Deadly storm to clear by afternoon

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) — More snow was expected in Maine Sunday as a deadly storm that dropped up to 2 feet of snow on the mid-Atlantic and New England clears out, officials said.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers predicted the wet snow that fell throughout the region Saturday could turn into ice early Sunday due to freezing temperatures and cautioned road conditions could be perilous. By Sunday afternoon, though, he said the storm will have passed.

CNN reported at least three people died in the storm, including an 84-year-old man sleeping in a recliner when a snow-weighted tree fell on his home in Temple, Pa. Another person died while driving in Hebron, Conn., a state emergency official said. The third fatality was a man in his 20s killed in Springfield, Mass., who ignored police barricades around downed power lines and touched a metal guard rail that was electrified, city fire department spokesman Dennis Legere said.

With up to 18 inches of snow and 50 mph wind gusts forecast in parts of the northeast, the governors of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York declared emergencies for their states, CNN said.Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy said Saturday about 50,000 to 70,000 residents were losing power every hour, but warned power crews would not be dispatched until road conditions improved.

CNN reported in addition to knocking out power to more than 2 million households, the snow storm forced the cancellation of all domestic flights out of New Jersey’s Newark International Airport and the Federal Aviation Administration reported delays of at least 5 hours at New York City airports.


The National Weather Service said parts of New York and New Jersey were hit especially hard, with 15.5 inches of snow accumulating in West Milford, N.J., and 12 inches in Harriman, N.Y.

Cease-fire established in mideast attacks

JERUSALEM, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Egyptian officials established a cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza Sunday, putting an end to the weekend violence that left 10 dead.

Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip fired three rockets after the 6 a.m. starting time for the truce, the Israeli military said, but since then no new violence has occurred, Haaretz reported.

About 30 rockets were fired by Islamic Jihad into southern Israel Saturday, hitting the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gan Yavne and around Be’er Sheva, Haaretz said. At least one Israeli died and 17 injuries were reported.

The violence began Wednesday when a long-range Grad rocket struck near the Israeli port of Ashdod. The Israel military retaliated, launching an air strike that killed nine Islamic Jihad militants.

Two smaller Palestinian factions claimed responsibility for the attacks in addition to the Islamic Jihad, which has close ties to Iran. Abu Ahmed, leader of the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad said the group welcomed the truce.

“If the [Israeli] aggression is stopped, we will abide by calm,” he said.

Schools in southern Israel were closed Sunday as a precaution and Gaza residents were encouraged to stay indoors.

Israeli soldier jailed for leaking secrets

TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 30 (UPI) — A female former Israeli soldier was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison in Tel Aviv Sunday for leaking hundreds of classified documents to a newspaper.

The court also imposed a suspended sentence of 18 months on Anat Kamm after she serves her prison time, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Kamm was convicted in February of passing some 2,000 documents to the Haaretz newspaper in 2008 while she was working at the military’s central command.

At least 700 of the documents were classified, Haaretz said.

Since her arrest, Kamm has told media she wanted to expose wrongs she alleges were committed by the military.

She has been in jail for two years, but that wasn’t deducted from her sentence, the reports said.

Her sentence was the result of a plea bargain that reduced the charges from sedition, which would have carried a life sentence, the Post said.

Judging dispute delays Mubarak trial

CAIRO, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s trial for ordering citizens killed was postponed for a month Sunday in Cairo in a dispute about judges, lawyers said.

Chief Judge Ahmed Refaat suspended proceedings until at least Dec. 28 in order for challenges to his fairness be sorted out, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

More than 850 citizens were killed by soldiers and police in protests calling for Mubarak to step down in January and February. Some family members of the victims complained Refaat didn’t allow enough time for prosecution lawyers to question a senior military official, leading him to suspend the trial.

A three-judge appeals panel was formed to rule on the complaint, but they advised the court they couldn’t come to agreement, the report said.

Mubarak was forced from power in February. He, two of his sons and seven former security officials are on trial for ordering the shootings of civilians, as well as corruption.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court: When does religious speech become political speech?

