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Happening Today: Deep Freeze, Wall, Cancer Care, 'Empire'

Happening Today: Deep Freeze, Wall, Cancer Care, ‘Empire’

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Deep Freeze Envelops Midwest, Even Stops the Mail

A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest, forcing widespread closure of schools, offices and prompting the U.S. Postal Service to take the rare step of suspending mail delivery to a wide swath of the region because of the cold. Many normal activities shut down and residents huddled inside as the National Weather Service forecast plunging temperatures from one of the coldest air masses in years. The bitter cold is the result of a split in the polar vortex that allowed temperatures to plunge much further south than normal. Officials throughout the region were focused on protecting vulnerable people from the cold, including the homeless, seniors and those living in substandard housing. Some buses were turned into mobile warming shelters to encourage the homeless to come off the streets in Chicago, where the forecast called for temperatures as low as minus 21, with wind chills to minus 40. Governors in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan declared emergencies.

Lawmakers Hopeful of Agreement That Would Prevent Shutdown

Capitol Hill negotiators are hopeful of an agreement as they officially kick off talks on a homeland security spending bill that is trapped in a stalemate over President Trump’s long-stalled border wall. Left on their own, the seasoned House and Senate lawmakers say they could easily reach a border security deal as they have for two years in a row. But whether Trump would sign it is another matter altogether. Trump has grown impatient and his demands on his U.S.-Mexico border wall have become more insistent even though Democrats took back the House last fall. Democrats remain united against Trump’s vision for a massive wall project, yet some are signaling a willingness to deal in the wake of the 35-day partial government shutdown. For their part, GOP leaders want to de-escalate the battle over the border wall and suggest they too could be flexible as bargainers seek a bipartisan agreement.

Israeli Co. That Claims Cancer Cure Faces Years of Testing

An Israeli biotech company said preliminary research on mice gives it hope of developing a cancer cure “within a year’s time” — but it still has years of testing ahead of it before it could get U.S. approval — even if it works for humans. Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies (AEBi) told the Jerusalem Post it used peptides, which are a chain of amino acids, to target and kill cancer cells in mice. The company, however, has only tested the treatment in mice so far and it can take six to seven years to bring cancer drugs from “mouse to market,” even when drugmakers receive special permissions from U.S. regulators to speed drug development, Les Funtleyder, health-care portfolio manager at E Squared Capital Management, told CNBC. The company has not yet published any clinical evidence showing this treatment works in humans. CEO Ilan Morad told the Jerusalem Post that AEBi has only finished its first exploratory mice experiment, which he claims inhibited cancer cell growth.

‘Empire’ Star Attacked in Possible Hate Crime, Police Say

An actor from the hit television show “Empire” was beaten in what police are investigating as a “possible racially-charged assault and battery” in Chicago, authorities say. Jussie Smollett, 36, was walking in the 300 block of North Lower Water Street when police say two people approached him and began yelling “racial and homophobic slurs.” A friend said Smollett remained hospitalized and was in stable condition. Smollett came out as gay during a guest appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2015. Police said the offenders began hitting him with their hands and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. At one point, one of the offenders also wrapped a rope around the man’s neck, authorities said. Detectives are investigating, police said.

Gwyneth Paltrow Sued Over Utah Ski Crash

A Utah man has filed a lawsuit accusing actress Gwyneth Paltrow of seriously injuring him during a crash at a Park City ski resort in 2016. Terry Sanderson says in a lawsuit that Paltrow was skiing out of control and knocked him out, leaving him with a brain injury and four broken ribs. The alleged incident occurred Feb. 26, 2016, on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort. Paltrow’s publicist Stephen Huvane didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment. Deer Valley Resort spokeswoman Emily Summers said the resort can’t comment on pending legal matters. The resort is also being sued. Sanderson says Paltrow left him injured on the mountain and didn’t send help. He says a Deer Valley ski instructor filed a false incident report saying Paltrow didn’t cause the crash. A spokeswoman for Paltrow says a lawsuit accusing her of seriously injuring a man at a Utah ski resort is “without merit.” Paltrow spokeswoman Heather Wilson said Tuesday in an emailed one-sentence statement that Paltrow expects to be “vindicated.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images/File

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