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Storm a little less severe...Government ineffective on child abuse...War crimes talk over Ukraine attack

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NEW YORK (AP) — Forecasters are walking back their most dire predictions of a Northeast blizzard even as tens of millions of people hunkered down. Some substantial snow totals are still being forecast, like up to 2 feet for Rhode Island and Connecticut. Earlier, forecasters were talking about three feet and hurricane force winds. Thousands of flights have been canceled. Officials ordered workers to go home early, banned travel, closed bridges and tunnels, and assembled their biggest plowing crews.

UNDATED (AP) — A three-year study by two child advocacy groups is taking the federal government to task. The 110-page report released today says the failure to enforce the nation's child protection laws is a "national disgrace." The report says laws are weak, there's no investment in solutions and enforcement is substandard. An Associated Press investigation last year found hundreds of children who died of abuse or neglect in plain view of child protection authorities.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations is raising the specter of war crimes after deadly rocket attacks on the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol (mah-ROO'-pahl) over the weekend that "knowingly targeted civilians." Jeffrey Feltman, the U.N. political chief, says the attacks violated international humanitarian law and could amount to war crimes. He says monitors have traced the attacks to pro-Russian rebels.

BRUSSELS (AP) — France's finance minister is moving to try to rapidly seal a new European Union anti-money laundering deal and other measures to be able to locate small movements seen as being at the heart of terrorist financing. Finance Minister Michel Sapin says he expects a good reception for the proposals from EU finance ministers "because terrorism affects every country."

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight months after the Benghazi attack, a special House investigation committee is awash in finger pointing and accusations of political grandstanding and power plays. As the panel holds its third public hearing today, Democrats complain that the panel's Republican chairman has excluded them from crucial steps in the investigation. Republicans say Democrats are playing politics.

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