National news briefs: 1/4/14

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Storm, cold batter East

BOSTON -- A winter storm that swept across the Midwest this week blew through parts of Canada and the East on Friday, producing more than a foot of snow in spots, giving rise to gusty winds and leaving bone-chilling cold in its wake.

In the Northeast, the storm appeared to save the most snow for Massachusetts, where more than 13 inches fell in Boston and almost 2 feet fell to the north.

Weather associated with the storm was responsible for at least 13 deaths across the U.S. in the past few days.

Hundreds of schools closed in several states Friday because of the snow or cold, and sometimes both.

Nearly 1,900 flights were canceled nationwide Friday.

Rules for new wood stoves

WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency moved Friday to curb emissions of particles and other gases from residential wood stoves and other wood-fired heaters built in 2015 or later, an effort to combat pollutants that can present a significant health hazard in parts of the country.

The proposed new rules would require manufacturers of wood stoves, wood pellet stoves, forced-air wood furnaces, wood boilers, fireplace inserts and masonry heaters to build a generation of devices that burn 80 percent more cleanly than current models. The rules would go into effect in 2015.

The new rules do not apply to wood heaters already in use or to residential fireplaces, backyard fire containers or fire pits used by campers and beachgoers. Nor do they apply to smokers, wood-fired barbecues or pizza ovens.

Catholic diocese paid bail

PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia's Roman Catholic archbishop, Charles J. Chaput, on Friday defended his decision to post bail for Monsignor William J. Lynn, saying it was reasonable and just for the archdiocese to help him.

Monsignor Lynn, 62, walked out of jail a free man on Friday following 18 months in prison for a child-endangerment conviction that was overturned by an appeals court last week.

Monsignor Lynn had been sentenced to three to six years in prison for his role in enabling priests to harm children.

Victims' rights groups and District Attorney Seth Williams have criticized the archdiocese for paying Rev. Lynn's bail.

Utah same-sex case

WASHINGTON -- Same-sex marriage advocates in Utah told the Supreme Court on Friday that the state has not shown there is a sufficient reason to stop the unions while it challenges a judge's ruling that the state's ban is unconstitutional.

Utah earlier this week asked the court to block U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby's Dec. 20 ruling that Utah's voter-approved 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage violated federal guarantees of equal protection.

Union to vote on contract

SEATTLE -- Boeing machinists were scheduled to vote Friday night on a contract offer that would concede some pension and health care benefits in order to secure assembly of the company's new 777X airplane in Washington state.

Boeing has been exploring the prospect of building the 777X elsewhere, a move that could trigger a steady exodus of aerospace jobs from a region where Boeing was founded.

Local union officials, meanwhile, urged their 30,000 members to oppose the deal that members were voting on Friday, arguing that the proposal surrenders too much at a time of company profitability.

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