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Happening Today: Deep Freeze, Border, Vaping, Food Industry, Jussie Smollett, Ariana Grande

What to Know

  • The weather system that put much of the Midwest into a historic deep freeze was expected to ease, though temperatures could still trumble
  • A study provides evidence vaping can help smokers quit cigarettes, with e-cigs proving nearly twice as effective as nicotine gum and patches
  • Police said a thorough review of security video in the attack on 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett has revealed 'potential persons of interest'

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Deep Freeze Expected to Ease, But Disruptions Persist

The painfully cold weather system that put much of the Midwest into a historic deep freeze was expected to ease, though temperatures could still tumble to record lows in some places before the region begins to thaw out. Disruptions caused by the cold will persist, too, including power outages and canceled flights and trains. Crews in Detroit will need days to repair water mains that burst, and other pipes can still burst in persistent subzero temperatures. Before the worst of the cold begins to lift, the National Weather Service said Chicago could hit lows early Thursday that break the city's record of minus 27 set on Jan. 20, 1985. Some nearby isolated areas could see temperatures as low as minus 40. That would break the Illinois record of minus 36, set in Congerville on Jan. 5, 1999. As temperatures bounce back into the single digits Thursday and into the comparative balmy 20s by Friday, more people were expected to return to work in the nation's third-largest city, which resembled a ghost town after most offices told employees to stay home.

Less Is More? Trump Out of Sight as Border Talks Play Out

No televised roundtables with Cabinet secretaries. No freewheeling speeches from the Oval Office. No shouted comments on his way to Marine One. Where's the president? While the federal government is open once again, President Trump has been largely behind closed doors. Republicans and Democrats alike seem just fine with Trump hanging back as legislators try to work out a deal to keep the government open and resolve a standoff over funding for the president's long-sought wall at the southern border. In fact, some lawmakers think less Trump might be a good thing, given his rocky relationships with legislators and open criticism of his negotiating abilities. Over the last five days, Trump has had no public events. The White House says the president has made his demands for border wall funding clear and that he is letting the committee process play out on Capitol Hill.

E-Cigs Outperform Patches and Gums in Quit-Smoking Study

A major new study provides the strongest evidence yet that vaping can help smokers quit cigarettes, with e-cigarettes proving nearly twice as effective as nicotine gums and patches. The British research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, could influence what doctors tell their patients and shape the debate in the U.S., where the Food and Drug Administration has come under pressure to more tightly regulate the burgeoning industry amid a surge in teenage vaping. At the same time, Rigotti and other experts cautioned that no vaping products have been approved in the U.S. to help smokers quit. Smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death worldwide, blamed for nearly 6 million deaths a year.

Food Industry Sway Over Public Health Gets New Scrutiny

The tweet from a group that finances development in Latin America was direct: Sodas do not offer beauty or joy, just a lot of sugar. There was one problem for the organization. Coca-Cola was a funder. The Inter-American Development Bank's management told Coke it hadn't been aware of the tweet, and subsequently invited the company to write a blog post explaining how the beverage giant was helping address obesity, according to an email by a Coke executive obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request. The exchange provides another glimpse of the food industry's pull in shaping messages about its products. With obesity becoming a more pressing global problem, two reports in science journals are calling for policies that limit industry influence and reviving debate about what role food companies should play in public health efforts.

'Potential Persons of Interest' Sought in Jussie Smollett Attack

Chicago police said a thorough review of security video in the attack on actor Jussie Smollett has revealed "potential persons of interest" that investigators would like to question, NBC News reported. A star on Fox's "Empire," Smollett told authorities he had gone for a bite to eat in the upscale Streeterville neighborhood when two men yelling racist and homophobic slurs attacked him and left him with injuries to his face, police said.

Whoops! Ariana Grande Misspelled Her '7 Rings' Tattoo

Everyone makes mistakes, but fans noticed Ariana Grande made a more permanent blunder after she revealed her latest tattoo. The singer got the new ink on the palm of her hand. While it was supposed to spell out "7 Rings" (her new hit) in Japanese, fans noticed Grande's design actually translated to "shichirin," which is a small charcoal grill. Grande didn't seem too bothered by the error. If Grande does fix the error, it wouldn't be the first time she's altered a tattoo. As fans will recall, the star covered up her "8418" tattoo on her foot--which had been a tribute to Pete Davidson's late father--with a Mac Miller tribute after she and the "SNL" star called off their engagement.

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