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News Wrap: Snowstorm buries Boston, spares New York

In our news wrap Tuesday, blizzard conditions hit parts of southeastern New England with deep snow and high winds. Also, the Islamic State released a new threat to kill a Japanese hostage and a Jordanian pilot.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    New England faced a near-hurricane of wind and snow today, but states to the south were spared the worst.

    Megan Thompson of the weekend NewsHour reports again from New York.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    Howling gusts and drifting snow greeted Boston and surrounding towns this morning.

  • JENN SATO, Boston:

    It's really windy. It's currently a blizzard. I wasn't expecting much when I woke up this morning, but here we are.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    The storm struck with full force last night and kept going through the day. Boston was on the way to getting at least two feet of snow. Winds gusted to 75 miles an hour at Cape Cod and beach towns flooded as heavy storm surges rolled in.

    At midday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker warned there was more to come.

    GOV. CHARLIE BAKER, (R) Massachusetts: We fully expect that there are parts of Eastern and Central Massachusetts where people may get as much as another five to 10 inches of snow on top of what they already have. The drifting continues to be an issue, the blowing. There are drifts now as high as four, five, six feet in many places.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    Elsewhere, blizzard conditions buried the eastern tip of Long Island and parts of Rhode Island and Connecticut. Meanwhile, thousands of flight cancellations promised to snarl air travel for days to come, creating a ripple effect around the country.

    But farther south, snowfall was far less than predicted, as the storm system shifted nearly 100 miles east of its projected track. Despite dire forecasts, New York City was largely spared the brunt of this nor'easter, getting less than a foot of snow, rather than a record tally. Officials lifted travel bans around the city early this morning and, by midday, bus and subway service in the Big Apple was returning to at least weekend service levels.

    That left some New Yorkers wondering today what the fuss was about.

  • MAN:

    Expected it to be a lot worse. And I have seen worse dustings than this, so that's New York for you.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    One forecaster with the National Weather Service even tweeted an apology for not getting it right this time.

    But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissed criticism of the emergency measures. GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) New York: New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, we all made the same decisions. And, sometimes, the predictions turn out to be more or less accurate. And that is the nature of the beast.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio likewise defended the calls he made to shut down subways and buses last night.

  • MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, New York City:

    These were the right precautions to take. They worked. Obviously, they're going to speed our ability to get back to normal. In situations like this, you can't be a Monday-morning quarterback on something like the weather.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    In the end, for many in New York and elsewhere, it came down to a case of, better to be safe than sorry.

  • JIM LAMBERTA, Manhattan:

    We have been through a couple of hurricanes. And when they kind of make a call like that, it's better just to stay at home and listen to them, what they say. So, at that point, we were like, we wake up, and we go, where's all the snow?

    And then there's like this. But we're still happy, because we're going to the park and play in the park with little skipper boy here.

  • MEGAN THOMPSON:

    For the NewsHour, I'm Megan Thompson reporting from New York City.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And from one extreme to the other. There was record heat today in the Northern Plains. Forecasts called for temperatures in the '70s in South Dakota.

    The winter storm cost the Northeast an estimated a billion dollars in economic activity. And Wall Street took it on the chin today, too, from warnings of weaker corporate profits. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 291 points to close at 17387. The Nasdaq fell 90 points to close at 4681. And the S&P 500 slid 27 to 2029.

    A grim new countdown has begun for two hostages held by Islamic State militants in Syria. The group warned that a Japanese man, Kenji Goto, and a captured Jordanian pilot will be beheaded by tomorrow afternoon. An online message showed a photo of Kenji Goto holding an image of the Jordanian over a recorded statement by Goto.

  • KENJI GOTO, Islamic State Hostage:

    I only have 24 hours left to live. And the pilot has even less. Please don't leave us to die. Any more delaying tactics will simply see both of us getting killed.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Islamic State militants murdered another Japanese hostage over the weekend. They're now demanding the release of an Iraqi woman sentenced to death in Jordan for a 2005 terror attack.

    Gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Tripoli, Libya, today, killing five guards and four foreigners. One victim was an American security contractor. A faction linked to the Islamic State group claimed responsibility. The attack started in the early morning and included a car bombing. After an hours-long standoff, the gunmen set off grenades, killing themselves.

    A U.N. relief agency has suspended aid to Palestinians who lost their homes in the Gaza war last summer. Officials say the U.N. program ran out of money because donor nations gave only $135 million. They had pledged $720 million.

    In Poland today, a somber remembrance marked the liberation of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp where Jews and others were systematically murdered. It was overrun 70 years ago today by the Soviet army.

    Paul Davies of Independent Television News has our report.

  • PAUL DAVIES:

    Enclosed in a giant tent, the gates to the world's most notorious death factory, as 300 of those who survived its evil gathered to remember more than a million who didn't.

  • ROMAN KENT, Auschwitz Survivor:

    How can one erase the sight of human skeletons, just skin and bones, but still alive?

  • PAUL DAVIES:

    These stories of loss and suffering make the most painful of hearing, but there is a determination that these stories and the lessons they carry will not be lost.

    Director Steven Spielberg has been collecting these stories, and today he released a factual film to constantly remind the world.

  • PAUL DAVIES:

    There was appreciative applause. But this wasn't a day for celebrity or for the heads of state present. It was for the survivors, who began early this morning bring their wreaths and their memories to the camp's notorious wall of death, where many who had escape the gas chambers were executed.

    Then there was Auschwitz survivor Susan Pollack, a Hungarian who now lives in London, nervously retracing the footsteps of her family into the very gas chamber where they died.

  • SUSAN POLLACK, Auschwitz Survivor:

    My entire family, extended family, came here with their many children. And I lost everyone. More than 50 members of my family were murdered.

  • PAUL DAVIES:

    Like many, Susan was back here for the first time in 70 years.

    Tonight, those years seemed to roll away, as a group of survivors walked where they'd walked once before, along the railway line, through the snow, to place candles on a monument to more than a million men, women, and children who had made the same walk and never returned.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The presidents of France, Germany and Austria attended the ceremonies, and vowed to fight anti-Semitism and extremism across Europe.

    The Indonesian military called off its search today for the victims of AirAsia Flight 8501. Officials said the fuselage proved too hard to raise from the Java Sea, in strong currents and poor visibility. Rear Admiral Widodo, who goes by a single name, like many Indonesians, said he was calling back three warships and two helicopters.

    REAR ADM. WIDODO, Head of Military Search and Rescue Task Force (through interpreter): We apologize to the families of the victims. We have been trying our best to find the bodies. For the past two days, our divers have gone down, but couldn't find any. Whether we pull up the fuselage or not doesn't affect the ongoing investigation, because it is empty, according to our divers.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Seventy bodies have been recovered so far, but 92 victims are still missing. A civilian agency will continue the search for them.

    Back in this country, Senate Democrats agreed to stop a move to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.

    They said they would give the Obama administration negotiations with Iran another two months to produce a framework agreement. Most Republicans back the bill, but they would need Democratic votes to override a threatened presidential veto.

    And House Republicans said they're unimpressed with new numbers that show the lowest deficit yet under President Obama. The Congressional Budget Office projected red ink totaling $468 billion this fiscal year. At a hearing today, Republicans pointed out that deficits will start rising again in 2017.

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