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Northeast braces for next winter blast...Obama sends condolences to Japan...Large Nigerian city under attack

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NEW YORK (AP) — Most of the Northeast is bracing for another winter blast that could be worse than a weekend storm that brought rain snow and sleet. A major snowstorm ramping up in the Midwest could bring blizzard-like conditions and drop a foot or more of snow across most parts of the region.

TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama has sent his condolences as Japan responds with shock to a video purportedly showing one of two Japanese hostages of the extremist Islamic State group has been killed. National attention is also focusing on efforts to save a second hostage. The authenticity of the video has not been confirmed.

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Amnesty International says hundreds of thousands of civilians "are now at grave risk" as Islamic extremists are attacking the biggest city in northeastern Nigeria. A soldier says dozens of combatants have been killed and wounded. Troops are blocking roads leading to Maiduguri, a city of more than 1 million, preventing civilians from escaping. Maiduguri has been attacked many times in Nigeria's five-year Islamic insurgency that killed 10,000 people last year.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — It's an important election day in Greece with the country's financial future possibly at stake. The radical left Syriza party is the favorite to win, but polls also showed a significant portion of voters were undecided two days before the vote. Syriza has run on a campaign of renegotiating the country's international bailout deal and reversing many reforms. The country's creditors insist Greece must abide by its commitments to retain international support.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A Western-backed U.N. Security Council statement condemning indiscriminate shelling in Ukraine's southeastern city of Mariupol that killed about 30 people has been blocked by Russia. Russia's U.N. Mission said in a statement that there was no agreement because Britain insisted on condemnation of separatist "self-defense forces" who are backed by Moscow. It said Western council members have never condemned any statements or actions by Ukraine.

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