1st snowstorm of ’14 descends on US
Residents and emergency- management officials in New England and parts of New York prepared Wednesday for a winter storm predicted to help usher in 2014 with snow and low temperatures across much of the region.
Snow was expected to begin falling overnight, promising a messy commute for the first business day of the new year, but the full storm wasn’t expected to hit until later today. As much as a foot of snow or more was forecast for some areas overnight today into Friday, and temperatures were expected to plummet, with some areas seeing highs just above zero, the National Weather Service said.
NYC Mayor de Blasio takes formal oath
Democrat Bill de Blasio took the oath of office administered by former President Bill Clinton on Wednesday, formally becoming the city’s 109th mayor while pledging to pursue a sweeping liberal agenda.
Clinton was joined by his wife, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a presumptive White House front-runner in 2016. Another potential presidential candidate, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, also sat nearby, as did former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, just hours into his first day as a private citizen after spending 12 years in office.
Palestinian official dies after explosion
The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic died Wednesday in an explosion that occurred when he opened an old safe that had been left untouched for more than 20 years, officials said.
Ambassador Jamal al-Jamal, 56, was at home with his family at the time of the explosion, according to Palestinian Embassy spokesman Nabil El-Fahel. Al-Jamal was seriously injured and rushed to a hospital where he died, according to police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said no foul play was suspected, noting that the safe had been left untouched for more than 20 years.
Family struggles to get surgeries for girl
The family of a 13-year-old California girl declared brain dead after tonsil surgery is encountering difficulty in obtaining two surgeries that she needs to undergo before she can be safely transferred to a long-term care facility.
A lawyer for Children’s Hospital Oakland said that it is unwilling to allow an outside doctor to fit Jahi McMath with the breathing and feeding tubes that the family has requested.
The hospital will not permit the procedures to be performed on its premises because Jahi is legally dead in the view of doctors who have examined her, lawyer Douglas Straus wrote in a letter to the girl’s family.
GED test overhauled
The General Educational Development test, for decades the brand name for the high school equivalency exam, is about to undergo some changes.
Today, an upgraded GED exam and two new competing equivalency tests offered in several states will usher in a new era in adult- education testing.
The revamped test is intended to be more rigorous and better aligned with the skills needed for college and today’s workplaces. The new test will be offered only on a computer, and it will cost more. What consumers pay for the test varies widely and depends on state assistance and other factors.