Japan issues a tsunami warning and the new laws coming in 2024: Morning Rundown

A divided Congress faces a slew of fights in the new year. Japan issues a major tsunami warning after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake. And a Colorado mother suspected of killing her two young children was arrested in the U.K. 

Five big fights facing Congress in 2024

From confrontations over government funding and foreign aid to Republican threats to impeach President Joe Biden, a divided Congress is entering the new year facing a slew of fights.

A clash over immigration policy caused Congress to push back Biden’s national security package until after the holidays, with Senate Republicans demanding tougher immigration laws as the price of winning their votes for additional U.S. aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Having passed a couple of short-term bills to keep the lights on, Congress also now faces a two-part deadline of Jan. 19 and Feb. 2 to prevent a government shutdown. But this time, House speaker Mike Johnson has indicated he won’t support another stopgap bill

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House Republicans closed out 2023 by voting unanimously to formalize their impeachment inquiry into Biden. In 2024, they’ll have to decide whether to actually impeach him or back off.

And it will do so against the backdrop of an election year, with the White House and Congress up for grabs in November.

Japan issues a tsunami warning after a series of strong earthquakes

Image: (Eugene Hoshiko / AP)
Image: (Eugene Hoshiko / AP)

Japan issued a tsunami warning after a series of strong earthquakes struck the Sea of Japan. Quakes occurred off the coast of Ishika and nearby prefectures after 4 p.m. local time with one reaching a magnitude of 7.6, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Videos posted to social media showed houses in some areas with roofs caved in and door frames falling off while surrounding trees fall to the ground. Japanese public broadcaster NHK TV warned the waves could reach as high as 16.5 feet and urged people on the coutry’s west coast to escape to higher ground as soon as possible. Tremors were felt in the capital, Tokyo.

Veterans of past peace negotiations have hope for Israel-Gaza conflict

The sheer scale of death and devastation in the conflict, first wrought by Hamas’ massacre and then by Israel’s intensive military assault on the Gaza Strip, has hardened opinions on both sides, fomenting grief, anger and desire for vengeance with no clear end point.

Still, senior figures closely involved with past attempts to resolve this most intractable of impasses have told NBC News that, in this moment of tragedy, there may be opportunity — and even hope. “It’s a big crisis — and crises create opportunities,” said Yossi Beilin, a veteran Israeli politician and peace negotiator whose backchannel discussions led to the Oslo Accords.

Colorado mother suspected in killing two of her children arrested in U.K.

Kimberlee Singler.  (Colorado Springs Police Dept.)
Kimberlee Singler. (Colorado Springs Police Dept.)

A Colorado mother suspected of killing two of her young children was arrested in the United Kingdom, Colorado Springs police said. On Dec. 19, officers responded to a 911 call about a burglary at Singler’s condo unit found a girl, 9, and a boy, 7, dead at the scene. A third child was hospitalized.

Investigators came to believe that the claim of burglary was unfounded, and the arrest warrant was obtained, police said. The suspect and her estranged husband have been locked in a contentious, yearslong divorce case, according to court records.

Rose Parade 2024: When it is, how to watch and what to expect 

Band dancers performs for fans at the 134th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 2, 2023.  (Jason Allen / Getty Images)
Band dancers performs for fans at the 134th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. on Jan. 2, 2023. (Jason Allen / Getty Images)

An expected 800,000 spectators are expected to head to Pasadena, California, today to watch floral floats, equestrian units and marching bands during the 135th annual New Year’s Day tradition: the Rose Parade. This year’s theme is “Celebrating a World of Music: The Universal Language.” The parade will be broadcast on multiple networks — including ABC, NBC and Univision — starting at 8 a.m. PT/11 a.m. EST. 

The 110th annual Rose Bowl game will kick off at 1 p.m. PT, after the parade, when the Alabama Crimson Tide face off against the Michigan Wolverines.

How the world welcomed 2024

Image: New Year's Eve In Wuhan (Stringer / Getty Images)
Image: New Year's Eve In Wuhan (Stringer / Getty Images)

One million people attended Sydney’s harbor extravaganza, Hong Kong celebrated with its first firework display in five years and messages of hope were written on the confetti that fell on revelers in Times Square.

Whether you celebrated on the dancefloor or the couch last night, you can catch up on the dazzling displays from around the globe here.

Politics in Brief

Policy issues: State legislatures will be kicking off their fresh sessions in the coming weeks — 37 in January and another nine will follow in February. They are expected to tackle abortion rights, artificial intelligence and more.

Donald Trump: Former President Donald Trump’s criminal and civil trials have helped put him on the verge of becoming the first Republican to win three straight presidential nominations.

Congress: Sen. John Fetterman opened up to NBC’s “Meet the Press” about his mental health struggles in an exclusive interview. Fetterman was discharged in March from inpatient treatment for clinical depression.

Special counsel investigation: Special counsel Jack Smith urged an appeals court to reject former President Donald Trump’s efforts to dismiss his federal election interference case on presidential immunity grounds.

Images of toys, cats/bunnies/dogs, a calculator, contraceptive pills, and guns are collaged onto multicolored pieces of paper in a line (Kelsea Petersen / NBC News )
Images of toys, cats/bunnies/dogs, a calculator, contraceptive pills, and guns are collaged onto multicolored pieces of paper in a line (Kelsea Petersen / NBC News )

The Year Ahead: New laws for 2024State legislatures will be bracing for another year of proposals broaching the country’s most divisive issues. Illinois will become the first state to enforce a law to outlaw book bans. Michigan’s new gun laws will go into effect early this year. And starting this month, California will require retailers to include gender-neutral toy sections in their stories. Here are the rest of the laws set to go into effect this year.

In Case You Missed It

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Retailers are still offering major discounts after the holidays on products across multiple categories. This week’s best sales include deals on furniture, bedding, homeware and more. 

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