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WORLD & NATION
Europe braces for more cold weather as Siberian cold front marches south
By Linda Catoe
With hundreds dead, lines of transport cut off and fuel
supplies rationed, the whole of Europe is at war — with the
weather. Since the end of January, the cold front has claimed
over 500 lives in Europe; the Weather Underground rates it as
Europe's coldest outbreak since at least 1991.
By contrast, the U.S. is experiencing above average winter
Last week, Mike Halpert with the National Weather Service
said the mild winter is caused by something called the "Arctic
oscillation," which moves the jet stream north and south.
Acting as a dividing line between cold and warm air, the jet
stream keeps colder air to the North and warmer air to the
South. Milder than usual U.S. temperatures will likely continue
as long as the jet stream stays north of its normal position,
However, this is not the case with Europe.
"In Europe, the jet stream has dipped far to the South,
allowing frigid arctic air to pour across the continent, subjecting
Europe to its deepest freeze in decades," said Halpert, according
to BBC. "More than 400 people have died. In Hungary they're
burning bricks of shredded money to stay warm. Homes in
Poland are frozen solid."
The extreme temperatures are having their most deadly
effects in poorer European countries. Ukraine, the second
poorest country in Europe, remains the hardest hit with over
135 fatalities. Most of Ukraine's dead were homeless people
who froze to death as temperatures dropped below minus 30
degrees Celsius, or minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Declaring a state of emergency, Ukraine officials set up
heated relief tents to house the homeless and prevent further
fatalities, according to BBC.
As rivers freeze and dams and water pipes burst, bizarre
conditions all over Europe are becoming the norm.
The Croatian city of Split saw a spike in bone fractures
in recent days as hundreds of people slipped on icy roads,
according to AFP. Struggling to keep up with the injuries,
Splif s hospital ran through a two-year supply of plaster for
splints and casts in just five days.
Mayor Zeljko Kerum enraged Split's residents when he
failed to manage the crisis as he was out of country on a private
business trip. Kerum fueled Split's outrage further when he
suggested that high taxes on footwear explained why residents
couldn't afford proper winter boots.
Elsewhere, in Poland, Prime Minister Donald Tusk asked
local authorities to waive the ban on the admission of inebriated
individuals to homeless shelters as the national death toll rose
to 53, Polish Press Agency reported. Perhaps one of the more
wide-reaching effects of the cold front is the paralyzing effect it
has had on water transportation.
Sections of the Danube River's 1780 miles from Austria to
its mouth on the Black Sea are frozen solid and partially iced
over. While specialized boats attempt to break up the ice, the
ten countries whose economies depend on the Danube remain
There are a few countries that are faring better than others,
Some, like Zoltan David, a New York City Cinematographer
and Budapest-native, felt that the cold front presented little
more than an inconvenience.
"You know, the usual things like very slow traffic because
Budapest got around two feet of snow," David said to the
Guilfordian. "Delays everywhere, shortage of fresh food
supplies, higher heating costs."
While Hungary didn't feel the impact of the cold weather
as much as neighboring countries did, schools and businesses
were still shut down due to the snow. Since buildings in
Hungary and most Eastern European countries are made of
brick and concrete with no insulation, they are under-heated in
the severe cold, David explained.
David goes on to say that the Russians shutting down the
natural gas pipelines was the biggest problem for Hungarians,
as Russia is the number one gas exporter in Europe.
"Anytime a natural catastrophe strikes, the poor, the old and
sick people suffer the most," said David. "I believe this was the
case here, too."
He also emphasized Europe's troubled financial and
economic conditions, highlighting the invisible role that it has
played in the devastation of the cold front.
"In any well-functioning society, it is much easier to overcome
a natural disaster, but Europe is in turmoil," David said.
