Tag: 2014

German Government Report: Refugees Committed 200,000 Crimes Between 2014 And 2015

Leaked German Gov’t Report Shows Refugees Committed 200,000 Crimes Between 2014 And 2015 – Daily Caller

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A leaked report from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Agency reveals refugees committed over 200,000 crimes between 2014 and 2015.

The report is only supposed to be seen by police and other government employees, but it ended up in the hands of Bild, a German newspaper, Deutsche Welle reports.

What the document shows primarily is that refugees are responsible for 208,344 crimes.

A total of 32 percent of those crimes were related to asset or fraud offenses, and another 33 percent were due to theft. Of the total number of crimes, only 1 percent, or 1,688, had anything to do with sexual offenses. There were 458 cases of serious sexual assault, which includes either rape or coercion.

Not all ethnic groups were equal in the amount of crimes committed. Viewed proportionally, there were more offenders from Eritrea, Nigeria and countries from the Balkans like Serbia and Albania. In absolute numbers, Syrians committed 24 percent of refugee crimes, but Serbs only comprised 2 percent of the refugee population and managed to account for an incredible 13 percent of crimes.

Bild noted, however, the report did not include the reported cases of sexual assault in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, skewing the data slightly.

The 446 alleged sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve threw Germany into an uproar, mostly because of accusations that the German government collaborated with the media to downplay the incident. Of particular note, following the assaults, Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker put the onus on females who were assault and suggested women should abide by a code of conduct to avoid future assaults.

Due to crime rates and generally undesirable behavior, tensions over importing over a million refugees were high, and the assaults in Cologne, committed mostly by Arabs and North Africans, pushed ordinary Germans over the edge. A recent poll indicated that 40 percent of Germans want Chancellor Angela Merkel to resign due to her poor handling of the refugee crisis. She has admitted Europe has totally lost control of the situation.

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Half Of The Clintons’ Charitable Giving In 2014 Went To… The Clintons

Half Of Clintons’ Charitable Giving In 2014 Went To Their Own Foundation – Washington Free Beacon

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Half of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charitable giving last year went to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, according to a review of the latest financial disclosures from their private foundation.

The Clintons earned more than $28 million in 2014 and claimed around $3 million in income as charitable tax deductions, according to tax returns released by Hillary Clinton’s campaign last Friday. The campaign emphasized Clinton’s charitable giving in a press statement, saying that it “represented 10.8 percent” of her income in 2014. But roughly half of that money – $1.8 million – appears to have been channeled to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

According to the tax returns, the Clintons gave $3 million in 2014 to the Clinton Family Foundation, a small private foundation that the family uses as a pass-through to other charities. Records show the CFF disbursed $3.7 million in 2014, including $1.8 million to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

That contribution was the family’s largest by a significant margin that year. They made numerous smaller donations to other groups, including the University of Arkansas, the American Ireland Fund, and the American Friends of the Peres Center.

The $1.8 million contribution is also by far the largest annual donation the Clintons have made to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation in recent years. In the past five years combined, they gave a total of $1.1 million to the organization. Their last large donation was in 2008, when they gave $1 million.

While the Clintons do not receive direct compensation from the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, they do benefit from travel, and many of their longtime aides have served on its payroll.

The foundation has come under fire for its unusual structure. Charity Navigator put the Clinton Foundation on its “Watch List” earlier this year because it said the organization did not meet its criteria due to its “atypical business model.”

The group is also under review from the Better Business Bureau, after failing to meet its transparency standards in the past.

Clinton’s newly released tax returns, which show that she and her husband have earned $140 million since 2007 could bolster Republican efforts to frame the former secretary of state as a wealthy elitist who is out of touch with average Americans. Vox reported Monday that Clinton has paid more in taxes since 2007 – $57.5 million – than GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush has earned in his entire career spanning back to 1981.

The returns have also opened her up to charges of hypocrisy from critics.

Americans for Tax Reform slammed Clinton on Tuesday for forming an “Article 4 trust,” which the group said appears to be a method to avoid paying estate taxes—a tax Clinton has supported.

“Clinton has consistently voted for the Death Tax throughout her time in public office and forcefully condemned attempts to lower it,” ATF said in a statement. “But when it comes to her own finances, it is a different story. The newly released tax returns buttress earlier reports outlining the ways Clinton uses financial planning strategies that shield her Death Tax liability.”

