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Morning Update: Man’s Not Hot

Extreme cold in the Midwest, Iran’s looming Instagram ban, a possible hate crime against a TV star. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Jan. 30.

Posted on January 30, 2019, at 7:49 a.m. ET

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It’s so incredibly cold in the Midwest that entire cities are basically shutting down

Forecasters said temperatures are expected to be colder than the North Pole, which, as you can imagine, is not normal.

The extreme, life-threatening cold is bringing potentially record frigid temperatures to the Midwest and upper Plains region. Windchills in Chicago were forecast to drop as low as –50 degrees.

Meanwhile in Minnesota, some of the coldest weather in decades was expected, with windchills plunging to –65.

Schools, businesses, and government facilities across several states planned to close on Wednesday for safety reasons.

Why is this happening? Let’s talk science. Typically, cold air circles around the Earth’s poles, known as the polar vortex. But during winter, it can become destabilized — which sends icy air into the US and Canada.

When there’s moisture in that cold air, which is more frequent because of global warming, that means heavy winter storms.

Democrats will look at banning members from sleeping in their offices

The Committee on House Administration will publicly study the issue of members of Congress sleeping in their offices, which comes amid momentum among Democrats to ban the practice.

Those who want it to end argue it’s unprofessional, potentially discriminatory, and an inappropriate use of taxpayer-funded resources that turns office cleaning staff into de facto house cleaners.

This may not sound like a big deal, but we’ve been told the number of lawmakers who chose to live in their office might have been over 100 in the previous Congress. Quite often, these members boast about the practice to voters as a sign of their frugality.

SNAPSHOTS

Chicago police are investigating a possible hate crime attack against Empire star Jussie Smollett. The actor, who stars as one of the most prominent gay characters on TV, said two people yelled anti-gay and racist slurs, beat him, poured a chemical substance on him, and wrapped a rope around his neck. Police are searching for evidence.

Roger Stone pleaded not guilty to charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. Stone, a longtime adviser to President Trump, is charged with lying to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks and trying to convince an associate to lie as well.

A pregnant woman was stabbed to death as she drove for Lyft. Kristina Howato, who was in her third trimester, was killed with a kitchen knife in Arizona by a man who then stole her car. The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Fabian Durazo, was taken into custody.

A St. Louis cop said the death of his colleague in a Russian roulette game was a “tragic accident.” Nathaniel Hendren, 29, allegedly shot fellow officer Katlyn Alix, 24, while on duty. She died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Prosecutors say the two were playing with a revolver, and a third officer told them to stop.

Women in Iran say a looming ban on Instagram will deprive them of their freedom

Instagram is one of the last social networks permitted by the country’s internet censors. But a possible ban has influencers and activists worried about the future.

Iran’s government says censoring apps is about blocking immoral and obscene content. Activists recognize it for what it is: a crackdown on the last online space where women and other marginalized groups like the LGBT community can be free.

Instagram is a valuable hub for activists who organize campaigns there and use the platform to communicate with outside groups. One activist told us that over the last 10 years, Instagram has become “the only place that people can freely share information.”

Netflix wants to know WTF is wrong with people thirsting over Ted Bundy

The streaming service did its best to dissuade people from romanticizing the serial killer, whom too many people online apparently consider attractive.

Netflix wrote on Twitter that it “would like to gently remind everyone that there are literally thousands of hot men on the service — almost all of whom are not convicted serial murderers.”

As a new docuseries and upcoming biopic about Bundy gain traction online, some are urging people to focus on the victims and their families.

I’m with Netflix on this one. Why are people like this?

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