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5 things to know for Jan. 4: Border battle, Supreme Court, Jeffrey Epstein, Iran, Ford recall


By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — NASA has grand visions for the year ahead, including a mission to send astronauts deeper into the solar system than anyone has ventured in more than 50 years.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

1. Border battle

The Biden administration on Wednesday sued Texas over its controversial immigration law that gives local law enforcement the authority to arrest migrants, arguing the state “cannot run its own immigration system.” The lawsuit marks the second legal action against Texas this week, as President Joe Biden and Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spar over the handling of the US-Mexico border. Abbott last month signed a law that gives judges the ability to issue orders to remove people from the US. The White House has slammed the law — which is slated to take effect in March — as “incredibly extreme.” At the same time, House Republicans said they will forge ahead with steps to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas over his handling of the border crisis.

2. Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is facing mounting pressure to settle the question of whether former President Donald Trump can be disqualified from holding public office for his role in the January 6, 2021, US Capitol riot. On Wednesday, Trump formally asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Colorado state ruling that removed him from the state’s 2024 ballot under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist clause.” If the justices do take up the case and conclude Trump is ineligible for public office, then any votes cast for him wouldn’t count. Additionally, Maine removed Trump from its 2024 primary ballot last week, and the former president’s team on Tuesday appealed that decision.

3. Jeffrey Epstein

Hundreds of pages of documents from a lawsuit connected to accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein were unsealed Wednesday. It is the first batch of documents to be released under a December court order, with more expected in the coming weeks. The documents in total are expected to include nearly 200 names, including some of Epstein’s accusers, prominent businesspeople, politicians and others. So far, the deposition transcripts include references to several public figures, as has been previously reported, including Prince Andrew as well as former President Bill Clinton. A spokesman for Clinton previously said that the former president had flown on Epstein’s private plane but said he knew nothing of the financier’s “terrible crimes.”

4. Iran

Iran has vowed revenge on Israel after blaming the country for twin blasts that killed dozens Wednesday in the Iranian city of Kerman. The explosions, at least one of which was caused by a bomb, state TV said, occurred near the burial site of slain military commander Qasem Soleimani, in what officials called a terror attack. At least 84 people were killed and 284 others injured, according to local officials in Iran. No group has claimed responsibility and the Israeli military told CNN it had “no comment” on the matter. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates today joined multiple countries in condemning the blasts, which have threatened to stoke tensions in the region nearly three months after war erupted in Gaza.

5. Ford recall

Ford is recalling more than 112,000 pickup trucks due to a roll-away risk. The recall affects certain F-150 vehicles with model years 2021 through 2023. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the rear axle hub bolt in the affected pickups might “fatigue and break,” which can result in the vehicle rolling away when parked or “cause a loss of drive power.” A fix is under development and letters to F-150 owners are going to be mailed at the end of this month. Last year, Ford also recalled more than 870,000 of its full-sized F-150 trucks because the electronic parking brake could engage unexpectedly at any time, potentially causing a crash.


CNN to host Republican presidential town halls
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will appear on CNN later today for back-to-back town halls in Iowa — just 11 days before voters in the state head to the polls to make their caucus choices. The first town hall with DeSantis begins at 9 p.m. ET and the second with Haley will follow at 10 p.m. ET.


Starbucks will now let customers use personal cups for nearly all orders
The coffee chain is inviting customers to bring their own cups, saying it will help reduce the company’s waste output.

National uproar in Italy after a chef puts pineapple on a pizza
Pineapple pizza has a new dough-main in Via dei Tribunali, the most popular pizza street in the world. Read why the country is divided over the controversial pie.

Electric vehicle tax credits just changed again
Fewer electric vehicles are eligible for tax credits this year, and even fewer are eligible for the maximum of $7,500. Here’s where you can still get discounts.

The world’s most punctual airlines for 2023
In an era of inevitable flight delays, these airlines and airports around the world have the best on-time ratings.

Getting hearing aids may help you live longer, according to a new study
Not enough people wear hearing aids, which could be a problem for long-term health. These experts explain how the devices help and when to get them.


$34 trillion
That’s the US government’s outstanding debt, according to figures from the Treasury Department. It is the first time the national debt has surpassed $34 trillion, though it has soared under both Democratic and Republican parties in recent years. This comes as Congress remains divided on how to fund federal agencies for the remainder of the 2024 fiscal year. There are now just over two weeks to go before the government partially shuts down if Congress doesn’t act.


“I can only say it was a miracle.”

— A passenger on Japan Airlines flight 516, speaking after surviving the massive plane fire at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport on Tuesday. New clues are emerging from the collision that saw the Japan Airlines plane crash into a smaller Coast Guard aircraft after touching down on the runway — including a transcript that shows the smaller plane had not been cleared for takeoff.


Check your local forecast here>>>


Oklahoma teenager beats the unbeatable game: Tetris
A 13-year-old from Oklahoma is believed to be the first human gamer to reach level 157 of the classic video game, nearly 40 years after its release. See the winning moment here.

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