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FBI agents in New York arrested two men today who they say were planning to join Islamic State forces in Syria. One was stopped at Kennedy Airport, before he could board a flight to Turkey. The other was arrested in Brooklyn. He’d allegedly spoken of trying to kill the president. A third man, in Jacksonville, Florida, is charged with helping finance the effort.
Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters in Syria have cut a key Islamic State supply line from Iraq. The Kurds launched an offensive over the weekend, with heavy fighting just a few miles from the Iraqi border. Amid the fighting, ISIS combatants have seized up to 150 Christians in the region.
A war of words escalated today between the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It involved his planned address to Congress next week on the nuclear talks with Iran. Republicans invited him without consulting the White House. Some Democrats have now said they will skip the speech. Last night, National Security Adviser Susan Rice offered the sharpest criticism yet, to PBS’ Charlie Rose.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel (through interpreter):
Netanyahu, who’s in the middle of an election campaign, fired back today during a visit to a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem. There are many reasons to worry about the agreement that is forming now. The world powers have committed.
The Obama administration has said, despite early reports, no deal is in place.
Iran staged a major show of military force today, taking aim at a life-size model of a U.S. aircraft carrier. State television broadcast war games near the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Spectators looked on as speedboats raced in and missile batteries fired on the mockup, doing heavy damage. The U.S. Navy dismissed the exercise. A spokesman said, “They have attempted to destroy the equivalent of a Hollywood movie set.”
In Afghanistan, at least 124 people died in avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall. Homes in four northeastern provinces were buried in the snow slides. The hardest-hit area, about 60 miles outside Kabul, affected hundreds of families.
Back in this country, a new winter storm rolled into the Deep South and Mid-Atlantic today, with up to eight inches of snow expected overnight. In Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency, and said, this time, officials are ready. Last year, a winter storm crippled the city for days.
Far to the north, the weather caused havoc in Maine, where more than 75 vehicles crashed on a snowy stretch of Interstate 95 early today. At least 17 people were hurt. And Boston got two more inches of snow overnight, taking its total over 100 inches this winter. Only the winter of 1995-’96 was worse.
The former Marine who killed “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle will serve life in a Texas prison, without parole. Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty last night of fatally shooting Kyle and another man in 2013. A jury rejected his insanity defense. His lawyers said they will appeal.
The race for mayor of Chicago will go to a runoff in April. Incumbent Rahm Emanuel fell short of winning a second term outright on Tuesday. He got 45 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia. As the results came in, they urged their supporters on. And the runoff takes place April 7.
Wall Street failed to make much headway today. The Dow Jones industrial average managed a gain of 15 points to stay above 18200. But the Nasdaq fell a point. And the S&P 500 was down slightly as well.