Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress Thursday that the US economy could be "seriously weakened" if "meaningful action" isn't taken to revamp Social Security and Medicare. Absent policy changes by Congress and the White House, he said, the amount of federal debt is likely to reach unprecedented levels.

As much as eight additional inches of snow could fall on the Plains by late Friday night, forecasters have predicted, possibly wiping out an entire week of school in parts of Oklahoma. At least 65 storm-related deaths in nine states have been reported during a week of severe winter conditions from coast to coast. Even Malibu, Calif., has had snow, its first in 20 years.

A report released Wednesday by the National Transportation Safety Board said that the pilots of a fatal Comair flight from Lexington, Ky., never tried to abort the takeoff or realized they were on the wrong runway, which was too short. The jet crashed in the predawn hours of Aug. 27, killing all but one of 50 people on board. A cockpit recording also reveals that extraneous chatter may have been a factor.

Singer Mary Wilson, a former member of the Supremes, visited the Texas Capitol Wednesday to push for a bill that would prohibit "fake groups" from using the names of legendary musical acts. If it becomes law, groups that pass themselves off as famous entertainers would be fined up to $15,000 each concert unless at least one member of the original act is on stage.

The New Orleans Saints will carry the hopes of a recovering city and region into Sunday's National Football Conference championship game (at 3 p.m. ET) in Chicago. A 3-13 team last season, the Saints could advance to their first Super Bowl with a victory in a game pitting the NFL's best offense against the Bears' stingy defense. In the AFC title game (at 6:30), the Indianapolis Colts host New England. The Patriots have won three of the last five Super Bowls but have lost their last two regular-season games to the Colts.

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