Yet another round of winter weather was bearing down on the Southeast on Wednesday after coating parts of the nation's snow-weary midsection in white.
The new storm comes barely a week after a record-setting weather system pummeled the Plains and the Midwest.

Parts of Oklahoma had received up to 12 inches of snow, according to the state Department of Emergency Management. Wind chills were between 10 and 30 degrees below zero in some areas, and authorities were urging people to stay off the roads.
A winter storm warning was in place across portions of nine states -- from Texas to Alabama. A winter weather advisory also touched portions of Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. The warnings and advisories were expected to move eastward throughout the day.

Snow and sleet are predicted as far south as central Texas, with 1 to 3 inches expected in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the National Weather Service said.
Weather crews at Dallas' Love Field airport worked throughout Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning in an effort to keep runways clear, officials said.
But at Dallas-Fort Worth International Aiport, the wintry weather prompted airport authorities to cancel 12% of Wednesday's flights, according to Dallas Aviation Department spokesman David Magana.

Wednesday morning, a portion of Interstate 40 in the Texas panhandle near Amarillo was closed until further notice, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Later in the day, the system is expected to bring rain and snow to many areas of the Deep South before delivering a wintry mix along portions of the East Coast on Thursday.

Memphis, Tennessee, could see 2 to 4 inches of snow, with 4 to 8 inches expected in Little Rock, Arkansas, forecasters said. Lesser amounts were expected in Nashville; Birmingham, Alabama; and Atlanta.

Some 80 people in Oklahoma had been injured as a result of the storm, the state Department of Health said Wednesday. That total included 63 falls, one carbon monoxide poisoning, 14 injuries in traffic accidents, and two "cut/pierce injuries."
Twenty-seven Greyhound bus passengers stayed at a shelter overnight in a Tulsa church, the state Department of Emergency Management said. Six warming stations were opened "for any stranded motorists and others displaced by the storm." State offices in seven counties were closed, along with numerous schools and businesses.

Oklahoma City's Will Rogers International Airport reopened one runway and began limited flights, after the aiport had shut down earlier Wednesday morning due to weather.

Some early departures at Tulsa's airport were also canceled.
Bitterly cold temperatures will lock the center of the country in the deep freeze as the system moves east.

"Behind the system, cold high pressure will bring temperatures 30-40 degrees below average to parts of the central U.S. by midweek," the weather service said.
Rain is likely across most of the Southeast on Wednesday and Wednesday night.
Scattered snow is expected in the Great Lakes region Wednesday.
Last week's historic storm left its mark on at least 30 states, dumping about 2 feet of snow on the Chicago area and prompting Oklahoma's governor to declare a state of emergency.

Another winter system at the end of the week left central and southern Texas a mess.
Hundreds of flights were canceled as the winter weather threatened the plans of Super Bowl enthusiasts headed for the game last Sunday in Arlington, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.

An unrelated storm system put portions of the North Carolina coast including the Outer Banks under a winter storm warning Wednesday. The weather service said 2 to 4 inches of snow could fall in inland areas, with 1 to 3 inches expected on the coast.

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- Sprint Nextel Corp. (S) plans to unveil a smartphone with a twin set of touchscreens made by Kyocera Corp. (KYO, 6971.TO) late Monday, according to a person familiar with the device.

The device, called the Echo, features two 3.5-inch touchscreens that can be stacked side by side to form a pseudo-tablet design. Users can accomplish multiple tasks on the two screens, or drag items from one screen to the other. The phone, which runs on Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Android software, uses a pivot hinge that allows one screen to be tucked under the other, transforming it into a more conventional touchscreen phone.

Sprint is hoping the Echo's unique design will drum up more attention for the company's products and services at a time when the carrier needs more high-end devices to replace its two marquee phones, the HTC Corp. (2498.TW) Evo and the Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) Epic, which are beginning to show their age at a time when most smartphones have a shelf life of only a few months.

"Having a new halo device for Sprint will be critical for them to maintain their momentum," said Daniel Hays, who covers telecom for consulting firm PRTM. "Sprint's smartphone line-up is definitely in a need of a refresh."

Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse is expected to unveil the Echo at an event in Manhattan on Monday night. Taking a page from Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) playbook, the invitation features a magical motif, teasing what the company "has up its sleeve" and hiring magician David Blaine to perform at the event.

Spokesmen from Sprint and Kyocera declined to comment.

