Fantasy Worlds: Old Norse Sagas and Skyrim.” According to instructor Donna Beth Ellard, the course will include playing certain quests of the popular game “The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim” for homework. Ellard is part of a growing number of college instructors who are using games as effective teaching tools in college-level coursework.
The private Dragon space capsule is set to return to earth on Sunday, wrapping up the first ever commercial cargo spaceflight to the International Space Station. The Dragon capsule was built by SpaceX. Dragon is bringing 1673 pounds of cargo back to earth including 866 pounds of scientific research gear. Dragon should splashdown in the Pacific Ocean off the California coast at 3:20 pm where SpaceX personnel will retrieve it with a crane-equipped boat.