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The Week That Was: The Calm After the Storm

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They say preparation is everything, but Mother Nature can always be relied upon to upend even the most reliable of human adages.

Superstorm Sandy might have been detected early, talked about in advance ad nauseam and an entire coast primed for her in earnest, but despite it all, the results were as unpredictable as any natural disaster.

At the very least there were hundreds of frustrated NYC marathon runners holed up in Manhattan hotels, with hamstrings primed this weekend. More importantly an entire presidential election, maybe even a country's future, hangs in Sandy's balance.

But those are mere niggles in stark comparison to the harsh reality of Sandy's legacy, the lives lost, the communities devastated and the thousands whose livelihoods have been destroyed.

However, as anyone who lived in an area affected by the riots in London last summer will know, sometimes the worst can bring out the very best in people. And so New York City, along with the many other areas along America's East Coast and the Caribbean islands, rose to the challenge this past week. From the closed cafes which set up tables and power-sockets outside their boarded-up windows to help residents communicate with the outside world, to the many volunteers handing out food to those unable to evacuate the storm's quick-advancing path, differences were quickly put aside to fight back against the devastation.

Not that everything has been as positive as some of the news reports would have us believe. As HuffPost blogger Lucy Robinson told us in her eyewitness blog post 'New York Pre-Sandy: A Tale of Two Cities', before the superstorm struck, it was all very well telling people they were putting the emergency services' lives at risk if they didn't evacuate, but for many without the money or resources to do so, it wouldn't matter how serious the threat was. She logged on again to her own website yesterday to update us, and although there were some positives to report - young volunteers turning out to lend a hand - it seems there the two cities divide hasn't been overturned to quite the extent we might have expected. In Midtown and Uptown New York, life is quickly going back to normal, while in the other districts hundreds are still without basic amenities.

You can't of course mention Sandy without talking about the US presidential election. By putting partisan politics to the side for just a few days and acting as the President his country so clearly wants, Obama has enjoyed a bump in the polls that has brought him, if not into a convincing lead, at least into a position where the outcome is too close to call.

That might not be enough to keep the keys to the White House if the likes of Rupert Murdoch have anything to do with it.

The News Corp CEO took to Twitter on Saturday to demand that New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie, declare for Mitt Romney or take the blame for 'the next four dire years'. The outburst came after Christie and Obama used the presidential helicopter to tour New Jersey by air and see the devastating effects of the storm.

To Christie's great credit, with his state in crisis, he has declared himself uninterested in presidential politics. He is likely to be in the minority this week.

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