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5 things to know for Feb. 2: 2024 race, Gun violence, Middle East, Small plane crash, Covid-19 vaccines


By Alexandra Banner, CNN

(CNN) — Today is Groundhog Day, and legend has it that if Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, we’re in for six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, we get to bask in an early spring. The bizarre tradition that dates back to 1887 also draws passionate crowds in the US — even though Phil’s accuracy rate is far from perfect.

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

1. 2024 race

A new CNN poll shows former President Donald Trump narrowly ahead of President Joe Biden in what’s shaping up to be a close contest nationally. Overall, 49% of registered voters say they would back Trump if an election between the two were held today, while 45% support Biden and 5% say they’d vote for someone else. Neither Biden nor Trump has locked in their party’s nomination yet, but this is seemingly the most likely outcome. However, the poll suggests that Trump’s last remaining major GOP opponent, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, holds a substantial lead over Trump in a hypothetical contest against Biden. Either way, a victory by the leading candidates would leave most of the nation dissatisfied, according to the data.

2. Gun violence

The parents of a Michigan school shooter are on trial for manslaughter in separate cases that will test whether they should be held responsible for the crimes of their child. Jennifer Crumbley, the mother of a teenager who in 2021 killed four people at his high school in Oxford, Michigan, took the stand in her trial Thursday and testified it was her husband’s responsibility to store their son’s gun safely. However, the prosecution has argued she is responsible for the deaths because she was “grossly negligent” in getting a gun for her son and failing to get him proper mental health treatment despite warning signs. The defense has argued that the blame lay elsewhere: On the husband for purchasing the firearm; on the school for failing to notify her about her son’s behavioral issues; and on the shooter himself. The gunman is currently serving a life sentence in prison without parole.

3. Middle East

The main United Nations relief agency in Gaza said it will likely be forced to shut down its operations in the region by the end of February if funding from nearly 20 countries remains suspended. Several countries decided to halt their funding after Israel accused some of the agency’s staffers of involvement in the October 7 attacks. The moves have raised questions about the fate of the nearly 6 million refugees that the relief group serves. Meanwhile, the US has announced the first round of sanctions under President Biden’s new executive order targeting violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank. The new sanctions — which block the settlers’ financial assets and bar them from coming to the US — target four Israeli nationals.

4. Small plane crash

A small plane crashed at a mobile home park in Clearwater, Florida, on Thursday, resulting in “several fatalities,” according to authorities. Firefighters responded around 7:15 p.m. local time to the crash site at the Bayside Waters mobile home park, city Fire Chief Scott Ehlers said Thursday during a news briefing. They found four trailer homes on fire — one of which had the crashed plane inside, Ehlers said. The number of victims is currently unclear. Clearwater, home to more than 110,000 residents, is about 23 miles west of Tampa on Florida’s central west coast.

5. Covid-19 vaccines

A shot of the latest Covid-19 vaccine can help cut the chances of getting a symptomatic infection by 54%, early data from the CDC suggests. Vaccine manufacturers updated their formulations to target the Omicron variant XBB.1.5, which was the predominant circulating strain for much of 2023. But new CDC data shows that the latest vaccines are similarly effective against JN.1, which has been causing most Covid-19 infections in the US since late December. During one week last month, there were nearly 31,000 Covid-19 hospitalizations in the US. Still, only about 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 9 children have gotten the latest Covid-19 vaccine, the CDC estimates.


Huge gas explosion in Kenyan capital
A gas explosion overnight in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi killed at least three people and injured hundreds of others, according to authorities in the East African country. Authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze.


The Grammy Awards take place on Sunday
Among several musical appearances, Tracy Chapman will perform with Luke Combs, who is nominated in the best country solo performance category for his cover of Chapman’s timeless 1988 hit “Fast Car.”

Amazon launches AI shopping assistant
The e-commerce giant unveiled an AI shopping assistant dubbed “Rufus.” Here’s when it will roll out to US customers.

See new Webb telescope images
These “mind-blowing” images reveal 19 galaxies “down to the smallest scales ever observed,” scientists say.

‘Suits’ spinoff is one step closer to being a reality
It appears a spinoff of the original Manhattan-based “Suits” is in the works. This time, it will be set in a fancy law office in Los Angeles.

Spotify tattoos: What you should know about the body art fad
Some devout music fans are getting Spotify tattoos that play songs when scanned. Artists are drawing attention to the possible risks.


The Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Where will the game take place?
A. Atlanta
B. Las Vegas
C. San Francisco
D. Kansas City

Take me to the quiz!

Last week, 51% of readers who took the quiz got eight or more questions right. How will you fare?


That’s nearly how many people were sickened with gastrointestinal illness on the cruise ship Queen Victoria, the CDC said in a new report. The vessel is on a 107-night voyage that started in Southhampton, England, in late January. The cause of the illness is not yet known.


“We are determined to press forward with our case.”

— A Disney spokesperson, after a judge dismissed its lawsuit against Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this week. The case accuses DeSantis of punishing Disney for exercising its right to free speech. Disney filed an appeal Thursday and said the company was undeterred.


Check your local forecast here>>>


Marriage proposal video goes hilariously wrong
A wandering raccoon crashed the romantic moment! Watch the video here.

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