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Hard Numbers: Republicans tune out debate, US moon lander faces trouble, Indian court revisits 2002 violence, Kim Jong Un skips the big 4-0, German soccer legend dies, Argentina’s big bill

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participate in the fourth Republican debate of the 2024 US presidential campaign in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S.

Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participate in the fourth Republican debate of the 2024 US presidential campaign in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

51: The GOP’s fifth presidential debate is being held Wednesday night on CNN, but a key demographic isn’t tuning in. According to a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll, 51% of Republicans don’t plan to watch, reflecting just how strong a lead former President Donald Trump – who’s expected to skip the event (again!) – has in the race toward the nomination. Apart from Trump, only Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have qualified to take part.


50: Houston, we have a problem … The US launched its first lunar lander in over 50 years on Monday, but it may not reach its destination. The Peregrine spacecraft, a robotic lander built by the Pittsburgh-based aerospace company Astrobotic, successfully took off from Cape Canaveral, but the company says that issues likely caused by the propulsion system are threatening “the ability of the spacecraft to soft land on the moon.”

11: India’s Supreme Court on Monday restored life prison sentences for 11 men convicted of raping a pregnant woman in 2002 during Hindu-Muslim religious violence in the state of Gujarat. The men, who were released from prison in 2022, must now surrender to authorities within two weeks. PM Narendra Modi was the top elected official in Gujarat back then, and he has faced criticism over his actions during the 2002 sectarian riots, which saw over 1,000 people, mostly Muslim, killed.

40: Kim Jong Un turned 40 on Monday. The nuke-obsessed Supreme Leader is believed to have been born on Jan. 8, 1984, though North Korea has not officially confirmed this. While his father and grandfather often held lavish parties for themselves, Kim opted not to throw a birthday bash.

78: Franz Beckenbauer, perhaps the most famous German soccer player of all time, died Sunday at the age of 78. Beckenbauer, a defender, was one of just three men in history to win the World Cup as both a player and a manager – he’s joined only by Brazil's Mario Zagallo, who passed away on Friday at 92, and Didier Deschamps, 55, of France.

5 billion: Argentina has until Jan. 10 to scrounge up $5 billion in collateral for the $16 billion it owes the private shareholders of state energy company YFP. Argentina is expected to miss the deadline – despite President Javier Milei pledging to break the country’s defaulting habit – at which point the shareholders would be forced to assert their rights by seizing Argentine assets. This could be anything: In 2012, Argentina lost a tall-masted naval ship to a hedge fund that seized it as an asset when it was docked in Ghana.

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