Obama is returning to politics

If President Donald Trump and the Republican Party were already worried about defending their majorities in the House and Senate come November, they will now have another major factor to contend with: Barack Obama.

The former president enjoyed a busy year since leaving the White House but has largely stayed under the radar. Now Obama is reportedly planning to return to the political stage in 2018, setting the stage for a prominent role in the lead up to the crucial midterm elections.

Close associates to the 44th president predict a politically active year, including campaign stops and other displays of public support.

The president spent part of 2017 jet-setting around the globe and making the most of some time off after eight years of non-stop scrutiny and governing, but he always maintained that he would never leave politics behind. Before leaving office, Obama vowed to remain politically relevant and work with and endorse candidates who sought to preserve his legacy and signature accomplishments.

In 2017, Obama took on President Donald Trump on multiple occasions though he seldom addressed the 45th president by name, instead saying that the Trump presidency has created "an unusual time. More specifically, Obama spoke out against Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare, advocated in favor of protections for so-called Dreamers and criticized Trump for his decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

While Trump has recorded record low approval ratings for a president at the end of his first year, Obama has only become more popular in retirement with a favorability rating of over 60 percent. ear the end of 2017, Obama even polled with a higher approval rating than Trump in the ruby-red state of Alabama.

So Obama's appearance on the campaign trail should scare Trump and Republican candidates across the board. In a September poll, 52 percent of respondents to a poll said they wished that Obama were still in office. An active role by the former president in the 2018 elections is likely to further fire up an already energized Democratic base.

In 2017, Obama made just a single campaign appearance, showing up in Virginia to campaign for the ultimately victorious then-candidate Ralph Northam. In 2018, he will trump that number.

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Snowstorm, deep freeze leaves 4 dead in US South

Snowstorm, deep freeze leaves 4 dead in US South

A winter storm that caused at least four deaths in the US South brought record low temperatures on Wednesday to parts of the region, where it coated roads with ice, snapped power lines and prompted public school closures.

Frigid temperatures and snow were also forecast for the mid-Atlantic region and much of New England through Thursday. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued winter weather advisories and storm warnings for northern Georgia into Virginia and from Massachusetts to Maine.

In Austin, Texas, a vehicle plunged more than 30 feet (9 meters) off a frozen overpass late on Tuesday, killing a man in his 40s, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service said on its Twitter feed.

An 82-year-old woman who suffered from dementia was found dead on Wednesday behind her Houston-area home, likely the victim of exposure to the cold, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said.

In Georgia, two people were fatally struck by a car that slid on an ice patch near Macon, local media said.

At Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the nation's busiest with a typical volume of 2,700 arrivals and departures a day, about 470 flights had been canceled by Wednesday afternoon, according to tracking service Flightaware. com.

The sheriff's office in Oconee County, Georgia, east of Atlanta, tried humor to keep people off icy roads.

I know you need cigarettes, beer and wine to get you through having your kids at home. Can you just do without for a day? Stay home," the office said on its Facebook page.

Wednesday's storm was not the first this winter to bring a blast of frosty weather to the South, where parts of Florida and the Louisiana coast saw their first measurable snowfall in decades.

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories were posted across portions of the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

The governors of Georgia, North Carolina and Louisiana declared states of emergency because of severe conditions that made roads treacherous. In North Carolina, where more than 2,000 snow-plow personnel worked to clear roads, the state Highway Patrol reported nearly 1,600 traffic accidents during the first 12 hours of Wednesday.

More than 9 inches (23 cm) of snow has fallen in Durham, North Carolina, since Monday, with 6 inches (15 cm) or more measured at various locations across southern Virginia, the NWS said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper warned at a news briefing that cold temperatures Wednesday night would make travel conditions even more hazardous.

The snow is pretty but don't be fooled," Cooper said.

In Atlanta, many people appeared to be heeding Georgia Governor Nathan Deal's plea to stay off the roads as only a few cars crept along on typically packed highways.

A few people bundled up to go out in temperatures that were well below freezing in a city known for its sweltering summer heat.

We don't dare try to get the car out of the garage," said teacher Kimberly Hodges, 40, who was walking her puppy in the city's East Atlanta Village neighborhood. It's a mess out here.

The weather in Atlanta is not expected to get above freezing until Thursday afternoon. State government offices and many schools were expected to remain closed until at least then.

Wind chill advisories in the mountains of North Carolina warned that temperatures would feel like they had fallen to 10 degrees below zero Fahrenheit.

