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News Wrap: Picturesque white Christmas gives way to frigid temperatures

In our news wrap Tuesday, states from North Dakota to Maine bundled up for brutal wind chills after snow snarled post-holiday travel. Forecasters say the bitter temperatures across much of the Midwest and Northeast will likely last through the week. Also, three major cities are suing the Department of Defense for failing to report service members who should not be allowed to buy guns.

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  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    A record-setting blizzard has blanketed much of the Northeastern U.S. in snow, while parts of the Midwest bundled up today for brutal windchills.

    John Yang has our report.

  • JOHN YANG:

    The joys of a picturesque white Christmas quickly gave way to the reality of digging out in subzero temperatures. Windchill warnings or advisories were issued for parts of nearly a dozen states, from North Dakota to Maine.

  • MAN:

    It’s cold. Cold is cold, and you got to adjust.

  • JOHN YANG:

    Erie, Pennsylvania, recorded its snowiest Christmas Day ever, 34 inches of snow, overnight, another 19 inches on top of that. Farther north, the wintry weather snarled post-holiday travels. Snow blanketed roadways in Buffalo, New York, making for hazardous whiteout driving conditions.

    At Boston’s Logan International Airport, ice and strong winds caused delays. A JetBlue plane made a treacherous landing there overnight, skidding on an icy runway.

  • STEVE CHISHOLM:

    We were straight, and then all of a sudden it started fishtailing. And, yes, and it started getting rough.

  • JOHN YANG:

    Passengers were shaken, but no injuries were reported.

    In Chicago, some braved the freezing temperatures for a little winter fun.

  • SHERRI GREGORCZYK:

    We’re very happy that it snowed. And it is cold, but when you’re skating, it’s not so bad.

  • JOHN YANG:

    Others heading back to work were prepared.

  • BARBARA JONES:

    I got several layers on, about three pair of socks, boots, gloves, mittens, I mean, the works.

  • QUESTION:

    Hot coffee?

  • BARBARA JONES:

    Yes, plenty of that.

  • JOHN YANG:

    There’s no rest for the winter-weary. Forecasters say the bitter temperatures across much of the Midwest and Northeast will likely last through the week.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Three major cities are suing the Department of Defense for failing to report service members who shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns. New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia filed the federal lawsuit today. The DOD has acknowledged the gunman in last month’s Texas church massacre, a former U.S. Air Force member, was able to buy several guns after it failed to enter his domestic assault charge into the FBI’s background check system.

    The Justice Department’s inspector general says the agency has systemic problems with how it handles sexual harassment complaints. The Washington Post reported that DOJ employees who acted improperly, including senior officials, often received little punishment. Some were even given bonuses or awards. The agency said it’s looking into those issues, and will respond to the inspector general with recommendations.

    The British Royal Navy said it had to escort a Russian warship through the North Sea as it neared the United Kingdom’s territorial waters. The incident happened on Christmas Day, amid a recent surge in Russian vessels in that area, including intelligence-gathering ships. British officials warned the Russian ships could cut Internet cables under the sea to disrupt communications. In Peru, there’s new fallout after the pardoning of an ailing former president convicted of corruption and human rights abuses. Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police overnight in Lima. They held images of people killed in a bloody counterinsurgency campaign led by Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s.

    Speaking from his hospital bed today, the 79-year-old Fujimori made his first public apology for the crimes.

  • ALBERTO FUJIMORI:

    (Through interpreter) I am aware I am aware that what resulted during my administration, on one hand, was well-received, but I recognize that on the other hand I have also disappointed other compatriots. To them, I ask forgiveness from the bottom of my heart.

  • HARI SREENIVASAN:

    Peru’s current president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, granted Fujimori a medical pardon Sunday. He had only served half of his 25-year-sentence.

    Back in this country, retailers had their best holiday shopping season since 2011. A new report out today from MasterCard said year-end retail sales jumped nearly 5 percent over last year.

    And on Wall Street, stocks took a downward turn, dragged down by losses in the technology sector. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly eight points to close at 24746. The Nasdaq fell 23 points, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly three.

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