HARTFORD, Conn. — Tempers are snapping as fast as the snow-laden branches that brought down power wires across the Northeast last weekend, with close to 300,000 Connecticut customers still in the dark and the state’s biggest utility warning them not to threaten or harass repair crews.
Angry residents left without heat as temperatures drop to near freezing overnight have been lashing out at Connecticut Light & Power: accosting repair crews, making profane criticisms online and suing. In Simsbury, a hard-hit suburban town of about 25,000 residents, National Guard troops deployed to clear debris have been providing security outside a utility office building.
The October nor’easter knocked out power to more than 3 million homes and businesses across the Northeast, including 830,000 in Connecticut, where outages now exceed those of all other states combined. Connecticut Light & Power has blamed the extent of the devastation partly on overgrown trees in the state, where it says some homeowners and municipalities have resisted the pruning of limbs for reasons including aesthetics.
Attorney: Multiple instances of sexual harassment by Herman Cain
WASHINGTON — An attorney for a former employee of the National Restaurant Association affirmed Friday his client filed a written complaint against Herman Cain in 1999 for “a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances.”
Joel Bennett, whose client is one of two women that lodged written sexual harassment complaints against Cain during his three-year tenure leading the group, did not identify the woman. He said she felt “there is no value of revisiting the matter now or discussing it further publicly or privately. In fact, it is extremely painful to do so.”
Bennett declined to provide specifics of the complaint, but he did reveal that there were multiple incidents “over a period of time at least a month or two” that prompted a monetary settlement, and that the woman was married at the time (and still is today).
Cain has dismissed the sexual harassment complaints — first reported Sunday by Politico — as untrue.
Fed-up consumers planning for ‘Bank Transfer Day’
NEW YORK — A grassroots movement that sprang to life last month is urging bank customers to close their accounts in favor of credit unions by Saturday.
The spirit behind “Bank Transfer Day” caught fire with the Occupy Wall Street protests around the country and had more than 79,000 supporters on its Facebook page as of Friday. The movement has already helped beat back Bank of America’s plan to start charging a $5 debit card fee.
It’s not clear to what extent the banking industry’s about-face on debit card fees will extinguish the anger driving the movement. But many supporters say their actions are about far more than any single complaint.
Meanwhile, Occupy Wall Street protests continued around the country. In Rhode Island, a Providence city councilor was planning Friday to introduce a resolution expressing support for Occupy Providence activists to remain indefinitely at a public park downtown where they have been camping for nearly three weeks. In Oklahoma, 10 Occupy Tulsa protesters were arrested during a protest at a public park.
Opposition says Syrian troops violating Arab League pact by continuing attacks
BEIRUT — Government troops opened fire Friday on demonstrators across Syria, opposition activists charged, killing at least 20 people and raising new questions about the viability of an Arab League-brokered peace pact designed to end the almost 8-month-old conflict.
The opposition called the attacks a violation of the fragile Arab League plan that Syria and other Arab nations agreed to on Wednesday in Cairo.
Despite cold and rain, thousands of protesters in various locales took to the streets after the weekly Muslim prayer to renew calls for the resignation of President Bashar Assad. Opposition activists had urged people to come out Friday to test whether the Syrian government was abiding by the terms of the Arab League-sponsored peace plan.