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Leftist Nightmare Update: 22 Of 23 Taxpayer-Funded Obamacare Co-Ops Lost Money In 2014

22 Of 23 Taxpayer-Backed Obamacare Co-Ops Lost Money In 2014, Audit Finds – Daily Signal

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A new report from a government watchdog examining the success of taxpayer-funded Obamacare co-ops found that the vast majority lost money last year and struggled to enroll consumers, throwing their ability to repay the taxpayer-funded loans into question.

According to the audit from the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general, 22 of the 23 co-ops created under the Affordable Care Act experienced net losses through the end of 2014. Additionally, 13 of the 23 nonprofit insurers enrolled significantly less people than projected.

Co-ops, or consumer-oriented and operated plans, are nonprofit insurance companies created under Obamacare. Co-ops exist in a variety of capacities, and lawmakers hoped the entities would foster competition in areas where few insurance options were available.

The co-ops received $2 billion in loans from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to assist in their launch and solvency. However, the government watchdog warned that repayment may not be possible.

“The low enrollment and net losses might limit the ability of some co-ops to repay startup and solvency loans and to remain viable and sustainable,” the report said.

Andy Slavitt, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, attributed the co-ops’ financial losses to the difficulties of moving into a new market.

“The co-ops enter the health insurance market with a number of challenges, [from] building a provider network to pricing premiums that will sustain the business for the long term,” he said. “As with any new set of business ventures, it is expected that some co-ops will be more successful than others.”

Roughly half of the nonprofit co-ops struggled to enroll consumers, and the vast majority experienced significant losses in 2014.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general report, Arizona’s co-op, Meritus Health Partners, saw the lowest enrollment when compared with its projections. Through the end of 2014, the insurer enrolled just 869 Arizona consumers, compared with its projected enrollment of 23,998.

By contrast, New York far surpassed its enrollment projections. As of Dec. 31, Health Republic Insurance of New York signed up 155,402 people. It expected to enroll 30,864.

Additionally, 22 of the 23 co-ops experienced net losses as of Dec. 31, with the exception of Maine Community Health Options, which was profitable.

Just two insurance companies, including the co-op, offered plans on the federal exchange in Maine. Maine Community Health Options offered the lowest-priced coverage and enrolled 80 percent of marketplace consumers in the state, according to the inspector general.

In South Carolina, Consumers’ Choice Health Insurance Company exceeded profitability projections as of the end of 2014. However, the co-op still incurred net losses of $3.8 million. It expected a net income loss of $8.1 million.

Information regarding income for the co-op serving Iowa and Nebraska, CoOportunity, was not available, as the insurer was liquidated in March. CoOportunity received $145.3 million from the federal government in startup and solvency loans.

The report from the Department of Health and Human Services watchdog came after Louisiana’s co-op, Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc., announced last week it would be discontinuing operations at the end of the year. The nonprofit insurer projected to enroll 28,106 Louisiana consumers in 2014 but signed up just 9,980 through the federal marketplace.

Additionally, Louisiana Health Cooperative incurred $20.6 million in net losses as of Dec. 31.

Similarly, Tennessee’s co-op, Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Company, froze enrollment during Obamacare’s second open enrollment period, which began in October. The co-op cited its financial conditions as a reason for its enrollment freeze.

According to the inspector general’s report, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services placed four co-ops on “enhanced oversight and corrective action plans.” Two were put on notice for low enrollment.

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Thanks Barack… Federal Regulation Cost American Businesses And Consumers $1.88 Trillion In 2014

Report: Cost Of Federal Regulation Reached $1.88 Trillion In 2014 – Washington Free Beacon

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The cost of federal regulation neared $2 trillion in 2014, according to a new report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, a report by Clyde Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy, also reveals that the U.S. debt now exceeds the size of China’s economy.

“Federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in 2014 in lost economic productivity and higher prices,” amounting to roughly $15,000 per household, the report said.

The report found that the federal bureaucracy – made up of 60 agencies, departments, and commissions – has 3,415 regulations in the process of being finalized, meaning that the number of regulations far surpasses the number of laws passed by Congress.

“In 2014, agencies issued 16 new regulations for every law – that’s 3,554 new regulations compared to 224 new laws,” the report said.

CEI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, found that the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services (HHS), Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) account for 48 percent of all federal regulations.