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) — With the American political season nearly in full venom, the U.S. Supreme Court is being given the chance to decide when a religious organization wanders off course into the realm of political advocacy, endangering the organization’s tax-exempt status.

Also in the petition bringing that question to the high court: Whether the Internal Revenue Service can avoid a constitutional ruling by refunding taxes back to the non-profit organization while at the same time maintaining the taxes were correctly assessed.

The case involves Catholic Answers Inc. and its founder, Karl Keating, and an uncharacteristically timid IRS. But the organization said the IRS policy involved “affects the speech of hundreds if not thousands of non-profit organizations.”

If the Supreme Court agrees to review the case, it should be of particular interest to abortion rights advocates (code words for “Democrats”), who may feel the heat from powerful Catholic institutions.

Catholic Answers Inc. is a non-profit religious corporation organized under California law, with headquarters in El Cajon near San Diego.

The organization produced a voters’ guide in 2004 advising readers of the Catholic way to vote (without naming specific candidates), and Keating posted two “e-letters” questioning whether Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, the presumptive Democratic nominee and a professed Catholic, should be denied Holy Communion because of his support for abortion rights.

In its petition to the Supreme Court, Catholic Answers said Kerry received communion at an African Methodist Episcopal church in April 2004 and a week later took Holy Communion at a Catholic mass.

“Keating published an e-letter on Catholic Answers’ Web site that discussed the events and why Senator Kerry, a Catholic, should have been rebuked for taking communion from a community that lacked a valid sacrament of [holy] orders [the AME church]. … Keating was also critical of Senator Kerry’s views on abortion,” the petition says, “and suggested that he should be denied holy communion. … Keating published a second e-letter … again discussing Senator Kerry and the Catholic church’s teachings on abortion and the eucharist.”

Enter the IRS.

The agency asked Catholic Answers a number of questions — “73 questions, including 28 discrete subparts” the petition said — then ruled the voters’ guide did not constitute a political expenditure because it didn’t contain “express advocacy,” but Keating’s postings on Kerry and communion did contain express advocacy. The IRS ordered Catholic Answers to cough up excise taxes on the e-letters for 2004 and 2005 — totaling a little more than $100.

As a precaution, even though it was ruled non-political, Catholic Answers moved production of the voters’ guide to a newly created sister organization.

Catholic Answers filed papers protesting the assessment. “Specifically, CA does not believe that the statements contained in the e-letters constitute ‘participation in, or intervention in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office,'” the group said in asking for its money back. “Accordingly, CA is entitled to a refund of taxes … because it did not make a ‘political expenditure.'”

On March 27, 2009 — the last day before the six-month wait period expired under federal law — the IRS said it was going to “abate” the excise taxes and credit Catholic Answers’ account, with interest, because the “political intervention … was not willful and flagrant,” the petition says. In other words, the IRS rejected Catholic Answers’ administrative refund claim, reaffirmed the prior finding that the e-letters constituted political expenditures but said it would return the taxes.

“Catholic Answers would like to engage in substantially similar issue advocacy in the future but will not [do] so long as it can have taxes assessed against it, be subject to another grueling investigation and possibly have its tax-exempt status revoked for such speech.

“Because the IRS did not change its position on whether Catholic Answers’ e-letters [were] a political expenditure and gave it an abatement rather than the refund it requested,” the petition told the Supreme Court, “Catholic Answers has no assurance that this scenario will not happen again, and thus is chilled from engaging in substantially similar political speech.”

Catholic Answers went to federal court to bring the IRS to heel, but a judge ruled in part Keating lacked standing to bring suit — couldn’t show an injury; that Catholic Answers’ claims became moot when the IRS abated and returned the excise taxes, and that Catholic Answers could not raise any arguments related to “express advocacy” or the return of funds to Keating because the doctrine of variance barred it.

A federal appeals court panel agreed with the judge, and the full 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused a rehearing.

