Anti-Corruption Activist Targets Indian Company

India’s biggest business group became the latest target of the anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday, when he accused Reliance Industries of colluding with the federal government to profit from a contract to drill for natural gas.

In recent weeks, the activist and his group, India Against Corruption, have made headline news as they leveled allegations of corruption against several high-profile Indian government officials, including former law minister Salman Khursheed, who is now the foreign minister; Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and Nitin Gadkari, the president of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

On Wednesday, Mr. Kejriwal alleged that in 2000 the B.J.P.-led coalition government Reliance Industries, which is led by Mukesh Ambani, favorable terms to extract gas from the Krishna-Godavari Basin off India’s east coast. He also accused the current Congress-led government of r emoving a minister who questioned the contract’s term.

Mr. Kejriwal distributed copies of document that he said showed Reliance Industries had initially agreed to produce the gas at the price of $2.34 per million British thermal units (B.T.U.), with a total investment of $2.39 billion. The memo said that under the profit-sharing terms, if Reliance’s investment increased, the company’s share of gas profits could also increase even if the overall profits fell.

Reliance Industries denied all of Mr. Kejriwal’s accusations. “The statements made by I.A.C. in the press conference today are devoid of any truth or substance whatsoever,” the company said in a statement Wednesday evening. “Irresponsible allegations made by I.A.C. at the behest of vested interests without basic understanding of the complexities of a project of this nature do not merit a response,” the statement said.

B. K. Hariprasad, the Congress Party’s general secretary, also said the charge s were baseless in an interview with NDTV,. “It has become a fashion for India Against Corruption to level some charges on the government and to remain in media limelight,” he said. “This country is run by 1,200 million people and not by Mukesh Ambani.”

Reliance Industries’ operations in the Krishna-Godavai Basin have been complicated. In 2006, Reliance Industries raised its investment in the basin to $ 8.8 billion, which the government approved. In 2007, the natural gas price was increased to $ 4.2 per million B.T.U. Mr. Kejriwal alleges this was done to further benefit the company.

Earlier this year, Reliance Industries asked to raise the gas price again, to $14.20 per million B.T.U, but that request was rejected by Jaipal Reddy, the petroleum minister. Mr. Reddy was one of several officials who were reshuffled by the central government over the weekend. Mr. Kejriwal attributed that move to Mr. Reddy’s refusal to give in to Reliance Industries.

†œThis episode explains the real reasons for the price rise in the country,” said Mr. Kejriwal. “The government seems to be succumbing to illegitimate demands of some powerful corporate in the country.”
He demanded that Reliance Industries’ “blackmailing” should be immediately stopped and that its contract to drill the basin should be canceled.

Image of the Day: Oct. 31

A group of Sikhs at a protest in New Delhi, demanding the arrest of those who carried out the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. The riots were sparked by the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.Altaf Qadri/Associated PressA group of Sikhs at a protest in New Delhi, demanding the arrest of those who carried out the anti-Sikh riots in 1984. The riots were sparked by the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

A Conversation With: Actor-Director Naseeruddin Shah

Naseeruddin Shah.Courtesy of Motley ProductionsNaseeruddin Shah.

The third edition of the Tata Literature Live’s Mumbai LitFest opened Wednesday at the National Center for the Performing Arts. Over five days, the festival offers a mix of panel discussions, book launches, workshops, poetry readings and performances. Participants include the Nobel Prize laureate V. S. Naipaul, the historian Faramerz Dabhoiwala, the psychoanalyst Juliet Mitchell and the journalist Scott Carney.

On Friday evening, the director Naseeruddin Shah will perform a reading of short stories and poems of James Thurber and Vikram Seth. Mr. Shah is widely recognized as one of the finest Indian film and stage actors and directors. He has won numerous film awards during the course of his career, and he has also received the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan civilian awards from the Indian government for his contribution to Indian cinema.

Mr. Shah recently spoke to India Ink about the state of cinema in India, his theater group and his connection with Indian youths.

Q.

In recent years, Mumbai has become host to various festivals in the realm of theater, film, music and the arts. What are your thoughts on the cultural scene in Mumbai today? Do you think the city’s reputation for not being as culturally exciting as Delhi is changing?

A.

I think it’s a complete myth because Mumbai is far more culturally alive than Delhi. On any given evening in Mumbai there will be about 20 different plays in different neighborhoods and different languages. Whereas whenever I visit Delhi I scan the papers and I’m hard pressed to find a single play to watch. There is such a lot happening here in terms of art galleries, music programs, theater festivals — I think Mumbai deserves the title of the cultural capital of India.

The festivals that occur each year are like a gathering of the fraternity of that field, and I think that it is wonderful that literature is being celebrated. I do hope it makes some difference to the younger generation and encourages them to read. Communicating great writing has been part of my aim over the course of my career, and I have often done enactments and readings of writing from the subcontinent. At Literature Live, I’ll be doing a reading of James Thurber and Vikram Seth with a group of three others, including my son and my daughter, which I’m excited about.

Q.

What do you think is the one thing you would like to see change in the Indian cultural scene?

A.

I think if somehow reading could become a part of our culture and upbringing, it would be fantastic. Maybe it will happen in this generation. I feel like the previous generation did not, by and large, read much great writing. I think exposure to great literature makes a huge difference.

Q.

What is your opinion of the state of cinema in India today? Is there a vibrant parallel cinema or art cinema scene?

A.

There is a healthy parallel cinema culture in India, with youngsters attempting to make movies in the language they know and about problems that concern them and issues they understand. I think these films are far superior to the films that were made in the ’70s. We no longer have people sitting in air-conditioned rooms in Mumbai making movies about landless laborers in Bihar. Now people from Bihar are making movies themselves.

I’m very excited by a couple of young filmmakers. There is this young fellow called Qaushik Mukherjee in Kolkata who goes by just Q, who I find really interesting. Also of course Anurag Kashyap and Dibakar Banerjee are doing some fantastic work.

Q.

Is there audience interest in viewing offbeat and art cinema?

A.

I don’t think the audience has changed much — they still want their daily dose of mindless masala. I think that now mainstream cinema has become part of the daily diet, it is accepted and digested, and cannot be done away with. But there is a niche audience for parallel cinema, and for that I am thankful.

Q.

Across all the different avatars you have had as an actor and director on stage, in Bollywood and Hollywood — what would you say has been your favorite? What have you enjoyed the most?

A.

It’s difficult to say, and I’ve enjoyed most of my career. The ones I’ve enjoyed I was good in, and the ones I didn’t enjoy doing, I did not fare very well in. But I would say the t elevision series “Mirza Ghalib” is at the top of the list.

Q.

What has been the most challenging aspect of your work?

A.

I think now the challenge is to try and stay fit and healthy, and somehow find a connect with the youth of today, which is very stimulating. I am very impressed with young people today. I do a lot of teaching at various institutes, and I love interacting with the students there.

Q.

Motley Productions, the Mumbai-based theater company you co-founded with Benjamin Gilani in 1979, has received several accolades and performed in India and abroad over the years. What are your plans for Motley?

A.

My plans as long as I live are to keep it running and keep doing interesting work. I also want to ensure that Motley does not become synonymous with my name, as I want the company to outlive me, so we purposely do a number of productions in wh ich I do not act. There are still a couple of plays in my wish list, and among them is “Saint Joan,” a play by George Bernard Shaw. Outside of that, I am grateful for the support we have received and hope that we are able to do the work we love for a long time.

Q.

What other projects are you working on?

A.

At the moment there are no movies on my plate. I’ve done one movie, “John Day,” which is a vendetta story of an ordinary man driven to murderous acts because of the trauma he experiences. The film has been directed by Ahishor Solomon and produced by K. Asif and Anjum Rizvi, the person who brought out “A Wednesday.” That should be coming out next year.

Tamil Nadu Prepared for Cyclone Nilam, Officials Say

Fishermen at the Kasimedu fishing harbor, prepare for Cyclone Nilam in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on Oct. 31.Nathan G/European Pressphoto AgencyFishermen at the Kasimedu fishing harbor, prepare for Cyclone Nilam in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on Oct. 31.

CHENNAI-Tamil Nadu officials, hoping to avoid a repeat of the destruction caused by Cyclone Thane last year and other recent storms, have prepared extensively for Cyclone Nilam, which is expected to make landfall near the state capital of Chennai early Wednesday evening.

Cyclone Nilam, with winds traveling at 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour, is off the coast of southern India and expected to make landfall at about 6 p.m. Hundreds of people from the region have alrea dy been evacuated.

The cyclone is heading “northwest to cross anywhere between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh,” said Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general of meteorology in Tamil Nadu. He warned that destructive winds and rains unleashed by the cyclone are likely to disrupt daily lives in Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh.

After dozens of people were killed by Cyclone Thane in December 2011, and thousands were forced into emergency shelters, the state decided to bulk up its disaster response, using India’s National Disaster Response Force as a model. In March, the Tamil Nadu government set up a State Disaster Rescue Force, or S.D.R.F., which pledges to handle natural disasters “on a war footing.”

“Tamil Nadu has a long coastline and the state has witnessed many storms over the years,” said M. Jayaraman, joint commissioner for revenue administration for Tamil Nadu. “We have standa rd operating procedures already in force to tackle natural calamities and have also taken extra efforts this time,” he said.

