1.15.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Monday, Jan. 15, and we're covering the official start to primary season, a historic switch in Denmark, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

First Stop—Iowa

The 2024 presidential election cycle kicks into high gear today with the Republican Iowa caucuses, the first nominating contest of the primary season. 

 

Former President Donald Trump enters the day as a significant favorite, with the closely watched Iowa Poll showing him with 48% of the vote. Former Gov. Nikki Haley (SC) and Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) are in a tight race for second, polling at 20% and 16%, respectively. The next closest candidate, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, sits at around 8%. See poll averages here

 

Unlike traditional ballot contests, the caucuses resemble neighborhood meetings  held across the state's nearly 1,700 precincts (watch overview). Delegates—who cast corresponding votes at the national convention in July—are awarded to each candidate based on the proportion of precincts won. 

 

Democrats, led by incumbent President Joe Biden, opted for a mail-in process. Both parties will participate in New Hampshire's Jan. 23 primaries.  

 

Caucusgoers will brave frigid temperatures, with wind chills in Des Moines expected to dip below minus 35 degrees. The chill is part of a larger arctic air mass sweeping down through much of the US early this week (forecasts here). 

 

Day 100 in Gaza

Today marks the 100th day of the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, a conflict sparked by an Oct. 7 Hamas raid into southern Israel, during which almost 1,200 civilians were killed. 

 

An estimated 24,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since fighting began—roughly 1% of the preconflict population—according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. The number does not specify how many were Hamas combatants. More than half of the structures in Gaza are believed to have been damaged or destroyed, with 1.8 million people displaced inside the Philadelphia-sized region. 

 

Relatives of hostages taken during the initial attack by Hamas held a 24-hour vigil over the weekend, calling on the Israeli government to do more to secure their return. Close to 140 hostages remain unaccounted for in Gaza; it is unknown how many may have been killed since their abduction. 

 

Various protests—many calling for a cease-fire, others supporting Israel or calling for the return of hostages—were held around the globe. 

 

Germany said Friday it would seek to intervene on Israel's behalf at the International Court of Justice against charges of genocide in Gaza. In principle, any ruling is meant to be legally binding for member nations, though the court has no enforcement mechanism. 

 

On-the-ground fighting has shifted to southern Gaza, with Israeli forces having swept downward after an initial focus on Gaza City in the north. See updates on the war here (w/maps). 

 

Denmark's New King

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen proclaimed 55-year-old Prince Frederik X king of Denmark Sunday, two weeks after his 83-year-old mother, Queen Margrethe II, announced she would abdicate the throne after 52 years. She was the first to do so in nearly 900 years in the kingdom's roughly 1,000-year-old monarchy, Europe's oldest.

 

Frederik assumes a primarily ceremonial role as king in the constitutional monarchy, formally obligated to sign all new laws but with no legislative power. Danes overwhelmingly approve of the institution. The popular, sports-loving king joins the leaders of 42 other nations in the world who are monarchs with various degrees of power, including 11 others in Europe. The predominant form of governance in the Middle Ages, most European monarchies were abolished in the aftermath of World War I. 

 

Prior to abdicating, Queen Margrethe was the longest-serving monarch in the world. Read more about the chain-smoking, artistic former queen here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards to be presented tonight (8 pm ET, Fox); see predictions for major categories (More) | "Mean Girls" film musical hauls in $31M to lead holiday weekend box office (More)

> NFL and Disney in early talks for NFL to buy stake in ESPN (More) | NFL postseason's Wild Card Round wrapping tonight; see latest playoff bracket (More)

> Bill Hayes, "Days of Our Lives" star for over 50 years, dies at 98 (More) | Joyce Randolph, best known for starring role in "The Honeymooners," dies at 99 (More) | Alec Musser, star of "All My Children," dies at 50 (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with Autonomix

> Federal health officials recommend reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule III drug; move would ease federal restrictions on the substance, decision on reclassification expected in coming months (More) | Drug scheduling 101 (More)

> Peregrine lunar lander reaches the moon's orbit, continues to send back data despite springing a fuel leak shortly after launch; final plans for the private spacecraft to be determined (More)

> Study links skin microbiome—the collection of bacteria and fungi present on the skin—to signs of aging, including wrinkles, moisture loss, and more (More)

From our partners: Micro medical breakthrough. Autonomix has created a first-in-class diagnostic tool that fits on the head of a pin. Paired with a catheter, their microchip can detect nerve signals that correspond with a wide range of disorders like hypertension, pain, heart problems, and more. And now you can invest before their planned Nasdaq listing this year. Last chance to fund your investment is on 1/15.*

 

Business & Markets

> Markets mixed at close of trading Friday (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow -0.3%, Nasdaq 0.0%) as fourth-quarter earnings begin to be released (More

> JPMorgan Chase sees most profitable year on record, fourth-quarter earnings drop due to fees tied to regional bank rescues (More) | BlackRock to buy Global Infrastructure Partners for $12.5B, expands portfolio to $150B in assets (More)

> European inspectors to visit Chinese automakers as part of ongoing probe into Chinese state subsidies for electric vehicle exports (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Short-term funding extensions agreed to by congressional leaders ahead of looming deadlines over the next two weeks; two-step package lasts until March 1 and 7 (More) | Follows topline deal struck last week that drew conservative backlash; see previous write-up (More)

> Taiwanese Vice President Lai Ching-te elected president Saturday with 40% of the vote, takes office May 20; Lai rejects Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan, seeks talks (More) | Roughly 140 hostages, held since Monday in Ecuador prisons, freed over the weekend amid military crackdown (More

> Iowa high school principal Dan Marburger, who was wounded as he protected students during a Jan. 4 school shooting that killed one and injured six, died Sunday from injuries (More)

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Etcetera
 

Four of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most iconic speeches.

 

... and the story of MLK—in Kid President's words. (via YouTube)

 

Why many Americans are tuning out politics.

 

The best close-up photographs of the year

 

Photos capture the latest Icelandic volcano eruption

 

Dip into the debate over double-dipping

 

Get ready for the rise of centenarians.

 

A new drug promises to regrow lost teeth

 

Clickbait: Donkey's mayoral term ends, three dogs compete to replace him

 

Historybook: Coca-Cola Co. is incorporated (1889); Martin Luther King Jr. born (1929); First Super Bowl is played (1967); Wikipedia is launched (2001); Cranberries lead singer Dolores O’Riordan dies (2018).

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

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