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Repair crews worked Wednesday to restore power to more than 600,000 customers who lost it after a winter storm crippled central and southern US regions and barreled into the Northeast. Officials in the hardest hit areas warned it could be days before electricity is back on.

A peanut plant in Blakely, Ga., identified as the source of a national salmonella outbreak that reportedly sickened 500 people, knowingly released tainted products in recent years, US Food and Drug Administration officials said Tuesday. The Peanut Corp. of America, which makes more than 180 products, including crackers and peanut butter, said it would continue to cooperate with an FDA investigation.

Gov. Sarah Palin (R) of Alaska formed a political action committee, SarahPac, on Tuesday that will contribute to political candidates who share her "vision for reform and innovation." Establishing such an organization is common for people with national political ambitions, and last year's GOP vice-presidential candidate ( is widely believed to be eyeing a presidential bid in 2012.

The cost estimate to repair US infrastructure is $2.2 trillion, the American Society of Civil Engineers said Tuesday in a report that gives the condition of roads, bridges, dams, and transit networks an overall grade of "D." That's the same grade as in 2005, only it's slipped from a "high D" to a "low D," a spokesman said.

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