10 things you need to know today: January 15, 2024

Freezing Iowa caucuses to mark first voting of 2024 election, subzero temperatures place stranglehold on much of US, and more

A caucus banner in front of the Iowa capitol
Iowa's GOP caucuses will be held under the shadow of severe winter weather
(Image credit: Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

1. Freezing Iowa caucuses to mark first voting of 2024 election

The opening battle of the 2024 presidential election will begin Monday as Iowa's Republican caucuses get underway. Former President Donald Trump is widely expected to win the state, putting the quadruply indicted former president on his clearest path yet to securing the Republican nomination. Nikki Haley is in second place in the latest Des Moines Register poll, and a strong showing for her could mean the end of the road for Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy. All of this comes under the shadow of frigid temperatures throughout the state as this year's caucuses are expected to be the coldest in Iowa's history. Wind chills are expected to be as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. The New York Times, The Hill

2. Subzero temperatures place stranglehold on much of US

An Arctic vortex continued to bring subzero temperatures across large swaths of the United States on Monday. More than 110 million people are under wind chill warnings and advisories as the weather drops to dangerous levels. Wind chills below -30 degrees Fahrenheit are expected from the Rocky Mountain region into parts of the Midwest, with temperatures anywhere from 25 to 40 degrees below average, according to the National Weather Service. The extreme cold was seen as far south as northern Texas, while New England is expected to see another winter storm Monday night. That storm is expected to ride a jet stream and affect large portions of the country into the coming week. USA Today, Axios

3. US shoots down Houthi rocket fired at Navy warship

A U.S. fighter jet shot down a rocket fired toward an American warship by Houthi rebels on Sunday, officials said. The missile was fired from a Houthi-controlled area of Yemen at the destroyer USS Laboon. It was then "shot down in [the] vicinity of the coast of Hudaydah by U.S. fighter aircraft," U.S. Central Command wrote on X. Houthi rebels have been sparring with ships in the Red Sea as part of a retaliation for the Israel-Hamas war, and this was the first attack against the Americans since a joint U.S.-U.K. task force began striking Houthi targets in Yemen. No injuries or damage to the USS Laboon was reported. ABC News, BBC

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4. Climate protesters interrupt Trump rally in Iowa

Former President Donald Trump was interrupted by protesters multiple times during a rally in Iowa on Sunday, the first such incident at one of his events in years. The former president was speaking in the town of Indianola when a group of protesters holding climate change banners began heckling him, and at least one held a sign calling him a "climate criminal." They accused Trump of having "taken in millions," seemingly a reference to the millions of dollars he has accepted for his 2024 campaign from oil and gas industry donors. The former president told the protesters to "go home to mommy" as they were escorted out. Rolling Stone, The Messenger

5. US commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The United States commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, celebrating the life of the pastor and civil rights icon on what would've been his 95th birthday. Numerous cities across the country were planning to host parades, though a number of these events were forced to be postponed due to the freezing weather in much of the country. President Joe Biden is expected to mark the holiday by participating in a service event in Philadelphia, while Vice President Kamala Harris will travel to South Carolina to headline an NAACP prayer event while delivering a speech. Many people traditionally use the holiday to participate in services or volunteer efforts. USA Today, Reuters

6. Microsoft passes Apple as world’s most valuable public company

Microsoft entered this week with a new title; the tech conglomerate is now the world's most valuable publicly traded company, surpassing its rival Apple. At the end of last Friday's trading day, Microsoft's market capitalization grew by 3% to stand at $2.887 trillion, its highest-ever, while Apple's market cap had fallen to $2.875 trillion. Once left in the dust by Apple, Microsoft has seen its market value soar in recent years due to its focus on developing AI technologies. The company's ability to incorporate OpenAI into much of its software has helped turbocharge this rise, and Microsoft's valuation has risen by more than $1 trillion in the last year. CNBC, Reuters

7. Taiwan loses diplomatic ally 2 days after presidential election

The island nation of Nauru on Monday severed diplomatic recognition from Taiwan in favor of China, less than two full days after Taiwan's presidential election. Nauru's government said it was recognizing the diplomacy of the Chinese mainland and that diplomacy with China was "in the best interests of [China] and people of Nauru." The island nation's decision leaves Taiwan with just 12 formal diplomatic allies as China continues its threats to proceed with an invasion. Relations between China and Taiwan were further strained by the election of Lai Ching-te as president in what was seen as a blow to Chinese efforts. Lai has long been seen as a strong supporter of Taiwanese independence. The Guardian, The Washington Post

8. Icelandic volcano erupts for second time in under a month

The Icelandic town of Grindavík is in dire straits after a nearby volcano erupted for the second time in less than a month on Sunday. The Fagradalsfjall volcano blew its top hours after an evacuation notice had been given for the area, sending lava flows and volcanic ash into the fishing town. Several homes were destroyed along with water and electric supplies. Fagradalsfjall also erupted on Dec. 18, but residents had already been evacuated as a precaution. However, some in the area are casting doubt about whether the dual eruptions will leave Grindavík inhabitable at all. The town sits about 25 miles from Iceland's capital, Reykjavik. The Guardian

9. Detroit Lions win first playoff game in 32 years

The Detroit Lions on Sunday accomplished what many fans thought could never be done — they won a playoff game. The Lions ended a 32-year playoff victory drought by beating the Los Angeles Rams 24-23. The nail-biter of a game saw Lions quarterback Jared Goff dominate the gridiron, completing 22 of 27 pass attempts while throwing for one touchdown. His 277 passing yards led the Lions to victory over the Rams and former longtime Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, who left the team in 2021. The Green Bay Packers also advanced in their playoff game, beating the Dallas Cowboys 48-32. Two more games are on the docket on Monday to complete the wild card round. Yahoo! Sports

10. Hollywood’s television stars to gather for Primetime Emmy Awards

The 75th Primetime Emmy Awards will be held on Monday, arriving four months later than usual due to last year's Hollywood strikes. The ceremony is expected to draw less attention than normal due to its postponement and the fact that many of the nominees are for seasons that are long over. HBO continues to dominate awards season with the three most nominated shows this year: "The Last of Us," "The White Lotus" and "Succession." The latter received 27 nominations, the most of the night, while "The Last of Us" came in second place with 24 nods. Other notable shows to receive nominations include "The Bear" and "Ted Lasso," among others. The Associated Press

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