The legal doctrine of variance says a taxpayer, when seeking to get back tax from the IRS, must include every conceivable argument in his or her refund claim. If the taxpayer later has to sue for the refund, any arguments that substantially vary from the refund claim will be dismissed by a judge for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Conversely, the IRS is free to raise any new grounds in court, even if it did not raise those grounds in the original notice of deficiency to the taxpayer.

In other words, the doctrine makes the taxpayer the one-legged man in any rear-end kicking contest with the IRS.

But the doctrine isn’t absolute, and a taxpayer may still argue that a variance is minimal.

“The IRS routinely seeks to avoid judicial review of its administrative decisions by giving in without renouncing the policy that gave rise to the dispute with the taxpayer,” CA’s petition says in arguing that the Supreme Court should review. The statute on jurisdiction allows such tactics because a taxpayer cannot file a refund suit until the taxpayer has paid a tax and filed an administrative refund claim. The petition argued the 9th Circuit’s decision insulates the IRS from judicial review even when the taxpayer has followed the refund procedures mandated by Congress.

“In this case, abatement has been used to prevent judicial determination of whether the IRS policy violates the First Amendment rights of groups and individuals and has the effect of chilling future political speech because the determination remains, and will forever remain, unresolved,” the petition says.

It adds: “The underlying legal issue of Catholic Answers’ refund claim involves core political speech and the application of a vague and indeterminable IRS standard to that political speech. Currently, the IRS is able to silence core political speech by trickery.

“Catholic Answers is left in the same position now as when it first spoke on its Web site about the application of religious teachings to a political official,” the petition says. CA engaged in core political speech and was subject “to a grueling IRS investigation,” it said. Then the IRS determined that Catholic Answers’ speech violated the law by engaging in political intervention “under the IRS’s vague and indeterminable ‘facts and circumstances’ test.”

When CA contested the penalty, the IRS “waited until the last possible moment to give Catholic Answers its money back,” but did not change its position on whether the tax should be imposed. And now, because of rulings by the judge and the court of appeals, “Catholic Answers is left without any access to judicial review,” the petition said.

Worse, if CA engages in similar speech in the future it faces a penalty, “only to have the IRS give its money back if Catholic Answers again seeks judicial review. This type of trickery, which leaves the constitutionality of the underlying statute untouchable, affects the speech of hundreds if not thousands of non-profit organizations,” the petition says.

The IRS, of course, will have a significantly different story to tell when it files a response brief to the petition.

One question unlikely to be answered in the case, even if the Supreme Court grants review, is why the IRS picked on Catholic Answers as an enforcement example.

Far more powerful entities appeared to be working within the Catholic church in 2004 for Kerry’s defeat, but did not receive similar IRS attention.

In an Oct. 28, 2004, commentary in the Los Angeles Times, “Amazing Gall: The Catholic Attack on Kerry,” writer Margaret Carlson contends the George W. Bush campaign worked hand in glove with Catholic bishops to attack the Democratic candidate for being a secular Catholic.

Among her examples: Only weeks before the presidential election, the bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling, W.Va., “sent letters to 86,000 Catholics warning that it would be a ‘grave evil’ to vote for someone who condoned legal abortion. Several bishops said if Kerry came to mass, they would deny him communion.”

West Virginia, long a Democratic stronghold, went for Bush by about 100,000 votes.
MICHAEL KIRKLAND

Obama helps mark Italian heritage month

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) — President Obama Saturday night helped Italian-Americans celebrate their heritage and their contributions to the United States.

Following an introduction by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Obama told the crowd at the National Italian American Foundation gala at the Washington Hilton the United States “would not be what it is today without the unique contributions and the uncommon pride of Italian Americans.”

Like immigrants from other countries, the president said, Italians came to America “in search of opportunity.”

“And it wasn’t always easy. Italians weren’t always welcome,” Obama said. “And when we think about today’s immigrants, we have to remind ourselves that those of us who now feel comfortable in our American identity, that that wasn’t always the case in the past.