Cyclone Nilam approaches Chennai, Tamil Nadu on Oct. 31.Courtesy of Sangeetha RajeeshCyclone Nilam approaches Chennai, Tamil Nadu on Oct. 31.

Two teams of S.D.R.F. forces, of 35 trained personnel each, have been sent to Mahabalipuram and Cheyyur Taluks in Kancheepuram district, Mr. Jayaraman said. “They are officers trained by the state in disaster risk management and experts in handling situations arising as a result of natural calamities,” he said. Four more teams are on standby for flood-prone coastal districts, he said.

“All district collectors have been alerted, an d flood-prone districts have fire and rescue personnel ready in case the need arises,” he said.

Heavy rains are expected during the next 24 hours in many coastal districts in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. In Tamil Nadu, the most affected districts will be: Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Cuddalore, Pondicherry, Villupuram, Kanchipuram, Chennai, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore and Tiruvallur. In Andhra Pradesh, they are Nellore, Chittoor, Anantapur, Cuddapah and Kurnool.

The ocean is expected to surge about 1 to 1.5 meters (5 feet) over the normal astronomical tide, which is likely to inundate the low-lying areas of the Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu and Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh.

Crops, including paddy, groundnut and maize, in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are likely to be damaged. Fishermen have been warned not to venture into the sea until the storm subsides.

In Kancheep uram district, seven teams formed by the district authority are stationed on land and two are patrolling the coastline, said the district collector, L. Sitherasenan. “We have already evacuated 500 people from flood-prone villages, and they are now housed in some of the 19 rescue shelters,” he said. The district has taken cues from past experiences of storms like Thane, he said, and has automatic tree-felling machines and seven ambulances waiting.

The low and vulnerable Cuddalore district has often suffered from natural calamities in Tamil Nadu, recording 486 human fatalities out of 3,925 in the state after the 2004 tsunami. The district collector, Rajendra Ratnoo, said that because of that past experience, the district is now well-equipped to handle Cyclone Nilam. “We have ensured that manpower and material are on alert and special teams are stationed in vulnerable blocks,” he said.

Cuddalore has mobile tree-cutting machinery, sandbags and casuarinas tree s waiting, to prevent flood waters from entering villages. Rescue shelters, food and water are also ready in case of evacuations. “Our priority is to prevent loss of life, and so we have readied a multilayer approach, with all departments working as a team alongside the people,” Mr. Ratnoo said. “We have not evacuated people as yet since the wind is still toward the sea.”

Doing the U.P.A. Shuffle

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a blue turban, with Vice President Hamid Ansari, sixth from left and President Pranab Mukherjee, fifth from left, with the newly sworn-in ministers in New Delhi on Oct. 28.European Pressphoto AgencyPrime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a blue turban, with Vice President Hamid Ansari, sixth from left and President Pranab Mukherjee, fifth from left, with the newly sworn-in ministers in New Delhi on Oct. 28.

India’s most recent cabinet reshuffle, the third since the United Progressive Alliance was re-elected in 2009, had a familiar, head-spinning feel to it.

Once again, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has moved ministers from one massive and fundamental issue that needs serious attention and reform in India, like commerce or roads or petroleum, to another, often completely unrelated, issue.

In the current reshuffle, among other changes, the law minister became the minister of external affairs, and the petroleum minister became the minister for science and technology. In January of 2011, Mr. Singh made the minster for rural development the minister for science and technology and nominated a new law minister and petroleum minister, among other changes.

Political experts say this strategy, of swapping out top lieutenants in rapid succession, is preventing badly needed development from happening in the country.

These “changes appear arbitrary, and don’t have any apparent logic for the efficient functioning of the ministries,” said Neelam Deo, the director of Gateway House, a research institution in Mumbai, who has been the Indian ambassador to Denmark and the Ivory Coast. Ministers are changed for state politics an d political preferences, not their expertise, she said.

As the leadership of the ministry passes from hand to hand, decisions that are made are often myopic, and sometimes even harmful in the long term, critics say. Very often, projects that open with pomp and planning by one minister, who has spent some time understanding a particular sector, are abandoned or reversed by his successor in an attempt to stand out or second-guess why the predecessor was removed.

For many ministers, this reshuffling has been almost constant since the U.P.A. won the last national election.

Take, for instance, Kamal Nath. Since 2009 alone, he has been minister for commerce and industry, minister of road transport and highways, minister for urban development and, as of this past weekend, minister of parliamentary affairs, a politically crucial position given the deadlocked Parliament.

In several of these positions, he started with gusto, only to leave the ministry with goal s unmet. As commerce minister, for example, a role he first took in 2004, Mr. Nath spoke against subsidies for American farmers, pledging to end them in world trade talks, and arguing the point so vigorously that a World Trade Organization meeting was suspended. (Now, Brazil is considered the leading developing nation in that push). As roads minister, he pledged to build 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, of highway a day. (There’s no way that number can be met, his successor said recently.)

Urban development, a key post for a rapidly urbanizing India whose cities lack basic necessities like enough water and proper garbage disposal, is sure to take a back seat to Mr. Nath’s new, additional, post when India’s embittered Parliament gets back in session.

Constant cabinet changes are an inevitable consequence of the instability of coalition politics in a parliamentary democracy like India’s, analysts said. “Where the people’s mandate is fractured and you have a fractured polity, frequent cabinet reshuffle is likely,” says Satish Misra, a senior fellow in politics and governance at the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai.

You have to take into account the political survivability of the government, he said. Otherwise, “we have to ask — would frequent elections be any better for governance?”

Calls and e-mails to Mr. Singh’s spokesman on the topic were not immediately returned.

Another reason for the merry-go-round of ministers is the U.P.A.’s multi-headed decision-making process, say government officials and analysts. While Mr. Singh announces these new appointments, he doesn’t call all the shots. Instead, the Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and sometimes her son, Rahul, are also involved in the process, which can undercut any strategic plan the prime minister may have, they say.

Knowing the reasons behind these reshuffles doesn’t make them any less perplexing.

Jairam Ramesh, the head of the govern ment’s sanitation and water ministry, as well as the rural development ministry, started a nationally recognized campaign against open defecation, a widespread problem in India which is responsible for millions of illnesses and deaths every year. He was unceremoniously yanked out of the position last weekend and replaced by Bharatsinh Solanki, a Congress Party stalwart from the Anand district of Gujarat. (Toilet construction there, incidentally, has seriously lagged stated goals, although Mr. Solanki is not directly involved with the program.)

The railway ministry, on the other hand, which oversees India’s underfunded and dangerously decrepit 40,000-mile railway network, has had six ministers in just over three years, counting Sunday’s newest appointee, Pawan Kumar Bansal.

This revolving door is due, in part, to the ministry’s early assignation to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who has left the U.P.A. But Ms. Banerjee can’t be blamed for all the chan ges. The minister before Mr. Bansal, C.P. Joshi, was in charge of the railways ministry for just two months before the most recent reshuffle, and had started to take some steps toward modernization in that time, including the creation of this real-time map of the trains operating in India. (An aside: Mr. Bansal has no experience with railways, while Mr. Solanki, the new water and toilets minister, came from the railway minister.)

In the worst-case scenario, ministers stop trying, analysts say. Sometimes because ministers “don’t know how long they will remain at one position, they try to be careful not to offend at the party level and allies, so they try not to be too proactive,” Ms. Deo said.

Years of expertise on a subject are suddenly made worthless by these reshuffles, Ms. Deo of Gateway House said. Pallam Raju, for example, was minister of state for seven years in the defense ministry, but he has been moved into the human resources development. “Why is he moved there? What expertise does he have there?” she asked.

Very occasionally, the frequent shuffling can actually work to a minister’s advantage.

Take, for instance, P. Chidambaram, who was named finance minister this summer. His appointment is widely credited with helping to restart the financial reform process, which included an announcement that foreign investment will be allowed in India’s multibrand retail sector.

Mr. Chidambaram should be able to get things done in the finance ministry. After all, it’s the third time in his political career he’s held the position.

On This Day: The Assassination of Indira Gandhi

A screenshot of The New York Times from Nov. 1, 1984.A screenshot of The New York Times from Nov. 1, 1984.

“Strong-willed, autocratic and determined to govern an almost ungovernable nation that seemed always in strife, Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister four times and the dominant figure in India for almost two decades,” Linda Charlton wrote in The New York Times obituary of Ms. Gandhi, who was assassinated on October 31, 1984.

“During her tenure the Government made limited headway against such age-old Indian problems as overpopulation, hunger, caste, inadequate sanitation and chronic religious strife among the majority Hindus, Moslems and other sects,” she wrote. “Her critics charged that her promises to eras e poverty were quixotic and that India’s chronic and severe social problems actually burgeoned during her years of power.” (Read the full obituary here.)

Of her death, New Delhi correspondent William K. Stevens wrote “Her sudden disappearance from the public scene represents a considerable challenge to the future of the Indian experiment in democracy.”

Hours after her death, he wrote, “her 40-year- old son, Rajiv Gandhi, was sworn in as her successor. It is his abilities and performance that are, perhaps, the biggest uncertainty for many people as the nation tries to adjust to the events of today.” (Read the full article about her death here.)

