1. Polar Vortex: Bitter cold affected millions of Americans

“It has been more than 20 years since a similar blast of frigid air covered a swath of the US Midwest and Northeast, according to the National Weather Service.

The bitter cold was caused by the mass of air known as the polar vortex drifting south from its usual position over the North Pole.

Homes and businesses used record amounts of natural gas to fight the cold, according to financial data provider Refinitiv. Utilities appealed to consumers to conserve energy to avoid power outages.

In Detroit, General Motors suspended operations at 11 Michigan plants to cut natural gas consumption. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV canceled a shift on Thursday at two of its plants.”

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: More than 20 dead in US polar vortex, frostbite amputations feared


  1. HIV registry leak: A traumatic leak of confidential information for HIV-positive patients

“The records were those of 5,400 Singaporeans diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to January 2013 and 8,800 foreigners, including work and visit pass applicants and holders, diagnosed with HIV from 1985 to December 2011.

The leaked information included their names, identification numbers, phone numbers, addresses, HIV test results and medical information. The details of another 2,400 of their contacts – identified through contact tracing – up to May 2007 were also leaked, MOH said in a press release.

At a media briefing held on Monday to shed light on the matter, Permanent Secretary of Health Chan Heng Kee said that of the 5,400 Singaporeans whose details were leaked, 1,900 have died. Of those living, 90 per cent are male, MOH said.”

Read the full article on Channel NewsAsia: HIV-positive status of 14,200 people leaked online


  1. Brexit: Negotiations on Brexit terms still underway even though it is only two months away from the deadline set by Article 50

“Some senior figures in the EU believe Britain needs to be all but out of options before accepting the deal, diplomats said.

“This is not a game,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a speech in Brussels on Wednesday (Jan 30), as he reiterated the importance of the so-called backstop arrangement to prevent a hard Irish border, which is the most contentious part of the deal.

He added that Tuesday’s House of Commons voting increased the risk of a disorderly exit and the EU won’t reopen the deal.

As the threat of economic turmoil looms over the country, May, who said on Tuesday she has a mandate to renegotiate the deal, isn’t expected in Brussels this week. She held telephone calls with EU President Donald Tusk and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar late on Wednesday.

“Yesterday, we found out what the UK doesn’t want, but we still don’t know what the UK does want,” Tusk tweeted after the 45-minute call, which an official with knowledge of it described as “open and frank”.”

Read the full article on The Straits Times: EU ready to push Britain near point of no-return on Brexit, diplomats say


Picture credits:https://unsplash.com/photos/6qVozI9Y5Uo