Thousands in Northeast endure 4th day without power

Posted Nov. 02, 2011, at 8:39 p.m.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Frustrations grew Wednesday as more than a million Northeastern homes and businesses went a fourth day without power after a freak weekend snowstorm, with many schoolchildren again staying home and some residents languishing in shelters that provided heat and meals.

Connecticut, the hardest-hit state, still had more than half-million customers without power by the afternoon, down from a peak of more than 800,000. Huge swaths of the state had also lost power for days to the remnants of Hurricane Irene in August, and residents were growing restless.

New Jersey still had 180,000 homes and businesses without power down from 700,000 during the height of the storm Saturday. In Massachusetts more than 200,000 remained without power as of Wednesday afternoon.

More than 3 million people lost power from Maryland to Maine as wet, heavy snow — more than 30 inches in some places — led to downed power lines. The storm has been blamed for more than 25 deaths.

Four Ga. men arrested in terror, assassination plot

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Federal prosecutors this week accused four elderly Georgia men of plotting to use the violent underground novel “Absolved” as a script for a real-life wave of terror and assassination involving explosives and the highly lethal poison ricin.

Federal investigators said they had Frederick Thomas, 73, Dan Roberts, 67, Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68, under surveillance for at least seven months, infiltrating their meetings at a Waffle House, homes and other places, before finally arresting them Tuesday, just days after discovering evidence they were trying to extract ricin from castor beans.

In “Absolved,” right-wing militia members upset about gun control make war against the U.S. government. The four suspected militia members allegedly boasted of a “bucket list” of government officials who needed to be “taken out”; talked about scattering ricin from a plane or a car speeding down a highway past major U.S. cities; and scouted IRS and ATF offices, with one man saying, “We’d have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh.”

The four gray-haired men appeared in federal court Wednesday without entering a plea. They apparently had trouble hearing the judge, some of them cupping their ears.

Arab League announces peace plan for Syria

BEIRUT — The Arab League announced Wednesday that Syria had agreed to the terms of a peace plan aimed at ending more than seven months of bloodshed and opening dialogue with government opponents on ways to move the country toward democracy.

But on a day when at least 34 people were reported killed in the central provinces of Homs and Hama, some of them in apparently retaliatory acts of vengeance by members of rival sects, it was unclear whether the deal would succeed in halting the rapidly escalating violence.

Under terms of the deal, Syria will withdraw the army from cities and towns, release all political prisoners and permit access to media, human rights groups and Arab monitors, according to a statement issued by the League.

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