Catalonia’s Immigrants Add to Separatist Debate


Immigrants Have Helped Set Catalonia Apart in Spain

Edu Bayer for the International Herald Tribune

Watching a Sikh band performing at a temple in Badalona, a city in Catalonia, which is considering separating from Spain.

BADALONA, Spain – Catalonia’s gathering drive to separate from Spain has been a mixed blessing for Enrique Shen.

It has been good for business. Last month, before a giant rally in neighboring Barcelona to support independence, Mr. Shen ran out of the Catalan flags he sells as a wholesaler because customers had snapped up about 10,000 of them in just a week.

But as an immigrant who moved here from Shanghai 20 years ago, he is worried by the way separatists advance their case for nationhood with claims to a distinct Catalan national culture, language and identity that set it apart from Spain. “It’s always best to be part of a larger country, just like having a bigger family to help you,” Mr. Shen said.

Immigrants like Mr. Shen illustrate the complexities of identity in Catalonia, where they have helped make the economy both the largest among Spain’s regions and the most diverse, alongside Madrid, with sizable populations of Muslims, Sikhs, Chinese and others.

As Catalonia prepares for a regional election on Nov. 25 that could become an unofficial referendum on independence, as many as 1.5 million residents of the region, out of a total population of 7.5 million, will not be eligible to vote because they are not Spanish citizens.

While these newcomers have played little part in the separatist debate so far, their sheer numbers and their contributions to Catalonia’s economy have indirectly reinforced the claims by some politicians that the region should occupy a place in the European Union separate from Spain. With annual output of about $260 billion in goods and services, an independent Catalonia’s economy would be larger than a dozen of the union’s 27 members.

Cities like Badalona, just northeast of Barcelona on the Mediterranean coast, illustrate the social and economic challenges that Catalonia faces, whatever the outcome of the separatist drive.

Last year, Badalona, with a population of 220,000, elected a hard-line conservative mayor, Xavier García Albiol, “in part due to his polemical views linking immigrants from Romania and other countries to crime and promising a tougher stance on illegal immigration,” the United States Department of State said in its most recent human rights report on Spain.

Mr. García Albiol is one of only a few politicians from the governing Popular Party of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to win office in Catalonia. In step with his conservative colleagues, Mr. García Albiol opposes separation, and he has cast a large shadow over Badalona’s immigrants, to the point that he has been sued based on accusations of inciting hatred against the local Roma population.

“One reason I got elected is because people could see that I was ready to identify a problem and take action to resolve it,” Mr. García Albiol said in an interview.

Asked to explain the problem, Mr. García Albiol said, “A large part of the migrants came here to work, but a small part also arrived with the sole intention of becoming delinquents, stealing and making life generally impossible for all their neighbors.” For this minority, he concluded, “the only solution is police pressure, efficient judicial action, and if possible, send them back to their countries.”

This year, Mr. García Albiol tried unsuccessfully to block the opening of a new mosque in Badalona. The mayor’s immigration policies are “a bad joke,” said Abdelkrim Latifi I Boussalem, who helps run Amics, an association that offers Islamic teaching and Arabic language classes in Badalona.

Still, Mr. Latifi I Boussalem, who left his native Casablanca, Morocco, 22 years ago, said the municipality struggled to accept the Moroccans and Pakistanis who form the bulk of the city’s Muslim population even before the city elected Mr. García Albiol.

“All the major political parties display some fear of Islam,” he said. “It’s never been easy, but at least other politicians used to talk to us and didn’t just call us a problem.”

Mr. Latifi I Boussalem contended that recent immigrants should have a say in any independence referendum. “We’re not here to dilute Catalan identity, and are ready to work hard to understand the place in which we live, especially since Catalonia has always been a land of welcome and refuge.”

Before World War II, Catalonia’s population was about 2.9 million, but it doubled in the decades afterward as Spaniards flocked to the region’s industries from poorer, more rural parts of Spain. Mr. García Albiol’s father, for instance, came from Andalusia in the 1960s, at the peak of that migration movement.

More recently, Catalonia has been at the forefront of a wave of immigration that started in the late 1990s, when Spain opened its doors to millions of overseas workers to fuel a construction-led boom. That boom ended in 2008 with the world financial crisis and the collapse of the real estate bubble here, and many of the immigrants have either started to leave or been forced into the ranks of Spain’s unemployed, who now make up 25 percent of the labor force.

“For most of the immigrants we help, their only preoccupations now are finding a job, making sure their papers are in order and meeting their basic needs,” said Fátima Ahmed, the spokeswoman for Ibn Batuta, an association based in Barcelona that offers legal and social services to immigrants. These issues, she said, “are very far from a political debate that they don’t even have the right to vote in.”

In fact, Artur Mas, the president of Catalonia, said in a recent interview that it was unclear whether a formal referendum on separation would be open to legal immigrants.

Sikhs are among the immigrants here who express some empathy for the separatist movement, drawing a parallel with their own struggles at home. An estimated 13,000 of the 21,000 Sikhs who have moved to Spain since 2000, mostly from India’s Punjab region, have settled in Catalonia.

Gagandeep Singh Khalsa, who is fluent in Spanish but prefers to speak Catalan, acts as a local spokesman and interpreter for his fellow Sikhs. “I feel in harmony with the people here,” he said, “because we have been facing the same problems with India over the Punjab as they have with Spain.”

A version of this article appeared in print on October 31, 2012, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Immigrants Have Helped Set Catalonia Apart in Spain.

Coastal Surge Forecast From Hurricane Sandy Prompts Evacuations

The computer models forecasting the track of Hurricane Sandy over the next three days are converging upon a landing around southern New Jersey that could create record coastal flooding and a big enough storm surge that state and local officials have ordered mandatory and voluntary evacuations along the coast from Delaware to Connecticut.

“There is no avoiding a significant storm surge event over a large area,” said Rick Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center, in a conference call with reporters on Saturday afternoon.

In New Jersey, National Weather Service officials in Mount Holly issued a flood warning at 5 p.m. that said a 10-to-12-foot storm tide was possible along the Atlantic Coast, the Delaware Bay and the Raritan Bay, which could lead to coastal flooding in many locations.

The two high tides on Monday will be the most dangerous ones, the flood warning noted, with major to record coastal flooding exp ected. Between the coastal flooding and expected high winds, New Jersey’s barrier islands may be cut off from the mainland during both high tides.

NOAA

This map from the National Hurricane Center looks at the probability of storm surge at three feet. Storm surge from Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath could reach four to eight feet from Maryland to Massachusetts, with some of the worst coastal flooding near Atlantic City, and could pose significant risk for New York City, according to the latest forecasts.

As my colleague Matt Flegenheimer reports, the New York region’s transit systems may shut down Sunday evening. In addition to concern about high winds, there is also concern the subways are at risk of flooding. Amtrak is beginnin g to trim back its service, with updates being posted to amtrak.com/alerts.

At a news conference Saturday evening, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other New York City officials said that the biggest unknown was the size of the storm surge that might occur, especially on Monday night, when, they said, it could set a record. Mr. Bloomberg said that it would probably develop more slowly than in an ordinary hurricane, and that it would be watched very closely. The officials acknowledged that the surge might exceed what was experienced in Hurricane Irene, and that it might require shutting off steam pipes, might damage underground electrical systems and might even flood subway tunnels, which could cause prolonged problems.

At 5 p.m., Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware ordered 50,000 residents along the coastline in Kent, New Castle and Sussex counties to evacuate by Sunday evening because of the flooding risk. The mayor of Wilmington, Del., also ordered the evacuation of pe ople living in low-lying areas of the city.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie announced Saturday that he was closing the state’s 12 casinos, starting at 4 p.m. Sunday. He called for the mandatory evacuation of barrier islands south of Point Pleasant, including Long Beach Island, and coastal towns from Atlantic City to Wildwood to Cape May.

“Everyone’s saying, ‘This is crap, it isn’t going to happen. The weathermen always get it wrong, so I’m just going to hang out here,’ ” Governor Christie said at a news conference in Middletown, in central New Jersey. “Please don’t, O.K.? We have to be prepared for the worst here.”

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jerrsey issued evacuations.

Rick Fuentes, head of the New Jersey State Police, said that a landfall near Delawar e Bay could send a storm surge up the Delaware River, adding to the flooding threat in some portions of western New Jersey, in addition to the coastline.

Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport, Conn., posted a warning to residents.

.@MayorBillFinch urges residents in low-lying areas to plan to seek shelter on higher ground due to possible flooding http://t.co/f2WTf6Dy

- CityofBridgeportCT (@CityofBptCT) 27 Oct 12

In nearby Fairfield, residents along the shore were under mandatory evacuation orders.

Fairfield orders shoreline evacuation: Fairfield orders shoreline evacuation In signing the Declaration of… http://t.co/wUDGvOr9

- Fairfield County CT (@fairfieldctyct) 27 Oct 12

The National Hurricane Center gave this breakdown on Saturday of their projections for the storm surge.

