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78,000 Pennsylvania remain without power after storm
Written by MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 08:15

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Utility crews restored power to thousands of Pennsylvania homes Saturday and early Sunday, yet some customers in the dark for days after a tree-snapping ice storm may not regain power until early next week.

About 78,000 customers in Pennsylvania and Maryland remained without power early Sunday, and faced the prospect of yet another day without electric heat or light.

The majority of them are in the Philadelphia area, with utility PECO reporting about 77,500 outages, as of 1 a.m., down from about 155,000 earlier Saturday.

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Drought-rattled California welcomes weekend storm
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 08:14

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Californians accustomed to complaining about the slightest change in the weather welcomed a robust weekend storm that soaked the northern half of the drought-stricken state Saturday even as rain and snow brought the threat of avalanches, flooding and rock slides.

In Willits, one of 17 rural communities that California's Department of Public Health recently described as dangerously low on water, City Councilman Bruce Burton said he was cheered seeing the water levels in a local reservoir and his backyard pond creeping up and small streams flowing again. The city in the heart of redwood country usually sees about 50 inches of rain a year and was expected to get about 4 inches by Sunday.

"It's guarded optimism. We are a long ways from where we need to be, but we have to start with some sort of a raindrop," Burton said.

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Gunman kills nun, parishioner in Russian cathedral
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 08:08

MOSCOW (AP) — A man employed as a private security guard opened fire Sunday in a cathedral on Russia's Sakhalin Island in the Pacific, killing a nun and a parishioner and wounding six others, investigators said.

Law enforcement officers detained the 24-year-old man at the scene and were trying to determine why he had attacked the Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, the federal Investigative Committee said in a statement. The man worked for a private security firm in the city and was armed with a rifle. His name was not released.

Concerns about security in Russia are especially high because of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, but there was no apparent connection to the games. Sakhalin Island is about 7,500 kilometers (more than 4,500 miles) from Sochi.

The six parishioners who were wounded were hit in the legs and their lives were not in danger, state news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing the regional archbishop.

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Border collie wins Westminster show agility trial
Written by JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 08:09

NEW YORK (AP) — A border collie named Kelso rocketed to a win in the Westminster Kennel Club's new agility competition Saturday night, while a husky mix called Roo! ran away with the recognition afforded to mixed-breed dogs at the nation's premier show for the first time since the 1800s.

Shooting through tunnels, scrambling over ramps, weaving through poles as a tail-wagging blur and taking a tight turn with a celebratory bark, 7-year-old Kelso bested about 225 other dogs — including another shown by his college-student owner — to take the overall championship. And Roo! made it to the final five to garner a prize for the top mixed-breed, or "all-American" dog.

The competition put a fast-growing canine activity on U.S. dogdom's biggest stage, with the finals nationally televised on Fox Sports 1. While Kelso has won other agility titles, the Westminster trial was something special to his owner, Delaney Ratner.

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Two whooping cranes shot in Louisiana
Written by JANET McCONNAUGHEY, Associated Press   
Saturday, 08 February 2014 06:38

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Someone shot a pair of endangered whooping cranes that had been building practice nests in southwest Louisiana, killing the female and seriously injuring the male, state wildlife officials said Friday.

They were the only birds that had formed a mating bond last year, though they were too young to produce eggs, said Robert Love of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

"They were some of our older birds and our best chance for having a more successful nest this year," said Love, the coastal and nongame resources division administrator.

"It's just sickening," he said.

Whooping cranes are among the world's largest and rarest birds, with only about 600 alive today — all descended from 15 that lived in coastal Texas in the 1940s. They are protected under state and federal laws.

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