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Up First briefing: GOP debate takeaways; striking actors and studios reach a deal

Republican presidential candidates former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott participate in the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate on Wednesday in Miami.
Joe Raedle
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Getty Images
Republican presidential candidates former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott participate in the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate on Wednesday in Miami.

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

Last night's Republican debate was dominated by the Israel-Hamas war, foreign policy, the economy and abortion. There were just five candidates on stage in Miami, and it was largely a contest between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. Here are six takeaways from the debate.

  • In one of the most memorable moments, Haley called businessman Vivek Ramaswamy "just scum" after he accused her daughter of using TikTok.
  • NPR's Domenico Montanaro tells Up First that the night is unlikely to move the needle much for Republican voters, especially without former President Donald Trump there: "It was really like watching a play-in game for the NCAA tournament with the 65th versus 66th seeds trying to fight to play against the top team." 
  • Trump once again didn't participate, choosing to hold his own rally nearby instead. Just hours earlier, his daughter Ivanka testified at his civil fraud trial in New York, becoming his last relative to do so and the first to be cross-examined by the defense.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeing his lowest approval rating in two decades following Hamas's deadly attack. Some hostages' relatives want him to step down. Netanyahu told reporters that "the only thing that I intend to have resign is Hamas."

  • NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Tel Aviv that there's widespread belief in Israel — even among Netanyahu's critics — that war is a time for unity, not leadership change.
  • Israeli bombardment and ground battles have damaged as much as a third of Gaza City, new satellite imagery shows


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

It's looking like a wrap on the Hollywood strikes, after the heads of major studios agreed to a tentative new three-year contract with SAG-AFTRA. The union closed its picket locations but still needs to officially ratify what it calls a billion-dollar deal of "extraordinary scope." The agreement includes "above-pattern" minimum pay increases, according to the union, among other protections its hundreds of thousands of members have demanded since July.

  • Actors told NPR's Mandalit del Barco they are eager to return to work, though it's unclear how long it will take for productions to relaunch.


Note: NPR News staffers are also members of SAG-AFTRA, but broadcast journalists are under a different contract and were not on strike.

The FDA has approved Zepbound, a new obesity drug for adults. Maker Eli Lilly & Co. says the drug, set to be available in the U.S. by the end of the year, shows greater weight loss at a lower list price than the popular drug Wegovy. Like other obesity medications, Zepbound has potential side effects and, depending on insurance, a steep price tag.

Life advice

For some, a low-waste lifestyle could involve storing food and other items in cookie containers.
/ Kaz Fantone/NPR
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Kaz Fantone/NPR
For some, a low-waste lifestyle could involve storing food and other items in cookie containers.

The average American generates five pounds of trash per day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most of it ends up in landfills, where it can contaminate water and soil, as well as produce greenhouse gasses. Here are a few helpful ways to reduce your trash output:

  • Find ways to reuse the waste you already produce.
  • Salvage what you can before throwing it away. Try mending your clothes by hand or cutting them up to use as cleaning rags.
  • Try making food from scratch instead of buying it pre-packaged.

Today's listen

Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to U.S. Congress was running for president in 1972 when she had a remarkable interaction with the pro-segregation George Wallace, then governor of Alabama. Her efforts to build bridges with him ultimately changed his point of view. She's pictured here giving a speech at Laney Community College during her presidential campaign.
/ MediaNews Group via Getty Images
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MediaNews Group via Getty Images
Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to U.S. Congress was running for president in 1972 when she had a remarkable interaction with the pro-segregation George Wallace, then governor of Alabama. Her efforts to build bridges with him ultimately changed his point of view. She's pictured here giving a speech at Laney Community College during her presidential campaign.

Friends and family are arguing over the Israel-Hamas war, along with other polarizing topics like abortion and gun control. Understanding brain science can help us process the emotional impulses that fuel these disagreements.

Listen to how peacemakers like Nelson Mandela have learned to curb these impulses and what they can teach us. Or, read the article here

3 things to know before you go

An aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is seen in the sky in the early morning hours of Monday, April 24, 2023, near Washtucna, Wash.
Ted S. Warren / AP
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AP
An aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is seen in the sky in the early morning hours of Monday, April 24, 2023, near Washtucna, Wash.

  1. Here's something to look forward to: Stronger activity on the sun could bring more frequent displays of aurora borealis, or the northern lights, in 2024. 
  2. The owners of a Colorado funeral home were arrested on felony charges yesterday, weeks after nearly 200 decaying corpses were found improperly stored at their facility.
  3. Cirque du Soleil's new touring show will be set to none other than Nashville country music, performed live at theaters across North America starting next summer.

This newsletter was edited by Olivia Hampton. Suzanne Nuyen contributed.

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

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.