STORM SURGE…THE COMBINATION OF A DANGEROUS STORM SUR GE AND THE TIDE WILL CAUSE NORMALLY DRY AREAS NEAR THE COAST TO BE FLOODED BY RISING WATERS. THE WATER COULD REACH THE FOLLOWING DEPTHS ABOVE GROUND IF THE PEAK SURGE OCCURS AT THE TIME OF HIGH TIDE…

SE VA AND DELMARVA INCLUDING LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY…2 TO 4 FT

UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY…1 TO 2 FT

OCEAN CITY MD TO THE CT/RI BORDER…4 TO 8FT

LONG ISLAND SOUND…RARITAN BAY…AND DELAWARE BAY…4 TO 8 FT

SURGE-RELATED FLOODING DEPENDS ON THE RELATIVE TIMING OF THE SURGE AND THE TIDAL CYCLE…AND CAN VARY GREATLY OVER SHORT DISTANCES. GIVEN THE LARGE WIND FIELD ASSOCIATED WITH SANDY…ELEVATED WATER LEVELS COULD SPAN MULTIPLE TIDE CYCLES RESULTING IN REPEATED AND EXTENDED PERIODS OF COASTAL AND BAYSIDE FLOODING. IN ADDITION… ELEVATED WATERS COULD OCCUR FAR REMOVED FROM THE CENTER OF SANDY.

State and city officials in New York are closely monitoring the forecasts because of concern that landfall farther north could cause a s torm surge in New York City big enough to flood the Battery and even inundate the subways.

There is no way to be sure, since it depends upon so many factors, including the timing of the storm’s arrival, how long it lingers and where its most forceful winds and waves would be felt.

The National Hurricane Center has created interactive graphics that zoom in on particular sections of the coast so that a user can see the probabilities of flooding at any height.

Various models, updated frequently, show where the flooding is expected to be worst. A projection on Saturday showed 30 or 40 percent risks of four-foot storm surges around Atlantic City and New York City.

On the WunderBlog, the meteorologist Jeff Masters compares the current situation with New York City’s experience during Hurricane Irene last year, when this was also a concern. It uses the latest experimental models and explains what is at stake.

“I give a 20 percent chance that Sandy’s s torm surge will end up flooding a portion of the New York City subway system,” he said.

As he noted, the city had a narrow escape from Hurricane Irene, and in some ways this storm poses greater risks. Storm flooding is something the city has being worried about for some time, and as the seas rise from climate change, the worries are likely to remain with us for a generation to come. Mireya Navarro of The Times reported on these risks last month.

State-by-State Guide to Hurricane Sandy

Last Updated | 1:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 30 — We are taking a state-by-state look at the devastation caused in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, including unprecedented flooding damage in New Jersey and New York City, where the subway system will be shut down for at least four days, as our colleagues report. . An interactive map shows where more than 6 million people across the Northeast are without power. At least ten people in New York, three in New Jersey and two in Connecticut were among the multiple people whose deaths have been attributed to the mammoth storm that created havoc from North Carolina to New England.

New York Times reporters are delivering live updates from across the region and Northeast.

Flood waters rush in to the Hoboken PATH station through an elevator shaft. #Sandy http://t.co/QosgFyOI

- Port Authority NY&NJ (@PANYNJ) 30 Oct 12

Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Maryland | New Jersey | New York | North Carolina | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | Virginia | West Virginia

CONNECTICUT

WTNH-TV reports on Tuesday from Milford, Conn., which was badly hit by Sandy

At least two people died as a result of the storm that flooded low-lying areas in coastal towns and left hundreds of of thousands of people without power, reports The Hartford Courant on Tuesday.

As of a few minutes ago, approximately 630,000 customers were without power

- Governor Dan Malloy (@GovMalloyOffice) 30 Oct 12

On Tuesday, Governor Dannel P. Malloy, who is touring coastal towns to inspect the damage, lifted the restriction banning cars and t rucks from state highways.

Malloy: Travel ban, now lifted, prevented loss of life. All schools closed.630,000 customers have no power.

- Connecticut Post (@connpost) 30 Oct 12

A town-by-town list from Connecticut Light & Power.

More than 360,000 people were evacuated over the weekend from low-lying areas along the coast from Old Saybrook to Fairfield amid growing concern about flooding from the hurricane’s surge in Long Island Sound.

WTNH-TV in Hartford delivered this report on the damage the storm caused to Metro North.

WTNH-TV provides an update on the damage the storm caused to Metro North

After Hurricane Irene last year, power companies in Connecticut were harshly criticized for taking more than a week to restore power to tens of thousands of customers. Luther Turmelle, a reporter for The New Haven Register, reports that Connecticut can once again expect widespread power failures:

Jim Torgerson of United Illuminating’s parent company: We expect 50 to 70 percent of our customers to be without power. #ctsandy

- Luther Turmelle (@LutherTurmelle) 27 Oct 12

TRANSPORTATION: Governor Malloy lifted travel ban on state highways on Tuesday. No commuter rail service. Amtrak cancelled service.

EVACUATIONS: Branford, Fairfield, Old Saybrook and East Haven. WTNH-TV published a town-by-town evacuation list.

POWER/UTILITIES: More than 600,000 customers were without power on Tuesday.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND OTHER RESOURCES:

Hash tags: #ctsandy, #sandyct

The Twitter account for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection:

There could be significant power failures with this storm. Call 2-1-1 for shelter information and stay away from downed power lines.

- CTDESPP/DEMHS (@CTDEMHS) 27 Oct 12

The American Red Cross Safety and Preparation Tips for Connecticut Residents

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Facebook

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Twitter

Facebook updates from the Naval Submarine Base, Groton, Conn.

News Media Twitter Accounts to Follow:

All the latest on #Sandy: http://t.co/kW6M1xBP and CL&P/UI’s preparation for expected outages: http://t.co/CKrimO68

- Hartford Courant (@hartfordcourant) 28 Oct 12

News updates from NBC Connecticut

The New Haven Register on Facebook

The Yale Daily News on Twitter

The Stamford Advocate updates for Fairfield County on Twitter

DELAWARE

Brian Stelter for The New York Times in Lewes, Del..

Delaware banned cars and trucks from the state’s roadways other than “essential personnel” as part of its emergency restrictions. Gov. Jack Markell said the next 24 hours would get “a whole lot worse”.

“The most important thing right now is for people to use common sense,” Governor Markell said. “We didn’t want people out on the road going to work and not being able to get home again.”

Some roads were completely closed. Delaware Route 1 was shut down from Fenwick to Dewey because of flooding. “We’ve seen some substantial flooding on Route 1,” said Rob Walker, a public information officer for Sussex County.

Raising the flag in the rain. Lewes, Delaware. 12pm. http://t.co/Zkb7RNcA

- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) 29 Oct 12

Coastal flooding was the chief concern in Delaware as Hurricane Sandy churned offshore on Monday. In Lewes, a low-lying town at the tip of
the Delaware Bay, ocean water crept into homes as an intracoastal waterway was overwhelmed by storm surge. Police cut off all access to
the flooded part of town on Monday afternoon, enforcing a statewide ban on all driving that was put in place before dawn.

In this short video, you can see the rising water in Lewes, flooding homes.

South of Lewes in Rehoboth Beach, the surge tugged sand fences out to sea and swept over the dunes in some spots, leaving seashells and
other debris on the boardwalk. The ocean receded somewhat during low tide, but emergency officials feared that the evening’s high tide would swamp the boardwalk area.

The wind also began t o kick up and contributed to scattered power failures around the state.

Evacuations were mandatory in flood-prone parts of the state, from Fenwick Island on the southern border with Maryland to New Castle, a hundred miles north. All businesses within the evacuation zones were ordered closed by 6 p.m. Sunday.

“This storm is severe and its potential damages significant,” Governor Markell said in a statement on Sunday. “It is critical that residents in areas of greatest risk leave those areas now before the storm’s full force is felt and lives are put at greater risk.”

The state set up a hot line, (800) 464-4357, for members of the public who have questions about the storm. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency also posted updates on its Web site.

Gov. Jack A. Mark ell talking about emergency plans during a visit to the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center in Georgetown, Del.

People with questions/concerns should contact #Delaware Helpline at 1-800-464-4357 (HELP). #SandyDE #StormDE

- Gov. Jack Markell (@GovernorMarkell) 28 Oct 12

TRANSPORTATION: All highways closed except for essential personnel. Amtrak canceled service along the Northeast Corridor on Monday. Route 1, the coastal highway in Delaware, was closed on Sunday after the ocean flooded a portion of it.

EVACUATIONS: Low-lying areas in Sussex, New Castle, Kent Counties. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency published a complete list of towns, areas and evacuation routes. Red Cross centers opened at noon, including ones at Cape Henlopen High School, Milford Middle School, Dover High School and William Penn High School in New Castle, which also welcome pets.

FORECAST: Coastal flooding. H urricane-force winds were expected on Monday. Rainfall of four to eight inches was expected over portions of the mid-Atlantic states, including the Delmarva Peninsula, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible. Updates here.

POWER/UTILITIES: Long-term, widespread power failures are expected.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

Hash tags: #desandy, #sandyde

Emergency Management on Facebook.

The Delaware Citizen Corps

PrepareDelaware on Twitter

Delaware State Police Newsroom on Facebook

Delaware weather updates on Twitter

The News Journal on Twitter

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Large tree down on Fort Davis street #pepco crews are on site making repairs to hours services http://t.co/MvEWqtM7

- Robert Rovinski (@USDRUBRinURface) 30 Oct 12

Strong winds and rain knocked down trees and power lines but the Washington, D.C. area escaped the “brunt of the storm” and was starting to return to normal, as the Washington Post reports.

