National briefs: Wintry storm stymies travel

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CHICAGO -- A storm with a 2,000-mile footprint threatened to frustrate Christmas travelers from Texas to Nova Scotia with a little of everything Mother Nature has to offer, from freezing rain, ice and snow to flooding, thunderstorms and at least one tornado in the South.

Some of the millions of people hitting the roads and airports Saturday squeaked through before any major weather hit, but as the afternoon wore on some cancellations and delays started to mount at major aviation hubs. Forecasters said roads that are passable one minute could become treacherous the next as a cold blast on the back end of the storm turns rain to ice and snow.

Making it harder for forecasters to stay a step ahead, the system was a weird swirl of wintry and spring-like weather as it passed over areas in the Midwest. While ice was accumulating in Oklahoma and elsewhere, downing trees and power lines, Memphis, Tenn., was enjoying spring-like weather, with the temperature reaching into the 70s.

The worst of the storm was only supposed to hit Chicago on Saturday night.

About 350 flights had been canceled, nationwide, as of 5 p.m. EST, according to aviation tracking website

Transit pact reached

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit officials and labor union leaders announced a new deal early Saturday, saying the final issue in their ongoing dispute has been resolved.

The transit system and its two largest unions have been involved in months-long negotiations that stalled recently over paid medical leave time for employees.

Shooting victim dies

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Claire Davis, the 17-year-old who was shot in the head by a classmate at Arapahoe High School, died Saturday afternoon, hospital officials said.

The Davis girl was shot at point-blank range by Karl Halvorsen Pierson, 18, who then fatally shot himself. Pierson had reportedly been searching for his debate coach when he entered the school Dec. 13.

First family in Hawaii

HONOLULU -- President Barack Obama has begun his annual winter vacation in Hawaii.

The president, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia landed in Honolulu shortly before midnight local time Friday. Mr. Obama has no public events scheduled while he's in Hawaii. The president, who was born in Hawaii, is scheduled to be in Honolulu through Jan. 5.

Drug website charges

NEW YORK -- Three more men face charges for their alleged roles in the online black market website for drug dealing known as the Silk Road, federal prosecutors in New York City revealed Friday.

An indictment unsealed in federal court charges Andrew Michael Jones of Charles City, Va., Gary Davis of Wicklow, Ireland, and Peter Phillip Nash of Brisbane, Australia, with one count each of narcotics conspiracy, conspiracy to commit computer hacking and money laundering conspiracy.

Fatal carjacking probe

MILLBURN, N.J. -- After five tense days and an all-out manhunt, New Jersey authorities announced Saturday that four men had been arrested in the carjacking and fatal shooting of a New Jersey lawyer last Sunday.

The 30-year-old victim was killed in front of his wife in the parking garage of a high-end mall in this New York City suburb. The arrests were carried out in quick succession over several hours from Friday evening to Saturday morning.


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