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Nov. 2, 2012 at 10:01 PM
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NYC Marathon canceled, N.J. gas rationed

NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg Friday canceled the New York City Marathon, while Gov. Chris Christie ordered gas to be rationed in 12 New Jersey counties.

Bloomberg said the marathon must be canceled to avoid "a cloud over the race or its participants." He had said the marathon would go on as scheduled Sunday, but critics said it would be a mistake to devote resources to running the marathon that could otherwise be used to help recover from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Friday the fuel shortage in the affected area could endanger public health, safety and welfare in announcing rationing for fuel purchases in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris, Monmouth, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren counties, the (Newark) Star-Ledger reported. Beginning at noon Saturday, vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers can only be filled on odd-numbered days of the month, and even numbers on even days. Plates not ending in a number are to be considered odd and should fill up on odd-number days.

The U.S. Energy Department is releasing its heating oil reserves for the first time in history, beginning with a release of 2 million gallons, CNBC reported. The Defense Department is trucking in 24 million gallons to the area, and federal authorities have lifted restrictions on deliveries by foreign-flagged ships, The New York Times reported. However, those deliveries won't make it to the consumer in big numbers until the floodwaters have receded and power has been restored, NPR said.

Authorities said the U.S. death toll attributed to Hurricane Sandy climbed to at least 97, including 40 in the New York metropolitan area and 13 in New Jersey, 13 in Pennsylvania, 10 in Maryland, four in Connecticut, five in West Virginia, two in Virginia, one in North Carolina and one on the HMS Bounty, CNN reported.

Romney in Midwest, hits Obama on jobs

WEST CHESTER, Ohio, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned Friday in the Midwest, presenting himself as the candidate of change in next week's election.

Delivering a speech in titled "Real Change from Day One," Romney was greeted in West Allis, Wis., by thousands of supporters chanting "four more days," the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. While Wisconsin has not gone to a Republican presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan in 1984, Romney said the state might be the one to put him over the top, USA Today reported. The visit was his first to the state since he selected Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate.

Romney dismissed a Bureau of Labor and Statistics report that said the economy added 171,000 jobs in October. "Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office," Romney said.

Later at a star-studded rally in West Chester, Ohio, Romney told supporters "we're going to take back the White House."

"It's good to be in Ohio and in [House Speaker] John Boehner's hometown," Romney said. "This is the state we have to win." No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio since Abraham Lincoln.

Obama campaign books 3 Ohio stops in 1 day

LIMA, Ohio, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama told supporters in Ohio Republican nominee Mitt Romney is trying to scare auto workers with an ad two U.S. automakers have called false.

Obama attacked a Romney radio ad that accused the administration of selling out Chrysler employees, CNN reported. The ad says the president sold the company to Italians -- the Italian automaker Fiat is now the majority owner -- who plan to move Jeep production from the United States to China.

"I know, you know, we're close to the election, but this isn't a game. These are people's jobs, these are people's lives," Obama said, addressing almost 3,000 people at a rally in Hilliard. "You've got folks who work at a Jeep plant who have been calling their employers, worried, asking is it true, are our jobs being shipped the China? And the reason they're been getting these calls is that Governor Romney is running an ad that says so. It's not true. Everybody knows it's not true. The car companies themselves have been telling Governor Romney to knock it off."

Fiat plans to open a Jeep plant in China but says the vehicles made there will be for sale in China.

Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. have both said Romney's assertion they plan to move U.S. production jobs to China is false.

Obama suspended campaigning for most of the week because of Hurricane Sandy. Romney also stopped campaigning, although he returned to the trail Thursday.

The president also spoke to overflow crowds at high schools in Springfield and Lima, Ohio. The president noted the progress made on the economy in recent months but said more has to be done.

"As long as there is a single American who wants a job and can't find one; as long as there are families who are working harder and harder but falling behind; as long as there's a child somewhere in Lima or anywhere in Ohio, or anywhere in the country who is languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, then our fight goes on," Obama said at Lima Senior High School. "Our work is not yet done."

'Extremists' blamed for Syria killings

DAMASCUS, Syria, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Those responsible for the summary execution of Syrian government soldiers will be tried for the "heinous" act, a rebel commander said Friday.

Hossam al-Sarmani, a spokesman for the Daewood Brigade of the Free Syrian Army, told CNN the men shown on a video posted on the Internet killing those they call "dogs of Assad" are not part of the FSA.

"This execution did take place, and this is the heinous truth," Sarmani told CNN Friday. "We will find them, capture them and hold them in a prison until they can be tried by international law or the new Syrian law, God willing."

Sarmani called those who killed the captured government soldiers "extremists." He said they appeared suddenly Thursday while FSA forces were engaged in combat, killed the unarmed prisoners and then slipped away.

The video attracted the attention of Amnesty International and other rights groups that say it is another instance of both sides in the Syrian conflict committing atrocities, The New York Times reported Thursday.

In the video, 10 prisoners are shown being forced either to lie next to or on top of each other inside a building.

Their captors, anti-government fighters who cannot be identified, are yelling "Allah Akhbar!" ("God is great!") while kicking the prisoners and corralling them into one area before opening fire.

"This shocking footage depicts a potential war crime in progress, and demonstrates an utter disregard for international humanitarian law by the armed group in question," said Ann Harrison, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa program. "We will continue to investigate the incident and once again urge all sides to respect the laws of war and to refrain from torturing, ill-treating or killing their prisoners."

The alleged executions occurred in Idlib province.

No group had admitted carrying out the atrocities, the BBC reported, but it has been alleged that al-Nusra Front, an extremist group, was responsible.

The military kept up its airstrikes across Syria, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting more than 150 people killed in fighting Thursday.

Amnesty International, based in Britain, said more than 36,000 people have been killed since protests against President Bashar Assad began in March 2011.

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