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Associated Press

Posted on February 14, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Updated Friday, Feb 14 at 12:00 PM

WINTER WEATHER

More snow piles up overnight

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Parts of Pennsylvania are digging out from under nearly two feet of snow, and there's even more than that in some areas of upstate New York.

The latest round of wintry weather began overnight in some places -- just in time to delay tens of thousands of deliveries of Valentine's Day flowers.

Snow, sleet and rain fell on roads that were already covered in many parts of the Northeast with deep puddles and icy patches.

The number of homes and businesses without power has dropped to about 440,000 -- mostly in South Carolina and Georgia.

At least 21 people died as the result of the wintry weather.

TURNPIKE CRASH

Dozens injured in turnpike accidents

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Authorities say more than a dozen people were injured in traffic accidents involving several tractor-trailers and dozens of cars on the Pennsylvania Turnpike outside Philadelphia.

Abington Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Cindy Taing says the hospital received 16 patients: five trauma patients and 11 people with minor injuries. She said she can't immediately provide conditions for the trauma patients.

The series of accidents backed up traffic for miles between the Bensalem and Willow Grove exits of the turnpike, the state's primary east-west highway.

The crashes were reported just after 8 a.m., about five hours after a storm that dropped a foot of snow finally moved out. Speed restrictions enacted during the storm had been lifted at 6 a.m., but motorists say the roadway was very slick.

ROKER-NY SCHOOLS

Al Roker: My tweet about NYC mayor was too much

NEW YORK (AP) — TV weatherman Al Roker is largely standing by his public shellacking of New York City's mayor for keeping public schools open during a snowstorm. But he is apologizing for his tweet forecasting "one term" for Bill de Blasio (dih-BLAH'-zee-oh).

Roker said on NBC's "Today" show Friday that his tweet a day earlier was "below the line."

Roker said he understands that some kids depend on school meals, and that working parents have trouble arranging backup child care. But he says other cities face the same issues and still close their schools.

He said it's also a challenge for a working parent to scramble to get children to a school that stays open and then may have to close early.

De Blasio said Thursday that keeping the schools open was the right decision.

WALL STREET

UPDATE: Stocks turn higher

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks have moved into positive territory this morning, putting the market on track for a second week of gains.

Disappointing earnings from several companies and a steep drop in factory output have kept the gains in check so far.

Harsh winter weather led to a steep drop in U.S. factory output in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production

The Federal Reserve said factory production plunged 0.8 percent in January, reversing gains of 0.3 percent in both December and November. Automakers lost days of production because of snowstorms, as their production plummeted 5.1 percent, the report said.

HOUSE DEMOCRATS

NEW: Obama: Immigration, minimum wage should be priorities

CAMBRIDGE, Md. (AP) — President Barack Obama says top priorities for Congress should be increasing the minimum wage and reforming immigration.

Obama told a House Democratic retreat Friday that the party needs to stand up for the American dream of getting ahead.

He congratulates lawmakers for standing together to support increasing the government's debt with no strings attached, which Congress approved this week.

He also thanks his party for supporting the "tough issue" of his health care law. He predicts people will look back on the troubled law and consider it "a monumental achievement."

Obama did not mention an issue that's created disagreement in the party. Obama wants greater leeway to make trade deals. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said this week that's out of the question.

SNOWDEN CLEMENCY

NEW: Ron Paul starts Snowden clemency petition

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former GOP congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul has started a petition drive to pressure the Obama administration to grant clemency to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who is charged with espionage over leaks about the government's surveillance programs.

Paul's push for clemency would have to be granted by President Barack Obama. Earlier this week, Paul's son, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, filed a lawsuit against Obama and other top administration officials to stop the surveillance programs, which Sen. Paul contends are violations of 4th amendment constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.

Ron Paul said in a video post that he wants Snowden to return to the U.S. without facing prosecution before the accused leaker's amnesty in Russia is due to expire at the end of July.

SYRIA

UPDATE: Dozens reported dead in car bomb attack

BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian activists say a car bomb at a mosque in a southern village has killed dozens of people, while state media confirms 3 killed in the attack in Daraa province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which uses a wide network of local activists to track violence in the country, says 32 people were killed and dozens wounded in the blast in the village of Yadouda.

