Chatter: 'Super-storm' Sandy devastates eastern US




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Need to know:
At least 16 people are dead and millions without power as the US East Coast wakes up to the morning after Sandy.

"Post-tropical cyclone" Sandy was technically no longer a hurricane by the time she slammed into the mid-Atlantic last night. Someone should try telling her that, because she was acting like one. Her hurricane-force winds put Atlantic City underwater, sent a 13ft surge over Lower Manhattan, felled trees and sent debris flying everywhere from West Virginia to Toronto.

New York state is a "major disaster" zone, the NYC subway is partly flooded, Queens is on fire, one power plant had an explosion, three nuclear plants are on alert, and around six million people have no electricity. And that's only the damage we know about: no doubt more will be discovered throughout the day.

The storm is currently over Pennsylvania and is forecast to head north toward Canada later today. Stay out of its way, stay safe, and find GlobalPost's full Sandy coverage here.

Want to know:
Two NATO troops were killed in Afghanistan
this morning, shot dead by a man wearing Afghan police uniform.

The incident, in southern Helmand province, is still under investigation and the identities of the soldiers have not been released. Most of the forces stationed in Helmand are either British or American.

More than 50 coalition troops have been killed this year in similar "insider" attacks, most recently two American soldiers shot on patrol last week. NATO introduced extra security measures to help prevent the killings; they don't seem to be working.

Dull but important:
Anyone want a banker? Some 10,000 of them are looking for work after UBS announced it was drastically downsizing its investment-banking arm.

The Swiss firm, the worst hit in Europe by the global financial crisis, says the jobs will go from its offices all over the world by the end of the next three years. Those sacked represent roughly a sixth of its total workforce.

UBS, which lost a cool $42 billion betwen 2007 and 2009, says the cuts will save it $3.6 billion. They're also the first step in its program to orient itself away from the risky business of investment banking that put it in the red in the first place.

Just because:
Bahrain has banned all public gatherings, amid a rising tide of demonstrations.

The Interior Ministry said it had sought to respect the right to peaceful protest by permitting limited rallies, but that this "privilege" had been repeatedly "abused" by demonstrators flouting the authorities' regulations and calling for the overthrow of the government. This, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Al Khalifa said, was unacceptable "in any condition."

Now anyone attempting to organize a protest will face unspecified legal action. The last time demonstrations were banned was in March 2011, at the height of calls for political reform. Since then, activists claim, the royal family has quietly led a systematic crackdown on dissent – in which the protest ban is just the latest strike.

Strange but true:
You don't have to skydive from the edge of space to be a daredevil: you could just take your life in your hands by flying on the world's worst airline, North Korea's Air Koryo, which has just opened an online booking service.

You'll have to get to Pyongyang first, of course, since the carrier is banned from flying in European airspace. And don't expect more than three destinations to choose from, all in either China or Russia. (We hear Vladivostok is lovely this time of year.) Oh, and Air Koryo doesn't take credit cards, so be prepared for some funny looks from the bank teller as you ask him/her to perform an international wire transfer to a North Korean account.

All aboard!