The price tag for the device wasn't available.

Sprint's largest advantage--its loudly touted fourth-generation wireless service--has been steadily evaporating as its rivals begin to trumpet their own speedy next-generation wireless services. Last year, the company rode the success of the Evo 4G and the Epic, which were touted as the only 4G phones in the market. The two devices were critical to the company turning around its contract subscriber losses.

The company reports its fourth-quarter results on Thursday. Wall Street expects it to report a loss of 30 cents a share and revenue of $8.16 billion.

Sprint's only recently launched phone is the HTC Evo Shift, a $150 device designed to appeal to more consumers. The company also said last month it would carry the Research in Motion Ltd. (RIMM) Playbook tablet. While the Playbook and Evo Shift run on the 4G network, the upcoming Echo is a 3G device.

Sprint's competitors, however, are preparing a wave of competitive devices. Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. (T) and T-Mobile USA, however, used the Consumer Electronics Show in January to showcase phones and tablets that are coming out over the next few months. On Thursday, Verizon Wireless will begin to sell the Apple iPhone.

Sprint shares were up 5 cents, or 1.14%, at $4.45 in recent trading.

Two senior U.S. congressional Republicans said on Tuesday they were troubled by reports of hacking attacks on Nasdaq OMX Group Inc's computer network and asked for some answers.

"The news that the NASDAQ Stock Market's computer network has been repeatedly penetrated during the past year is troubling to say the least," said House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus and committee member Scott Garrett, both Republicans, in a joint statement.

"We would appreciate hearing from you regarding what you are doing to ensure the ongoing integrity and security of exchange trading systems and clearinghouses in response to these reports," they said in a letter addressed to regulators and the heads of major exchange groups.

NEW YORK - Hackers broke into a Nasdaq service that handles confidential communications for some 300 corporations, the company said Saturday — the latest vulnerability exposed in the computer systems Wall Street depends on.

The intrusions did not affect Nasdaq's stock trading systems and no customer data was compromised, Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. said. Nasdaq is the largest electronic securities trading market in the U.S., with more than 2,800 listed companies.

A federal official told The Associated Press that the hackers broke into the service repeatedly over more than a year. Investigators are trying to identify the hackers, the official said. The motive is unknown. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the inquiry by the FBI and Secret Service is continuing.

The targeted service, Directors Desk, helps companies share documents with directors between scheduled board meetings. It also allows online discussions and Web conferencing within a board. Since board directors have access to information at the highest level of a company, penetrating the service could be of great value for insider trading.

Nasdaq OMX spokesman Frank DeMaria said the Justice Department had requested that the company keep silent about the intrusion until at least Feb. 14. However, The Wall Street Journal reported the investigation on its website late Friday, prompting Nasdaq to issue a statement and notify its customers.

DeMaria said Nasdaq OMX detected "suspicious files" during a regular security scan on U.S. servers unrelated to its trading systems and determined that Directors Desk was potentially affected. It pulled in forensic firms and federal law enforcement for an investigation. They found no evidence that customer information was accessed by hackers.

Rich Mogull, an analyst and CEO with the security research firm Securosis, said Web-accessible services like Directors Desk are a prime target for hackers, and have sometimes been a back door for systems that aren't directly connected to the Web. The presence of files on the Directors Desk system and the claim that no customer information was compromised could indicate that hackers were able to get in but not complete their attack, he said.

Computer security experts have long warned that many companies aren't doing enough to protect sensitive data, and recent events have underlined the point. The secret-spilling organization WikiLeaks has published confidential documents from banks in Switzerland and Iceland and claims to have incriminating documents from a major U.S. bank, possibly Bank of America.

In 1999, hackers infiltrated the websites of Nasdaq and the American Stock Exchange leaving taunting messages, but Nasdaq officials said then that there was no evidence the break-ins affected financial data.

Nasdaq OMX CEO Bob Greifeld said in a statement that cyber attacks against corporations and government are constant and the company is vigilant in maintaining security.

"We continue to evaluate and enhance our advanced security controls to respond to the ever increasing global cyber threat and continue to devote extensive resources to further secure our systems," he said.

Some of the Wall Street's technological scares have been unrelated to hackers. In June 2009, a computer glitch knocked out trading in 242 stocks on the New York Stock Exchange for several hours.

