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Up First briefing: Aid trickles into Gaza; 9 GOP reps battle for House speaker job

Police tape is pictured at a crime scene in Monterey Park, Calif., in January.
Frederic J. Brown
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AFP via Getty Images
Police tape is pictured at a crime scene in Monterey Park, Calif., in January.

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 news

A second convoy of humanitarian aid arrived in Gaza as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) planned to step up airstrikes. Meanwhile, Christian churches across the area dedicated services to the more than a dozen Palestinians killed by an Israeli airstrike. Nearly all the victims were Christians seeking shelter at a Greek Orthodox church in Gaza.

A woman covers her face at a special prayer service for the victims of an airstrike at a Gaza church, held Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Claire Harbage / NPR
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NPR
A woman covers her face at a special prayer service for the victims of an airstrike at a Gaza church, held Sunday at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem.

  • U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings speaks with Morning Edition about aid flows into Gaza and conditions there.
  • Reporting for Up First in Jerusalem, NPR's Jackie Northam says a ground invasion seems imminent as Israel amasses troops at the Gaza border. But there's a lot for Israel to consider: the fate of hostages held by Hamas militants and the roughly two million trapped Palestinians, as well as the risk of a broader regional conflict.
  • Mental health researchers tell NPR's Rhitu Chatterjee they predict the conflict will trigger a "tsunami" of mental health problems.


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

House Republicans are set to hold another closed-door candidate forum today as the search for a new House speaker drags on. Nine GOP representatives have thrown their hat in the ring following failed bids from Reps. Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan.

  • Kevin McCarthy's pick, Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, is getting the most buzz right now. But NPR's Domenico Montanaro says he has a "huge Trump problem." The former president's allies don't trust Emmer.
  • Nebraska Rep. Mike Flood introduced a "unity pledge" last week, seeking commitment from his fellow Republicans to support any potential nominee when the vote goes to the House floor. He discusses his decision on Morning Edition.


Detroit police and the FBI are investigating the killing of Samantha Woll, president at the Isaac Agree Downtown Detroit Synagogue. Woll was found dead with stab wounds outside her home this weekend. Authorities say "no evidence has surfaced" so far of an antisemitic motive.

It's stew season! Viral stew season, that is. The flu, RSV and COVID-19 are the main players this cold and flu season. Wastewater analysis shows moderate COVID levels nationwide. And though rates of other respiratory illnesses are low, RSV is ticking up in the southeast.

Deep dive

The FBI's annual crime report offers the most complete view of public safety nationwide. Here are four takeaways from the newly-released 2022 data:

  • Homicides are down, though up from pre-pandemic numbers. The U.S. saw the largest rise in killings in more than a century in 2020. Researchers expect the decline to continue this year.
  • Reports of property and car thefts increased significantly, by about 8% and 11% respectively.
  • Hate crimes increased, though data is lacking. More than 11,000 hate crimes were reported last year — and, experts say, many more were not.
  • The data doesn't always match the discourse. Republicans are quick to blame Democrats for rising crime, which state-level numbers don't exactly back up. Plus, peoples' perception of safety doesn't necessarily align with the level of crime being reported. 

Today's listen

Hauschka's compositions usually involve prepared piano, altering the instrument's sounds with the use of various objects like pins, screws and tape rolls.
/ Nina Ditscheid/Pitch Perfect PR
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Nina Ditscheid/Pitch Perfect PR
Hauschka's compositions usually involve prepared piano, altering the instrument's sounds with the use of various objects like pins, screws and tape rolls.

German composer-pianist Volker Bertelmann, aka Hauschka, won an Oscar this year for his haunting score to All Quiet on the Western Front. His latest (and 14th) studio album, Philanthropy, is about improving empathy.

Bertelmann tells Morning Edition that the themes were drawn from the stress of the pandemic and climate change: "What is actually left is humanity and living with each other."

3 things to know before you go

Children's Halloween costumes hang on a wall at a Spirit Halloween store. Like pumpkin patches, the seasonal pop-up shops are a signal that fall is upon us.
Jim Watson / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Children's Halloween costumes hang on a wall at a Spirit Halloween store. Like pumpkin patches, the seasonal pop-up shops are a signal that fall is upon us.

  1. Two things signal the arrival of fall: pumpkin spice lattes and Spirit Halloween stores. Here's the secret behind how the spooky store appears out of nowhere and disappears every October.
  2. Many police stations nationwide have added a new kind of police dog to their staff. Rather than helping with investigations, these canines are specially trained to comfort victims and officers. 
  3. Michigan State University has apologized after a trivia question about Adolf Hitler was broadcast on a video screen before a football game this weekend. 

This newsletter was edited by Olivia Hampton. Rachel Treisman contributed.

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