By Scott Malone and Victoria Cavaliere BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - People across the northeastern United States on Friday dug out after a heavy snowfall that grounded flights, closed schools and government offices, caused at least three deaths and left the region in the grip of dangerously low temperatures. Boston was hard-hit by the first major winter storm of 2014, getting nearly 18 inches of snow, while some towns north of New England's largest city saw close to 2 feet of accumulation. Major cities from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Maine, were slammed, with New York's Manhattan island getting 6 inches of snow and parts of the borough of Queens seeing more than 10 inches of fresh powder. While plows made easy work of the powdery snow to clear roads and runways, authorities warned residents to expect unusually cold weather across the Midwest and Northeast. Embarrass, Minnesota notched a reading of -36 degrees Fahrenheit (-38 Celsius) that stood as the lowest temperature recorded in the United States outside Alaska on Friday, according to the National Weather Service. "Temperatures tonight and tomorrow are expected to be extremely low, and dangerously so," said Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. "These are dangerous conditions." The forecast overnight low for Boston was -4 F (-20 C) while New York looked for a low of 3 F (-16 C). New York City's Department of Homeless Services went to "code blue," doubling the number of vans patrolling streets to seek people who needed shelter and streamlining the check-in process for homeless shelters. Washington received more than 2 inches of snow, Philadelphia roughly 5 inches and Hartford 7 inches. http://link.reuters.com/zym75v In Cambridge, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, Tom Klein took a break from shoveling and said that a life in New England had accustomed him to harsh winter weather. "I love a good snowstorm," the 60-year-old co-owner of a small manufacturing company said. "I don't mind shoveling. I've never minded shoveling." Some 2,452 U.S. flights were canceled and 4,012 were delayed on Friday, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks air traffic. Airports across the region warned travelers to expect residual delays as they cleared a backlog of flights. "We now have all our airfields - runways and taxiways - clear," said Ed Freni, aviation director for Boston's Logan International Airport. "We will be back to normal operations by tomorrow." STORM-RELATED DEATHS The weather was a factor in at least three deaths. In Kentucky, a 50-year-old woman died on Thursday morning when she lost control of her car on an icy road near South Williamson, according to state police. Police recovered the body of a 71-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease who had wandered out in the rural western New York State town of Byron on Thursday night, improperly dressed for the single-digit temperatures, according to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. A Philadelphia city worker was killed after a machine he was using was crushed by a mound of rock salt, media said. New York's new mayor, Bill de Blasio, started his day shoveling the walk in front of his Brooklyn brownstone - a task his wife had said their 16-year-old son Dante would handle. Dante turned up later, not being an early riser, his father said at a briefing. Asked what grade he would give his teen-aged son, de Blasio said: "I give Dante an A for effort and a D for punctuality." De Blasio, who has pledged to address issues of inequality in New York, focused on the plight of homeless people during his weather briefings, saying city agencies stepped up outreach efforts to get needy people off the streets and into shelter during the dire cold. He urged New Yorkers to keep an eye out for people who might be in danger and to contact city authorities if need be. In Washington, the Office of Personnel Management told hundreds of thousands of federal workers they could work from home or take a leave because of the storm. The United Nations in New York and federal courts in New York, New Jersey, and Boston shut down. Schools closed across much of the region. Not all New Yorkers had the option of staying home. "The rent is too high. I can't close because of a storm," said Nelson Martinez, who was working at his Brooklyn grocery store, packing ice-melting salt from large bags into smaller sizes to sell. "I'm just trying to make some extra money off it and turn a bad situation around," he said. The Midwest braced for a bitter cold stretch from the weekend into early next week, as well as blizzard conditions in North Dakota and parts of South Dakota and Minnesota. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Friday ordered all public schools statewide to close on Monday due to the forecast extreme low temperatures. It will be the first time Minnesota public schools will be closed statewide since January 1997. Forecasters called for a low of -26 degrees F (-32 C) in Minneapolis on Sunday night and a Monday high of -17 F (-27 C). A possible winter storm was headed to the Ohio River Valley, including Indiana, on Sunday, with Detroit also facing a possible foot of snowfall. (Additional reporting by Ellen Wulfhorst and Barbara Goldberg in New York, Daniel Lovering in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Jeffrey B. Roth in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Missouri, Dave Warner in Philadelphia, Mary Wisniewski in Chicago, David Bailey in Minneapolis and Ian Simpson in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
The Biden administration announced sanctions and visa bans on Friday targeting Saudi Arabian citizens over the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but stopped short of imposing sanctions on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself. U.S. President Joe Biden's actions in the first weeks of his administration appear aimed at fulfilling campaign promises to realign Saudi ties after critics accused his predecessor, Donald Trump, of giving the Arab ally and major oil producer a pass on gross human rights violations. A senior Biden administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the approach aims to create a new launching-off point for ties with the kingdom without breaking a core relationship in the Middle East.
