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Up First briefing: Gaza aid deal; preventing catalytic converter theft

Men carry out the body of a victim from a building in Rafah in the southern of Gaza Strip as the Israeli bombardment continued Thursday.
Mohammed Abed
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AFP via Getty Images
Men carry out the body of a victim from a building in Rafah in the southern of Gaza Strip as the Israeli bombardment continued Thursday.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

After hours of talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet, President Biden announced an agreement to allow humanitarian aid from Egypt to Gaza. At most 20 trucks will enter Gaza in the coming days, and the U.N. will distribute the aid. Biden warned aid would stop if any of it goes to Hamas.

  • Gaza's biggest hospital and people in the north won't receive the aid, NPR's Aya Batrawy reports on Up First. She speaks to Tasneem Ahl in Gaza City, who says the south isn't safe either, and there's nowhere to go. "Every day is harder than the last," she says.
  • Biden's trip to Israel came in the wake of a deadly hospital blast that killed hundreds of people. Disinformation on social media spread chaos after the blast. Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed each other for the explosion. NPR's Greg Myre says it's still not completely clear what happened. Here's what we know so far.
  • The president is expected to deliver a prime-time Oval Office address tonight. In his speech, he will make the case for more aid spending for Israel and Ukraine.
  • Amid the Biden administration's continued commitment to provide military aid to Israel, veteran State Department official Josh Paul announced his resignation. He explains his decision and opposition to military assistance on Morning Edition.


Check out npr.org/mideastupdates for more coverage, differing views and analysis of this conflict.

In a second vote, House Republicans again rejected Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as the new speaker. Opposition to his nomination grew from 20 GOP defections to 22.

  • NPR's Deirdre Walsh says some are pushing to give speaker pro tempore Patrick McHenry, R-N.C, more authority to bring up bills to avoid a government shutdown and approve aid to Israel.


The average American family's net worth jumped 37% between 2019 and 2022, according to a new Federal Reserve survey. It's the biggest jump the agency has seen since the surveys began. The wealth gap between rich and poor also narrowed slightly. The gains could be tied to the government's temporary COVID relief measures.

Natalee Holloway's family finally knows what happened to her 18 years after the American teen disappeared on a high school graduation trip in Aruba. Joran van der Sloot pleaded guilty to her death. As part of the plea deal, he agreed to tell Holloway's mother, Beth, how her daughter died and where her body was stashed.

Life advice

A brand new catalytic converter sits on the floor at Johnny Franklin's Muffler in San Rafael, Calif. No state has seen more catalytic converter thefts than California, according to State Farm.
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A brand new catalytic converter sits on the floor at Johnny Franklin's Muffler in San Rafael, Calif. No state has seen more catalytic converter thefts than California, according to State Farm.

Catalytic converter theft has risen 1,215% since 2019, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. They're located underneath cars and help them clean exhaust. Thieves target them because they're made of expensive precious metals. It can cost thousands to replace one. Here's how to protect your car:

  • Keep your car away from public access. If you don't have a garage, park in a well-lit area and install security cameras.
  • Paint your catalytic converter brightly or engrave your vehicle identification numbers on it.
  • Ask your mechanic to attach an alarm system or anti-theft device to it.

I'm really into

LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge in <em>Star Trek: The Next Generation.</em>
/ CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
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CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images
LeVar Burton as Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

NPR scientist in residence Regina G. Barber used TV as an escape when she lived in a rural town as a tween. Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of her favorite shows. Her dad, also a Trekkie, pointed out the morals in each episode and taught her to value diversity. Barber writes about how this helped build the foundation for her sense of social justice as an astrophysicist of color.

What are you really into? Fill out this form or leave us a voice note at 800-329-4273, and part of your submission may be featured online or on the radio.

3 things to know before you go

  1. You can't get your hands on Britney Spears' new book, The Woman in Me, until next week. But revealing excerpts have already made it a bestseller.
  2. At just 24, pianist Jahari Stampley won first place in the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Competition, one of the biggest awards in jazz. 
  3. Leonard Allen Cure spent 16 years in a Florida prison on a wrongful conviction before being freed three years ago. This week, he was killed by a Georgia sheriff at a traffic stop. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.