More recently, high-speed trading software precipitated a "flash crash" on May 6. One trade worth $4.1 billion touched off a chain of events that ended with 30 stocks listed in the S&P 500 index falling at least 10 percent within five minutes. The drop briefly wiped out $1 trillion in market value as some stocks traded as low as a penny.

LOS ANGELES - Lindsay Lohan's attorney said Saturday that her client did not steal a $2,500 necklace and would fight any charges if they are filed.

The statement from attorney Shawn Chapman Holley was the first official word from the actress' camp since police revealed they were investigating the troubled starlet for grand theft.

"We vehemently deny these allegations and, if charges are filed, we will fight them in court, not in the press," Holley said.

Kamofie & Co., a Venice custom jewelry store, reported the necklace stolen on Jan. 22, roughly three weeks after the actress was released from three months of court-ordered rehab at the Betty Ford Center.

Police obtained a search warrant Tuesday to try to retrieve the necklace from Lohan's house, but the item was turned in to detectives before the warrant could be executed.

If she is charged, the case would be the latest problem for the actress, who has struggled to comply with the terms of her probation for a 2007 drunken driving case.

Judges sent her to jail last year twice for violating her probation, and a judge has threatened to sentence her to up to six months in jail if she cannot stay out of trouble.

Prosecutors in Riverside County were also considering pressing battery charges against Lohan for a December altercation with a rehab worker at the Betty Ford Center.

The "Mean Girls" star was due in court on Feb. 25 for a probation status hearing.

The treatment, her fifth rehab session, came after she admitted failing a drug test shortly after being granted early release from another treatment program.

Lohan's court struggles and treatment have taken a serious toll on the former Disney star's career. Her role as porn star Linda Lovelace in a biopic was recast last year while Lohan was at Betty Ford and no replacement projects have been announced.

Lucy Kourides is used to welcoming home her 20-year-old son, Nick, from trips abroad.

"Oh! Oh my god it's good to see you!" said Lucy to Nick when he arrived.

"It's good to see you, too," Nick responded.

But she savored this reunion at New York's JFK airport more than the rest. Nick -- a student at the American University in Cairo - barely made it out of Egypt. He says Cairo's airport was mobbed with thousands of people desperate to leave.

"We were worried that we might be stuck there for a while, so we got out," said Nick.

Nick was one of more than 2,300 Americans evacuated from Egypt this week aboard one of 19 State Department-sponsored flights. Officials say other U.S. citizens found alternate flights out of the country.

"Many other Americans departed through private means, either through commercial airlines or on private charters," said James Pettit of the U.S. State Department.

Cornell University student Alexandra Woodhouse nearly found herself stranded in Egypt this week, but scrambled aboard a flight out Wednesday. She says the violence in Cairo came right to her front door.

"You could smell tear gas outside of our window, it was a very difficult time to see the place that I loved so much in distraught," said Woodhouse.

Now, safe at home in the United States, Alexandra says her thoughts are with friends she's left behind.

"I want nothing more than to go back but I don't know when that's gonna happen," said Alexandra, sobbing.

Officials at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo say another State Department-chartered flight left Egypt Sat., headed to Greece. But officials say because commercial flights are now available, it's unlikely there will be additional U.S. government charters after Feb. 5.

WASHINGTON - His beloved Chicago Bears aren't in the big game, but President Barack Obama is swallowing hard and throwing a Super Bowl party anyhow, in a bipartisan celebration of the nation's biggest sporting event.

But it's hard to know which part of the evening will give him more heartburn - seeing the Bears' archrivals, the Green Bay Packers, clashing with the Pittsburgh Steelers for football's crown, chewing on the Wisconsin sausage the mayor of Milwaukee is bringing, or sitting for a pregame interview with Fox's Bill O'Reilly.

The conservative show-host and pundit has been granted the interview since Fox is broadcasting this year's game from Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas. It's certainly not out of love for Fox, which has been denounced by Obama aides as a vitriolic mouthpiece for his foes. Last year, when CBS had the game, Mr. Obama was interviewed by Katie Couric.

Ahead of his interview, O'Reilly forecast it'll be "the most watched that's ever been done in the history of mankind."

Despite the sometimes hard feelings, it's hardly President Obama's first interview with Fox, and not even his first with O'Reilly. The two faced off in September 2008 when he was a candidate.