In Houston, the nation's fourth most populous city, most freeways were closed on Wednesday morning after icing over, the city's Office of Emergency Management said.

In storm-hit North and South Carolina, more than 32,000 homes and businesses were without power by Wednesday afternoon, utilities data showed.

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Numero, a VISTA Group Company Providing Box Office Reporting, Hires Larry McCourt as President, North America

PRESS RELEASE

[Los Angeles, CA; January 17, 2018] – Numero, a Vista Group company ((NZX & ASX: VGL), has appointed entertainment industry veteran Larry McCourt as President, North America.   Numero delivers a new standard in box office reporting, providing clear, fast and accurate box office numbers for film studios, independent film dis

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'Trump fit for duty, should hit gym'

'Trump fit for duty, should hit gym'

US President Donald Trump passed a test for signs of dementia and is in overall excellent health, but needs to shed weight by cutting calories, fats and carbohydrates and starting a daily exercise routine, the White House physician said on Tuesday.

Trump, who was coy about sharing medical information during his unconventional 2016 run for office, used his first presidential medical exam - conducted on Friday at Walter Reed National Medical Center - to try to put to rest lingering questions about his mental fitness for office.

Trump asked his physician, Dr Ronny Jackson, to add a cognitive screening test to the exam, and authorised him to release a battery of data from the tests.

Trump, 71, is known to enjoy high-fat foods like fried chicken, hamburgers and steak - and, while he plays golf, he does not have a daily exercise routine.

Jackson said Trump is going to try to lose 10 to 15 pounds (4. 5 to 6. 8 kg) by eating better and starting to exercise.

The Navy doctor exhausted reporters’ questions during an unusually lengthy hour-long session, at Trump’s request, and said he did not withhold any information in the interests of privacy.

He said, ‘I want you to get out there and I want you to talk to them and I want you to answer every single question they have,'” Jackson said of Trump.

Trump’s mental fitness for the job had come under intense scrutiny after a recently published, controversial book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” portrayed him as childlike and mercurial.

Past presidents are not known to have been tested for mental acuity while in office - including Ronald Reagan, who five years after leaving the White House in 1989 was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, an incurable, degenerative brain condition.

Jackson, who speaks with Trump a few times a day and travels with him, said he did not think the president needed cognitive testing based on medical guidelines - but added the 30-question Montreal Cognitive Assessment at Trump’s request.

The test looks for signs of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Sample questions include asking the patient to draw a clockface, putting in all of the numbers and setting the clock hands to a specific time. The test does not assess psychiatric fitness.

Trump scored 30 out of 30 on the test, Jackson said. The president is mentally very sharp, very intact,” the doctor said.

Dr Ronald Petersen, an Alzheimer’s expert at the prestigious Mayo Clinic, said he could not comment specifically on the president’s cognitive health. wever, he did say that, in theory, a perfect score on the Montreal test does not necessarily rule out cognitive decline. It is “just one measure in a clinical judgment,” he said in an email.

Trump is considered overweight and borderline obese at 6 feet 3 inches (1. 9 meters) tall and 239 pounds (108 kg). His blood pressure was 122/74, within normal bounds, and his cholesterol was on the high side, Jackson said.

But the physician said Trump’s cardiac health was excellent, noting the president had undergone an exercise stress test, and said he consulted cardiologists about Trump’s coronary calcium score.

Jackson credited the results to genetics. It’s just the way God made him,” he told reporters.

Jackson said he would increase Trump’s daily dose of Crestor, a cholesterol-lowering drug, and bring in a nutritionist to work with White House chefs. The doctor said he would also design a daily exercise program for Trump.

He’s more enthusiastic about the diet part than the exercise part, but we’re going to do both,” Jackson said, adding that he might enlist first lady Melania Trump to help.

Ranit Mishori, an attending physician at Georgetown University-Providence Hospital in Washington, said Trump received more screening and diagnostic tests than are generally recommended for someone at his age and with his medical history.

With his reported eating habits and lack of exercise, it made sense for the White House to “release all of this data to show that . he is in good health,” Mishori said.

Even without red flags from test results, Mishori said it was clear that Trump faces some risks.

He is a male and he is in his 70s and he is overweight, borderline obese, and he has high cholesterol. Those four factors alone put him at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease,” she said.

Mishori disagreed with Jackson’s assessment that Trump would be healthy for the rest of his term and possibly a second four-year term.

This was a bit of a snapshot in time,” she said. I don’t think this can be a definitive sign that he will be in this same state of health for the remainder of his term.

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