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Alabama set to conduct first nitrogen gas execution in U.S.: The Morning Rundown, Jan. 25, 2024

Jan 25

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Alabama is set to conduct the first execution of a death row inmate by nitrogen gas in U.S. history. And the FAA halts Boeing from expanding its production on certain planes following the Alaska Airlines midair scare. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Thursday, Jan 25, 2024.

Alabama to proceed with first nitrogen gas execution in the U.S.

The first execution of a death row inmate by nitrogen gas is expected to take place within hours in Alabama after the Supreme Court declined to halt the inmate’s request to pause the execution. The court did not explain its ruling on Wednesday, Jan. 24, as the justices did not side with Kenneth Smith and his attorneys.

Smith was sentenced to death for his role in a 1988 murder-for-hire. In November 2022, Alabama called off its first attempt at putting Smith to death, at the time, by lethal injection, when prison officials could not set an IV line before the execution warrant expired.

Smith’s legal team was looking for more time to argue that the state trying to execute him for a second time would be unconstitutional, falling under the category of cruel and unusual punishment. An appeals court also declined to halt the execution.

Execution by nitrogen gas is only approved in three states: Alabama, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. But Alabama is the only state to outline its protocol so far, saying it will use a mask to deliver the nitrogen.

Critics of the new method include the United Nations, whose Human Rights Office said it “could amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under international human rights law.” The Alabama Attorney’s General office claimed the use of nitrogen gas is the “most painless and humane method of execution known to man.”

Ohio bans gender-affirming care for minors

Despite a veto from Gov. Mike DeWine, Ohio’s Republican-dominated senate voted to ban gender-affirming care for minors and bar transgender women and girls from competing on sports teams. In a senate vote to override DeWine’s veto, the law passed and bans gender-affirming surgeries and hormone therapies and restricts mental health care for transgender patients under 18. The law also bars transgender girls and women from joining girls’ and women’s sports teams from K through 12 and collegiate sports.

The law is expected to go into effect in 90 days, after it was pushed through in a 24-8 vote in the state senate. One Republican voted against the measure. While Gov. DeWine vetoed the measure, citing government overreach, he did sign an executive order in early January banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors, even though medical professionals have insisted those surgeries aren’t happening in the state.

United Auto Workers Union endorses Biden

As the 2024 presidential election began to heat up, President Joe Biden gained a key endorsement from one of the largest unions in the country. On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the United Auto Workers, representing 400,000 auto workers, announced it is endorsing Biden in his reelection bid.

“This choice is clear. Joe Biden bet on the American worker while Donald Trump blamed the American worker,” UAW President Shawn Fain said.

In 2023, the UAW orchestrated a massive walk-out during negotiations with Detroit’s Big Three automakers for better wages. The months-long strike ended with historic deals signed by the union, and President Biden became the first modern-day president to hit a picket line in a show of support for the American worker.

This is why Fain said the choice is clear, calling former President Donald Trump a “scab,” and added that he is a billionaire who does not represent the American worker; he is the type of “company man trying to squeeze the American worker.”

UAW’s endorsement is a big win for Biden as he looks to garner more support from working-class Americans. The UAW also endorsed Biden during the 2020 election.

U.N.’s top court to make initial ruling in Israel genocide case

The International Court of Justice announced it will decide on Friday, Jan. 26, concerning part of South Africa’s case alleging Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. The decision by the United Nation’s top court located in the Netherlands will not be about whether Israel has committed genocide but rather will focus on South Africa’s request for provisional measures, including that Israel “immediately suspend its military operations in and against Gaza.”

Should the 17-judge panel grant South Africa’s requests, it’s unclear if Israel will comply with the court’s order. While rulings by the court are legally binding, there is no way to enforce them.

Israel has called the genocide allegations “grossly distorted,” saying the country has a right to defend itself and it is fighting Hamas, not Palestinian civilians. The United States has called South Africa’s case meritless.

FAA approves path for grounded Boeing jets to return after panel incident

The Federal Aviation Administration has laid out plans for airlines to once again be able to use the 737 Max 9 jets that were grounded following the midair scare IN January when a panel flew off an Alaska Airlines plane. Each of the 171 planes must face detailed inspections of dozens of components, including bolts, guide tracks, and fasteners.

Boeing said it will work with the airlines to complete these inspections. Alaska and United Airlines, which have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights consistently, said they expect to have some of the planes back in service by this weekend. At the same time, the FAA is not allowing Boeing to expand production of the 737 Max jets.

The FAA said that the halt is needed to ensure accountability by Boeing, adding that it will not agree to any requests for expansion until Boeing resolves quality control issues.