As the deadly Siberian cold front continues to wreak havoc
on Europe, meteorologists contend that relief from sub-zero
temperatures may not arrive until the end of February. In fact,
Steven Keates, a weather forecaster at Britain's Met Office, said
the severe wintry conditions were expected to spread to other
"It will still be very cold — maybe not quite the exceptional
temperatures we've seen this last week — but still very cold,"
said Keates to Reuters.
And for those skeptics who say: 'Take that A1 Gore and your
global warming theories,' they might consider freezing that
thought, according to David.
"(The) last thing I would mention is the global climate
changing," he said. "Winter in Europe has warmed up
significantly in the last 20 years, therefore the population is not
used to the severe cold temperatures anymore."
Egyptian soccer riots kill 74
By Thomas Deane
Violence erupted last week after a soccer match
in the Egyptian city of Port Said. The deadly riot
killed 74 and injured scores of others in what was
the bloodiest day the sport has seen in 15 years.
The match took place between Al-Masry and Al-
Ahly. After AJ-Masry pulled out a surprise 3-1 win,
fans stormed the field looking to get a piece of the
The two teams are longtime rivals, but what
happened on the pitch reflects the bloodshed seen
in the Arab nation over the past year. The country
is still reeling from a popular uprising that saw the
overthrow of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Many fans present at the riots noted the police
did not do enough to help quell the violence. Strong
political undertones have also been also brought up
as a major instigator to the riots. Many Egyptians
have accused the police of Jetting the riots happen
out of vengeance towards the Ultras — die-hard
soccer fans who are bitter enemies of the police and
have been among the most aggressive protestors
over the last year.
The recent soccer riots were not an isolated event;
in fact, just last year Masry fans attacked Ahly
supporters at a soccer match. This month's attacks at
the stadium, however, were by far the most violent
to occur in over a decade.
Al-Ahly supporter Amr Khamis had his head
bandaged after being attacked by an Al-Masry
supporter. In an interview with CNN, Khamis
criticized the police for their roles in the attacks.
"The police opened the gates separating us from
the Masry fans and their hooligans attack(ed) us with
everything: rocks, glass bottles, knives, swords,"
said Khamis. "Some had guns.... How did the police
allow them with these weapons into the bleachers?"
The Ultras are some of the most influential
supporters of the club Al-Ahly, and over the past
year they have been in constant conflict with the
police and, more recently, with the army Over the
past year the Ultras have fought to put an end to
military rule, in both the streets and the stadiums.
After the riots at the soccer match, an emergency
meeting was called by Parliament. Prime Minister
Kamal el-Ganzouri immediately dissolved the
Egyptian soccer federation's board. He has called
for their prosecution following the violence that
erupted in the coastal city.
^ccer has long been entangled with politics in
many countries around the world. Jeff Bateson,
Guilford men's soccer head coach, notes that the
history of soccer is much deeper in other countries
than it is here in the U.S.
"There is a lot of politics in it, and I would assume
since Egypt is so politically charged at the moment
that politics had a lot to do with it (the riot)," Bateson
The violence and tumult that has characterized
much of EgypTs recent political climate was reflected
clearly in ffie events at the soccer match. Throughout
the match rocks and bottles were thrown at the
players. Tensions skyrocketed throughout the game
as more and more fans banded together.
"There were organized groups in the crowds
that purposely provoked the police all through
the match and escalated the violence and stormed
onto the field after the final whistle," said General
Marwan Mustapha of Egypt's interior ministry in an
interview with ABC News. "Our policemen tried to
contain them but not engage."
The Ultras have been considered the main
instigators of the incident. Following the soccer
riot, they are expected to increase in numbers and
continue the "revolution." As for now, the country
hopes to push forward and recover from these
tumultuous times. But with so many opposing
forces in one country, peace may be hard to come by.
'• ‘t i , '
A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant,
and a Prayer
Bryan Jr, Au
ank Family Science Cen
Friday, February 17
Sunday, February 198:'
Thursday, February 16 8:'
Saturday, February 18 8:00
eeds benefit Leslie's House Wome
f.edu for more information