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5 Things to Know: Record-Breaking Cold Temps, Flu Outbreak in 25 States

Here are some interesting and important things to know for the coming week.

5 Things to Know: Record-Breaking Cold Temps, Flu Outbreak in 25 States

From a "polar vortex" bringing most of the country to its knees to wiring your car with wifi, here are five things you need to know for the coming week: 

1. An arctic blast is shattering 20-year records. A "polar vortex," a whirlpool of frigid and dense air, has plunged parts of the U.S. in the  coldest temperatures in decades. Nearly half of the nation will see zero or below temperatures. And if you're traveling, prepare for delays at the airport. More than 2,000 flights have been canceled today, according to flight tracking website Flight Aware.

2. Back from a two-week break, the Senate today is set to start the year by clashing over President Obama's push to renew unemployment benefits for 1.3 million people. The Senate also plans to hold a vote soon to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 over three years.  

3. The number of states with widespread flu activity jumped to 25. This year's most common strain is H1N1, the same virus that caused the 2009 swine flu outbreak. Southerners in particular need to be vigilant: The most severe reports are in those states. The CDC has the all the details here. 

4. The newest place to get wifi? Your car. General Motors and Audi plan to use this week's International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to roll out proposals for outfitting cars with built-in 4G high-speed broadband—the same mobile technology used by smartphones and tablets.

5.  Dennis Rodman continued his self-appointed "basketball diplomacy" mission in North Korea today, returning with a dozen other U.S. players in advance of an exhibition game to be played on Wednesday to celebrate the birthday of the country's dictator, Kim Jong Un. Rodman promised to "put on a good show” for him.   

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