“Everybody in this room, just about everybody, has an ancestor or lots of ancestors who fit that story of transplanted roots that somehow grew in American soil; of families that struggled and sacrificed so that our families might know something better.

“So that’s what binds us together. That is what has always made our country unique. We’ve always been and we will always be a nation of immigrants from all over the world. And out of many, somehow we’re able to forge ourselves into one people; and this is the place where the highest hopes can be reached, and the deepest and most sincere dreams can be made real.”

Obama noted “these are tough times right now.”

“And for many, the dream that brought so many Italian-Americans to these shores feels like it’s slipping away,” he said..

“But while these times are hard, we have to remind ourselves they’re not as hard as those that earlier generations faced. And the legacy of their courage and their commitment and their determination and their generosity and their willingness to think about the next generation — we have to be just as passionate and just as selfless as they were to keep that dream alive, and make sure our children inherit futures that are big and bright, and that this country is as generous as it’s always been.

And that’s what we have to commit to ourselves tonight.’

Obamas hand out candy to trick-or-treaters

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night prevented trick-or-treaters from descending on the White House Saturday where President Obama gave out candy.

Despite the inclement weather in the nation’s capital, the president and first lady Michelle Obama dispensed cookies, dried fruit and M&M’s to the bundled-up children whose costumes included Batman, Harry Potter,a football player and a headless man.

“Look at this guy!” the president said. “It’s a headless man — terrible.”

“Let’s give out some candy,” Obama, wearing gray slacks and a black fleece, said. “I know it’s cold here, you guys doing alright? It’s not ideal out here.”

The White House grounds were decorated with pumpkins, gourds, hay bales and fake spider webs, and staff members wore costumes, including a cowboy, a bunny, a red chile pepper and a storm trooper.

The first lady wore an orange-and-black dress under a heavy black coat.

“Oh, she’s freezing,” she said as she briefly wrapped one girl in her coat.

The Obamas’ daughters Malia or Sasha weren’t spotted at the Halloween festivities.

Lim: Russia upbeat on N. Korea nuke talks

SEOUL, Oct. 29 (UPI) — South Korea’s top nuclear envoy says Russia is upbeat about North Korea’s talks with the South and the United States on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

Lim Sung-nam’s comments Saturday came after he returned from a three-day visit to Russia.

“Russia is viewing the two rounds of South-North and North-U.S. talks positively,” he told Yonhap News Agency.

Lim visited Russia to help coordinate six-party talks on ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. He was named Seoul’s chief negotiator at disarmament talks last month.

He said he would “further increase joint efforts with Russia to solve North Korean issues on the basis of strategic partnerships.”

Lim, special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, met with his Russian counterpart, Alexei Borodavkin, and other senior officials.

The United States and North Korea ended talks this week in Geneva, Switzerland, on resumption of negotiations on the North’s nuclear disarmament but no breakthrough was reported.

The six-party talks among the two Koreas, the United States, Russia, China and Japan on the North’s denuclearization have stalled since 2009 when the North walked out. Since then China has been pressing the North to return to the bargaining table.

Israel: 10 militants killed in Gaza

JERUSALEM, Oct. 29 (UPI) — Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip Saturday killed 10 Islamic Jihad members, the military said, and rocket fire into southern Israel killed a civilian.

The Jerusalem Post reported the Israeli military said it struck four targets.

The Post said rockets fired into southern Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip killed Ami Moshe, 56, of Ashkelon, who was on his way home to his family and ran from his vehicle for cover but was fatally wounded by shrapnel from a rocket.

Four others were wounded and numerous buildings, including a school, were heavily damaged in a barrage of 35 projectiles, including Grad rockets and mortar shells, fired into at Ashdod, Ashkelon and other areas.

“This was a miracle, it could have been much worse,” said Eli Bin, director general of Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency service.

The Israeli military said it targeted a terror cell in southern Gaza, a terrorist planning a rocket strike and two rocket-launch sites in northern Gaza.

“Hamas is responsible for what takes place in Gaza,” the army said.