The EPA issued 539 final rules in the Federal Register last year, up 12.5 percent in five years.

Enforcing regulations alone cost the government $59.5 billion in 2014.

Government regulation has led to a hidden “tax” for Americans, the report said, as businesses pass along compliance costs to consumers.

“Economy-wide regulatory costs amount to an average of $14,976 per household – around 29 percent of an average family budget of $51,100,” the report said. “Although not paid directly by individuals, this ‘cost’ of regulation exceeds the amount an average family spends on health care, food and transportation.”

Aside from passing costs onto consumers, the report said, regulation is a way for the federal government to further agendas without relying on the legislative system.

“Rather than pay directly and book expenses for new initiatives, federal regulations can compel the private sector, as well as state and local governments, to bear the costs of federal initiatives,” the report said.

Regulations hit small businesses the hardest, averaging $11,724 per employee for firms that employ fewer than 50 people in 2012. The overall cost per employee for all companies comes to $9,991.

The cost of regulation has grown so large, according to the report, that if it was a country “it would be the world’s 10th largest economy, ranking behind Russia and ahead of India.”

The regulatory state has been growing for decades. The report notes that 90,836 rules have been issued since 1993.

The Federal Register, the government’s official record for all federal regulations, was
77,687 pages long at the end of 2014, the sixth-highest page count in history.

“Among the six all-time-high Federal Register page counts, five have occurred under President Obama,” CEI said.

The report also noted that the national debt, which currently stands at $18.152 trillion, is now larger than China’s economy. China surpassed the U.S. to become the largest economy in the world last December.

“The national debt topped $18 trillion in December 2014,
the same month the International Monetary Fund calculated China’s economy to
be worth $17.6 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity, making it the world’s largest economy (albeit still significantly lagging the United States on a per capita basis),” CEI said.

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*VIDEO* Ben Shapiro: Obama’s Broken Promises, 2014


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2014 Federal Register: A 26-Foot-Tall Stack Of Neo-Fascist Regulations

The 2014 Federal Register Is A 26-Foot-Tall Stack Of Regulatory Overreach And Growing – Independent Journal Review

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You do want a joyous, prosperous, and fully-federally compliant 2015, right? Well, we’ve got good news and bad news for you. And we have the Competitive Enterprise Institute to thanks for the heads up.

The good news: The government puts together an annual Federal Register of all the rules and regulations that are currently in force.

The bad news: It’s 78,978 pages long.

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On a positive note, this year’s register is a mere pamphlet when compared to the behemoths of 2010 and 2011.

So what exactly is it? From the intro page:

The FEDERAL REGISTER provides a uniform system for making available to the public regulations and legal notices issued by Federal agencies. These include Presidential proclamations and Executive Orders, Federal agency documents having general applicability and legal effect, documents required to be published by act of Congress, and other Federal agency documents of public interest.

There are 3,591 new rules and regulations contained therein. 2014 brought us new regulatory rules and clarification on existing rules in almost every area of business, both small and large:

The Agriculture Department saw 1,095 documents published with rules and regulations applied or clarified on everything from outreach to crop insurance to food stamps and meat inspection.

The Commerce Department weighs in with a whopping 2,694 new documents, the majority of which deal with international trade rules.

The Energy Department begins 2015 with 2,203 new documents. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has a lot to study this year.

Unsurprisingly, Obamacare implementation means that the Heath and Human Services Department tops the list with 3,714 new documents containing regulation, rules, and clarifications on rules and regulations.

These rules and others make for some heavy reading material. For perspective, 78,978 pages is 158 reams of paper. A ream is about 2″ thick, that means the entire register would yield a 26-foot-tall stack of standard letter paper.

And it doesn’t look like this administration plans to slow down its rule making in 2015. There are 2,375 more proposed rules that are pending but have yet to receive final Congressional approval.

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Your Daley Gator Global Warming Update: SNOWMAGEDDON 2014! (Pictures/Video)

Rockin’ In The Frozen World: Snowed-In Rock Band Trapped On Their Tour Bus For Two Days And A Woman Forced To Give Birth In A Firehouse As Buffalo Braces For Another Three Feet – Daily Mail

An expectant mother was forced to give birth in a firehouse after being unable to reach hospital due to nearly six feet of snow falling in just 36 hours in New York.

