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Latest Newscast: Midwest in Deep Freeze, Again; Congressman Resigns After Coke Bust; De Blasio Says City Ready to Expand PreK

Monday, January 27, 2014

Here are the latest headlines from the WNYC newsroom.

Subzero temperatures similar to those three weeks ago have returned to the Midwest.  The cold is so extreme that it is considered life-threatening.  Wind chill readings are expected to reach the minus 40 range in cities like Minneapolis.  That kind of cold can cause frost bite on exposed skin within 10 minutes.

Former TV anchor turned Congressman Trey Radel has bowed to pressure and is resigning because of a cocaine-possession charge last year.  Radel had hoped to ride out the controversy, but several GOP leaders, including Florida Governor Rick Scott, had asked him to resign.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said New York City is ready to rapidly expand full-day pre-kindergarten programs this September.  He told state lawmakers in Albany that all he needs is their permission for the city to raise taxes on the wealthy, to pay for the expansion.  A report, detailing the plan, said 2,000 new classrooms and 2,000 new teachers are needed.  The city said it's identified classroom spaces.  The mayor said he's confident he can recruit the teachers. Governor Cuomo opposes the tax.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden suggest that spy agencies have a powerful ally in the apps installed on smartphones across the globe.  The documents, published by The New York Times, the Guardian and ProPublica, suggest that the mapping, gaming and social networking apps available on smartphones can feed the U.S.' National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ spy agency with huge amounts of personal data.

New Jersey Democrats have officially voted to merge two separate legislative investigations of the Christie administration. The state Senate and Assembly had been conducting parallel investigations into allegations of a political payback scheme.

Ukraine's beleaguered president on Monday agreed to scrap harsh anti-protest laws that set off a wave of clashes between protesters and police over the past week.

President Obama is getting ready for his State of the Union address tomorrow night. Among the guests who will sit with the first lady are two survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and N-B-A player Jason Collins, who came out as gay last year. Here it live on WNYC and wnyc.org at 9:00 PM.

Blustery tonight with a low of 14. Tomorrow, partly sunny skies with a high of just 21, and windchill values as low as zero.

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The Associated Press

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