The terror cell had fired an unprovoked Grad rocket into Rehovot last week, Israeli army sources said.

A local TV station reported Islamic Jihad’s Quds Brigades called the first wave of rockets its “initial response” to the strike on its rocket cell and said “the enemy should expect the worst in the coming hours.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who was in Bosnia-Herzegovina Saturday, warned of “serious consequences in the coming days” if the rocket fire is not stopped.

“We are not seeking violence with the Palestinians and we do not want to ‘heat up’ the situation, but we won’t suffer one rocket barrage after another without a response,” Lieberman said.

A spokesman for Robert Serry, the United Nations’ special envoy for the Middle East peace process, said in a statement the attacks “are very worrying.

“It’s vital to deescalate now, without any delay,” the spokesman said. “We strongly appeal for calm and an end to violence and bloodshed.”

Cain, Romney neck and neck in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 29 (UPI) — Republican presidential candidates Herman Cain and Mitt Romney are neck and neck among likely Iowa caucus-goers, a Des Moines Register poll indicated Saturday.

The Iowa Poll gave Cain, a former pizza company executive from Georgia, 23 percent to 22 percent for Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. That’s a 13-point improvement for Cain since the newspapers last poll in late June and a significant jump since he placed fifth in the mid-August Iowa straw poll.

Neither candidate has done much personal campaigning in the state, the newspaper said.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas placed third with 12 percent, followed by Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota — who won the straw poll and had 22 percent support in June — at 8 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tied at 7 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 5 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 1 percent.

The Register’s Iowa Poll queried 400 likely GOP caucus-goers by telephone Oct. 23-26. The poll has a 4.9 percentage-point margin of error.

Lula diagnosed with throat cancer

SAO PAULO, Oct. 29 (UPI) — Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been diagnosed with throat cancer and is to be treated with chemotherapy, hospital officials said.

Lula, 66, has a tumor in his larynx and will receive outpatient chemotherapy treatment, The Daily Telegraph reported the Syrian-Lebanese Hospital of Sao Paulo said in a statement.

“After multiple investigations, initial chemotherapy will start in the next few days. The patient is well,” the BBC reported the statement read.

Lula smoked for 50 years before quitting in March 2010, reports said.

Lula, who became the country’s first leftist leader in a half-century, served two consecutive terms from January 2003 to December 2010 and left office with a record 80 percent approval rating. The Brazil Constitution bars a third consecutive term.

Lula, a former copper factor worker, is credited with social programs that helped lift 29 million Brazilians out of poverty and his foreign policy made the country a global power, the BBC said.

GOP to pass bill to affirm ‘In God We Trust’

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) — House Republicans are trying to pass a resolution to reaffirm that “In God We Trust” is the national motto of the United States.

The proposed resolution, sponsored by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., is aimed at “supporting and encouraging the public display of the national motto in all public buildings, public schools and other government institutions.”

Republicans argue the resolution, to go to a vote Tuesday, would help reverse what they see as an informal effort to remove mention of God from public buildings, The Hill reported.

“Federal agencies and departments have been instructed that the phrase not be posted in those buildings,” Forbes wrote in March. “The effect on our public schools has been chilling, as teachers and administrators do not know whether they can post our national motto on their walls.”

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee argued that the resolution is a waste of time better spent working on problems such as high unemployment and budget deficits.

“Instead of addressing any of these critical issues, and instead of working to help American families keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables, we are debating whether or not to affirm and proliferate a motto that was adopted in 1956 and that is not imperiled in any respect,” they wrote in a committee report.

“Without question, the Judiciary Committee has many important and time-sensitive matters within its purview,” the panel’s Democrats added. “The majority, however, seems intent on diverting the committee’s time, resources and attention to a measure that has no force of law, only reaffirms existing law and further injects the hand of government into the private religious lives of the American people.”

Army 9 admit to killing sailors on Mekong

BEIJING, Oct. 29 (UPI) — Nine Thai army soldiers turned themselves in and confessed to killing 13 Chinese sailors on the Mekong River, police say.

