Polar vortex expected to paralyze parts of U.S. with extreme cold
Temperatures are expected to plummet Wednesday as parts of the Midwest and East are overwhelmed by the polar vortex dropping down from the North Pole. Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, will be colder than parts of Antarctica, Alaska and the North Pole as the “high” temperature should be around 10 below zero, while the overnight low into Thursday is forecast to be in the 25-below range, according to the National Weather Service in Chicago. Late Tuesday, Amtrak canceled all train service to and from Chicago. The upcoming bitter cold also prompted the USPS to cancel mail delivery to large swaths of seven states and airlines have already canceled more than 1,400 flights, according to flight tracker FlightAware.
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Prosecutors present their case for ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s conviction
Federal prosecutors give closing arguments Wednesday in the case of accused Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. The alleged former Sinaloa Cartel leader is accused of bringing millions of dollars worth of cocaine and other drugs into the United States. He initially was charged with 17 criminal counts, including drug trafficking an engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. — the Brooklyn federal court jury is expected to deliberate over 10 charges. Earlier this week, the defense rested after calling one witness, compared to the 56 prosecutors put on the stand in the 11-week trial. If convicted on the most serious counts, Guzmán could be sentenced to life in prison.
The defense case for notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman lasted only 30 minutes on Tuesday.
United States, China talk trade as deadline approaches
The Trump administration on Wednesday begins the first of two consecutive days of talks with China in hopes of heading off a tariff war. A planned tariff hike to 25 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods takes effect in March, deepening a trade war conflict that has roiled markets across the globe. Talks between the two nations come after the Justice Department announced charges this week against Huawei and its chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, alleging that the company stole trade secrets, violated trade sanctions against Iran, committed wire fraud and obstructed justice. This week’s set of meetings with a Chinese delegation is more about making progress than reaching a final agreement, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.
Will Goodell address NFC Championship controversy?
After a week and a half of silence on the controversial pass interference no-call in the NFC Championship, Roger Goodell will meet with the media during his annual State of the League address on Wednesday (1 p.m. on NFL Network). While the NFL finally acknowledged its mistake in an official capacity on Sunday, some have been calling for a change to the league’s replay rules to prevent such a mistake from happening again. Another topic that Goodell might have to address is the lack of diversity in coaching hires, an issue which straight answers are not easy to come by. For complete coverage of Sunday’s Patriots-Rams showdown, be sure to check out USA TODAY’s dedicated Super Bowl page.
SportsPulse: From Atlanta, Trysta Krick tells you everything you need to know as Super Bowl week begins.
Venezuela opposition urges walkouts as Maduro says he’s willing to negotiate
Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido was looking to ratchet up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro with walkouts across Venezuela on Wednesday, a day after the embattled socialist administration barred Guaido from leaving the country while he is investigated for anti-government activities. Guaido urged Venezuelans to step outside their homes and workplaces for two hours in the first mass mobilization since violent street demonstrations erupted last week after Guaido declared that he had assumed presidential powers under the constitution and planned to hold fresh elections to end Maduro’s “dictatorship.” On Wednesday, Maduro, who previously rejected calls for negotiations, told Russian state-owned RIA Novosti news agency that he was open to a meeting with the opposition. “I’m willing to sit down for talks with the opposition so that we could talk for the sake of Venezuela’s peace and its future,” he said.
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