On Tuesday, the METRO and federal government offices in the District of Columbia remained closed to the public, and nonessential personnel did not have to report to work, the Office of Personnel Management announced.

Public schools were closed on Tuesday. More than 250,000 people were without power, based on an interactive map from The Post.

The nation’s capital is far enough inland so it was able to avoid the worst of the winds. Also, the city’s low-lying areas, including Georgetown and the tidal basin of the Potomac River, experienced some flooding.

Pepco, the utility company that was criticized for leaving people in the district without power for more than a week after a storm in June, called customers over the weekend reminding them to prepare and issued a warning on Twitter.

We’re preparing for the possibility that tens of thou sands or even hundreds of thousands of customers could lose power during this storm.

- Pepco (@PepcoConnect) 26 Oct 12

TRANSPORTATION: Metro subway trains and buses were out of service on Monday. All Maryland Area Regional Commuter train service was canceled on Monday. Amtrak canceled Northeast Regional, Acela, Keystone and shuttle service for Monday, and service north to New York City was suspended at 7 p.m. on Sunday. Virginia Railway Express train service was canceled Monday.

POWER/UTILITIES: Pepco is expecting widespread power failures.

FORECAST: Winds of as much as 45 m.p.h., and gusts over 60 m.p.h., beginning on Monday morning and lasting for at least a day. The worst conditions were expected on Monday night. Coastal flood warnings called for a surge of one to three feet above normal, leading to moderate flooding, especially on Tuesday. Updates can be found here.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

American Red Cross in the National Capital Region on Twitter

Mayor Vincent C. Gray on Twitter

D.C. Homeland Security on Twitter

D.C. Fire and E.M.S. on Twitter

D.C Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs on Twitter

D.C. Department of Transportation on Twitter

The Washington Post’s Capital Weather blog on Twitter

The Washington Post’s local news updates on Twitter

MARYLAND

Ocean City felt the impact of Sandy’s fury on Monday as the ocean crashed over dunes and brought down half of the city’s famed pier, reports WBOC-TV in Ocean City.

Boardwalk pier in Ocean City, MD, was “significantly damaged” overnight, police spokesman tells me. South end of town is getting battered.

- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) 29 Oct 12

The Ocean City Pier collapsed into the water. http://t.co/OLYyUvbh

- i℔℔est. (@WheresShane) 29 Oct 12

The mayor issued evacuation orders for Ocean City’s most flood-prone neighborhoods, which were inundated.

Town of Ocean City Advising Residents to Shelter in Place: The Town of Ocean City is advising citizens who have not… http://t.co/xWwKA6iM

- Ocean City MD News (@oceancitymdnews) 29 Oct 12

***HURRICANE SANDY UPDATE*** Route 50 closed at Inlet Isle Lane for entry into Ocean City http://t.co/lcJiEXGp

- Ocean City Today (@OC_Today_News) 28 Oct 12

As the storm approached, the state’s eastern coast was under warning for hurricane-force winds, as was the whole coast from Virginia to Rhode Island, including Chesapeake Bay. Serious flooding was not expected in Chesapeake Bay, but shifts in the storm’s trajectory raised concerns about flooding in the bay as the storm now appears to push water inland into rivers and streams already likely to flood.

Even in the mountainous western reaches of the state, winds will gust to 45 m.p.h. or more beginning late Monday and lasting for a day or two. Along with heavy rain, and in the mountains even snow, this can be expected to bring down trees and power lines.

While Ocean City was being evacuated for the coastal storm surge of a hurricane, a blizzard warning was issued for Garrett County and other regions in the west of the state, lasting from 3 p.m. Monday to 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The state has experienced many instances of widespread, prolonged power failures during extreme weather in recent years, and no one expects this time to be different.

Baltimore County issued a plea for people in flood-prone areas to consider evacuating and said conditions would be at their worst on Monday, lasting until Tuesday. Rain started to fall in Baltimore at midafternoon on Sunday.

Schools in Baltimore, Montgomery County and elsewhere around the state announced they would be c losed on Monday. And the port was closed:

C Guard has shut down access channels leading into the @portofbalt . No ships into the POB until after the storm. #Sandy #MDSandy

- Port of Baltimore (@portofbalt) 28 Oct 12

President Obama signed an emergency declaration order for the state, meaning that federal assistance may be delivered in advance.

Maryland canceled early voting on Monday. The state government shut down except for nonessential personnel. That means no motor-vehicle licensing or inspection offices were open, for example.

We are urging all citizens to hunker down at home and stay off the roads tomorrow. #MDSandy

- Martin O’Malley (@GovernorOMalley) 28 Oct 12

Gov. Martin O’Malley said at a Monday briefing that “there will be people who die and are killed in this storm.”

“We need to watch out for each other, but the inte nsity of this storm is such that there will undoubtedly be some deaths that are caused by the intensity of this storm, by the floods, by the tidal surge and by the waves,” he said.

RT @MDSHA: UPDATE-Coastal Hwy (MD 528) closed bet. MD 90 and US 50 @MD511Eastern

- Maryland.gov (@StateMaryland) 29 Oct 12

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

American Red Cross from central Maryland on Facebook

American Red Cross Lower Shore for Maryland and Virginia on Twitter

Maryland Emergency Management Center on Twitter

Maryland Department of Transportation on Twitter

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Twitter

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore on Twitter

Baltimore Police Department on Twitter

The Baltimore Sun on Twitter

NEW JERSEY

Gov. Chris Christie gives an update on the storm during an interview with Matt Lauer of NBC’s TV’s Today Show.

At least three people have been killed as a result of the storm, which has caused unprecedented damage along the coast, said Governor Chris Christie. More than two million people are without power. Search and rescue missions are underway up and down the coast, where an unknown number of people are cut off and without power. A video of Governor Christie’s 10 a.m. briefing on Tuesday and latest updates from the emergency management command center can be found here.

There are currently 2.4 million households without power, twice the number from Irene. #Sandy

- Governor Christie (@GovChristie) 30 Oct 12

Extreme Coastal Flooding in Point Pleasant, New Jersey. WeatherSnap is p reparing to head to Atlantic City, NJ. http://t.co/BN0Jprd1

- WeatherSnap (@weathersnap) 29 Oct 12

Ocean waters along the New Jersey coast moved inland even before Sandy made landfall at about 8 p.m. Monday, filling up streets and washing away piers and boardwalks. Waist-deep floodwaters in some locations wreaked havoc, as The Star Ledger reports. But on Tuesday morning, it was evident that the surge caused record-breaking flooding and unprecedented destruction.

Amusement Park in Seaside Heights is nearly washed out. The log flume is basically in the ocean. #Sandy

- Governor Christie (@GovChristie) 30 Oct 12

Because of the storm’s size and strength, its impact stretched for hundreds of miles beyond its center.

PATH and New Jersey Transit service was suspended, and it could take days before full service is restored. The George Washington Bridge was re-opened on Tuesday but the Gar den State Parkway remained closed in both directions south of Interchange 129 in Woodbridge Township.

Some photos posted on Twitter offer a glimpse of the impact of the storm, starting Monday.

Margate bridge under water #sandy my home town is getting messed up! http://t.co/UKHwfixt

- Boxing Insider.com (@BoxingInsider) 29 Oct 12

Atlantic City’s Stanley Holmes Village in pic sent by Facebook friend Darrell Dixon #acpress #Sandy @AtlanticCity911 http://t.co/pSxEK9Me

- Lynda Cohen (@LyndaCohen) 29 Oct 12

35 foot section of Atlantic City Boardwalk floating down what used to be St. Katherine’s place #sandy #acpress http://t.co/MW8Hp3yp

- Jitney Guy (@JitneyGuy) 29 Oct 12

More than 2,200 people remained in shelters in New Jersey, according to the State Office of Emergency Management. But some p eople in the most vulnerable areas had hunkered down in their homes; in Cape May County, the southernmost portion of the state, officials estimated that perhaps 40 percent of the residents of the county’s barrier islands had decided to stay put, complicating search and rescue missions.

TRANSPORTATION: New Jersey Transit and PATH service was suspended. The Garden State Parkway in both directions south of Interchange 129 in Woodbridge Township was closed. Hundreds of flights into and out of Newark Liberty International Airport were canceled.

EVACUATIONS: A mandatory evacuation order was issued for thousands of residents in low-lying areas along the coast. Residents of the state’s barrier islands were told to evacuate by 4 p.m. Sunday, and Atlantic City casinos were closed.

POWER/UTILITIES: More than 2 million people are without power, more than from Irene.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

Gov. Chris Christie on Facebook

Gov. Chris Chri stie on Twitter

Gov. Chris Christie on YouTube

Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark on Twitter

New Jersey Department of Emergency Management on Facebook

A breaking news Twitter account from The Record

The Star-Ledger on Twitter

The Asbury Park Press on Twitter

N.J. 101.5 News on Twitter

The Atlantic City Press on Twitter

NEW YORK

Morning breaks in flooded Coney Island http://t.co/loXjYsrO

- Stephen Nessen (@stephen_nessen) 30 Oct 12

New York Times reporters are fanned out across the city and region, covering the aftermath of the storm and providing live updates here. An interactive map showing power failures and flooding and wind damage from the storm.

Six photos posted on Twitter showing the impact of the storm in the city.

