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By Jonathan Allen and Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK/MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (Reuters) - A massive, wind-whipped blizzard slammed into the U.S. Northeast on Monday, creating havoc for more than 60 million people and forcing New York City to shut down on a scale not seen since Superstorm Sandy devastated the region in 2012. States of emergency were declared in at least six states - New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire - as people were urged to stay home with transit systems, including the New York City subway, suspending services and roadways closed amid white-out conditions. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a travel ban for all but emergency vehicles on every road in 13 counties in southern New York state, including New York City, suburban Westchester and Long Island, with the threat of a $300 fine for violators. His peers in Connecticut and Massachusetts imposed similar bans on driving.
Kurdish militia drove the Islamic State group from the Syrian town of Kobane and raised their flags on Monday, dealing the jihadists an important blow after months of heavy fighting. Across the border in Iraq, meanwhile, a top army officer announced troops had "liberated" Diyala province from IS jihadists. In Syria, the Kurdish advance in Kobane, on the frontier with Turkey, marked the culmination of a battle lasting more than four months in which nearly 1,800 people were killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) had "expelled all Islamic State fighters from Kobane and have full control of the town".