- The Independent
Under the new rule, members who attempt to bring firearms to the floor could be fined
- The Independent
From ‘Dictator Biden’ T-shirts to Samurai Futurologists: Merchandise and promo stalls are most eye-opening part of CPAC
Any doubt of who is in charge of the Republican party was quashed as a gold statue of Donald Trump was wheeled into the conference.
- Associated Press
Phil Mickelson made history 30 years ago in Tucson, becoming one of seven amateurs to win a PGA Tour event since 1940. Lefty is back in Arizona this weekend and he has a chance to stand alone in the record book. A winner in his first two PGA Tour Champions starts, Mickelson could become the first player to win his first three starts on a PGA Tour-sanctioned tour this weekend in the Cologuard Classic at Tucson National.
- The Independent
Republican gathering began in 1974 and sees American conservatives debate social worries but has struggled with position on 'alt-right' in recent years
- Associated Press
Saudi Arabia's crown prince likely approved the killing of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, according to a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released Friday. The finding could escalate pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that drew widespread outrage in the U.S. and abroad. The public blaming of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman amounted to an extraordinary rebuke and was likely to set the tone for the new administration’s relationship with a country President Joe Biden has criticized but which the White House also regards in some contexts as a strategic partner.
Sheikha Latifa, one of the daughters of the ruler of Dubai, has written to British police asking them to reopen their investigation into the kidnap of her older sister from a street in Cambridge in 2000, the BBC reported on Thursday. In a handwritten letter seen by the British broadcaster and dated 2018, Latifa asked Cambridgeshire Police to refocus on the case of her sister Shamsa, now 39, who was captured aged 18 and has not been seen in public since. The Dubai government's media office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
- The Independent
Biden raises human rights in call with Saudi king as intelligence officials to release report on Khashoggi killing
President Joe Biden has spoken with King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia ahead of the release of a report from US intelligence officials that is expected to reveal that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved and likely ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. A White House report of their phone call on Thursday did not disclose whether they discussed the findings in the report. The leaders “discussed regional security, including the renewed diplomatic efforts led by the United Nations and the United States to end the war in Yemen, and the US commitment to help Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” according to a readout of their call.
- Reuters Videos
In 2016, Amos was found in Corpus Christi, Texas, unable to fly. X-rays taken at the Texas State Aquarium showed two broken wings. Veterinarians determined that Amos had been shot in both wings, most likely while he was flying.Even though Amos was treated for his injuries and recovered, he can no longer fly and cannot fully extend his right wing and therefore can't be released back into the wild.Amos is now among the nearly 200 animals that are part of the Bronx Zoo's ambassador animal program.
- Miami Herald
Visitors hiking the Mahogany Hammock Trail in Everglades National Park earlier this month spotted an unfamiliar snake. It turned out to be a brand new invasive species.
- Miami Herald
Two commercial fisherman from the mainland were jailed Thursday after police said they were caught in the Keys with a haul of illegal seafood that started with 100 undersized wrung lobster tails.
Residents of an Indian slum thought they were getting vaccinated like everyone else but were unknowingly part of a clinical trial
After a white van advertised COVID-19 vaccines to a central-Indian slum, many of its residents feel duped after finding out they were in a trial.
- Business Insider
Donald Trump Jr. gives fiery CPAC speech full of grievances against anti-Trump Republicans, big tech, and the mainstream media
Trump Jr. ranted about Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, saying her "politics are only slightly less popular than her father is at a quail hunt."