Taxi hit by a huge tree branch while driving on the Upper West Side — wife took pic wa lking the dog #HurricaneSandy http://t.co/TTwSQjD7

- Elias Lopez (@elopez_nyc) 29 Oct 12

#RedHook underwater at high tide with paddle boats making small rescues. #flooding #NYC #sandy http://t.co/3dSfQV8j

- Caxtons (@Caxtons) 30 Oct 12

The Gowanus flooding on 2nd has spilled over into the lot next door to the street http://t.co/25RCC2No

- Hunter Walker (@hunterw) 29 Oct 12

Gowanus Canal also flooding on 4th and Bond http://t.co/8zIV0ohG

- Hunter Walker (@hunterw) 29 Oct 12

No flooding here but there’s a pretty big tree down by St. John the Divine Cathedral. http://t.co/ZkBEzUDL

- Brooke H (@BHisaRockstar) 30 Oct 12

Flooding in building’s garage. This car is floating. http://t.co/cboEG TWL

- Dana B (@DanaB_NYC) 30 Oct 12

An explosion at a Con Edison plant contributed to a power failure that plunged people and businesses into darkness from 34th Street in Manhattan to the Battery.

A video of the explosion at Con Edison utility station on Monday night that contributed to the power failure affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Credit: TrillianMedia.

On Long Island, there was widespread flooding and hundreds of thousands of customers were without power on Tuesday. The Long Island Power Authority has this interactive map with the latest on the power failures and what actions are being taken.

Our correspondent, Sarah Maslin Nir, reporting from the eastern end of Long Island.

.@NYTMetro Montauk residents gape at Westlake Drive on Long Island Sound, unrecognizable, covered with sand & rubble. http://t.co/EL2UTdiR

- Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) 30 Oct 12

Crews sawing up felled trees tangled in downed power lines on Cooper lane http://t.co/9qLdUFIQ

- Sarah Maslin Nir (@SarahMaslinNir) 30 Oct 12

In Midtown Manhattan, a high-rise crane has been apparently damaged and is dangling some 80 stories over the sidewalk at 157 West 57th Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, as our colleagues report. The police have blocked off the area and were evacuating surrounding buildings.

The storm created major transportation problems across the region. Governor Andrew Cuomo shared this photo on Twitter showing a boat in the middle of the commuter rail tracks in a town in northern Westchester County.

Metro-North RR crews discovered this boat washed onto tracks at Ossining #sandy #surge: http://t.co/ruVlqZOG

- Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) 30 Oct 12

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel were closed for traffic at 2 p.m. on Monday, and will remain closed for the duration of the storm. Mr. Bloomberg said that New York City public schools would remain closed. The subways may not be operational for four to five days.

More than 375,000 people were ordered on Sunday to evacuate their homes in Brooklyn, Queens and Lower Manhattan. Our colleagues have amassed a detailed list of closings and another map and list about evacuations and closings resulting from the storm.

What does the storm look like from the 51st floor of the New York Times building in Times Square? Find out here.

We put a camera up on 51st floor of NYT building to watch storm http://t.co/cXm8icOX (Crossing fingers keeps updating, tech gods willing)

- NYT Graphic s (@nytgraphics) 29 Oct 12

TRANSPORTATION: Unprecedented damage to the city’s subway and bus service, commuter rails, tunnels. The George Washington Bridge was opened on Tuesday but other bridges remained closed as inspectors made safety checks.

EVACUATIONS: More than 375,000 people were ordered on Sunday to evacuate low-lying areas in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. More than 3,000 were in emergency shelters as of Monday morning, Mayor Bloomberg said.

POWER/UTILITIES: More than 2 million people without power in New York state, including residents and businesses from lower Manhattan to 39th Street. Governor Andrew Cuomo provided updates on his Twitter account on Tuesday morning.

#NYOUTAGES: Central Hudson 73,655; ConEd 749,669; LIPA 945,482; National Grid 21,662; NYSEG 114,093; Orange & Rockland 140,058; RG&E 21,007

- Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) 30 Oct 12

SOCI AL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

Live updates from The New York Times Metro Desk on Twitter

Live updates from Governor Cuomo

New York mayor’s office on Twitter

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Twitter

Rachel Sterne, chief digital officer for New York City, on Twitter

Notify NYC on Twitter

New York State Office of Emergency Management on Twitter

New York State agencies, via NY-Alert, on Twitter

American Red Cross in Greater New York on Facebook

New York City Evacuation Centers on FourSquare

Nassau County Office of Emergency Management on Twitter

Suffolk County Fire Department and Emergency Services on Facebook

Westchester County government on Facebook

Westchester County government on Twitter

Newsday on Long Island on Twitter

Suffolk County News on Twitter

New York 1 Weather Twitter

NORTH CAROLINA

Missie W. Smith’s photo taken from top of hill at Wright Brothers monument in Kill Devil Hills #obx #ncwx #sandy http://t.co/sG0B8Q7k

- Sam Walker (@SamWalkerOBX) 29 Oct 12

Hurricane Sandy battered hundreds of miles of the North Carolina coast on Monday, causing flooding and damage, but it wreaked the most havoc and cost two people their lives when a 180-foot three-masted ship sank in rough seas near the Outer Banks. The ship is a well-known a replica of the one made famous in the 1960 MGM film “Mutiny on the Bounty.” It was used in the film “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”

The Coast Guard staged a daring early-morning helicopter rescue, captured on video, early Monday morning, pulling 14 crew members from the sea. Two people remained missing, according to the Coast Guard.

Th e Coast Guard posted video of rescue.

The ship had set sail from Connecticut, bound for Florida. Although its crew was aware of the impending storm, they believed they could sail around it. But with Hurricane Sandy spanning more than 500 nautical miles, they were unable to avoid running into it.

Bobby Outten, Dare County manager, discussing the impact of the storm on the Outer Banks.

The Hurricane was moving north in the Atlantic far off the North Carolina coast, so the state was not confronted with the full force of the storm. Still, there were reports of major flooding in the Outer Banks, with roads and highways being shut down. One casualty was the Avalon Pier in Kill Devil Hills.

From ON Avalon Pier…its cut in TWO P LACES (Justin Grizzard photo) #obx #ncwx #Sandy http://t.co/bY7rfXmI

- Sam Walker (@SamWalkerOBX) 29 Oct 12

A Web cam in Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks delivers a live view of the storm.

TRANSPORTATION: Flooding was reported on some highways and roads. State Highway 12 was closed in some places.

FORECAST: Storm surges of four to six feet were predicted, and rainfall of up to eight inches is possible. Inland, there may be significant snowfall along the North Carolina-Tennessee border.

EVACUATIONS: No evacuations were ordered in the state.

POWER/UTILITIES: Scattered power failures were reported.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

Latest Update from Dare County Emergency Management just released. Next update 9:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. Be safe! http://t.co/eqCOiUt7

- Dare County EM (@DareCoEM) 28 Oct 12

North Carolina Emergency Management on Facebook

North Carolina National Guard on Twitter

Cape Fear Red Cross on Twitter

Carolina Region Red Cross

PENNSYLVANIA

I’m sorry I questioned you #Sandy. This will be a great reminder. @NBCPhiladelphia http://t.co/61WNMuoj

- Chris Johnson (@JohnsonC89) 30 Oct 12

#Sandy Power Outages: 436,000 total
Bucks 175,000
Chester 34,000
Del 67,000
Mont 128,000
Phila 32,000

- Christine Maddela (@christnemaddela) 30 Oct 12

Long before Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City. at 8 p.m. Monday, the gigantic storm had already been producing steady rain and gusts of wind as high as 55 miles per hour, bringing down trees and power lines and leaving tens of thousands of people without power.

Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia said that about 150 people checked into the city’s three emergency shelters by Monday morning, but as the day went on the shelter population swelled. As Jon Hurdle reports, West Philadelphia High School was taking in people seeking refuge.

Among them was Garrett Tate, 56, who was stranded in Philadelphia when trying to return to his home in Atlantic City on Sunday evening, when New Jersey Transit stopped running the trains that connect the cities.

Mr. Tate, who works for a gaming company, said he was not worried about his apartment in Atlantic City, which was forecast to bear the brunt of the hurricane, because the property is on an upper floor.

He welcomed the facilities provided at the West Philadelphia shelter. “I’m very happy to be here,” he said.

As of Monday, the police were advising evacuations, as this video from Darby shows.

As he avy rain lashed Philadelphia on Monday,, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation banned the use of some categories of vehicles, including overweight trucks, tandem trailers, and motorcycles, and adjusted the speed limit.

Pennsylvania Turnpike issues restrictions due to Hurricane Sandy: Speed limit is lowered to 45 mph. http://t.co/uBWzYpMa

- The Patriot-News (@PatriotNews) 29 Oct 12

Pa. Nat’l Guard activates 750 soldiers for Hurricane Sandy: The Pennsylvania National Guard has activated 750 so… http://t.co/3fm6Z3VT

- abc27 WHTM (@abc27News) 29 Oct 12

Gov. Tom Corbett added Pennsylvania to the list of states that declared a state of emergency. All bus, rail and trolley services in the city were suspended and public schools closed.

Mayor Nutter had estimated that as many as 10,000 people in the city live in flood-prone areas and encouraged p eople to make use of the shelters.

