USA

The Northeast's first major winter storm brought blizzard-like conditions Sunday to a region stretching from Virginia to Maine. As much as two inches of snow per hour fell in New York, and more than 2,000 flights into and out of the area were cancelled. More than 70,000 customers lost power in Maryland as the nor'easter churned slowly up the coast.

A tenth rural Baptist church burned in Alabama Saturday, and unlike nine other arsons since Feb. 3, the blaze was set in broad daylight. FBI investigators called the string of torchings possible hate crimes. The Beaverton Free Will Baptist Church also was the first in northwest Alabama to be damaged or destroyed. The others all were in southwest Alabama.

Twelve thousand families left homeless by hurricanes Katrina and Rita will lose their federally sponsored hotel housing privileges Monday, as the Federal Emergency Management Agency continues transitioning evacuees to more permanent housing. Nearly 90 percent of those living in subsidized hotel rooms have received rent-assistance checks to be used for apartments or home repairs.

About 200 people conducted a peaceful demonstration outside the offices of The Philadelphia Inquirer Saturday to protest the newspaper's publication of caricatures of the prophet Muhammad. The Inquirer is one of the few US media outlets that has shown any of the cartoons that have angered Muslims worldwide. The paper's editors said they plan to print opinion pieces from the Muslim community.

Despite a lockdown across the Los Angeles County jail system, a week-long spate of racially charged rioting erupted twice more in recent days. The larger skirmish occurred Saturday, when nine of 86 black and Hispanic inmates involved sustained minor injuries.

Thousands of revelers lined the streets of the French Quarter Saturday as New Orleans held its first Mardi Gras parade since hurricane Katrina. Calls to cancel the traditional celebration, which cuts across racial and class lines, never got far.

American aviator Steve Fossett set a new record for the longest nonstop flight, covering 26,389.3 miles before making a forced landing in Bournemouth, England, over the weekend. After taking off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida last Wednesday, Fossett piloted his trimaran-like GlobalFlyer for 76 hours, 45 minutes until a generator failed and he coasted to a stop on two burst tires. Fossett and wife Peggy met the press afterward.

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