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News Wrap: Washington braces for a blizzard

In our news wrap Thursday, a blizzard is forecasted to hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, with up to 2 feet of snow in the Washington, D.C., area. Before the big storm hit, the nation's capital was crippled overnight by a dusting of snow that turned to ice. Also, Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged that Iran may use money from sanctions relief to support terror.

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    Good evening. I'm Hari Sreenivasan. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff are away.

    On the "NewsHour" tonight: A British report points the finger at Russian President Vladimir Putin for the radioactive poisoning of a former KGB agent.

  • Also ahead:

    what Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul says are the differences between him and front-runner Donald Trump.

    SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), Republican Presidential Candidate: Trump wants power. And he thinks he's so smart that he will fix everything in the country; just give him power. And I understand the corrupting influence of power.


    And how a place can inspire genius in its people.

    RICARDO HAUSMANN, Director of the Center for International Development, Harvard: Genius is not really about individuals. It's really about a collective. It's about a community of practice.


    All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."



    The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast braced today for a blizzard that could affect 50 million people.

    The storm is set to start tomorrow afternoon and continue into Sunday. Forecasts call for up to two feet of snow in the Washington, D.C., area. That has sent people rushing to grocery stores, as road crews ready their equipment.

    And governors in Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland have declared emergencies.

    GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R), Maryland: Our focus will be on clearing all of the main state highways, but a great deal will also be demanded of local authorities in the coming days. They will almost certainly be overwhelmed by the amount of snow and the effects of this storm. It could take days, or even up to a week, for them to dig out all local roads.


    Even before the blizzard, the Washington, D.C., area was crippled overnight, when a dusting of snow turned to ice on untreated roads. Thousands of commuters, including President Obama's motorcade, were stuck in long backups.

    Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged today that Iran may use money from sanctions relief to support terror. The country is receiving billions of dollars in newly unfrozen assets, in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

    On CNBC today, Kerry said there's no way to stop funds flowing to the hard-line Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps, for example.

    JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists. To some degree, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented. But I can tell you this. Right now, we are not seeing the early delivery of funds going to that kind of endeavor at this point in time.


    Kerry was in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Summit. He said he hopes Iran will put sanctions money into rebuilding its economy. But several Senate Republicans said it was always obvious that terror groups would benefit.

    Meanwhile, in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani appealed for free and fair elections next month. Thousands of moderate candidates, who would support Rouhani's reform agenda, have been disqualified by the Guardian Council, made up of Islamic clerics and jurists. The council ruled they were not loyal enough to the ruling system.

    Pakistan observed a nationwide day of mourning today for 21 people killed at a university by Taliban attackers. Students held a protest and vigil in Islamabad, urging the government to do more to fight extremism. They carried signs and lit candles to honor the dead.

  • WOMAN:

    The fact that such incidents continue to happen and that these terror groups continue to act with such impunity is clear evidence of the fact that this state is willfully being negligent of its duties.


    Pakistani army officials say yesterday's attack was orchestrated from inside neighboring Afghanistan.

    Israel confirmed today that it plans to appropriate 380 acres of land in the occupied West Bank. It is the largest such action since 2014, and it's already being denounced by Palestinian officials. The tract is located near Jericho at the northern tip of the Dead Sea. Israeli authorities say the site is already under Israeli control, and no Palestinians live there.

    Back in this country, the Obama administration is dialing back new rules that required visas for European travelers if they had been to Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan in the last five years. An announcement today said journalists, aid workers and others may still be allowed to enter the U.S. without visas. The new requirements had prompted objections from European states.

    And on Wall Street, stocks managed a rebound, as oil prices surged higher, and the European Central Bank raised hopes for additional stimulus efforts. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 116 points to close at 15882. The Nasdaq rose a fraction of a point, and the S&P 500 added nine.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": Could Russian President Vladimir Putin be on the hook for a poisoning?; presidential candidate Rand Paul on the race and the NSA; the first female to be hired as a full-time NFL coach; and much more.

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