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Blizzard bears down on New England, snarling travel

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The third winter storm in two weeks roared into coastal New England on Tuesday, with up to 20 inches (51 cm) of forecast snow causing school closures, flight cancellations and raising the risk of power outages.

The nor’easter follows two storms that rumbled up the East Coast this month, killing at least nine people and knocking out power to about 2.4 million people and businesses at their peak.

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The storm stretched from New York state across Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine, with national forecasters warning of blizzard conditions, where high winds make travel dangerous, stretching from coastal Massachusetts through Maine.

“We’re anticipating that we’ll be seeing through the mid- to late morning and probably into midafternoon snowfall rates of one to three inches per hour (up to 7.6cm),” said Bob Thompson, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts. He warned that further power outages were likely in southeastern Massachusetts.

Schools in Boston and Providence, Rhode Island, were shut on Tuesday, Maine’s state legislature canceled its session, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy closed all government offices and the passenger rail line Amtrak halted service between Boston and New York.

Close to 1,500 U.S. flights were canceled with the hardest-hit airport Boston Logan, where about four out of five flights were called off, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Nor’easters are storms that typically bring strong winds from the northeast, and they tend to occur most often and most violently between September and April along North America’s East Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says.

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Some nor’easters carry hurricane-force winds.

Winds are expected to reach 65 miles (105km) per hour, the weather service said.

 This storm’s heavy snow could down trees weakened by the last two storms and bring a fresh wave of power outages, officials warned.
Lower tides meant the storm would probably not bring a repeat of the flooding that sent icy water pouring into the streets of Boston during a storm early this month, forecasters and officials said.

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Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Bill Rigby


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Melania Trump statue torched near her Slovenian hometown: report

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On Wednesday, The Daily Beast reported that a wooden statue of First Lady Melania Trump carved from a tree outside her hometown in Slovenia last year has been burned to the ground.

"The artist who had commissioned the sculpture, Brad Downey, had the statue removed on July 5," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "Downey, who is American but works out of Berlin, had hoped his statue of the first lady would create dialogue about American politics, given that Melania Trump is an immigrant married to a president who seeks to stem immigration. Though the investigation is still pending, Downey said he hopes to interview the perpetrators for an upcoming exhibition."

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FBI investigating Chinese businessman who bankrolled media company linked to Steve Bannon

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A Wall Street Journal expose revealed that a Chinese businessman is under investigation by the FBI after he used funds to bankroll a media company with ties to a former aide to President Donald Trump, Steve Bannon.

"Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said," according to the Journal. "As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been underway for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved.

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Mike Pompeo asks Egypt to stop harassing US citizens

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday welcomed Egypt's release of a US citizen but urged the ally to stop harassment of others.

Mohamed Amashah, 24, was freed Monday, nearly 16 months after he was arrested in Cairo's Tahrir Square for holding up a sign seeking the release of prisoners, according to human rights campaigners.

A dual US-Egyptian citizen who lives in New Jersey, he had gone on a hunger strike this year to protest his conditions.

"We thank Egypt for securing his release and his repatriation," Pompeo told a news conference.

"But at the same time, we urge Egyptian officials to stop unwarranted harassment of US citizens and their families who remain there," he said.

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