Still, the interview, which was being taped during the day Sunday, fit neatly into Mr. Obama's theme for this year's Super Bowl bash: an above-the-fray - albeit somewhat resigned - good fellowship. And its background includes his appeals to turn down the heat of political rhetoric, first after his November election "shellacking," then after the deadly shootings last month at a Tucson, Ariz., congressional district meeting.

Hence the White House guest list, which numbers around 100 and includes lawmakers and officials from both parties - and both states with a stake in Sunday's game. It included Pennsylvania senators Robert Casey, a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, a Republican; Wisconsin Rep. Reid Ribble, a Republican who represents Green Bay; and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, one of two Republicans in the Obama Cabinet.

Also coming: singers Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, co-owners of the NFL Miami Dolphins.

As to the game itself, since the Bears aren't in it, Obama has pronounced himself neutral - unlike last year, when he openly rooted for the Steelers or the previous year when he was "pretty sympathetic" to the New Orleans Saints.

His neutrality is born of a diehard fan's pain.

The Bears were trounced by the Packers in the NFC championship game. Three days later, the day after his State of the Union speech, President Obama flew into Green Bay for a political speech and was promptly handed a Packers jersey and obliged to pose for pictures. He accused his hosts of "rubbing it in."

Later, during a factory tour, while saluting the long Packers-Bears rivalry and wishing the Packers good luck, he couldn't help adding, "We will get you next year."

Then, this past week, President Obama showed his AFC side - and stressed his Steelers credentials - during a speech at Penn State. Noting he's named team owner Dan Rooney ambassador to Ireland, he said he's "got some love for the Steelers," too.

No sitting president has ever been to a Super Bowl. President Obama said he'd like to go - if the Bears were in it.

But given the mass viewership and the hoopla surrounding the game, recent presidents have developed a not-very-surprising need to see and be seen on the big day.

Jimmy Carter famously made a $5 bet with his mother, Miss Lillian, on the outcome of the 1979 Super Bowl - and lost, when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Steelers.

In 1985, just hours after being sworn in for his second term, Ronald Reagan, who portrayed a football player in the movies (1940's "Knute Rockne, All American"), tossed the coin for the Super Bowl in a live White House hookup to the game in Stanford, Calif.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton managed to host a Super Bowl viewing party at the depths of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Afterward, a spokesman said Clinton was "amazingly upbeat."

Even President George W. Bush, whose true passion was baseball (he was a former co-owner of the Texas Rangers), made sure to phone the winning Super Bowl coaches during his two terms, even if the game was out West and he had to stay up long past his normal bedtime.

Meantime, at President Obama's Super Bowl party on Sunday, the Wisconsin contingent will include Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who saw the president during his Green Bay-area stop.

Barrett said watching the big game with the number-one Bears fan will be "particularly satisfying". He plans to bring his 18-year-old son and baskets from two well-known Milwaukee companies, Usinger's Sausage and Klement's Sausage.

It's unclear if President Obama will see that, too, as rubbing it in.

In a bluntly worded letter to the official who handles claims stemming from last year's Gulf oil spill, the Justice Department Friday urged changes to speed up the process and to pay more claims from BP's $20 billion fund.

Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli told Kenneth Feinberg, who was appointed to run the Gulf Coast Claims Facility, that his job "is not to preserve the $20 Billion fund that BP has established or to return money to BP."

To date about $3.5 billion from that fund has been paid. Whatever amount is not ultimately paid out to claimants goes back to BP. Perrelli made clear in his three-page letter made available by the Justice Department that his concerns had been simmering since the fund was established nine months ago.

"Businesses in the Gulf that have suffered harm as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill need to be investing in their businesses and marketing themselves now to avoid losing another year of revenue and to continue the revitalization of the Gulf that is a national priority," Perrelli said. "This is a matter of urgency."

Perrelli, the third-ranking Justice Department official, has been the government's point man on the issue since the spill.

"The impact of the spill on the lives of the people of the Gulf cannot be overstated," Perrelli said. He said Feinberg had interpreted the rules too narrowly, and said claims should be granted not only where damages were directly caused by the spill, but from communities that demonstrate "pervasive affects of the spill on the overall economy."

Feinberg, a longtime Democrat and associate of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, was appointed to the Gulf claims position because of his skillful handling of highly complex and controversial claims by families and survivors from the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In that case, Feinberg attempted to pay all reasonable claims while protecting taxpayer dollars, not corporate dollars.