National briefs: Snow clobbers northeast U.S.

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PHILADELPHIA -- A swirling snowstorm clobbered parts of the mid-Atlantic and the urban Northeast on Tuesday, grounding thousands of flights, closing government offices in the nation's capital and making a mess of the evening commute.

The storm stretched 1,000 miles between Kentucky and Massachusetts but hit especially hard along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, creating perilous rides home for millions of motorists.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 10 inches of snow had fallen just outside Philadelphia in Drexel Hill by Tuesday evening and there was about 6 inches in Philadelphia. The National Weather Service said parts of New York City also had about 6 inches.

The snow came down harder and faster than many people expected. Forecasters said some places were expected to get 1 to 2 inches an hour, with wind gusts up to 50 mph. A blizzard warning was posted for parts of Massachusetts, including Cape Cod.

Forecasters said the storm could bring up to 14 inches of snow to Philadelphia and southern New England and up to a foot in New York City, to be followed by bitter cold as arctic air from Canada streams in. Washington was expecting 4 to 8 inches.

In Maryland, 8 inches had accumulated in Westminster and at least 7 inches had fallen in Frederick. The storm was blamed for at least one death in Maryland after a car fishtailed into the path of a tractor-trailer on a snow-covered road about 50 miles northwest of Baltimore.

1 killed on Purdue campus

WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. -- A Purdue University senior is dead and another student is in custody following a shooting on the campus Tuesday.

The gunman walked into a basement classroom of the electrical engineering building around noon while a class was going on, school and law enforcement officials said. Classes were canceled for the rest of Tuesday and for today, they said.

The victim was identified as Andrew F. Boldt, 21, a senior from West Bend, Wis., who also was a teaching assistant, Purdue University Police Chief John Cox said.

The suspect, who appeared to have targeted Mr. Boldt, was identified as Cody M. Cousins, 23, a student in the college of engineering at Purdue, Chief Cox said. The shooter walked out of the building and surrendered to police. Police said there was no argument or fight before the shooting.

Mr. Cousins has been booked into the Tippecanoe County Jail on suspicion of murder, according to jail records. Records show he is from Centerville, Ohio, and Warsaw, Ind., Chief Cox said.

Christie mum on scandal

TRENTON, N.J. -- Gov. Chris Christie sought to turn back the clock as he was sworn into a second term Tuesday, saying voters gave him a mandate in November to "stay the course" and put aside partisan differences, even as Democrats ramped up an investigation into whether his administration abused its power.

Mr. Christie gave an 18-minute address that dwelled on his 22-point election victory in the fall. He did not mention the investigations that have already led to the firing or departure of four top aides or associates.

His speech came less than an hour after Democratic lawmakers announced they were consolidating twin probes into allegations that aides engineered traffic jams in September in the community of Fort Lee as political retribution, apparently against the town's mayor for not endorsing Mr. Christie's re-election bid.

Boy's body found in river

NEW YORK -- Police said Tuesday that remains found in the East River are those of Avonte Oquendo, a boy with autism who fled his school last October. DNA confirmed that the badly decomposed remains, which a teenage girl stumbled upon while out walking last week, were the 14-year-old.

No cause of death was given, and police said the investigation into Avonte's death was continuing. The boy's disappearance captured the city's attention because of his vulnerability -- he had severe autism and did not speak -- and because of the way he was allowed to dash from his school alone despite his special needs.

Probation in BP spill case

NEW ORLEANS -- A former Halliburton manager Tuesday was spared jail for destroying well-testing evidence after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey in New Orleans sentenced Anthony Badalamenti to probation for one misdemeanor count of evidence destruction, Peter Carr, a U.S. Justice Department spokesman, said in an emailed statement. The judge also ordered Badalamenti to pay a $1,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service.

Badalamenti was a supervisor for Halliburton Energy Services Inc., which provided cementing operations on offshore wells. He admitted in October that he ordered a subordinate to delete the results of computer simulations run on the cement seal of BP's Macondo well after it blew up in April 2010, triggering the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

More philanthropy for Gates

SEATTLE -- Microsoft's Bill Gates will work on philanthropy full time for the rest of his life and contribute part time as a board member of the software maker, which is seeking a new chief executive officer.

Mr. Gates, speaking in an interview on Bloomberg Television, didn't indicate whether Microsoft's board was closer to choosing a replacement for CEO Steve Ballmer, who is retiring this year.

Mr. Gates created the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife in 2000.



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