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We bring you 5 stories that will get you up to speed and on with your day. Updates at 6am, 9am, 12pm, 3pm and 6pm Eastern, every weekday.

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9 AM ET: Israel genocide prevention, Alabama execution 'torture,' GOP Senators against Trump & more
CNN 5 Things
Jan 26, 2024

The UN’s top court says Israel must act immediately to prevent genocide in Gaza. A witness says an Alabama execution by nitrogen gas looked like "torture." GOP Senators are hitting out at former President Donald Trump for trying to kill a deal on the border. The Biden administration says it’s holding off approving several pending liquified natural gas export projects. Plus, more conflicting accounts over a deadly Russian plane crash. 

Episode Transcript
Jo Beck (host)
Hello! From CNN. I'm Jo Beck with the 5 things you need to know for Friday, January 26th.
The UN's top court says Israel must act immediately to prevent genocide in Gaza, but has stopped short of calling for a cease fire.
ICJ Judge (soundbite)
Israel must take measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to the members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.
Jo Beck (host)
Today, the International Court of Justice made its first ruling in a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of genocide, saying that it does have jurisdiction to consider the case. But the court is way off ruling on whether Israel actually has or is committing genocide. That decision could take years. It did say that Palestinians constitute what it considers to be a protected group, though, and said there was urgency for Israel to follow several measures before a final ruling is made. Those include making sure humanitarian aid gets to people in Gaza, submitting a report on what it's doing to prevent genocide, and Israeli leaders toning down their rhetoric about the war. Israel has rejected what it called the "grossly distorted" accusation of genocide.
U.S. authorities have executed to death row inmates using nitrogen gas for the first time. Kenneth Smith was put to death last night in Alabama for his part in a 1988 murder for hire, after two recent failed attempts to get the Supreme Court to stop the execution. Experts have raised concerns about the method, saying it could cause excessive pain or even torture, and Smith's spiritual adviser said that's exactly what it looked like.
Spiritual Advisor to Kenneth Smith (soundbite)
I've never, ever seen anything like that. That was torture.
Jo Beck (host)
CNN's Isabel Rosales has more.
Isabel Rosales (reporter hit)
Witnesses described Smith as being conscious for several minutes. Two minutes he was shaking on the gurney and against his mask that was pumping nitrogen gas. And then it was followed by several minutes of deep breaths before his breath, then slowed down.
Jo Beck (host)
An official said the execution went as planned, and Smith shook because he was apparently trying to hold his breath.
Sen. Mitt Romney (soundbite)
Former President Trump has indicated to senators that he does not want us to solve the problem at the border.
Jo Beck (host)
That was Mitt Romney, one of the senior Senate Republicans, furious that the GOP front runner may have killed a bipartisan deal over the southern border.
Sen. Mitt Romney (soundbite)
Someone running for president ought to try and get the, you know, the problem solved, as opposed to saying, hey, save that problem, don't solve it. Let me take credit for solving it later.
Jo Beck (host)
GOP sources say that recently, Trump has been lobbying Republicans to oppose the border compromise, both in private and in public statements he's made, in part because he wants to campaign on the issue in November. His opposition puts Republicans on Capitol Hill in a bind as they try to move forward on what's already a complex issue without appearing to potentially undermine the former president and likely GOP nominee.
The Biden administration says it's holding off approving several pending liquefied natural gas export projects, partly because of climate concerns. The announcement came this morning as the government undertakes a broad review of the massive increase in U.S. LNG being exported. In a statement, President Joe Biden tied the pause to the climate crisis, which is drastically raising global temperatures and fueling extreme weather.
Coming up, more conflicting accounts over who was on the Russian military plane that crashed earlier this week.
Ukraine says it has intelligence that suggests only five bodies were taken to the morgue after a Russian military transport plane crashed earlier this week. That puts a question mark over Russia's claim that dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war were on the plane, and that all 74 people on board died. It's still not clear what actually happened, with Moscow claiming a Ukrainian missile shot it down and Kyiv giving different accounts of how the plane crashed near the border in Russia's Belgorod region. A Ukrainian official says the bodies brought to a nearby morgue matched the number of crew members on the flights, and that no other bodies were detected.
That's all for now. Our next episode, drops at noon eastern.