The Buffalo area has been battered by storms in recent days, which has left some motorists, including the rock band Interpol, trapped on western New York highways, with the National Guard bracing itself for another three feet of snow.

But just as the snow began accumulating around her home on Tuesday evening, Bethany Hojnacki went into labor.

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Buried: Homes are covered in snow in West Seneca, New York Wednesday after the Buffalo area found itself buried under as much as six feet of snow Wednesday, with another lake-effect storm expected to bring 2 to 3 more feet by late Thursday

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Will Sunday’s game be postponed? Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. – the home of the Buffalo Bills is buried in snow, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. The Buffalo area found itself buried under as much as 5 feet of snow Wednesday, with another lake-effect storm expected to bring 2 to 3 more feet by late Thursday

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Joyful: Bethany Hojnacki and her husband Jared were trapped in their south Buffalo home Tuesday night as Bethany went into labor. hours later, Lucy Grace Hojnacki was born (pictured) was born in an area firehouse

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Her husband Jared decided to flag down firefighters as they helped a driver stuck in the monumental snowstorm near their south Buffalo home, Buffalo News reports.

After some failed attempts- with the help of neighbors -to dig out their street, the Hojnackis were forced to find a quicker solution.

With the help of a stranded driver who also happened to be a pediatric nurse, WVIB reports that Bethany gave birth to a healthy baby girl in a nearby firehouse.

Lucy Grace Hojnacki was born weighing 6 pounds and 2 ounces. She has a big brother in Jared and Bethany’s 19-month-old son.

Meanwhile, rock band Interpol were among the 100 motorists stranded on a highway outside Buffalo, when their route to Montreal, where they were due to play a show, became completely blocked.

‘Settling in for another night. Haven’t moved all day. Hoping the expected storm tonight ain’t as bad as predicted. C’mon now now,’ tweeted guitarist Daniel Kessler around 7pm Wednesday.

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Stranded (with booze): The rock band Interpol (band mates at left) were on their way to play a show in Montreal on Tuesday when their tour bus (at right) became trapped along with 100 or so other motorists on Buffalo-area highways paralyzed by historic snowfall

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The group kept their spirits up by tweeting from inside their tour bus. Photos showed band members posing with vodka and snacks as well as the completely glazed windows of their bus-turned-chilly prison.

‘Keeping the spirits in a good place ya’ll. thanks for the well wishes. It means a lot to us. Big ups to you,’ Kessler wrote to fans.

And the wintry hell isn’t over.

As of Wednesday night, an additional 2 to 3 feet possible into Thursday, putting the one-week totals for the Buffalo area at close to the average snowfall for a year: 93.6 inches, or nearly to 8 feet.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called up the National Guard to help rescue up to 100 stranded drivers who spent more than a day and a half stranded on highways after six feet of snow overwhelmed western New York this week.

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Doritomageddon? This Doritos truck was apparently abandoned in the snow of South Buffalo by its driver in Tuesday’s snowstorm

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Out of supplies? Social media evidence suggests the Doritos truck has been raided by hungry Buffalo residents

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s entourage makes its way on interstate I-190 to survey an area in West Seneca, New York November 19, 2014. Cuomo and other government officials viewed part of the thruway where several trucks and motorists were stranded after an autumn blizzard dumped a year’s worth of snow on western New York state

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Shaking hands: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo talks with a stranded trucker on interstate I-190 while surveying an area in West Seneca, New York

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Keep on truckin’: Trucks lined Memorial Drive waiting to dump snow on the grounds of the Central Terminal, Wednesday in Buffalo, N.Y. Snow was being trucked out of the hardest hit areas after yesterday’s snowstorm which dropped more than five feet of snow

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Still more: A bulldozer clears the way for an ambulance in a neighborhood in West Seneca on Wednesday as the Buffalo area braced for another battering of lake effect snow into Thursday

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Big dig: A man digs out his driveway in Depew, New York. Authorities are bracing for up to three more feet that could fall on western New York before the storm subsides this weekend

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Pile-up on the road: Cars are stranded on Mile Strip Road at the entrance to Route 219 near Buffalo, New York on Wednesday after almost 24 hours of huge snow falls

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No delivery: Trucks are parked at Jim’s Truck Stop in Cheektowaga, outside Buffalo, New York on Wednesday after the truckers were left with no choice but to hold-fast at the parking lot

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Cars are covered in snow in Orchard Park, New York, with another lake-effect storm expected to bring 2 to 3 more feet by late Thursday

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Heave ho: A 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway remained closed Wednesday and dozens of drivers were trapped on the road after their vehicles became overwhelmed by the snow. Other motors abandoned their vehicles or were rescued by state troopers

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Authorities are bracing for up to three more feet that could fall on western New York before the storm subsides this weekend.