State-run TV confirmed there a car bomb went off outside a mosque in Yadouda, saying it killed at least three people.

An activist in southern Syria, Jamal al-Golani, said the car bomb exploded as worshippers were leaving the mosque after attending the Friday prayers.

He had a list of 18 names, saying they were killed in the blast.

Such attacks on mosques are not uncommon in Syria and the government and opposition have blamed each other for the blasts.

LOUD MUSIC KILLING

Third day of deliberations in trial of man charged in loud music killing

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Jurors have resumed deciding the fate of a Florida man charged with fatally shooting a teen after an argument over loud music.

The 12 jurors in the trial of Michael Dunn resumed work Friday, their third day of deliberations. Dunn is charged with first-degree murder for fatally shooting 17-year-old Jordan Davis outside a Jacksonville convenience store in 2012.

Dunn claims he shot the Marietta, Ga., teen in self-defense. But prosecutors told jurors Dunn shot the teen because he felt disrespected by Davis during an argument over loud music.

Judge Russell Healey says spectators and lawyers will no longer be able to wait in the courtroom for a verdict since there was concern that jurors could hear muffled sounds coming from the courtroom.

CHEMOTHERAPY STOPPED-AMISH

NEW: Guardian ends bid to force Amish girl into chemo

UNDATED (AP) — A judge in Ohio says a court-appointed guardian can drop her attempt to force an 11-year-old Amish girl with leukemia to resume chemotherapy.

The ruling is a big step toward bringing an end to a months-long fight between Sarah Hershberger's family and a hospital. The fight began when her parents decided to halt the treatments because they feared chemotherapy was killing her.

The northeast Ohio judge issued the decision Thursday. It helps clear the way for Sarah and her parents to return to their farm in Medina (meh-DEYE'-nuh) County after they went into hiding more than four months ago to avoid the chemotherapy.

The guardian says she dropped her efforts to force Sarah into chemotherapy because it was impossible to make medical decisions for the girl after she went into hiding.

DOLPHINS BULLYING-REPORT

NEW: Inquiry says Incognito, 2 others harassed Martin

NEW YORK (AP) — An NFL ordered-investigation found Jonathan Martin was subjected to "a pattern of harassment" that included racist slurs and vicious sexual taunts about his mother and sister by three Miami Dolphin teammates.

The report said Richie Incognito, who the Dolphins suspended in November, offensive linemen John Jerry and Mike Pouncey harassed Martin, as well as another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer.

Lawyer Ted Wells released his report Friday.

Wells says his inquiry found Martin was routinely taunted and ridiculed. The other player, whose name was not released, was "subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching," while the assistant trainer was subjected to racial slurs.

The report rejected claims that Martin made up the claims of abuse.

Martin left the team in October, saying he was harassed daily by teammates.

BRITAIN-HELICOPTER CRASH

NEW: Report: Engines failed on helicopter that hit pub

LONDON (AP) — Investigators say a police helicopter that crashed onto a pub in Glasgow, killing 10 people, suffered double engine failure for reasons that remain unclear.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said in an interim report Friday that the right engine on the Eurocopter EC135 Type 2 helicopter "flamed out and shortly after the left engine flamed out" as it flew over the Scottish city on Nov. 29.

It said further investigation would try to determine why both engines failed when the helicopter had 168 pounds (76 kilograms) of fuel in its tanks.

It also will seek to understand why the helicopter sent no emergency signal before it slammed into the Clutha Vaults pub with such force that the roof collapsed.

Three crew members and seven people on the ground were killed.

SHERIFF CANCELS VALENTINE'S DAY

NEW: Sheriff cancels Valentine's Day as ice slams South

ATLANTA (AP) — A sheriff in northeastern Georgia said he was canceling Valentine's Day because of the bad weather, telling men they were off the hook for the romantic gifts their partners may be expecting.

Sheriff Scott Berry in Oconee County took to Facebook to announce his decision after an ice storm slammed Georgia on Wednesday.

Men, he wrote, "are exempt from having to run out and buy lottery scratchers and Hershey bars from the corner stores" until Tuesday.

The post was in fun and was shared more than 1,500 times. But it angered a man who called the sheriff's office Friday from a Michigan area code to protest the decision, saying snow up north isn't a big deal.

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