“With a storm of this magnitude, we are looking at a multiday restoration,” said Martha Phan, a spokeswoman for Peco, the power utility.

Ms. Phan said 500 field crews, including some from Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi, were ready to repair the damage to power lines brought down by falling trees. Ms. Phan warned customers to stay away from any downed power lines, and said people should call (800) 841 4141 to report power failures.

A refinery operated by Philadelphia Energy Solutions was cutting its output in response to the storm, said Cherise Corley, a spokeswoman for the company, which normally processes 330,000 barrels of crude oil a day into petroleum products. “We continue to monitor the storm and take the appropriate precautions. We are currently running at reduced capacity,” she said.

The City of Harrisburg prepared for flash-flooding, tree damage and power failures into Tue sday.

Gov. Tom Corbett discussed preparations for Hurricane Sandy.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter gave an update on preparations for Hurricane Sandy on Sunday.

TRANSPORTATION: All public transportation in Philadelphia was suspended.

EVACUATIONS: Shelters were set up in Philadelphia and made available to more than 10,000 people who live in flood-prone areas.

FORECAST: Major flooding and high winds are expected.

POWER/UTILITIES: Long-term and widespread power failures are expected.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

Mayor Michael A. Nutter on Twitter

America n Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter on Facebook

Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management on YouTube

Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management on Twitter

The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News on Twitter

The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Philadelphia Daily News on Facebook

Glenn Schwartz, a meteorologist for NBC10, on Twitter

NBC10 News on Twitter

6ABC’s “Action News” on Twitter

RHODE ISLAND

Sandy floods Island Park, leaves Portsmouth powerless: PORTSMOUTH – Hurricane Sandy flooded Island Park three ti… http://t.co/26ln4VbW

- eastbayri.com (@eastbayri) 30 Oct 12

More than 80,000 customers were without power Tuesday as officials began to assess the damage from the flooding along the Rhode Island coast and inland.

Like much of the East Coast, the state was under a state of emergency Monday, and mandatory evacuation order s were issued in coastal and low-lying parts of Bristol, Charlestown, Middletown, Narrangsett, South Kingstown, Tiverton and Westerly, according to WPRI.com

Although his neighborhood in South Kingstown was evacuated at 6 a.m. Monday, Kevin Finnegan was still inside his bar there, the Ocean Mist, on Monday afternoon, watching the surf. The beach there has been stripped down over the years by coastal erosion, imperiling the shoreline access road, but Mr. Finnegan said that, so far, the storm had actually been good for the beach.

“The first tide was lighter than we thought, it brought in a bunch of sand,” said Mr. Finnegan, hopeful the sand will the beach withstand Monday night’s high tide. “But it’s not over, it could get worse in the next three to five hours.”

Officials in Newport and East Providence called for voluntary evacuations in those cities.Ten shelters opened around the state for people in areas considered dangerous.

By early Monday e vening, more than 80,000 National Grid customers in Rhode Island were without power.

All the ports in southeastern New England, including Narragansett Bay and Mount Hope Bay, were closed to vessel traffic on Sunday evening, and remained closed Monday.



TRANSPORTATION: With heavy rain and wind in the forecast, bridges could be shut down and roads flooded.
EVACUATIONS: Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for some low-lying communities.
POWER/UTILITIES: More than 80,000 people were without power Monday. Widespread power failures are expected.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

Call 2-1-1 for information and assistance with issues such as food, shelter, and transportation. #SandyRI #211RI http://t.co/kLstAXuY

- Governor Chafee (@LincolnChafee) 29 Oct 12

If you experience an outage, call 1-800-465-1212 #MA & #RI or 1-800-867-5222 #NYC & #UNY to expedite restoration.

- National Grid US (@nationalgridus) 29 Oct 12

Rhode Island Emergency Management on Facebook

Providence Emergency Management Department on Twitter

Providence Department of Public Safety on Twitter

VIRGINIA

Norfolk continues to get hit hard by #Sandy #HRSandy http://t.co/MS9QAGE0

- Martin Cornick (@MartinMMC) 29 Oct 12

There was significant flooding in Norfolk and Virginia Beach on Monday and other parts along the coast of eastern Virginia, while heavy snow fell in the elevated parts of the state’s southwest and western counties.

“You’ve got flooding in south and southeast Virginia,” Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said. “You’ve got blizzard in western and southwest Virginia. And you’ve got high winds and heavy rain in northern Virginia. That’s what it’s going to look like now for the next 24 to 36 hours.” .

Mr. McDonnell said he would seek an expedited emergency declaration from the federal government to speed aid to battered parts of the state.

“This is going to be a long haul,” he said when he declared a state of emergency before the storm. “We will no doubt have rain and high winds through Tuesday, and in Northern Virginia significant wind and rains into Wednesday. People are going to have to be patient,” he told reporters.

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell outlined emergency plans at a briefing on Sunday.

The coastal area known as Hampton Roads saw flooding early in the day in what Governor McDonnell called an “astronomically high tide” and powerful surf. With more than 100 secondary roads closed because of flooding, the state suspended high-occupancy restrictions to increase use of highways.

Authorities closed the Midtown Tunnel in Norfolk, and some low-lying areas were evacuated.

Ahead of the storm, the commander of United States Fleet Forces ordered all Navy ships in the Hampton Roads area to prepare for a sortie as Hurricane Sandy traveled up the East Coast. The Navy posted a video on YouTube showing the preparations.

The Navy uploaded this video showing preparations for Hurricane Sandy.

TRANSPORTATION: At least 100 secondary roads, as well as parts of Interstate 77, were closed because of flooding, and some areas reported ice on the roads. The state lifted high-occupancy vehicle restrictions on highways. The Midtown Tunnel between Portsmouth and Norfolk was closed.

EVACUATIONS: The state did not mandate any evacuations or order lane reversal to aid traffic away from the coast, but some residents evacuated coastal areas. Governor McDonnell said 28 emergency shelters had been opened.

FORECAST: Coastal hurricane-force winds, prolonged high winds inland, coastal and inland flooding, and heavy snow in the western mountains. Updates for Virginia are at weather.gov.

POWER/UTILITIES: Dominion Virginia Power reported already restoring power to some 40,000 outrages by Monday afternoon, but the number of homes likely to lose power was expected to rise sharply as the full brunt of the storm came ashore. The utility brought in more than 2,500 extra workers to respond to the storm. Long term, widespread power failures were expected.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

Virginia State Police on Facebook

Virginia Department of Emergency Management on Facebook

Virginia Department of Emergency Management on Twitter

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell on Twitter

Virginia Dep artment of Transportation on Twitter

Red Cross of Southeastern Virginia on Twitter

Red Cross of Southeastern Virginia on Facebook

The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk on Twitter

WEST VIRGINIA

This map from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center shows the forecast probabilities:

WV could see many types of severe weather over the next several days. Prepare yourself for power outages, snow and potential flooding.

- WV DHSEM (@WVDHSEM) 28 Oct 12

As Hurricane Sandy collided with a warm front over the Mid-Atlantic on Monday afternoon, rain and heavy, wet snow fell more and more steadily across West Virginia.

Talk of “how much are we going to get” turned into “what’s closed,” reports Cynthia McCloud, a writer who is contributing to this report.

Some school districts called off classes for Tuesday. Some counties’ government offices will be closed, including courts. Some p eople took out their skis.

Snow plows out in Appalachia, ski resorts opening: CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Snow plows were out in parts… http://t.co/mpStBtba

- Daily Charleston (@DailyCharleston) 30 Oct 12

Early voting in Morgan County on Tuesday was suspended because of the storm, according to Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. Her office sent out a warning to all early voters to use caution if going to the polls during the storm.

A utility company map of power failures in northern West Virginia showed the number steadily climbing, reaching 6,300 by late afternoon, with most of them in Morgan County, where 3,330 were without power.

Power problems in some cities caused traffic lights to go out. Production in at least one Tucker County coal mine was idled for a time because of a power failure. The mine was operating again by late Monday afternoon.

At least one fatal automobile accident was blamed on the storm.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin outlined preparations at a briefing on Sunday, telling people that they needed to be ready “for all scenarios.”

“Gather batteries, flashlights, bottled water, nonperishable food items, blankets, medications, a battery-operated radio and other necessities. Be sure to check on each other – family, friends and neighbors,” he said in a statement. “Our West Virginia National Guard and other resources are on standby, so that we may act quickly if needed. Our Department of Highway staff is on call and ready – they have tested their plows and other snow equipment and are scheduled to begin work at midnight tonight. Additionally our utility companies are making preparations.”

The June 29 “derecho” windstorm cut off power to hundreds of thousands of the state’s residents, and many did not get power back for two weeks. There is a high likelihood that power will take a long time to restore this time, as well.

This time, though, the storm will be followed by cold weather, making shelter a bigger issue. The Charleston Daily Mail reports that T.D. Lively of the state Division of Homeland Security said the American Red Cross had several shelters on standby, adding that “typically West Virginia doesn’t have a large need for sheltering because people tend to stay with family.”

TRANSPORTATION: Amtrak service is canceled. All forms of transportation are likely to be paralyzed by the two to three feet of snow expected.

EVACUATIONS: None are expected, but shelters may be needed.

FORECAST: A blizzard with wet snow and high winds, especially at elevations, that could produce more than two feet of snow. Rain and flooding. Updates are available here.

