In brief | Nation & world | 010214


As fighting rages in South Sudan city of Bor, peace talks to open in Ethiopia

JUBA, South Sudan — Negotiators from South Sudan’s two warring sides arrived Wednesday in Ethiopia for peace talks, and a U.N. official urged both forces to bring the world’s newest country “back from the brink.”

Fighting continued in Bor, a gateway city to the capital of Juba, a government official said. Bor is just 75 miles from Juba.

Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, is the center of ethnically based violence stemming from the political rivalry between President Salva Kiir and ousted Vice President Riek Machar, the rebel leader accused of mounting a failed coup attempt.

Kiir declared a state of emergency Wednesday in Jonglei and Unity, two states where rebel forces have gained the upper hand in recent fighting.

Machar said Tuesday he would send his forces from Bor to Juba, but that threat was played down by Hilde Johnson, the U.N. representative in South Sudan.

1st snowstorm of 2014 descends on New England, NY; high temps in some areas may be near zero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Residents and emergency management officials in New England and parts of New York prepared on Wednesday for a winter storm predicted to help usher in 2014 with snow and frigid temperatures across much of the region.

Snow was expected to begin falling overnight, promising a messy commute for the first business day of the new year, but the full storm wasn’t expected to hit until later today. As much as a foot of snow or more was forecast for some areas overnight into Friday, and temperatures were expected to plummet, with some areas seeing highs just above zero, the National Weather Service said.

“There will be travel problems,” said Hugh Johnson, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Albany, N.Y. “It will be very cold.”

The storm dropped a half-foot or more of snow in Illinois on Wednesday, prompting hundreds of flight cancellations into and out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.com.

Sections of interior southern New England and New York could get up to a foot of snow, with forecasts generally calling for 6 to 12 inches. New York City, likely to see 3 to 7 inches, issued a snow alert. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo urged the city’s commuters to leave their cars at home in case major highways are closed for today’s evening rush hour.

Pope’s wish for new year: accept differences and end arrogance

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis, laying out his hopes Wednesday for the just-begun year, urged people to work for a world where everyone accepts each other’s differences and where enemies recognize that they are brothers.

“We are all children of one heavenly father. We belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny,” Francis said, speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, jammed with tens of thousands of faithful, tourists and Romans.

“This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one’s diversity, and take care of one another,” the pope said.

Setting aside his prepared text for a moment, he expressed impatience with violence in the world. “What is happening in the heart of man? What is happening in the heart of humanity?” Francis asked. “It’s time to stop.”

He told the crowd this reflection was inspired by a letter he received from a man — “maybe one of you” — who lamented that there are “so many tragedies and wars in the world.”

By wire sources