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News Wrap: Bone-chilling cold breaks records for East Coast

In our news wrap Friday, Washington, New York, Trenton and Baltimore all broke temperature records during a burst of arctic air that wreaked havoc by freezing pipes. Also, about 800,000 people who use HealthCare.gov received the wrong tax information from the government. Officials are asking them to delay filing their 2014 returns, meaning their refunds will come later.

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    The deep freeze of the winter of 2015 tightened its grip today across much of the Eastern U.S. In the process, it left a legacy inscribed in ice across rivers and record books alike.

    Morning commuters in Washington faced a bone-chilling walk to work.

  • WOMAN:

    It's freezing. It's like freezing-freezing.

  • WOMAN:

    Have you ever seen it this cold in D.C.?

  • WOMAN:

    No, never. I was born and raised here. I have never, ever seen it this cold.


    No one else had either. The official low in the nation's capital dropped to six degrees, breaking a record set in 1896, and even icing over the tidal basin around the Jefferson Memorial.

    The story was the same up and down the East Coast. It was two degrees in New York City's Central Park, breaking a 1950 mark of seven degrees. Trenton, New Jersey, hit zero, surpassing the low of six degrees set in 1936. And in Baltimore, the reading was two degrees, erasing the record set in 1979.

    The arctic air made for spectacular sights. The Delaware River in Pennsylvania was frozen as far as the eye could see. And windchills around Philadelphia plunged to minus-25.


    I have like four to five layers under this, a sweater, a fleece, a hoodie.


    But the subzero cold also took its toll in burst water pipes. Fire department and public works crews along the Jersey Shore had a flurry of calls for help.

  • JOHN HAZLETT, Chief, Ventnor City Fire Department, New Jersey:

    Our main concern is to get out there, evaluate the structure, and see if we can gain control of the utilities, shut them down.


    The deep freeze is expected to last through the weekend, with yet another round of snow, sleet and freezing rain across the Midwest, South and Northeast.

    In another part of the world, the Middle East had its own taste of winter today with a rare snowstorm. Jerusalem got up to 10 inches of snow, leaving the Western Wall and other holy sites decked out in white. And there were snowball fights in Bethlehem in the West Bank.

    The president's health care law hit a new setback today. The administration announced that 800,000 people got the wrong tax information when they signed up for coverage on healthcare.gov. They're being asked to delay filing their 2014 returns. Another 50,000 people who already filed, may have to resubmit their returns.

    Wall Street rallied late after the deal between Greece and its creditors. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 154 points to close above 18100, a new high. The Nasdaq rose 31 points on the day and the S&P 500 added 13.

    There's word that hackers still have access to the State Department's unclassified e-mail system, three months after the breach was first discovered. The Wall Street Journal reported today that scans show continued signs of the hackers' presence on department computers.

    But at a briefing today, spokeswoman Jen Psaki played down any security concerns.

  • JEN PSAKI, State Department Spokeswoman:

    There are thousands of attacks from many sources that we deal with every single day. And the reason why there's been a focus I think on this particular incident is because of the extent and how broad it was, and obviously we took steps to combat that. But it's something that we work on every day.


    There's been no official confirmation as to who is behind the hacking, but The Journal reports the Russian government is a main suspect.

    In Libya, militants allied with the Islamic State group killed more than 40 people in a series of revenge car bombings. The attacks came in the eastern city of Qubbah. The militants said it was retaliation for Egyptian air raids in the city of Derna on Monday. Egypt launched the strikes after 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded.

    The conflict in Ukraine showed few signs of cooling today. Ukraine's government accused Russia of sending more tanks and troops over the border to aid rebels. If true, it could means the rebels will go beyond their seizure of Debaltseve yesterday.

    Residents there today surveyed the battle damage left by weeks of fighting.

  • WOMAN (through interpreter):

    What do we hope for? That they kick the Ukrainians out, so we can live peacefully. We will build all this back up together. We survived the Second World War, and we will survive this. People are no different now to what they were then.


    In Washington, the State Department warned Russia of — quote — "additional costs" unless it reins in the rebels.

    Back in this country, talks on the labor disputes at West Coast ports went down to the deadline in San Francisco. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said the sessions will move to Washington if there's no deal by day's end. The dispute has backed up billions of dollars of cargo.

    And former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell was sentenced today to a year and a day in prison in a public corruption case. Her husband, former Governor Bob McDonnell, had already been sentenced to two years. They were convicted of doing favors for a nutritional supplements company in exchange for gifts and loans.

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