A 132-mile stretch of the New York State Thruway remains closed today and dozens of drivers were trapped on the road after their vehicles became overwhelmed by the snow. Other motors abandoned their vehicles or were rescued by state troopers.

Currently, 22 stranded motorists are camping out at the Lackawanna toll station on the Thruway, waiting for vehicles to get through so that they can return home, the Buffalo News reports. Their cars are still parked on the highway – and in the way of snow plows that are attempting to clear the road.

Endjie Ulysses, a student at Penn State University, told NBC News she was one of 14 people trapped on a Greyhound bus on the Throughway for 34 hours before state troopers rescued them on Wednesday.

‘I’m just tired. I’ve only slept for about two or three hours,’ she said.

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Ominous: Storm clouds and snow blows across Lake Erie in Buffalo, New York, November 18, 2014. An autumn blizzard dumped a year’s worth of snow in three days on Western New York state, where seven people died and residents, some stranded overnight in cars, braced for another pummeling expected later on Wednesday

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Built for this weather: A buffalo at the Buffalo Zoo sports a frozen beard on November 19, 2014 in Buffalo, New York. A brutal storm has dumped more than FIVE FEET of snow in Buffalo, New York

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To the rescue: Servicemen from the New York Air National Guard helped dig out stranded motorists and others who were trapped by six feet of snow that fell in Buffalo, New York, between Monday night and Wednesday

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Guardsmen also shoveled off the roof of a nursing home that was in danger of collapsing from the weight of the snow

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Stranded: These are just a few of the at least 100 cars and trucks that are left stranded on the New York State Thruway after it was socked in by several feet of snow

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Hunkering down: Charles Miller reclines in the cab of his big rig, where he has been stuck for more than 36 hours after getting caught in a snow storm on Tuesday

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The snow is so heavy that it has to be loaded into trucks and carried away in many places because there’s no room to plow it on the roadsides

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The snow is so heavy that it risks caving in roofs and must be shoveled away to reduce the weight

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Students from the Grand Valley State University built a snowman that looks like the character Olaf from the movie ‘Frozen’ in Michigan

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Up to three feet more snow is headed to Buffalo, New York, on Wednesday night and Thursday

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The early winter storms and bitter temperatures have already been blamed for at least eight deaths across three states – including a man in Buffalo, New York, who was found dead in his car, covered in several feet of snow after he crashed into a ditch.

The rest of the country was forced to bundle up again today as temperatures continue to clock in at 15 to 20 degrees below average for this time of year.

It was even colder today in many parts of the country than it was on terrible Tuesday. This means lows of 20 degrees in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and single digits across most of the Midwest – including nine degrees in Chicago.

Even the South is experiencing a record-breaking deep-freeze, with temperatures dropping to 31 in Houston, 30 in New Orleans, 28 degrees in the Florida panhandle and 21 in Atlanta.

The bitter cold snap will continue for the rest of the week, with lows in the teens in the Midwest, 20s in the Northeast and mid-30s in the South for Thursday and Friday.

The storm stranded about 150 people in their cars on the New York State Thruway for hours Tuesday night and Wednesday – including the Niagara University women’s basketball team.

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Snow smash: The incredible snowfall – five feet in just a matter of hours – caved in roofs and even smashed through the doors of this Buffalo, New York, home

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Lake effect: The view from the sky above Buffalo, New York, shows the lake effect snow storm moving into the city from Lake Erie. Lake effect snow has caused nearly all of the snowfall in the last two days – mostly in Upstate New York and western Michigan

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A band of storm clouds moves across Lake Erie and into Buffalo, New York on Tuesday. Parts of New York measured the season’s first big snowfall in feet, rather than inches, as three feet of lake-effect snow blanketed the Buffalo area and forced the closure of a 132-mile stretch of the state Thruway