The Thai police chief said Friday that the suspects were members of the Third Military Command of the Thai Army, which guards the northern border of Thailand, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Police chief Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong said the killings were not ordered by the army or the government and the servicemen may have been acting on the order of a local businessmen.

The victims were aboard two cargo ships in a section of the Mekong River that forms the border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. They were shot and killed Oct. 5 and their bodies were later found and retrieved from the river in northern Thailand.

Man charged in teen prostitution ring

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 29 (UPI) — A Vancouver man faces human trafficking charges for an alleged inter-provincial prostitution ring involving underaged girls, Canadian police say.

Reza Moazami, 27, was arrested during an Oct. 7 raid on a Vancouver home, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Reported.

During the raid, police found two girls in the house and Moazami was charged with two counts of living off the avails of the prostitution of a juvenile and one charge of keeping a common bawdy house, police said.

Moazami was charged Oct. 25 with 18 criminal offenses relating to human trafficking and prostitution after a police investigation found that the man was allegedly involved in the inter-provincial trafficking of as many as four girls, ages 14 to 17, for the sex trade.

“This is only the second time in Vancouver police history that human trafficking charges have been laid in a case of sex-trade workers and the first involving youth,” said police Sgt. Rich Akin.

Police say the investigation remains open and they hope more witnesses will come forward.

“We believe there are other people out there with information. I think there are enough people out there that know the situation and we are just asking those people to come forward and talk to us,” Akin said.

Moazami is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 21.

Defamation case launched against Berlusconi

BRESCIA, Italy, Oct. 29 (UPI) — An Italian prosecutor is launching a slander case against Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the northern city of Brescia.

Prosecutor Alfredo Robledo is seeking $707,750 for damages, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday.

Robledo worked on the Milan corruption case in which Berlusconi is accused of bribing his former lawyer David Mills for favorable testimony.

Berlusconi has spoken of the “inertia,” of the Milan prosecution, and their “stubborn accusatory attitude” and of the “political use of justice” in relation to the Mills case.

The Premier was set to respond to the allegations in the Mills case earlier this week, but was excused from court for “legitimate” government reasons.

Group calls for Bachmann to quit

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) — A national conservative organization is calling for Michele Bachmann to quit the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Ned Ryan, the president of American Majority, an organization that trains grassroots conservative candidates and activists throughout the United States, called for Bachmann to drop out of the race through the group’s Web site this week, the New York Daily News reported.

“In Bachmann’s case, it is clear that the campaign has become less about reform and more about her personal effort to stay relevant and sell books,” Ryan wrote, calling his evaluation “a harsh commentary, but true.”

Bachmann, R-Minn., responded to the piece by saying Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is also a GOP nominee hopeful, was behind the group’s posting, calling it a bit of political intrigue.

“This is really a misstep on the part of the Perry campaign because these are Perry supporters that came out. This was a clumsy move,” Bachmann said Friday.

“If Governor Perry has something to say to me,” she added, “he can come out to the debates and say it.”

Tom Basile, an American Majority spokesman, denied that the group was working with Perry.

“Absolutely not and it would be illegal for us to coordinate with any campaign,” he said, because the group is a non-profit. “We do not coordinate with political entities in any way.”

Early snowstorm hits northeast

WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) — A snowstorm has hit the mid-Atlantic and New England, leaving about 10,000 people without power in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia Saturday.

The National Weather Service said up to a foot of snow could be dumped onto central Massachusetts, The Boston Globe reported.

The report said one weather casualty could be the Halloween weekend festivities in Salem, Mass., site of the infamous witch trials and a modern-day magnet for costumed revelers from around the country.

Meteorologists say the storm, which will last through Sunday, will break records in terms of being early in the season as well as the unheard of amounts of snow predicted, Accuweather reported.

Ogleton, Pa., had received 10 inches thus far, with 9.5 inches in Frostburg, Md., and 8.5 inches in Lost River, W.Va.

