Daily News Roundup

January 31, 2019

Image: Sky News

THURSDAY, January 31

US President Donald Trump has done it again…..demeaning top government officials.

This time the people made to suffer his bile are the those charged with keeping America safe.

In another cheap tweet Mr Trump, again showed his lack of attachment to reality (not to forget basic good manners), when he called top US intelligence chiefs “extremely passive and naive”, even suggesting they “should go back to school”.

His comments came in a morning Twitter tirade a day after leaders of the US intelligence community contradicted his views on major foreign policy issues during their congressional testimony.

The officials — which included director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA director Gina Haspel — said the nuclear threat from North Korea remained, and that Iran was not taking steps towards making a nuclear bomb.

The information the officials presented in Congress were the complete opposite to Mr Trump’s views on both countries, with the President frequently stating North Korea was moving towards denuclearisation, while claiming Iran were building their nuclear arsenal.

“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Mr Trump said during a string of morning tweets.

He said Iran was “coming very close to the edge” and suggested: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”

Mr Trump last year pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran put in place under his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

The US intelligence officials told the Senate Intelligence Committee Iran was not developing nuclear weapons in violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement, even though Tehran threatened to reverse some commitments after Mr Trump pulled the United States out of the deal.

Their assessments also broke with other assertions by Mr Trump, including on the threat posed by Russia to US elections, the threat Islamic State posed in Syria and North Korea’s commitment to denuclearise.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA director Gina Haspel told politicians Pyongyang viewed its nuclear program as vital to the country’s survival and was unlikely to give it up.

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America’s Mid-West is in the grip of a a deep freeze with temperatures lower than those in Antarctica prompting authorities to warn people who must go outside to take short breaths to prevent their lungs turning icy.

Experts have described the air as “the coldest in a generation”.

The mercury in parts of the Mid-West dipped below -31.7C while in northern Illinois, wind chill made the air feel like -49.4C

The icy weather triggered widespread closures of schools and businesses and the cancelling of more than 1,600 flights from Chicago.

At least six deaths have been linked so far to the weather system, and authorities urged people to stay inside during what experts have described as “the coldest air in a generation”.

The bitter cold is the result of a split in the polar vortex that allowed temperatures to drop much farther south than normal.

That meant temperatures in parts of the Mid-West were lower than in Antarctica, where the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station hit -31.7 degrees Celsius — slightly warmer than North Dakota’s -35C and Minneapolis’ -32C, according to the National Weather Service.

Snowploughs were idled overnight because of the cold in south-western Minnesota, where temperatures dropped to -34C. In Chicago, temperatures were still dropping after plunging early on Wednesday to -28C, breaking the day’s previous record low set in 1966 — and colder than the weather in

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 help the homeless in Chicago.

“These [conditions] are actually a public health risk and you need to treat it appropriately,” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

“They are life-threatening conditions and temperatures.”

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Actor Gwyneth Paltrow has rejected accusations in a new lawsuit of breaking a man’s ribs and leaving him with a concussion when she smashed into him from behind while skiing at a Utah ski resort in 2016.

Spokeswoman Heather Wilson said in an emailed statement: “This lawsuit is without merit and we expect to be vindicated.”

Retired optometrist Terry Sanderson, 72, said during a news conference in Salt Lake City that he heard a “hysterical scream” and was then struck between his shoulder blades on a beginner run at Deer Valley Resort on February 26, 2016.

He remembers being thrown forward and losing control of his body before losing consciousness.

An acquaintance who witnessed the events said he saw Paltrow hit him squarely in the back.

Mr Sanderson claims in the lawsuit that the 46-year-old actor left him injured on the mountain and did not send for help.

The instructor skiing with Paltrow and her family and friends filed a false incident report saying Paltrow did not cause the crash, the lawsuit says.

Deer Valley Resort spokeswoman Emily Summers said the resort can not comment on pending legal matters. The resort is also being sued.

Paltrow is known for her roles in Shakespeare in Love and the Iron Man movies. She also owns a lifestyle company called Goop.

Mr Sanderson said it took him nearly three years to file a lawsuit because he dragged his feet, ran into problems with previous attorneys and was dealing with inability to function properly because of the concussion.

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