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As Polar Vortex Hits The U.S, Donald Trump Questions Climate Change

A member of Congress from Utah, as government employees began packing up early in the afternoon, on Tuesday threw his own virtual snowball at the threat of another approaching winter storm appearing to panic politicians

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A commuter arrives at Metra Western Avenue station, in Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 29, 2019, as extreme cold and record-breaking temperatures are moving into the region. VOA

A Tuesday tweet from a U.S. government scientific agency seems relatively innocuous: “Winter storms do not prove global warming is not happening.”

The message from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is devoted to climate science and information, includes a link citing research that severe snowstorms may be even more likely in a global warming climate because higher ocean temperatures appear to create more moisture.

Many are viewing Tuesday’s post as a rebuttal to President Trump’s tweet late Monday noting an approaching deep freeze for the American Midwest and asking “What the hell is going on with Global Warming (sic). Please come back fast, we need you.”

A polar vortex has returned this week to the Midwest bringing extremely low temperatures that could break records.

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Pedestrians gather at a bus stop during snowfall along Lexington Avenue, Jan. 21, 2014 in New York. VOA

NOAA denies any connection between the president’s comment and its social media posting.

“We routinely put this story out at these times,” the agency said in a statement. “Our scientists weren’t responding to a tweet.”

Most scientists say there is little valid research to counter the prevailing view climate change is real and note research also demonstrates that with global warming there will be more frequently extreme temperatures at both ends of the thermometer.

With a forecast of icy roads around the nation’s capital, one item of unanimous consent throughout the Trump administration Tuesday is non-emergency federal workers – just two days back on the job after a record-long shutdown – could leave early because of the weather.

“Employees of Federal offices in the Washington, D.C., area are authorized for early departure,” according to a notice from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. “Employees should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure times and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure times.”

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U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Jamie Jasmon struggles through snow and below zero temperatures while delivering the mail, Jan. 6, 2014, Springfield, Illinois. VOA

The notification is intended, in part, to alleviate congestion on streets that could soon become hazardous.

The ability of a mere dusting of snow or sheets of ice on roadways and sidewalks to create pandemonium in the U.S. center of power frequently puzzles those who have migrated to this part of the country from harsher winter climates.

A January 2016 snowstorm paralyzed the region, although only 2.5 centimeters of snow fell on Washington, D.C. roadways. There were hundreds of traffic accidents and many motorists abandoned their vehicles on highways after untreated roads became impassible with black ice.

The mess and lack of preparedness prompted a public apology by the mayor of Washington, D.C.

Muriel Bowser was taking no such chances on Tuesday, three years after the so-called Snowzilla (not to be confused with the area’s December 2009 Snowpocalypse).

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Ice forms as waves crash along the Lake Michigan shore in Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 27, 2014. VOA

Mayor Bowser, on Tuesday announced she had requested an additional $1 million from the city’s contingency fund “to cover higher costs than anticipated for salt/de-icing as a result of Winter Storm Gia.”

The city also issued a hypothermia alert, which will keep shelters open during daylight hours so the estimated 7,000 homeless people in Washington will have a warm and safe place to stay.

Also Read: Antarctica’s Ice Melting Six Times Faster: Study

A member of Congress from Utah, as government employees began packing up early in the afternoon, on Tuesday threw his own virtual snowball at the threat of another approaching winter storm appearing to panic politicians, bureaucrats and lobbyists inside the Beltway.

“People in DC love to show how tough they are and call their opponents ‘snowflake,’” wrote Congressman Ben McAdams on Twitter. “Unless the weather forecast includes snowflakes, and then they cancel meetings, leave work early and buy all of the bottled water at the grocery store. Snowflakes.” He then tossed a promotional hashtag for a top winter recreational activity in his state that includes the Wasatch Mountain range: #SkiUtah. (VOA)

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Facebook To Give $40 Million in Grants To Help 10K Small Businesses in USA

The social networking giant recently announced $100 million global small business grant programme

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The social networking giant recently announced $100 million global small business grant programme. Pixabay

Facebook has announced $40 million in grants for 10,000 small businesses in the US to help them get through these challenging time.

The grants will go to small businesses in 34 locations where Facebook employees live and work. Those located in New York and Seattle will be the first to receive funds.

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“In this challenging time, when information is changing daily, we are listening to and learning from scores of small businesses to understand what they need now and what they will need down the road,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a statement on Thursday.

The social networking giant recently announced $100 million global small business grant programme.

“We’re making it easier for people to support their favorite local businesses with digital gift cards on Facebook, which are beginning to roll out today in the US,” said the company.

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Facebook has announced $40 million in grants for 10,000 small businesses in the US to help them get through these challenging time. VOA

People will see the option to support local businesses with digital gift cards in their News Feed.

Business owners can also create a personal fundraiser on Facebook for their business and ask customers for support during this critical time.

ALSO READ: Want to Know What’s Happening Around the World Due to COVID-19? Use this App

“The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses everywhere. Suddenly and, through no fault of their own, many simply can’t do business, and for others it has become much, much harder because customers are doing the right thing and staying at home,” said Sandberg. (IANS)