Jon Stewart returning to host ‘The Daily Show’ on Mondays

He’s back! After nearly a decade away, Jon Stewart is returning to the desk at ‘The Daily Show,’ but there’s a catch. Paramount announced that the comedian will be back in the anchor chair of the satirical talk show starting Feb. 12, 2024. However, he will not host the show full-time, as he did from 1999 to 2015.

This time around, Stewart will only be on Monday nights and only throughout the 2024 presidential election cycle. Stewart most recently hosted a show on Apple TV+, but it was canceled after two seasons following reports of conflict between Stewart and Apple over its coverage of China and artificial intelligence.

Along with part-time hosting duties, Stewart will also serve as executive producer for every episode of “The Daily Show” through 2025.

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TODAY IS THURSDAY, JANUARY 25TH

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

THE FIRST EXECUTION OF A DEATH ROW INMATE BY NITROGEN GAS IS EXPECTED TO TAKE PLACE WITHIN HOURS IN ALABAMA – AFTER THE SUPREME COURT DECLINED TO PAUSE THE EXECUTION OF THE KENNETH SMITH — SOMETHING HE HAD REQUESTED.

SMITH WAS SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HIS ROLE IN A 1988 MURDER-FOR-HIRE.

IN NOVEMBER OF 20-22 – ALABAMA CALLED OFF ITS FIRST ATTEMPT AT PUTTING SMITH TO DEATH – AT THE TIME BY LETHAL INJECTION — WHEN PRISON OFFICIALS COULD NOT SET AN IV LINE BEFORE THE EXECUTION WARRANT EXPIRED.

SMITH’S LEGAL TEAM WAS LOOKING FOR MORE TIME TO ARGUE THAT THE STATE TRYING TO EXECUTE HIM FOR A SECOND TIME WOULD BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL – FALLING UNDER THE CATEGORY OF CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT.

AN APPEALS COURT ALSO DECLINED TO HALT THE EXECUTION.

EXECUTION BY NITROGEN GAS IS ONLY APPROVED IN THREE STATES – ALABAMA, OKLAHOMA AND MISSISSIPPI.

BUT ALABAMA IS THE ONLY STATE TO OUTLINE ITS PROTOCOL SO FAR – SAYING IT WILL USE A MASK TO DELIVER THE NITROGEN.

CRITICS OF THE NEW METHOD INCLUDE THE UNITED NATIONS WHOSE HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE SAYS IT “COULD AMOUNT TO TORTURE UNDER INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW.”

THE ALABAMA ATTORNEY’S GENERAL OFFICE CLAIMS THE USE OF NITROGEN GAS IS THE “”MOST PAINLESS AND HUMANE METHOD OF EXECUTION KNOWN TO MAN.”

DESPITE A VETO FROM REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR MIKE DEWINE, OHIO’S REPUBLICAN-DOMINATED SENATE HAS VOTED TO BAN GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE FOR MINORS AND BAN TRANSGENDER WOMEN AND GIRLS FROM COMPETING ON FEMALE SPORTS TEAMS.

IN A SENATE VOTE TO OVERRIDE THE GOVERNOR’S VETO, THE LAW PASSED —

BANNING GENDER-AFFIRMING SURGERIES AND HORMONE THERAPIES, AND RESTRICTING MENTAL HEALTH CARE FOR TRANSGENDER PATIENTS UNDER 18.

AT LEAST 22 STATES HAVE APPROVED SIMILAR LAWS.

OHIO ALSO BECOMES THE LATEST OF AT LEAST 20 STATES TO RESTRICT TRANSGENDER GIRLS AND WOMEN FROM JOINING FEMALE SPORTS TEAMS.

THE LAW IS SET TO GO INTO EFFECT IN 90 DAYS.

WHILE GOVERNOR DEWINE ORIGINALLY VETOED THE MEASURE CITING GOVERNMENT OVERREACH –

HE DID SIGN AN EXECUTIVE ORDER EARLIER THIS MONTH BANNING ONLY GENDER-AFFIRMING SURGERIES FOR MINORS, EVEN THOUGH MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS SAY THOSE SURGERIES ARE NOT HAPPENING IN THE STATE.

A DAY AFTER WINNING THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY IN NEW HAMPSHIRE THROUGH A WRITE-IN CAMPAIGN, PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN GAINED A KEY ENDORSEMENT FROM ONE OF THE LARGEST UNIONS IN THE COUNTRY.

THE UNITED AUTO WORKERS – WHICH REPRESENTS 400-THOUSAND AUTO WORKERS – ANNOUNCED IT IS ENDORSING BIDEN IN HIS RE-ELECTION BID — AS A REMATCH WITH FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP LOOKS MORE AND MORE LIKELY.

