- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Syrian opposition says Assad must not stay in power, setting up clash at outset of peace talks

MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) - The head of Syria’s Western-backed opposition says any discussion of President Bashar Assad staying in power will effectively end peace talks before they have begun.

Ahmad al-Jarba, head of the Syrian National Coalition, said the purpose of the peace conference beginning Wednesday in Switzerland was to set up a transitional government.

He said “this is the only topic for us,” speaking minutes after Assad’s foreign minister.

The peace talks in the Swiss city of Montreux marked the first time the opposition and the Syrian government will sit down face to face since their dispute began in March 2011.

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Snowstorm leaves bitter footprint as it swirls up coast to New England; 13.5 inches in Philly

BOSTON (AP) - Snow blowers whirred and shovels scraped across sidewalks as the Northeast tried to keep up with a winter storm that swirled up the coast, creating blizzard conditions on Cape Cod, disrupting government work in Washington and leaving behind it bitter Canadian cold that sapped fuel supplies.

The huge storm stretched from Kentucky to New England but hit hardest along the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor between Philadelphia and Boston. Snow began falling midmorning Tuesday in Philadelphia and had dumped as much as 13.5 inches by midnight, with New York seeing almost as much. Manalapan, N.J., had the highest snowfall reading with 16 inches.

The storm, which dropped nearly a foot of snow in parts of Massachusetts, promised to create headaches for motorists in Boston on Wednesday morning. Commuters in Philadelphia and New York had packed early trains or spent hours inching along roads in swirling darkness to get home the night before.

The New Yorkers and Bostonians who normally swarm Cape Cod in fishing hats or bikinis in July and August wouldn’t recognize it this week. A blizzard warning through Wednesday afternoon kept business brisk at Aubuchon Hardware in Sandwich, where salt and snow shovels were popular.

“The flow of customers is pretty steady, but everyone waits until the worst of the storm to start worrying,” manager Jeff Butland said.

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Ukraine: Police chase protesters away from site of clashes, after 3 die

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) - Police in Kiev have torn down barricades and chased protesters away from the site of violent clashes in the center of the Ukrainian capital, hours after three protesters died, two of whom were shot.

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