Power outages may also continue into Saturday night, leaving many people in the dark, the report said.

Driving conditions are predicted to be dismal as road surface temperatures cool and snow builds up.

Heavier snow in the afternoon accompanied by high winds may cause tree damage in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and into New England and major air-traffic delays are expected, the report said.

Washington, D.C., is being hit with a mix of snow and rain, receiving 1 to 2 inches an hour, The Washington Post reported.

Missing boy, 8, found on 6th day of search

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 29 (UPI) — An autistic 8-year-old boy who had been missing for six days was found alive in woods north of Richmond, Va., authorities said.

WTVR-TV, Richmond, said Robert Wood Jr. was found Friday about 2 p.m. lying in a fetal position in a creek bed at the Martin Marietta quarry, 2 1/2 miles from where he was last seen Sunday while hiking with his family.

Robert was reportedly in good condition and alert after being flown to the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, the station said.

About 600 volunteers had been involved in the search and 600 new volunteers showed up Friday, WTVR said. Authorities used helicopters and boats in the search, one of the longest in Virginia history.

A citizen volunteer found Robert, who has autism and does not speak, which complicated the search.

Police said Robert had run off about 2:45 Sunday while hiking with his father, younger brother and his father’s girlfriend on a wooded trail along a Civil War battlefield in Hanover County.

Robert’s mother, Barbara Locker, said in a statement: “He is here and safe. Thank you for your prayers, your thoughts. Thank you for searching. He is a strong little fella.”

Hanover Sheriff’s Captain Mike Trice said officials were trying to figure out how Robert ended up where he did.

“I knew something was happening that was powerful and was fortunate to be part of the team when he was found,” Trice said.

He said the helicopter that transported Robert “just couldn’t get there fast enough, land fast enough.”

Two killed in Turkey bombing

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Oct. 29 (UPI) — A female suicide bomber killed at least two people and injured 10 others, one seriously, in southeast Turkey Saturday, officials said.

The BBC reported the Turkish Interior Ministry said the attack took place in Bingol.

The British broadcaster said it wasn’t clear if one of those killed was the bomber.

The blast occurred near a building housing offices of the government’s AK Party, Interior Minister Idris Naim Sahin said. But he said he didn’t believe the building was the target.

No group had claimed responsibility, the BBC said.

CNN reported other attacks had occurred recently in Turkey, including one 10 days ago in the southeastern Hakkari province that killed 24 soldiers and injured 18. Kurdish separatists were blamed for the attack.

In Ankara, the capital, at least three people were killed by an explosion last month for which a Kurdish rebel splinter group claimed responsibility.

Turkey has been fighting an insurgency by Kurdish rebels in the southeast part of the country, and the BBC said tens of thousands of people have been killed in the fighting since 1984.

Turkey is still trying to assist thousands of people left homeless by a 7.2-magnitude earthquake.

Kevorkian suicide machine fails to sell

NEW YORK, Oct. 29 (UPI) — A machine used by Dr. Jack Kevorkian in assisted suicides failed to attract the minimum $60,000 bid at an auction in New York, officials say.

The largest bid for the Thanatron, a name coined from the Greek word for death, was $50,000, The Detroit News reported. Before the auction Friday, experts had said the machine might go for as much as $200,000.

The auction at the New York Institute of Technology did bring in about $100,000 for items like Kevorkian’s golf clubs and a bullet-proof vest he wore for court appearances. The money is to be split between Kevorkian’s niece and an organization helping children with cancer.

Mayer Morganroth, the executor of Kevorkian’s estate, said a dispute with the Armenian Library and Museum Association probably kept buyers away from Kevorkian’s artwork, 17 oil paintings. Kevorkian loaned the paintings to the association before he began serving a prison term in Michigan, and they were put on the block with disclaimers about disputed ownership.

“There were some large bids of $80,000-$100,000 made on some but when bidders saw the disclaimers on them they withdrew their bids,” Morganroth said.

Morganroth is suing the association in Michigan, seeking return of the paintings and triple damages.

