RSS
10 things you need to know today: November 5, 2012
The presidential campaigns come to a close, Sandy leaves behind a housing crisis, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion
 
Obama arrives for a campaign rally in State Capitol Square on Nov. 4 in Concord, N.H.
Obama arrives for a campaign rally in State Capitol Square on Nov. 4 in Concord, N.H.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

1. OBAMA, ROMNEY MAKE FINAL DASH
President Obama and his GOP rival, Mitt Romney, and their running mates are wrapping up 17 months of campaigning on Monday, with a frenzied final tour of eight critical states on the day before Election Day. A pair of polls over the final weekend of the $3 billion battle for the presidency showed Obama finishing with an uptick of momentum, regaining a narrow lead nationally. A third poll, by CNN, showed the candidates tied, each with 49 percent support. Obama, however, also is clinging to a narrow but significant edge in a handful of swing states expected to decide Tuesday's election. Political analysts said the final round of polling suggested that Romney's path to victory was getting narrower, although Romney aide Ed Gillespie said the GOP nominee was suddenly competitive in Pennsylvania, long presumed to be in Obama's camp, so his electoral map had "expanded." [Washington Post]
………………………………………………………………………………

2. NEW YORK FACES KATRINA-SCALE HOUSING CRISIS
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, warned on Sunday that Hurricane Sandy had left the city facing a housing crisis that could be comparable to the one New Orleans suffered after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As many as 40,000 people lost their homes in the storms, or were at least hit with damage that would keep them from returning for months. FEMA director Craig Fugate said 86,000 households in the New York area have registered for federal disaster assistance. Some of the city's biggest housing developments will be "out of commission for a very long time," Bloomberg said. The sobering news came as another storm — a powerful nor'easter — headed toward parts of the country devastated by last week's superstorm, and as temperatures in New York and New Jersey plunged and 2 million people were still without power. [Wall Street Journal]
………………………………………………………………………………

3. CHINA SHAKES UP MILITARY LEADERSHIP
China completed a shake-up of its top military leaders on Sunday. President Hu Jintao oversaw the promotion of generals Fan Changlong and Xu Qiliang as vice chairmen of the influential 12-member Central Military Commission. Hu is slated to step down Thursday in a once-in-a-decade power shuffle, but China experts said his selection of a second-tier of military leaders suggests he plans to keep his post as chairman of the country's 2.3-million strong military, the world's largest. "As long as he is the CMC chief," says Willy Lam, a China politics expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, "he will still be the power behind the throne." [Agence France-Presse]
………………………………………………………………………………

4. EGYPT'S COPTS PICK A NEW POPE
Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church selected a bishop from the Nile Delta as its 118th pope. The name of the new leader, Bishop Tawadsros, was drawn by a blindfolded altar boy from a chalice containing the names of finalists. The new pope succeeds Pope Shenouda III, who died in March after leading the Middle East's largest Christian community for four decades. He takes over at a tense time, as Egypt's Copts, who account for 10 percent of the country's 82 million people, confront rising tensions with Muslims after the country's revolution and the election of President Mohamed Morsi, a former leader of the once-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. [Los Angeles Times]
………………………………………………………………………………

5. GREECE PUSHES NEW AUSTERITY MEASURES
The Greek government is presenting a new package of spending cuts and tax hikes on Monday in a bid to get more bailout money from Europe to avoid bankruptcy. The country's parliament is expected to vote on the $17 billion package on Wednesday. Angry citizens have already been staging protests for a week, blaming the austerity measures imposed for the last four years for wiping out a fifth of the country's economy and leaving a quarter of the population without jobs. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

6. TODDLER KILLED BY ZOO ANIMALS
A 2-year-old boy was killed by a pack of African painted dogs on Sunday after he fell 11 feet into the animals' enclosure at the Pittsburgh Zoo. The boy's mother had placed him on a railing so he could see, and he slipped. The animals immediately attacked the child. "It was very horrific," said Lt. Kevin Kraus of the Pittsburgh police. Zookeepers and police were able to call away all but one dog, which police had to shoot. [Associated Press]
………………………………………………………………………………

7. APPLE HANGS ONTO TABLET DOMINANCE
As Apple begins shipping its new iPad mini, the company is holding onto its dominance of the tablet market, according to a new IDC report. Sales of the now-iconic iPad climbed by 26 percent in the last year. Still, Apple's share of the market slipped from 59.7 percent to 50.4 percent, as Samsung, Amazon, Asus (which makes the Google Nexus 7), and other rivals gained some ground. Samsung vaulted into second place with 18.4 percent of the market, thanks to year-to-year growth of 325 percent. [ZDNet]
………………………………………………………………………………

8. HSBC FACES TROUBLE OVER MONEY-LAUNDERING 
HSBC, Europe's largest bank, warned on Monday that it could face criminal charges and has already suffered "considerable reputational damage" over charges by U.S. regulators that it let customers shift possibly illegal money from countries such as Mexico, Iran, the Cayman Islands, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. The company set aside $700 million to cover potential fines for breaching money-laundering rules in Mexico; now it says it has allocated another $800 million, but warns that the penalties might rise significantly higher than $1.5 billion. [Reuters]
………………………………………………………………………………

9. WRECK-IT RALPH CONQUERS THE BOX OFFICE
Disney's latest animated film, Wreck-It Ralph, pulled in $49 million in its first weekend in movie theaters, trouncing the box-office competition in the unofficial launch of the holiday movie season. The 3D film about video-game characters was expected to generate $40 million or so in ticket sales in its debut, but industry analysts say it got a boost from nearly universal glowing reviews and "the nostalgia factor," as parents who grew up playing video games in the '80s and '90s take their kids to theaters to reminisce. [USA Today]
………………………………………………………………………………

10. MAN WITH BIONIC LEG CLIMBS TOWER
A Seattle man who lost a leg three years ago climbed 103 floors to the top of Chicago's Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, on Sunday. Zac Vawter, 31, made the climb as the first public test of his prosthetic right leg, which is the world's first bionic leg controlled by impulses sent by the wearer's brain. He made it to the top in 53 minutes 9 seconds. Vawter called the leg "a dramatic improvement over my normal prosthetic," and said he hoped his accomplishment would "push the boundaries of what the research and the leg is capable of." [CNN]

 

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week