USA TODAY US Edition
Deep snow falls on the Dakotas to N.Y.
Spring can’t seem to upstage winter in the Northeast and parts of the nation’s midsection, as a storm Wednesday brought up to a foot of snow to areas from the Dakotas to New York.
Communities in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains were expecting more than 11 inches, the National Weather Service said. Up to 9 inches of snow had already fallen in parts of western New York and up to a foot more could fall upstate by today.
In South Dakota, up to 10 inches of snow had fallen by Wednesday morning, and more than a foot of snow fell in some parts of North Dakota. Michigan saw up to 7 inches. In eastern Nebraska and the bordering city of Logan, Iowa, the storm dumped golf-ball-size hailstones.
In western Pennsylvania, a possible tornado destroyed some homes and tore the roofs off about 30 houses and two schools in Hempfield Township, said Dan Stevens, Westmoreland County deputy emergency management coordinator.
Soldier gets 24 years in Afghan killings
A U.S. soldier who pleaded guilty to the murders of three Afghan civilians was sentenced to 24 years in prison after saying “the plan was to kill people” in a conspiracy with four fellow soldiers.
The judge in the case, Lt. Col. Kwasi Hawks, said he initially intended to sentence Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, to life in prison with possibility of parole but was bound by the plea deal.
Morlock, the first of five soldiers from the 5th Stryker Brigade to be court-martialed in the case, will receive 352 days off of his sentence for time served and could be eligible for parole in about seven years, said his lead attorney, Frank Spinner.
Report blames design flaw in BP spill
The blowout preventer that should have stopped the BP oil spill failed because of faulty design and a bent piece of pipe, a testing firm hired by the government said.
The report by the Norwegian firm Det Norske Veritas is not the final word on last April’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 workers and led to more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing from a BP well into the Gulf of Mexico.
The report cast blame on the blowout preventer’s blind shear rams, which are supposed to pinch a well shut in an emergency by shearing through the well’s drill pipe. In the BP crisis, the shear rams couldn’t do their job because the drill pipe had buckled and become stuck, the report said.
The blowout preventer was made by Cameron International and maintained by Transocean.
Cameron spokeswoman Rhonda Barnat said the blowout preventer “was designed and tested to industry standards and customer specifications.” Transocean said in a statement, “High-pressure flowfrom the well created conditions that exceeded the scope of BOP’s design parameters.”
Panel: Clues missed in anthrax case
A court-ordered panel of experts said security investigators failed to follow up on signs of mental illness that should have prevented the apparent perpetrator of the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks from working with anthrax at the Army’s biodefense laboratory at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.
The report said Bruce Ivins’ psychiatric history didn’t reach the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases because he omitted it on medical forms and because background investigators didn’t follow up on clues.
Laboratory spokeswoman Caree Vander Linden declined to comment on the report.
The FBI concluded that Ivins acted alone in preparing and mailing anthrax spores that killed five people and sickened 17 others in fall 2001. He died of a Tylenol overdose in 2008 after learning the Justice Department was planning to indict him.