Kevorkian, the most notorious advocate of assisted suicide in the United States, died in March at 83.

Criminals on welfare face higher penalties

LONDON, Oct. 29 (UPI) — The British prime minister has proposed raising the amount of money taken from the benefits of welfare claimants who commit crimes and are fined.

Currently, people who are receiving welfare benefits and are convicted of a crime and fined can only be made to pay a maximum of $8 from their benefits, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Prime Minister David Cameron would like to see that raised to $40 to ensure criminals on welfare lose a “significant amount of their benefits.”

He said: “People need to understand if they commit a crime they will face the consequences. The system as it stands at the moment is far too soft and does not send the right signal. If you commit a crime and you are on benefits you can no longer expect to get away with paying the bare minimum.”

Ian Duncan Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the new fine system could deter anti-social behavior.

“The summer riots showed that, for many people, the present system didn’t make them think twice about what they we’re doing. The prime minister and I were clear that we would look at all parts of the benefits system so feel the full effects of their actions. I do not want to be in the business of leaving people without any means of supporting themselves,” he said.

The change in rules for fines, which would begin in 2013, is part of a wider government effort to increase penalties for people who commit crimes while relying on the state for money.

Women to keep gains in Tunisia

SIDI BOUZID, Tunisia, Oct. 29 (UPI) — Leaders of the Islamist party, which won most of the seats in Tunisia’s recent election, say women’s social gains will not be reversed.

Ennahda party leader Rachid Ghannouchi vowed to increase the role of women in Tunisian politics, the BBC reported Friday.

“Ennahda reaffirms its commitment to the women of Tunisia, to strengthen their role in political decision-making, in order to avoid any going back on their social gains,” Ghannouchi said at a news conference, adding that there would be no attempt to make women wear headscarves, including in government.

The party has also said that it would not ban alcohol, stop tourists from wearing bikinis on Tunisian beaches, or impose Islamic banking.

Despite these reassurances, some Tunisians fear Ennahda could change its policies, the report said. Violent protests broke out in the southern city of Sidi Bouzid after candidates from the fourth-placed Popular List party were disqualified.

Protesters smashed doors and windows of the Ennahda headquarters and other government centers in the city and burned tires in the streets.

Troops dispersed the crowds by firing tear gas into the crowd and shots in the air.

Ghannouchi said the violence was sparked by forces linked to the ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

15 arrested after attack on U.S. embassy

BELGRADE, Serbia, Oct. 29 (UPI) — Serbian police said they arrested 15 suspected Islamic militants Saturday, a day after a gunman in the group fired shots at the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia.

The arrests occurred about 5 a.m. local time in the southwest Serbian towns of Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin, Belgrade radio station B-92 reported. The three towns are home to large Muslim communities.

“This morning at 5 a.m. a (police) operation was launched against the extremist Islamist Wahhabi movement in the territory of Novi Pazar, Sjenica and Tutin,” Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said.

Police seized phones, computers and laptops, he said.

The gunman who fired at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo Friday was identified as Wahhabi Mevlid Jasarevic of Novi Pazar.

Bakir Izetbegovic, one of Bosnia’s three presidents, condemned the attack.

“The American government and people have supported us in the most difficult moments of our history, and nobody has the right to endanger the friendly relations between our two countries,” he said.

Two Bosnian police officers suffered non-critical injuries before the gunman was subdued.

Sarajevo-based news service SensServis posted video of the gunman walking calmly after firing at the embassy, and a Bosnian television station posted a video that appears to have been taken as the gunman was shot by a police sniper, The New York Times reported.

B-92, citing a Sarajevo newspaper, said more than one attacker might have been involved and pointed out the gunman wore a beard like those of Islamist radicals.

The Serbian Interior Ministry said it had increased security in front of the U.S. Embassy.

The Times said the Sarajevo daily Dnevni Avaz reported Jasarevic had a police record, including an arrest last November for carrying a large knife outside a meeting of foreign ambassadors in his hometown of Novi Pazar.