UAW PRESIDENT SHAWN FAIN SAYS BIDEN HAS EARNED THE UNION’S SUPPORT — WHILE CALLING TRUMP A “SCAB.”

SHAWN FAIN | UAW PRESIDENT SHAWN FAIN: “this choice is clear Joe Biden bet on the American worker while Donald Trump blamed the American worker.”

LAST SEPTEMBER — BIDEN BECAME THE FIRST SITTING PRESIDENT TO HIT A PICKET LINE WHEN HE JOINED UAW MEMBERS DURING THEIR MASSIVE WALK-OUT ON DETROIT’S BIG THREE AUTO WORKERS.

THE MONTHS-LONG STRIKE ENDED WITH HISTORIC DEALS SIGNED BY THE UNION.

UAW’S ENDORSEMENT IS A BIG WIN FOR BIDEN AS HE LOOKS TO GARNER THE BACKING FROM WORKING-CLASS AMERICANS WHO HAVE BEEN SUPPORTIVE OF TRUMP IN THE PAST.

THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCED IT WILL MAKE A DECISION FRIDAY CONCERNING PART OF SOUTH AFRICA’S CASE ALLEGING ISRAEL IS COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST PALESTINIANS IN GAZA.

THE DECISION BY THE UNITED NATION’S TOP COURT WILL NOT BE ABOUT WHETHER ISRAEL HAS COMMITTED GENOCIDE – BUT RATHER WILL FOCUS ON SOUTH AFRICA’S REQUEST FOR PROVISIONAL MEASURES – INCLUDING THAT ISRAEL SHOULD SUSPEND MILITARY OPERATIONS IN GAZA.

SHOULD THE 17-JUDGE PANEL GRANT SOUTH AFRICA’S REQUESTS – IT’S UNCLEAR IF ISRAEL WOULD COMPLY WITH THE COURT’S ORDER.

WHILE RULINGS BY THE COURT ARE LEGALLY BINDING — THERE IS NO WAY TO ENFORCE THEM.

ISRAEL HAS CALLED THE GENOCIDE ALLEGATIONS “GROSSLY DISTORTED” –

SAYING THE COUNTRY HAS A RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF.

THE U.S. AGREES WITH ISRAEL.

THE UNITED STATES HAS CALLED SOUTH AFRICA’S CASE MERITLESS.

THE FAA IS NOT ALLOWING BOEING TO EXPAND PRODUCTION OF THE 737 MAX JETS FOLLOWING THE MIDAIR SCARE EARLIER THIS MONTH WHEN A PANEL FLEW OFF AN ALASKA AIRLINES PLANE.

THE FAA SAYS THAT THE HALT IN PRODUCTION IS NEEDED TO ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY BY BOEING – ADDING THAT IT WILL NOT AGREE TO ANY REQUESTS FOR EXPANSION UNTIL BOEING RESOLVES QUALITY CONTROL ISSUES.

THE FAA ALSO SAYS EACH OF THE 171 GROUNDED PLANES MUST FACE DETAILED INSPECTIONS OF DOZENS OF COMPONENTS – INCLUDING BOLTS, GUIDE TRACKS, AND FASTENERS — BEFORE THEY CAN RETURN TO SERVICE.

BOEING SAYS IT WILL WORK WITH THE AIRLINES TO COMPLETE THESE INSPECTIONS.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – AFTER NEARLY A DECADE AWAY – JON STEWART IS RETURNING TO THE DESK AT ‘THE DAILY SHOW’ — BUT THERE’S A CATCH.

PARAMOUNT ANNOUNCING THAT THE COMEDIAN WILL BE BACK IN THE ANCHOR CHAIR OF THE SATIRICAL TALK SHOW STARTING FEBRUARY 12TH.

BUT HE WILL NOT BE HOSTING THE SHOW FULL TIME – AS HE DID FROM 1995 TO 2015.

THIS TIME – STEWART WILL ONLY BE ON MONDAY NIGHTS – AND ONLY THROUGHOUT THE 2024 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CYCLE.

STEWART MOST RECENTLY HOSTED A SHOW ON APPLE TV PLUS BUT IT WAS CANCELED AFTER TWO SEASONS FOLLOWING REPORTS OF CONFLICT BETWEEN STEWART AND APPLE OVER ITS COVERAGE ABOUT CHINA AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

ALONG WITH PART-TIME HOSTING DUTIES – STEWART WILL ALSO SERVE AS EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR EVERY EPISODE OF THE DAILY SHOW THROUGH 2025.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS THURSDAY.

BE SURE TO VISIT SAN DOT COM SLASH RUNDOWN FOR ALL THE LATEST INFORMATION ABOUT OUR SHOW AND NEWSLETTER.

UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS. THAT’S STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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