Storm in Plains brings road havoc

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - A blinding snowstorm blew across the Plains yesterday, causing two deaths and dozens of injuries in numerous multicar pileups and forcing authorities to close portions of several major highways.

One person died in a chain-reaction pileup involving as many as 80 vehicles, including several tractor-trailer rigs, on Interstate 40 in Amarillo, Texas, police said. In northeast Kansas, one person was killed in a 30-car pileup on Interstate 70, causing authorities to close a 40-mile stretch of the highway. The pileup occurred about 30 miles west of Topeka.

The fierce snowstorm caused another wreck involving 20 to 40 vehicles on Interstate 29 in St. Joseph in western Missouri.

- AP

Bush pays tribute to troop families

WASHINGTON - President Bush praised U.S. troops yesterday and gave a special thank-you to military families who have turned the grief of losing loved ones into acts of compassion.

"This Christmas, many will sit down for dinner thinking of their loved ones half a world away," Bush said in his weekly radio broadcast. "These families deserve the thanks and the prayers of our whole nation."

Bush mentioned, among others, Army Spec. Michael Rodriguez of Knoxville, Tenn., who often wrote to his family about children he met on patrol during his deployment in Iraq. Rodriguez was killed in April by a suicide bomber, but his family honors his memory by helping collect school supplies for students at an Iraqi school for girls.

- AP

Man convicted in teen's shooting

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. - A jury yesterday convicted a black man of killing a white teenager during a racially charged encounter outside the man's home. Jurors found John White, 54, guilty of second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daniel Cicciaro despite the man's contentions that he feared a "lynch mob" had come to attack his family. The ruling came on the fourth day of deliberations.

Jurors also found White guilty of criminal possession of a weapon.

White testified during the trial that he was trying to protect his family in 2006 when he brandished a gun after a group of angry white teenagers turned up at his house late at night to fight his son. White contended that the gun went off accidentally, killing Cicciaro, 17.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Former FBI Director

J. Edgar Hoover had a plan to suspend the rules against illegal detention and arrest up to 12,000 Americans he suspected of being disloyal, according to a newly declassified document, the New York Times reported. He sent his plan to the White House on July 7, 1950, less than two weeks after the Korean War began. But there is no evidence that President Harry Truman approved any part of Hoover's proposal.

A military working dog

wounded in Iraq during a rocket attack that killed its handler was adopted by the slain Marine's family. Cpl. Dustin Lee's family planned to take the bomb-sniffing dog, Lex, home to Georgia.