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Cold enough: Wednesday has proved even colder than terrible Tuesday – with lows of 20 degrees in New York City and Washington, D.C., and single digits across the Midwest. Pictured here, a house in Buffalo, New York, where temperatures dipped to 13

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Stranded: The Niargara University wpmen’s basketball team was stranded on the New York State Thruway in western New York for 26 hours until they could be rescued. About 150 motorists spent the night in their cars

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Frozen: Air travel was also hit by delays thanks to the snow – above is a Delta Airlines plan at Buffalo Greater International Airport

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Team spokeswoman Chelsea Andorka said the bus, with about 25 players and coaches aboard, was headed back from a loss in Pittsburgh when it came to a halt at 2am on Tuesday.

‘We were told the National Guard was coming by but haven’t seen any signs of life,’ Andorka said.

‘The first time they came they told us to be prepared to stay for a while. One tow truck passed six or seven hours ago.

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Even colder: Temperatures dropped even lower today than they were yesterday in much of the country – with lows in the single digits in most of the Midwest and low 20s in the South and Northeast

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No relief: It will warm slightly on Thursday – though temperatures will still be far below average for mid-November – teens in the Midwest, 20s and 30s in the Northeast and mid-30s in the South

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Warmer weekends: Friday will still be cold and miserable for most of the country, but Sunday and Monday are expected to see average – or even above average – temperatures return

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More snow: Up to 18 inches of additional snow could hit western New York today, adding to the six feet that’s already on the ground in the region

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‘It seemed like a nightmare. It just didn’t feel like it was going to end,’ Bryce Foreback, 23, of Shicora, Pennsylvania, told The Associated Press by cellphone 20 hours into his wait for help. ‘I haven’t slept in like 30 hours and I’m just waiting to get out of here.’

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 members of the National Guard to help clear the cars from the road during a brief lull between storms. A state of emergency, declared on Tuesday, remains in effect for parts of the region and officials are telling people to stay inside and off the roads.

By Wednesday, 100 cars remained on the New York State Thruway. A 132-mile stretch of the vital highway remains closed because snowplows cannot clear the road due to the stuck cars.

Authorities are hoping to clear them by later today.

Amtrak has also suspended train service to and from western New York as crews work to clear tracks of the heavy pileup.

Airports in Buffalo and Grand Rapids, Michigan, were forced to cancel flights as a result of the snow.

Authorities say there is so much accumulation that it can’t just be plowed in most places – it must be scooped up and hauled away in order to clear roads.

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Surf Buffalo: One daredevil couple laughed in the face of Jack Frost and went surfing in the sub-freezing temperatures on Lake Erie

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Cold snap: The massive cold caused a watermain break in Dayton, Ohio. The water leak waked out the road, causing a massive sinkhole that nearly swallowed a truck

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Isn’t that dangerous: This man didn’t quite finish digging out his truck before taking to the roads in Lancaster, New York

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Nobody dreams of a white November: It seems this resident of Buffalo gave up after trying to shovel out of their home

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Parking lot: Over 100 cars are still stranded on the New York State Thruway, preventing plows from clearing it. A 132-mile stretch of the vital highway remains closed

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Coming through: Freight trains are plowing their way through western New York, though Amtrak has suspended passenger rail service to the region

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Digging out: A man in Buffalo labors to shovel out his driveway in the wake of the snowstorm. Several people have died of heart attacks while shoveling

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Stuck: Cars are snowed under across the country, leaving drivers with hours of work if they want to leave

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Daunting task: Many residents of Lancaster, New York, haven’t even begun to clear their driveways

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The storms in Michigan and Upstate New York are the result of lake effect snow. Lake effect snow is the result of cold winds blasting across the relatively surfaces of the Great Lakes, which tend to retain heat, picking up moisture as they go.

When that cold, moist air makes landfall, it can result in sudden, massive snow storms. The squalls can be surprisingly isolated. Some part of Buffalo got nearly five feet of snow on Tuesday. Others escaped with just a few inches.

In a region accustomed to highway-choking snowstorms, this one is being called one of the worst in memory.

Snow blown by strong winds forced the closing of a 132-mile stretch of the Thruway, the main highway across New York state.

Meteorologists say temperatures in all 50 states fell to freezing or below on Tuesday. They say the low temperatures were more reminiscent of January than November.

