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Governor orders Mass. drivers off roads

BOSTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Gov. Deval Patrick ordered drivers to stay off the roads Friday as Massachusetts braced for what was predicted to be a 100-year blizzard.


Patrick declared a state of emergency, saying that would allow officials to "implement emergency measures to ensure the safety of our residents and take appropriate steps to mobilize state assets."

Only a few flakes had fallen by mid-morning in Boston, The Boston Globe said. Patrick was anticipating a storm that could bring as much as 2 feet of snow, accompanied by winds as strong as 70 mph.

The travel ban, unusual in a state used to winter storms, was to take effect at 4 p.m. EST. Forecasters said the storm would hit full force during what would normally be the evening rush hour.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee declared a state of emergency in Rhode Island, the Providence Journal reported, and Gov. Dannel Malloy declared a state of emergency in Connecticut, The Hartford Courant said.

Advertisement said the storm likely would cause coastal flooding and power outages as well as white-out conditions and massive drifts.

Jackson pleads to campaign funding misuse

CHICAGO, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has signed a plea agreement in which he admitted violating campaign finance laws, WMAQ-TV, Chicago, reported Friday.

In the papers, signed within the past several days, Jackson admitted using campaign contributions for personal items such as a $40,000 Rolex watch, furniture for his Washington home and travel expenses for a friend.

Those knowledgeable about the investigation said they think any remaining issues concern Jackson's wife, former Chicago Council Member Sandi Jackson, and whether she would be charged, WMAQ said.

Under the terms of the deal, Jackson pleaded guilty to one count of misusing campaign funds and a judge is to decide whether to sentence him to probation or up to five years in prison.

The plea agreement also requires Jackson to repay the government hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds he converted to his personal use.

Former army officer guilty of coup plot

MOSCOW, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- A former Soviet army officer, decorated for his service in Afghanistan 30 years ago, was convicted Friday of plotting to overthrow the Russian government.


Vladimir Kvachkov was sentenced to 13 years in prison, RIA Novosti reported. He was tried in the Moscow City Court.

Kvachkov received the Order of the Red Star and the Order of Courage after he was wounded in Afghanistan in 1984 while commanding a special forces unit. He also served with the military intelligence service.

Prosecutors said that Kvachkov, a leader of the People's Liberation Front of Russia, was involved in a plan to seize weapons and march on Moscow. He denied the charges.

Kvachkov had been tried and acquitted of an alleged attempt in 2005 to kill former Unified Energy Systems head Anatoly Chubais. Chubais, heavily involved in restructuring the Russian economy after the collapse of the Soviet Union, is hated by many in the Russian opposition.

ICC eyeing Uribe in 10,000 civilian deaths

BOGOTA, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- An international tribunal is eyeing a former Colombian president for a possible role in the deaths of 10,000 civilians while he was in office, officials say.

The International Criminal Court is investigating Alvaro Uribe, during whose term as president most of the extrajudicial killings occurred, Colombia Reports said Friday.

Uribe held office from 2002-08, a period in which the ICC alleges the Colombian military killed thousands of civilians.


ICC prosecutors are looking into so-called "false positives" in which the deaths of peasants and the urban poor were characterized as left-wing FARC guerillas killed in combat.

Uribe has said such deaths were "isolated events," but the ICC said Colombian prosecutors have presented more than 3,000 cases to the court.

The former president is also being investigated for allegations that, while governor of Antioquia, he formed a paramilitary bloc.

Calif. man arrested in alleged bomb plot

OAKLAND, Calif., Feb. 8 (UPI) -- U.S. prosecutors said a man who allegedly tried to bomb an Oakland, Calif., bank wanted to "trigger a governmental crackdown" he hoped would lead to civil war.

FBI agents arrested Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, of San Jose, Calif., Friday after he allegedly tried to detonate a car-bomb at a Bank of America branch, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California said in a news release.

The explosive device wasn't operable, Haag said, because it was supplied by an undercover FBI agent Llaneza allegedly thought was connected to the Taliban and the mujahedin in Afghanistan.

Llanez met the undercover agent Nov. 30 and proposed to conduct a car-bomb attack against a Bay Area bank, "structuring the attack to make it appear that the responsible party was an umbrella organization for a loose collection of anti-government militias and their sympathizers," the U.S. Justice Department said.


"Llaneza's stated goal was to trigger a governmental crackdown, which he expected would trigger a right-wing counter-response against the government followed by, he hoped, civil war," the release said.

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