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NATIONAL BRIEFS


THE STORMY EAST: Snow pounds New England;

Atlanta still struggling

The third winter storm in three weeks, which iced over much of the South before sweeping up the East Coast, wreaked havoc on transportation across New England yesterday. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard. He said more than 100,000 people were without power or heat by noon. In Connecticut, New Fairfield had 28 inches of snow, and Danbury 24 inches. The storm joined forces with another system passing through the Midwest and announced its arrival in New England with claps of thunder. In Atlanta, meanwhile, days after a few inches of snow crippled the city, children were still home from school, icy highways were still littered with hundreds of abandoned cars and grocery stores are still running low on staples such as milk and juice. Life in Atlanta probably won't return to normal until late today, when temperatures finally rise above freezing.


WASHINGTON: Sen. Hutchison will retire

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced Thursday that she won't seek another term in the U.S. Senate, after serving more than 17 years, setting off a political scramble among Texas Democrats, Republicans and the tea party over who might run for her seat. Hutchison, 67, ended months of speculation with a letter to backers, vowing to finish her term, which ends in January 2013, but not to seek any more time in Washington. "I think her children were a huge factor," said Pat Oxford, a Houston lawyer and close confidante. "Her children are getting older and they need her more." Hutchison and her husband, Ray, adopted Bailey and Houston, who are now 9.


FLORIDA: GOP urged to court Latinos

Former Gov. Jeb Bush told a Republican gathering Thursday in Coral Gables that the time is now to connect better with Latino voters, not two months before the general election. Bush is co-chairing a conference Friday of the new Hispanic Action Network, part of the GOP's latest efforts to forge ties with the growing number of Latino voters. The conference will focus on trade, immigration, media outreach and education.

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