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5 things to know for Jan. 31: Trump fraud trial, Border politics, Social media, Abortion rights, Brain chips


By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — Rent is unaffordable for over half of US tenants following years of surging prices. However, many analysts are optimistic that the increase in the construction of multiple-unit buildings and apartments will soon help boost the supply of attainable housing.

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

1. Trump fraud trial

New York state Judge Arthur Engoron is poised to soon rule how much money former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants owe for fraud as well as whether Trump can still do business in the state. Engoron has already ruled that Trump engaged in fraud and said he aiming to issue a decision on Trump’s business empire by today. The trial goes to the heart of Trump’s image as a successful billionaire and includes accusations of fraud regarding his Trump Tower apartment, Mar-a-Lago estate and several golf courses, among other assets. The civil lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, is seeking $370 million from Trump and the other defendants in ill-gotten gains. Engoron’s ruling will also address six additional claims including conspiracy and falsifying business records.

2. Border politics

House Republicans voted early today to advance their impeachment articles against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. GOP leaders are aiming to impeach the first cabinet member in 150 years, alleging he has committed high crimes and misdemeanors for his handling of the southern border. Senior House Republicans are confident they have the support to impeach Mayorkas, but once it heads to the Democratic-controlled Senate, it is highly unlikely that he will be charged. In response to Republicans blaming Mayorkas for the uptick in border crossings, the DHS issued a memo stating, “This Administration has removed, returned, or expelled more migrants in three years than the prior Administration did in four years.”

3. Social media

The CEOs of several big tech companies will return to Washington, DC, today to reiterate their commitments to social media safety. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify at a Senate committee hearing alongside the chief executives of TikTok, Snap, Discord and X. Many are likely to use the hearing to tout tools and policies to protect children and give parents more control over their kids’ online experiences. However, parents and online safety advocacy groups say many of the tools put in place by social media platforms don’t go far enough — largely leaving the job of protecting teens up to parents and, in some cases, the young users themselves — and that tech platforms can no longer be left to self-regulate.

4. Abortion rights

France is on track to become the first country in the world to include abortion rights in its constitution. The French National Assembly passed a historic bill on Tuesday — with 493 lawmakers in favor and 30 against — that moves toward enshrining the right into law. The next vote will take place in the Senate in February and later in the French Congress, a special body composed of both chambers of parliament. The bill’s adoption relies on a three-fifths majority vote in the latter, which is expected to happen in time for International Women’s Day on March 8. The bid for constitutionalization became a priority for the French government following the overturning by the US Supreme Court of Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

5. Brain chips

Elon Musk’s startup Neuralink has implanted a computer chip in a person’s brain for the first time, he said in a post on his X platform on Monday. The embattled billionaire offered few details on the procedure, though he mentioned the operation took place on Sunday and the patient was recovering well. The company had previously received approval to study the safety and functionality of its chip implant and surgical tools to help people who have lost the use of their limbs. If the technology works, brain implants could one day benefit people who are otherwise unable to move or communicate and may have even wider-ranging applications for health.


Wayne LaPierre stepping down as leader of the NRA
Wayne LaPierre, the longtime leader of the National Rifle Association who helmed the organization for three decades, will end his tenure today. The outgoing CEO announced plans to resign earlier this month, citing his health. LaPierre’s departure comes as he faces a civil corruption case alleging the NRA violated laws for non-profit groups, committed tax fraud and spent millions on personal expenses for its leaders.


Kate Hudson pivots from acting to a new career in music
The Oscar-nominated actress released her debut single, “Talk About Love.” Listen to a clip here.

Astronomers discover strange new type of star hidden in the center of our galaxy
These giant stars located near the heart of the Milky Way galaxy are being referred to as “old smokers.”

Bob Odenkirk better call King Charles. As it turns out, they are related
The star of the hit show “Better Call Saul” was royally amused to find out he has a famous relative.

FDA updates its oversight on cosmetic products
The FDA is once again assessing the use of “forever chemicals” in cosmetics. Learn how some widely used chemicals can linger in the human body.

Is Ozempic really a miracle drug?
CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta turns to Yale School of Medicine assistant professor Dr. Jorge Moreno to explain the science behind the medication — from the benefits to the risks to the unknowns. Listen to the new podcast episode here.


Tony Award-winning actress and singer Chita Rivera died “peacefully” on Tuesday after battling a brief illness, her longtime publicist told CNN. She was 91. Rivera’s iconic career spanned decades, though she was best known for her performances in “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Sweet Charity.”


That’s how many Americans are among the more than 100 remaining hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza. They have been trapped since the militants launched a series of brutal attacks in Israel on October 7. The families of the American hostages met with White House officials on Tuesday to receive an update on the ongoing negotiations as the Biden administration rushes to deter a broader conflict in the Middle East.


“We have an opportunity to bring closure to one of the greatest American stories ever.”

— Deep Sea Vision CEO Tony Romeo, saying the ocean exploration company may have found Amelia Earhart’s long-lost plane. The group of underwater archaeologists recently spotted an anomaly in the Pacific Ocean — more than 16,000 feet underwater — that resembles a small aircraft. They believe that anomaly could be a Lockheed 10-E Electra, the 10-passenger plane that Earhart was piloting when she went missing 87 years ago while attempting to fly around the world.


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A man’s cold weather experiments go viral
A Canadian man is using the cold temperatures to create odd frozen things! Watch the video here.

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