Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Here are five of the top stories we are following this morning at NBC News:
1. Chris Christie begins second term amid trio of scandals
The New Jersey governor takes his oath of office at noon Tuesday, but don’t expect the same pomp and circumstance he enjoyed four years ago. That’s because Christie is knee deep in scandals involving political payback against a Democratic rival, a mayor who claims she was strong armed over Superstorm Sandy funding and questions over how the state spent money on a tourism ad after Sandy. Read more in POLITICS.
2. Heavy snow and frigid temps slug Eastern U.S.
Up to 10 inches of snow is expected to fall in some parts of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic beginning Tuesday. Coupled with a fresh blast of arctic air, states from the Plains to Maine will be in a deep freeze over the next couple of days. Read more in NEWS.
3. Russian officials hunt for ‘black widows’ targeting Olympics
Wanted posters are going up in Sochi, the site of the upcoming Winter Olympic games, for a 22-year-old widow suspected of plotting an attack. Potentially three other women are also being eyed as terrorists, and Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to make the games safe. Read more in NEWS.
NBC News' Richard Engel discusses why the threat of a terrorist attack during next month's Olympics is such a major concern.
4. Iran disinvited from U.N. meeting to discuss Syria peace talks
A peace conference over war-torn Syria won’t include Iran after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon rescinded its invitation following pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. That’s because Iran wouldn’t agree to certain terms under the conference. Read more in POLITICS.
5. Pets sniffing out owners' weed to bad results
Pet poisoning by marijuana is on the rise across the country, according to the Animal Poison Control Center. Veterinarians say animals are coming across marijuana, at times in an edible form, and digesting the drug, which is toxic to them. Read more in HEALTH.
... What's trending today?
While there are reports that the Olympics is having trouble selling seats, there's apparently another type of seat that's in overabundance at the games.