- Business Insider
Ted Cruz rants about comedians, late night TV, and mask-wearing before shouting at people to 'just have fun' in wild CPAC speech
"Orlando is awesome. It's not as nice as Cancun, but it's nice," Cruz said, referring to the scandal he sparked by leaving Texas for Mexico.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The House is expected to pass a stimulus deal with $1,400 checks on Friday.
Asian Man in Critical Condition After Being Stabbed in the Back With a Butcher Knife in NY Chinatown
An Asian man is in critical condition after getting stabbed by a butcher knife in New York's Chinatown on Thursday evening. The 36-year-old local resident was attacked around 6:15 p.m. near the federal courthouse, near the corner of Worth Street and Baxter street next to the Daniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse, reports PIX11. Call came in at 6:20 for report of a stabbing at Baxter Street and Worth Street.
- NBC News
Family members told officers the man and woman were quarantining in their home in the St. Louis area.
- Business Insider
Ted Cruz's colleagues mocked him by putting memes of his Cancun trip in the Senate gym locker room: 'Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!'
Those who turned up to the Senate gym Wednesday morning were welcomed by color printouts of Cruz's Cancun trip that read "Bienvenido de Nuevo, Ted!"
Ben Affleck says his divorce from Jennifer Garner and other 'life experience' shaped him into a better actor
In a new interview as part of The Hollywood Reporter's Actor Roundtable series, Affleck spoke about Garner and the three kids they share.
- The Guardian
Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough ruled provision in $1.9tn Covid stimulus bill did not qualify for budget reconciliation Ilhan Omar tweeted: ‘What’s a Democratic majority if we can’t pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable.’ Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters The progressive Democrat Ilhan Omar has called for the firing of the government official who effectively blocked the party’s plans to raise the minimum wage. Democratic plans to include a gradual raise to $15 in Joe Biden’s $1.9tn coronavirus stimulus bill were effectively ended on Thursday when the Senate parliamentarian ruled it should not be part of the package. The decision by Elizabeth MacDonough, who has held the non-partisan position since 2012, dashed hopes of including the raise in the bill – the first increase in over a decade. “Abolish the filibuster. Replace the parliamentarian,” Omar said in a tweet. “What’s a Democratic majority if we can’t pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable.” Abolish the filibuster.Replace the parliamentarian.What’s a Democratic majority if we can’t pass our priority bills? This is unacceptable.— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) February 26, 2021 Biden campaigned on a pledge to increase the minimum wage to $15. Low-wage workers and unions have campaigned for a rise since 2012, and its inclusion in the coronavirus stimulus bill had been seen as a major victory. While the proposal faced universal opposition by Republican senators and skepticism from some Democrats, Senator Bernie Sanders and others were confident that it could be pushed through with a simple majority in the Senate, where the Democrats hold a slim majority. In order to achieve this, the proposal would have to be passed by “budget reconciliation” – a mechanism that allows legislation to bypass the 60% vote bills need to get through the Senate. Late on Thursday, MacDonough ruled that the wage increase did not meet the standards for budget reconciliation. The parliamentarian acts as an impartial judge and has only been removed from office once. MacDonough is well respected by many members of both parties, and the Biden administration seems unlikely to push for her removal. Other progressive Democrats have proposed a less drastic solution – overruling her. “The Senate parliamentarian issues an advisory opinion,” congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said in a tweet. “The VP can overrule them – as has been done before. We should do EVERYTHING we can to keep our promise, deliver a $15 minimum wage, and give 27 million workers a raise.” Sanders, one of the most ardent supporters of a minimum-wage increase, has proposed an alternative plan – imposing penalties and incentives to push companies toward higher wages. “I will be working with my colleagues in the Senate to move forward with an amendment to take tax deductions away from large, profitable corporations that don’t pay workers at least $15 an hour, and to provide small businesses with the incentives they need to raise wages,” Sanders said in a statement. “That amendment must be included in this reconciliation bill.” Sanders’ comments come after a Senate hearing on Thursday where he lambasted the low wages paid by McDonald’s, Walmart and others. Sanders pointed to a government report that found nearly half of workers who make less than $15 an hour rely on public assistance programs that cost taxpayers $107bn each year. The American people are “sick and tired” of subsidizing “starvation wages” at these companies, Sanders said.