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Where's my car? Storm clean up underway in Atlanta
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:39

ATLANTA (AP) — The snow and sleet had stopped falling and traffic was moving again around Atlanta following a crippling storm — but officials warned that ice-covered roads remained a threat for drivers Thursday morning.

State officials were concerned with sub-freezing overnight lows potentially leading to layers of black ice coating roads that might appear to be safe.

Temperatures dipped into the teens overnight in the Atlanta area.

Authorities were hoping above-freezing temperatures would melt some ice and snow from slick highways. The Georgia Emergency Management Agency's weather outlook for Thursday said temperatures were expected to rise above freezing between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. across the greater Atlanta area.

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Feds grab $21.6M in counterfeits before Super Bowl
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 11:38

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal authorities and the NFL say they have seized $21.6 million worth of fake Super Bowl jerseys, hats and other items in a counterfeit goods crackdown.

The seizure was announced Thursday at a Manhattan news conference.

Authorities say most of the knockoffs were manufactured overseas. They say once the makers learned the Broncos and Seahawks made the Super Bowl, they rushed to make the goods with the teams' logos. Then the goods were smuggled into the U.S. using overnight shipping.

Authorities say buyers only get about a 10 percent price break and wind up with poor quality fake goods. They also say the losses caused by the counterfeiting drive up the price of legitimate goods.


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W.Va. officials dispute formaldehyde claim
Written by JONATHAN MATTISE, Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 07:10

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — State officials and a water company strongly disputed a scientist's claim Wednesday that residents were likely breathing in traces of formaldehyde while showering after the chemical spill, saying the chemical that tainted the water supply only produces the carcinogen at extremely high temperatures.

The dispute between the scientist and the officials underscored the steady stream of sometimes conflicting information that weary West Virginians have had to digest over the past several weeks while seeking certainty that their water is safe.

The crude MCHM that spilled into the water supply on Jan. 9 ultimately can break down into formaldehyde, West Virginia Environmental Quality Board vice-chairman Scott Simonton told a state legislative panel Wednesday. Simonton, who is also an environmental scientist at Marshall University, said the formaldehyde showed up in three water samples at a downtown Charleston restaurant as part of testing funded by a law firm representing businesses that lost money during the spill.

State Bureau for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Tierney — the state's top health officer — called Simonton's presentation "totally unfounded."

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In Senate, bipartisan support is key to farm bill
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 07:27

WASHINGTON (AP) — Support from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate is expected to overcome liberal as well as conservative criticism of a massive five-year farm bill that spends nearly $100 billion a year on food stamps and crop subsidies.

"The Senate has twice passed the farm bill with overwhelming bipartisan support," said Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. "I have no doubt we'll do it again."

After years of setbacks, the bill cleared its biggest hurdle Wednesday when the House approved the measure, 251-166. While 63 Republicans opposed the bill, 89 Democrats supported it, bolstered by cuts to the food stamp program that were lower than first sought.

Conservatives had sought to overhaul the food stamp program, which has ballooned to $80 billion a year. But they ultimately lost out as the Senate balked and the White House threatened to veto a House plan to cut 5 percent from the program.

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Ukrainian president takes sick leave amid crisis
Written by JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press   
Thursday, 30 January 2014 07:07

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine's embattled president Viktor Yanukovych is taking sick leave as the country's political crisis continues without signs of resolution.

A statement on the presidential website Thursday said Yanukovych has an acute respiratory illness and high fever. There was no indication of how long he might be on leave or whether he would be able to do any work.

Yanukovych is under pressure after two months of major protests seeking his resignation, early elections and other demands.

In one of a series of moves aiming at resolving the crisis, the parliament this week voted for the repeal of harsh anti-protest laws. Yanukovych must formally sign that repeal. He also has accepted the resignation of his prime minister. But protesters say the moves are insufficient.

Yanukovych made a late-night visit to the parliament on Wednesday before it passed a measure offering amnesty to some of those arrested in two months of protests, but only if demonstrators vacate most of the buildings they occupy. The offer was quickly greeted with contempt by the opposition.

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