DENVER (AP) — The jet stream hunkered to the south Wednesday, promising to bring nearly a week of temperatures that could dip to 20-below or worse in the northern midsection of the country, and forcing much of the rest of the nation to deal with unexpectedly cool temperatures. In Minnesota, the cold has forced Salvation Army bell ringers inside and cancelled holiday parties, while dense, cold air sunk into Rocky Mountain valleys and kept some lower elevations below freezing in the West.
The United States sees value in getting to know Islamist militias in Syria, in order to better understand their intentions in the civil war there and their possible links with al Qaeda, the top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not say directly whether the United States is holding face-to-face talks with Islamist rebel groups. "So I think that finding that out, however we do so, is worth the effort." The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the United States and other countries have held direct discussions with certain Islamist groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil conflict. Also on Wednesday, a commander of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah who fought in Syria was shot dead outside his home in Lebanon.