National Briefs / Cold snap tears through U.S.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A late fall cold snap that has gripped much of the country is being blamed for a handful of deaths and has forced people to deal with frigid temperatures, power outages by the thousands and treacherous roads.

Weather forecasters say the powerful weather system has Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic in its icy sights next.

Icy conditions were expected to last through the weekend from Texas to Ohio to Tennessee, and Virginia officials warned residents of a major ice storm likely to take shape today, resulting in power outages and hazards on the roads.

Court to hear DNA case

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Armed with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, a federal appeals court Monday will revisit a controversial legal challenge to California's law allowing collection of DNA samples from anyone arrested for a felony.

Whether the Supreme Court's ruling on Maryland's similar -- though narrower -- DNA collection law shoots down an ongoing legal attack on California's 4-year-old statute will be the question before a special 11-judge 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel.

In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Maryland's law, likening collection of DNA samples to fingerprinting suspects booked into police custody.

Software case to be heard

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Friday that it will rule on whether software can be patented, a topic it last considered in 1981. The case, which is likely to be heard next year, could have big implications for major software firms, some of which own tens of thousands of software patents.

The case the Supreme Court will consider focuses on four financial software patents aimed at limiting risk when traders exchange complex derivatives.

Couple suspected in death

SUNBURY, Pa. -- A Selinsgrove, Pa., couple married for just three weeks lured a man to his death with a Craigslist ad because they wanted to kill someone together, police said.

Elytte Barbour told officers before his arrest Friday night that he and his wife, Miranda, had planned to kill before, but their plans never worked out until last month when Troy LaFerrara responded to an online posting that promised companionship in return for money, authorities said.

Also in the nation ...

Campbell Soup apologized Saturday for a tweet by its SpaghettiOs brand that marked the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attacks with a picture of its smiling mascot jauntily holding an American flag. ... Concerned about an oncoming wave of fragile older drivers, the federal government is working to beef up its safety programs aimed at seniors behind the wheel. ... A Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Atlanta was diverted to Spokane International Airport on Saturday morning after a 16-year-old boy died onboard, officials said.



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