Good morning. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. U.S. deep freeze: 15 dead, records shattered
This icy embrace isn't letting go. Howling Siberian winds are continuing to blow across a large swath of the nation, from the Midwest all the way down to Florida, which will see highs in just the 40s and 50s Friday. There have been at least 15 weather-related fatalities since the cold took hold earlier this week: 11 in Tennessee, three in Ohio and one in Kentucky. Most of the deaths in Tennessee were due to hypothermia, and others involved car accidents. On Thursday, Lexington, Kentucky, checked in at minus-7 degrees — the coldest on any day since January 2003. Bowling Green also hit 7 below, the coldest there since January 1994. More records could be shattered Friday. Read more in NEWS.
Meanwhile, the ice encasing the Niagara Falls, which has drawn in visitors from all over, isn't expected to melt entirely until May.
2. How Putin took ‘European states’ by surprise
Ukrainians on Friday are marking the first anniversary of the protests in Kiev that led to the overthrow of the former government. In the past year, Russia managed to annex the Crimean peninsula as fighting intensified in the pro-Russian stronghold of eastern Ukraine. The latest cease-fire that went into effect at midnight Saturday is shaky at best. Now, a new report by British lawmakers says that European allies can no longer afford to have a bad relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Read more in NEWS.
3. Las Vegas police arrest suspect in road rage slay
A teenager was apprehended Thursday afternoon in connection with the fatal shooting of a mother of four. Erich Nowsch, 19, was arrested after a brief standoff at a home one block away from the scene of the Feb. 12 shooting, police said. The family of the victim, Tammy Meyers, said the slain woman knew the suspect, and had helped him in the past. Robert Meyers said his wife "spent countless hours at that park consoling this boy," that she fed him and gave him money, and that "she told him to pull his pants up and to be a man, more times than I can count." Read more in NEWS.
4. UCLA officials apologize for superbug infections
The revelation that two patients died and more than 170 others may have been exposed to a so-called "superbug" during endoscopic procedures has led UCLA Health System officials to apologize. "Our hearts go out to the families of the two patients that passed away, the other patients that are infected, to those that have the anxiety of waiting for the test results," UCLA Health System President Dr. David Feinberg told reporters Thursday. Still, this outbreak of CRE in the past few months is not a danger to the public and the hospital has found no breaks in protocol. So how could people have gotten infected in such a sterilized situation? Read more in HEALTH.
5. ‘American Sniper’ suspect said victims were ‘pigs’
Eddie Ray Routh, who faces capital murder charges in the death of "American Sniper" Chris Kyle and another man, had previously said the victims were part of a world takeover by "hybrid pigs." A psychiatrist testified to Routh's mental state in a Texas court on Thursday as part of his trial. The psychiatrist said that in his opinion, Routh was suffering from schizophrenia at the time of the murders two years ago. The defense rested on Thursday and the prosecution will call rebuttal witnesses on Friday. Closing arguments are expected to begin on Monday. Read more in NEWS.
6. Academy Awards 2015: And the winners will be …
Hollywood’s A-list will gather Sunday for the main event of every awards season: the Oscars. But as millions watch to see the Best Picture nominees, including “Birdman” and “Boyhood,” duke it out for top honors, it's also about the fashions and the weepy acceptance speeches. So which winners gave some of the more memorable speeches in past years? Read more at TODAY.
And now this …
You're gonna' flip out over this one. Every year on International Pancake Day, people get together to engage in pancake racing, which involves running and flipping pancakes. Sounds tiring — and tasty.