In New Hampshire and elsewhere, icy roads led to accidents. Lake-effect storms in Michigan produced gale-force winds and as much as 18 inches of snow, and canceled several flights at the Grand Rapids airport.

Schools closed in the North Carolina mountains amid blustery winds and ice-coated roads. In Indiana, three firefighters were hurt when a semitrailer hit a fire truck on a snowy highway.

In Atlanta, tourists Morten and Annette Larsen from Copenhagen were caught off-guard by the 30-degree weather as they took photos of a monument to the 1996 summer Olympics at Centennial Olympic Park.

‘It’s as cold here as it is in Denmark right now. We didn’t expect that,’ Larsen said, waving a hand over his denim jacket, buttoned tightly over a hooded sweatshirt.

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Neighbors pulled out their tractors on Wednesday to help dig out from the heavy snow fall, which topped 60 inches in some places

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Put the kids to work: Braeden Attig, 11, has been given the daunting task of digging out his mother’s car in Orchard Park, New York

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Several feet of snow made a clearing driveways a tough task, even with a snow blower

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Cabin fever? This gentleman appeared to be enjoying the snow a bit too much

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The outside coming in: Chrissy Gritzke Hazard, of Cheektowaga, New York, snapped these pictures after the incredible snow that piled up smashed through her doors and into her house

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No walkies! A dog in Buffalo, New York, is left stuck inside after a storm dumped several feet of snow on Tuesday

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No way out: This New York resident showed how snow blocked off the entrance to her garage – blocking her from leaving her house to get fuel

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Piling up: Art Hauret, of Lancaster, New York, needed a tape measure to show off the four feet of snow that piled up in his driveway in just a few hours on Tuesday

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Making the best of it: Some western New York residents, hardened by life in the Great White North, used the massive snow as an excuse to have a little fun

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In Buffalo, Brian Krzeminski watched the snow pile up outside the south Buffalo convenience store where he worked overnight and served free coffee to the motorists and pedestrians who came in off the city streets to get out of the blinding snow.

‘There are people that came out to get a few things. We had some people who came in just to get a 30-pack of beer, which is kind of odd,’ he said. ‘We’ve had EMTs whose ambulance got stuck. I’m constantly seeing cars get stuck.’

The National Weather Service warned that the snow, generated by cold air blowing over the warmer Great Lakes, would continue through Wednesday and could eventually total 6 feet in places. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed 150 member of the National Guard to help clear snow-clogged roads and remove abandoned vehicles.

‘We have tried to get out of our house and we are lucky to be able to shovel so we can open the door. Basically, that’s it, open the door,’ said Linda Oakley of Buffalo. ‘We’re just thinking that in case of an emergency we can at least get out the door. We can’t go any further.’

‘All around us, it’s a solid 4 feet of snow that is so thick and so heavy you can hardly move it with a shovel,’ said Oakley, whose son Todd was with her, unable to make it to work just three miles away.

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Too cold: By Thursday, temperatures will still be far below normal for this time of year – up to 19 degrees lower than average in some places

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More than half of the country is currently covered in snow and more is expected to fall on Wednesday

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Buried: Upstate New York residents are digging out today and bracing for up to 18 inches of additional snowfall

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Fun in the snow: Kids of all ages found themselves playing in the snow on Tuesday – one of the upsides of the dramatic blizzard

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Jim Lehmann was hunkering down with his wife in their town of Hamburg home, while outside his neighbor’s house was barely visible through the blowing snow.

‘The main thing to do now is sit in the house and wait it out,’ Lehmann said. ‘My neighbor works for a satellite dish company and he tried to get out this morning and he got stuck 80 feet down the street. And he was there for three hours.’

The town of West Seneca recorded 45 inches by late morning and Alden, to the east, had 48 inches. But typical of lake-effect snow, areas just a few miles away, including downtown and north Buffalo, had just a couple of inches.

At one point, nearly half of West Seneca’s plows were bogged down in heavy snow, officials told The Buffalo News. In neighboring Orchard Park, the highway superintendent called the rate of snowfall ‘unbelievable,’ while next door in Hamburg police cars were getting stuck.

Oakley and her son, Todd, were passing the time watching ‘Dumb and Dumber’ on Netflix.

‘We can’t even walk down to the end of the street and get ourselves a pizza,’ she said, laughing. ‘Maybe if you had snow shoes, I don’t know.’

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