10 things you need to know today: January 17, 2024

The US strikes Houthi targets in Yemen a third time, Trump's second sex defamation trial begins, and more

Houthi rebels celebrate strikes on Red Sea ships
Houthi rebels celebrate
(Image credit: Mohammed Hamoud / Getty Images)

1. US strikes Houthi targets for third time

The U.S. military carried out more strikes Tuesday against Houthi anti-ship ballistic missile sites in Yemen, knocking out several missiles as they were being prepared for launch, U.S. officials said. Also Tuesday, a suspected Houthi missile hit a Greek-owned ship in the Red Sea. The U.S. has targeted the Iran-backed militants at least three times in the last week as it steps up its response to the disruptive Houthi attacks on vessels, which began in November in a show of support for Hamas in its war with Israel in Gaza. The Biden administration also plans to put Houthi militants back on a list of terrorist organizations to help cut off their funding and weapons, two officials told Reuters. Reuters, The Washington Post

2. Trump sex defamation trial begins

Hours after decisively winning the Iowa caucuses, former President Donald Trump sat in a New York courtroom on Tuesday during the start of his second defamation trial for comments he made about writer E. Jean Carroll after she said Trump raped her in the 1990s. Judge Lewis Kaplan told potential jurors that a May defamation trial had already determined that Trump "did sexually assault Ms. Carroll." The current case will focus on damages. Carroll's lawyer said in an opening statement that Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner, used "the world's biggest microphone" to destroy Carroll's reputation by calling her a liar, and should "pay dearly." Trump's attorney said Carroll is going after him over "a few mean tweets from Twitter trolls." The Associated Press, Politico

3. Trump turns focus to Haley in New Hampshire

Donald Trump and his two remaining rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, pivoted to New Hampshire on Tuesday. The Jan. 23 contest in New Hampshire, the next primary battleground following Trump's big win in the Iowa caucuses, is widely considered Haley's best and possibly last chance to establish herself as the top Trump alternative. DeSantis edged ahead of Haley in Iowa to place a distant second behind Trump. The former president focused his attention on Haley on Tuesday, telling New Hampshire Republicans she "is counting on the Democrats and liberals to infiltrate your Republican primary" and give her a boost. Haley's campaign said Trump is "more vulnerable than commonly believed." The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times

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4. Iran attacks sites in Pakistan

Pakistan on Tuesday condemned Iran for strikes that killed two children and three others. Pakistan called the attacks, which reportedly targeted two sites linked to the militant group Jaish al-Adl, "illegal acts" that would have "serious consequences." Tehran also attacked sites in Iraq and Syria this week as regional tensions spread over the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. Iraq recalled its ambassador from Iran in protest over an Iranian missile strike in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq. Tehran said the missile hit an Israeli espionage center, which Baghdad denied. Iraqi security and medical officials said the attack hit the home of Kurdish businessman Peshraw Dizayee, killing him and several relatives. BBC, Reuters

5. Report: Austin security detail asked for ambulance without sirens

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's security detail asked in a 911 call for the ambulance summoned to his Northern Virginia house on Jan. 1 to keep its lights and sirens off because they were "trying to remain a little subtle," USA Today reported Tuesday, citing a copy of the call the newspaper obtained. Austin, 70, has faced a backlash in Washington, D.C., for hiding his prostate cancer diagnosis and hospitalization for complications from surgery, declining to tell anyone, including the White House, until he had been at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for days. Austin was released from the hospital Monday and is continuing his recovery at home. USA Today

6. Supreme Court declines to review Indiana school transgender bathroom policies

The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to consider whether schools can bar transgender students from using a bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. The decision left in place a lower court ruling that let an Indiana transgender boy use the boys' bathroom at his middle school. The school district had asked the justices to rule in the case, saying schools "desperately need" definitive guidance on transgender policies. "This is a step in the right direction in our ongoing fight to protect LGBTQ+ youth from anti-equality extremism," the Human Rights Campaign said on X. USA Today, The Hill

7. Negotiators reach bipartisan tax deal but obstacles remain

Leading congressional Democrats and Republicans released a $78 billion bipartisan tax proposal on Tuesday that would revive expired business tax breaks and expand the child tax credit through 2025. The leaders hope to push the compromise legislation through Congress in the next few weeks, in time for tax filing season, but they face opposition from some members of both parties. The agreement includes $33 billion to restore expired business tax benefits related to research, business and capital deductions, and another $33 billion to extend the child tax credit included in the 2021 pandemic assistance law. The New York Times

8. Club Q shooter expected to plead guilty to hate-crime charges

Anderson Aldrich, the 23-year-old serving multiple life sentences for a deadly 2022 mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ nightclub, plans to plead guilty to federal hate crimes in a deal that would rule out the death penalty, according to court documents made public Tuesday. Aldrich in June pleaded guilty to state charges that included five counts of murder and 46 counts of attempted murder, one each for every person who was in Club Q during the mass shooting. Aldrich, who is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns, entered an initial not-guilty plea Tuesday on the federal charges. The Denver Post, The Associated Press

9. Judge blocks JetBlue-Spirit Airlines merger

A judge on Tuesday blocked Spirit Airlines' proposed merger with JetBlue, sending Spirit's stock plummeting 47%. A federal judge in Boston ruled against JetBlue's planned $3.8 billion acquisition of the discount carrier over concerns that the deal would increase fares for passengers, especially Spirit's customers, and saddle JetBlue with big debts. The two airlines said they disagreed with the decision. "We continue to believe that our combination is the best opportunity to increase much-needed competition and choice by bringing low fares and great service to more customers in more markets while enhancing our ability to compete with the dominant U.S. carriers," they said in a joint statement emailed to CNN. CNN

10. Woman accuses James Dolan, Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse

A woman who worked as a masseuse on a 2013 Eagles tour filed a lawsuit Tuesday accusing Madison Square Garden CEO and Chair James Dolan and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and trafficking. The woman, Kellye Croft, said Dolan pressured her into unwanted sex, then hired her for the tour. Croft accuses Weinstein of sexually assaulting her during the tour, and says Dolan dismissed the allegation when she told him about it. Croft said in a statement she "suffered so profoundly" and "to truly address my trauma, I need to seek accountability." Dolan lawyer E. Danya Perry said there was "absolutely no merit to any of the allegations against Mr. Dolan." Rolling Stone, The New York Times

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