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Eastern US braces for polar vortex as bitter cold remains

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Firefighters rescue three people after a car was stuck in icy water in Boyds, Maryland, U.S., in this January 1, 2018 image by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service obtained from social media. Picture taken January 1, 2018. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service/Social Media/via REUTERS

A major winter storm will start hitting the U.S Southeast up through New England on Wednesday with freezing rain, snow and strong winds, adding to record-shattering cold that is keeping its grip on much of the eastern United States.

The winter mix along with low wind chills could cause widespread power outages and ice over roadways, making commuting treacherous for millions of Americans from northern Florida to southern Virginia, the National Weather Service said in a series of warnings.

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“Travel will be dangerous and nearly impossible, including during the morning commute on Wednesday,” the service said in an advisory for northeastern Florida.

Eastern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia will get as much as 6 inches (15 cm) of snow along with an accumulation of ice while parts of New England could see 12 to 15 inches (30-38 cm) of snow and wind gusts of 35 mph (55 kph) by the end of week, the service said.

Late on Tuesday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 28 counties after the National Weather Service issued the winter storm warning.

Florida Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday urged residents in the northern part of his Sunshine State to prepare for the cold. His office said cold weather shelters have opened or are planning to open in 22 of the state’s 67 counties.

As the storm bears down, an arctic air mass will remain entrenched over the eastern two thirds of the country through the end of the week. The record-low temperatures is to blame for at least eight deaths in Texas, Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Dakota and Michigan over the past several days.

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A large swath of the Midwest was under a wind chill warning early on Wednesday as places like Cleveland and Indianapolis had temperatures in the wind of 5 to 20 degrees below zero in Fahrenheit ( minus 20 to minus 29 degrees Celsius) while the deep South faced deep freeze temperatures that threatened crops and pipes, the National Weather Service warned.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee Editing by Jeremy Gaunt)


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Trump targets TikTok again with new executive order

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US President Donald Trump late Friday lashed out anew at ByteDance, issuing a fresh executive order stating the Chinese internet giant must sell its interest in the Musical.ly app it bought and merged with TikTok.

The order builds on sweeping restrictions issued last week by Trump that TikTok and WeChat end all operations in the US, his latest explosive moves aimed at countering China's rising global power.

ByteDance bought karaoke video app Musical.y from a Chinese rival about three years ago in a deal valued at nearly a billion dollars. It was incorporated into TikTok, which became a global sensation.

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2020 Election

Trump’s campaign has plans to disrupt coverage of the Democratic convention: report

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According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump will be hitting the road next week where he will visit battleground states in an effort to steal headlines while the Democrats hold their national convention to select former Vice President Joe Biden as their presidential nominee.

With the physical convention set aside due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Democrats will hold a virtual convention that will feature a host of high-profile Democrats including former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama among others, and Trump's campaign wants to get the president out front of them and grab the limelight.

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Trump visits ill brother at New York hospital

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US President Donald Trump on Friday visited his younger brother Robert at a hospital in New York, where he is being treated for an undisclosed illness.

The US leader, who was wearing a face mask upon arriving at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, entered through a back door and stayed about 45 minutes, according to an AFP reporter covering the trip.

US media reports say the president's brother is seriously ill, although there were no details.

Trump, who was stopping in New York on the way to his golf club in nearby Bedminster, New Jersey for the weekend, told reporters only that "he's having a hard time."

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