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In US Midwest, 22F ‘feels like spring’ after days of brutal cold

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Bone-chilling cold that paralyzed a chunk of the United States this week and killed at least 18 people eased on Friday as an errant Arctic air mass retreated ahead of a warmer-than-normal weekend in areas of the Midwest and Northeast.

In Chicago, where the mercury dipped as low as minus 22 Fahrenheit (minus 30 Celsius) this week, temperatures of 22F (minus 5.5C) by Friday afternoon felt balmy for some in the nation’s third-largest city.

“It’s got to be an almost 50 degree difference, it feels like spring,” said one commuter heading home from Chicago’s downtown financial district, wearing only a sweatshirt.

Cable worker Brian Stachovic said he was up an electrical pole for only five minutes on Thursday before his fingers and toes went numb, and he had to go inside to avoid frostbite.

“Today, working outside it was like normal,” said Stachovic, 40, wearing brown overalls and insulated gloves, as he worked in Chicago’s downtown.

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Temperatures from southern New England to the upper Midwest should reach the mid-40s to low 50s Fahrenheit through the weekend and Monday, forecasters said, after a record-breaking cold snap that stopped mail deliveries in some parts of the Midwest and shuttered schools and businesses.

“The bitter cold air is going to be pushed up into Canada,” said Bob Smerbeck, senior meteorologist for Accuweather.

The Midwest’s worst cold snap in two decades was created by the polar vortex, a reservoir of icy air that usually swirls over the North Pole. Shifting air currents caused it to slip down through Canada and into the U.S. Midwest this week.

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Temperatures on Friday afternoon ranged from the teens to the twenties, after cities like Chicago experienced sub-zero temperatures for two days and opened additional warming centers for the homeless.

DEATH TOLL MAY RISE

At least 18 deaths have been linked to the deep freeze since Saturday, and the number was expected to climb as authorities identified more victims.

On Friday, police in East Moline, Illinois, about 160 miles (260 km) west of Chicago, said the weather may have contributed to the death of a FedEx freight driver whose body was found between two trucks on Thursday outside a company distribution hub.

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A representative for FedEx did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Cook County’s medical examiner’s office said there were four confirmed cold-related deaths this week in the Chicago area.

More than 40 cold-temperature records were broken on Thursday, the coldest morning since the polar vortex moved in late on Tuesday, clinging to a swath of the United States from Iowa and the Dakotas across the Great Lakes region and into Maine.

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Amtrak restored rail service to and from Chicago on Friday, and the U.S. Postal Services resumed mail delivery in six Midwest states.

But while the U.S. Midwest and East Coast thawed out, a fierce winter storm headed towards California, carrying heavy rains and high winds that could touch off city flooding and mudslides.


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Lara Trump snarls at critics of ‘send her back’ for pushing a ‘biased, racially-charged narrative’

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Lara Trump, the wife of President Donald Trump's son Eric, has accused CNN anchor Anderson Cooper of pushing a "biased, racially-charged narrative" after he criticized her recent defense of the Trump administration over the "send her back" scandal.

This article first appeared on Salon.

"Anyone insinuating that there was some premeditated plan to orchestrate the “send her back” chant is obviously desperate to continue pushing a biased, racially-charged narrative. #FakeNews," Trump posted to her Twitter account on Saturday. She included a link to the Washington Examiner, a right-leaning newspaper which included a quote from Cooper blasting Trump for supposedly "lying" about her role in whipping up a crowd to chant "send her back" about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.

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2020 Election

Trump’s trade war with China has led to foreign investments in the US drying up: report

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Not only are U.S. manufacturers and farmers feeling the devastating brunt of Donald Trump's ongoing trade war with China -- among other countries -- now the New York Times reports that foreign investors no longer see America as a safe bet to park their money.

According to the report, "the once steady flow of Chinese cash into America, with Chinese investment plummeting by nearly 90 percent since President Trump took office."

With the report stating, the drop-off "stems from tougher regulatory scrutiny in the United States and a less hospitable climate toward Chinese investment, as well Beijing’s tightened limits on foreign spending," one analyst blamed the increasingly hostile trade relationship between the two countries.

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Marvel reveals next star-studded superhero films at Comic-Con

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Marvel unveiled its bumper slate of new superhero movies Saturday, wheeling out a who's who of Hollywood stars and prompting a collective meltdown at Comic-Con as it ended frenzied speculation over the most lucrative franchise in film history.

Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Rachel Weisz were brought on stage in San Diego to join Marvel film stalwarts such as Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman in the upcoming -- and sure to be multi-billion-grossing -- movies.

"I can spend 90 minutes talking about what we've done or I can spend some time talking about what we're about to do," said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, drawing rapturous screams from thousands packed into the world's largest pop-culture fan convention.

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