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5 things to know for Jan. 5: Presidential race, Iowa shooting, Winter storm, Israel, Oscar Pistorius


By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — Americans spent a record $222 billion shopping online during the holiday season. This shows that US consumers are spending aggressively — despite telling pollsters they have an unfavorable outlook on the economy.

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

1. Presidential race

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley ramped up their attacks on Republican frontrunner Donald Trump during back-to-back CNN town halls Thursday in Iowa. Haley touted her electability, saying “chaos follows him,” referring to Trump, while also noting her strength in polls and foreign policy experience. DeSantis slammed Trump, criticizing his legal woes and his repeated refusal to debate. He also pitched his economic policies, including eliminating the IRS and implementing a flat tax rate. President Joe Biden is also sharpening his attacks on Trump with a planned campaign speech today about protecting democracy. It comes one day ahead of the anniversary of the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol.

2. Iowa shooting

A community in Iowa is grieving after a 17-year-old gunman killed a sixth-grade student and wounded five others Thursday at Perry High School near Des Moines. Investigators are working to uncover the motive of the shooter, who was found dead at the school with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said. At first, the gunshots were mistaken by some as disruptive noise — a popped balloon, a dropped bag — two witnesses said. But panic and fear quickly spread as faculty and students realized the threat. More than 150 state, federal and local law enforcement officers converged on the school where they discovered the gunman, as well as a rudimentary explosive device. The attack was one of at least five mass shootings that have unfolded in the US this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

3. Winter storm

A substantial storm is forecast to hit the Northeast and mid-Atlantic this weekend with winter’s first dose of heavy snow and dangerous ice. Around 20 million people are under winter storm alerts in the region, with the worst weather expected Saturday to Sunday in parts of the Appalachians and the interior Northeast and New England — including just to the west of Boston. Meteorologists say the storm could bring as much as 12 inches of snow and as much as 0.3 inches of ice across parts of the eastern US. Before then, it will track through the Southeast and into the mid-Atlantic today, delivering heavy rain and even the threat of some severe storms along the Gulf Coast.

4. Israel

Israel’s defense minister on Thursday unveiled plans for the next phase of the war in Gaza, featuring a new combat approach in the north and a sustained focus on targeting Hamas leaders in the enclave’s southern territory. The plan includes an expansion of raids and aerial activities as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to worsen and fears are rising of a widened Middle East conflict. Israel’s military is specifically intensifying its operations in central and southern Gaza, including the Khan Younis area, where Israeli forces said they struck more than 100 targets overnight. The violence since October 7 has caused over 1,200 deaths in Israel and more than 22,000 in Gaza, according to authorities on both sides.

5. Oscar Pistorius

Disgraced Paralympic and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius was released from prison on parole today, more than a decade after shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in a killing that shocked the world. On February 14, 2013, Pistorius — a double-amputee — shot Steenkamp four times through a locked bathroom door in his home in Pretoria, South Africa. He has maintained that he did not kill her in a fit of anger during a Valentine’s Day argument, as prosecutors argued, and said instead he had mistaken her for an intruder. Pistorius was ultimately convicted of murder and has been behind bars for nine years. Steenkamp’s mother expressed disappointment today about his release, saying, “There can never be justice if your loved one is never coming back.”


New images showcase true colors of Neptune and Uranus
Astronomers have used telescope data to color-correct Voyager 2 images of Neptune and Uranus, revealing that the planets have a similar pale hue.

12 books we’re excited to read in 2024
These are some of the most anticipated titles this year across a variety of literary genres.

Twins born 40 minutes apart have birthdays in different years
A New Jersey family has welcomed twins who were born not only on different days — but in different years!

The most iconic 1999 style moments are turning 25 this year
From Pamela Anderson’s big pink hat to the all-leather dress codes of “The Matrix,” these are the standout looks that defined the end of the millennium.

TGI Friday’s abruptly closes dozens of restaurants
The restaurant chain permanently closed 36 “underperforming” restaurants this week as part of its “ongoing growth strategy,” which also includes a shakeup of its executive ranks.


Which automaker recalled more than 112,000 vehicles this week due to a roll-away risk?
A. Honda
B. Kia
C. Ford

Take me to the quiz!


Glynis Johns, the British actress best known for her role in 1964’s “Mary Poppins,” has died. She was 100. Starring alongside Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and David Tomlinson, Johns played Mrs. Banks, a feminist icon who sang “Sister Suffragette” in the Oscar-winning film. A cause of death has not yet been determined.


That’s about how many artillery rounds North Korea fired off its west coast today in a move that South Korea called a “provocative act.” The shells landed in a maritime buffer zone and did not harm any civilians, though it is heightening tension on the Korean Peninsula. The last time North Korea fired rounds into this “no-hostile act zone” was in 2022.


“This will not only simplify people’s computing experience but also amplify it.”

— Microsoft executive Yusuf Mehdi, announcing Thursday that Microsoft is adding a “Copilot” key to its devices that will summon an AI-powered assistant with the click of a button. Industry experts say it will be its biggest update to the Windows keyboard in 30 years.


Check your local forecast here>>>


Dog eats $4,000 of owner’s cash
Cue the innocent puppy eyes! This Goldendoodle shredded an envelope of big bills after his owner returned home from the bank. See the video here.

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