POWER/UTILITIES: Long-term, widespread power failures are expected. Information on how to report a power failure is at appalachianpower.com and dom.com.

SOCIAL MEDIA AND ONLINE RESOURCES:

If you lose pwr, report online at http://t.co/1WZo2iCV (mobile outage site too) or call Va1-800-956-4237; WV1-800-982-4237; TN1-800-967-4237

- Appalachian Power (@appalachianpowe) 28 Oct 12

West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Twitter

West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management on Facebook.

John H. Cushman from Washington, Jon Hurdle from Philadelphia; Brian Stelter from Lewes, Del; Thomas Kaplan from Little Egg Harbor, N.J. Jennifer Preston, Christine Hauser, Cynthia McCloud, Sharon Otterman, Marc Santora and Michael Schwirtz from New York contributed to this report.

David Barboza Answers Reader Questions on Reporting in China

The Times’s Shanghai bureau chief, David Barboza, reported last week that close relatives of Wen Jiabao, the prime minister of China, hold billions of dollars in hidden riches. Here are his answers to questions from readers prompted by the article.

Q.

As the NY Times’s Shanghai bureau chief, I assume you are a China old hand. I’m curious about what prompted you to write this article? What was your rationale for the timing of this article? Have you ever got a feeling of being used? – Casablanca

A.

I have been in China since 2004, and as a correspondent for the Business section, I have focused my reporting energies on economic, financial and business issues. Throughout my tenure in China there has been a lot of discussion about whether the families of high-ranking government officials have benefited from the country’s economic transformation by receiving so-called secret shares in corporations. This is a regul ar topic of dinner conversation when bankers, lawyers and accountants gather in Shanghai and Beijing. I had been told many times that this is typically done by using “nominee investors,” friends or people not easily identifiable in the shareholder records as having ties to politicians. These nominees, I was told, often hold shares for the relatives of powerful politicians, giving them a stake in a company.

About a year ago, as I was reporting a series of articles about China’s state-managed economy, I decided to see if there was any evidence behind the theory. I started looking into the business ties of several high-ranking leaders. Anyone who knows business and finance in China knows that the conjecture about the prime minister’s relatives was particularly persistent, so my focus eventually narrowed on the Wen family. I knew this would be a time-consuming and difficult task, but I was determined to answer this question. I plowed in, and to my great surprise found that there was a tremendous amount of information available in the public record. My reporting did not find illegality or corruption. It did reveal the names of Mr. Wen’s relatives hidden behind dozens of investment vehicles that few people had ever heard of.

Q.

I almost believed all the allegations against Wen in your article (most of the report pointing him as double-handed and heavily involved in the alleged corruptions) until the end of your report, which indicates that he almost divorced his wife because of her questionable business deals, and he was willing to let history judge him. Unfortunately, most people would not finish reading such a lengthy report, or their opinions have been formed based on the first half of your report…. Please enlighten me and other readers how you can justify your strong allegations first and then hinting you may not be sure of the allegations. Let me be clear: We are all fed up with corruptions in China (and elsewhere), but I am afraid your report may cause confusions to the readers, and leading to much tighter government control — meaning more corruptions and left-leaning policies in China in the future. Hope that is not what you are wishing for. – Pacific, USA

A.

I have to disagree with your assertion that I first listed strong allegations and then suggested I wasn’t sure about the allegations.

My goal in undertaking this story was to determine whether the relatives of the prime minister had large stakes in Chinese companies, and to figure out how much wealth they had accumulated. If there were clues as to how these relatives made their fortunes, that would obviously tell us something about how things work in China for the relatives of senior leaders.

I didn’t make allegations, I described my findings: the relatives of the prime minister have controlled a fortune that has had a value of at least $2 .7 billion over the last decade, according to the public records I reviewed.

As with all reporting on any given subject, we did not conduct our investigation in a vacuum. We went directly to the people whose names appeared on the documents we tracked. We made repeated efforts to reach the prime minister and his various relatives to give them the opportunity to discuss the documents or to refute our findings. They did not respond or declined to comment. So the next best option was to explore the public record and share with our readers what the prime minister has said publicly about corruption and whether he has sought personal gain. We also cited documents released by the WikiLeaks organization because they also shed light on the subject and might help the reader better understand the context of our findings. There was an interesting State Department cable from 2007, which refers to the prime minister and his family’s business dealings.

Q.

< p>First of all, thanks for publish the article. It’s an eye opening. My question is what are the implication of your article on the upcoming communist transition on November 8, 2012? Obviously, there’s someone trying to discredit Wen Jiabao and his reformist faction. Who would benefit the most from your article? Is it Wu Bangguo and Zhou Yongkang’s hardline faction?

I have a strange feeling that New York Times has become a tool in a factional struggle between different factions of Communist party. Your article is not exactly surprising, it’s an open secret that nobody’s hand was clean in China’s leadership. The whole government was corrupt. It’s impossible to be an honest government official. Only thing surprising is the scale of corruption, I was thinking hundreds of millions before, thanks to NY Times, now I know it’s in billions. – Jordan, Bend, Ore.

A.

My apologies. I have to confess that I’m a business correspondent and do not cover Beijing politics, nor was the Party Congress a focus of my investigation. So I can’t really tell you the political implications of this article. You may have seen a comment in the article from Minxin Pei, who is at Claremont McKenna College. He believes this will weaken Wen in the last months of his term. There are two other experts who specialize in this area – Li Cheng and Kenneth Lieberthal, both at the Brookings Institution in Washington. We may be hearing more from them in the coming weeks about the 18th Party Congress and the transition, which will involve naming the next president, widely expected to be Xi Jinping, and a new prime minister to replace Wen Jiabao, likely to be Li Keqiang. My colleagues in Beijing are in the midst of a fascinating series about that transition called “Changing of the Guard.”

Q.

It is interesting that a few days ago, several Chinese sites reported that a thick bundle of material about Wen’s family wealth was sent to major US news agent by unidentified parties. The speculation was that this was the revenge for people who are sympathetic to Bo Xilai. Could Times tell us why it decided to do this now to Wen even though rumor about it had been going for years. Has the intentional leak played any role in the timing? If yes, I think that Times should mention it. This is a tremendous reporting, but it would be useful for the readers to know the context of this report. We would actually learn more about intricates about Chinese politics. —Joy, Poughkeepsie

A.

Your questions are excellent. Why now? Because it took that long to gather and evaluate the evidence, which involved thousands of pages of corporate and regulatory documents that we obtained through public record requests to various government entities in China.

I began looking into the business dealings of Wen Jiabao’s family late last year. I had been working on a series called “Endangered Dragon,” which looked at China’s government-managed economy, and wanted to include a piece that would give deeper insight into how China’s capitalism worked at the top. It is a broad subject, which I decided would be made more manageable by focusing on one family. I chose the prime minister’s family because I had heard conjecture about their business dealings for many years. People talked openly about the family’s wealth as if it was fact, but there was really no reporting on the subject that I could find that cited hard evidence backing up the claims. I kept scratching my head about why no one had tried to truth-squad the widespread rumors.

So I got started last year, and within a month or so, I was discovering intriguing things about some of the businesses, but each new discovery required digging deeper and deeper. I expected to finish the project within a month, by working weekends, but it took more than a year!

I have read the speculation tha t some “insider” gave me information, or that some enemies of the prime minister dropped off a huge box of documents at my office. That never happened. Not only were there no leaked documents, I never in the course of reporting met anyone who offered or hinted that they had documents related to the family holdings. This was a paper trail of publicly available documents that I followed with my own reporting, and if I might hazard a guess, it was a trail that no one else had followed before me.

In short, given the amount of effort this investigation required, I’d be stunned if there were a box of documents sitting somewhere that contained all of this work. If only it were so easy!

Q.

A great article with a lot of details. May I ask you how you can get into such detailed level of information? Did you get any leads from someone inside the Wall? It seems to me it is almost impossible to untangle such a network of secret dealings without any hint from the people in the know, and these are probably people who are Wen’s enemies. Thank you. – Jack, NY

A.

My only real source for this lengthy article was a filing cabinet full of documents I requested from various Chinese government offices over a period of about a year. After having some luck with my initial requests for corporate registration documents from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce bureaus, I went on a reporting spree: requesting and paying fees for the records of dozens of investment partnerships tied to the relatives of Wen Jiabao.

I also began making lists of individuals and companies and trying to figure out who the people were and what their relationships were to one another; and what, I asked, was the purpose of all these partnerships – many of which had similar shareholders lists.

Although S.A.I.C. records are open to the public, few journalists in China have really made good use of the m. They are invaluable sources of information about private companies. Two excellent Chinese publications, Caixin and the 21 Century Business Herald, have regularly used S.A.I.C. records. These two publications have done some groundbreaking business reporting here. But government restrictions on writing about the families of senior leaders limits the scope of investigative journalism in China, particularly when the families of high-ranking officials are involved.

So, Jack, there was no person “inside the Wall” helping me. I read the documents, called lawyers, accountants and financial experts for advice about how to make sense of the records. Occasionally I met someone who was able to identify one of the shareholders. But I told very few people that I was working on a story about the prime minister’s relatives. Even my closest friends did not know. I knew talking about my research could be risky, and might derail the project.