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Up First briefing: Israel pushes into southern Gaza; Liz Cheney's new book

Palestinians look for survivors of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah, on Sunday.
Hatem Ali
Palestinians look for survivors of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Rafah, on Sunday.

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

Israel's military says it has expanded its ground offensive in Gaza and is now targeting Hamas strongholds in the south. Many Palestinians told to flee northern Gaza to the south are now facing demands to flee the areas they evacuated into.

  • There is so much frustration and powerlessness over what's happening, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports on Up First from Tel Aviv. While some Israelis say it's time to get rid of Hamas, Beardsley says the prevailing sentiment in Tel Aviv seems to be that getting back the hostages Hamas took in their Oct. 7 attack is more important than the war.

  • Gaza's health ministry says more than 15,000 Palestinians been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7. Additionally, more than 100 heritage sites in Gaza were damaged or destroyed, according to Heritage for Peace. In Israel, officials say more than 1,200 people were killed and more than 240 were taken hostage.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists says the war has led to the "deadliest month for journalists" since the organization began collecting data more than 30 years ago. CPJ says the majority of Gaza journalist casualties since the start of the war were killed while doing their jobs.

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

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments today in a challenge to the legality of OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma's bankruptcy settlement. Under the terms of the deal, Purdue Pharma agreed to pay billions of dollars to those harmed by the opioid crisis. In exchange, the Sackler family would be shielded from personal liability despite owning and running the company.

  • The Biden administration will argue that bankruptcy courts aren't authorized to approve a release from liability for third parties who haven't declared bankruptcy like the Sacklers, NPR's Nina Totenberg reports. Some who study bankruptcy acknowledge that bankruptcy can be messy, but this is the only way to provide real compensation to victims. 

Former Republican Rep. Liz Cheney's new book is out tomorrow. In Oath and Honor: A Memoir and a Warning, she recounts what happened inside her own party in the weeks before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the capitol following the 2020 presidential election. Speaking to NPR's Leila Fadel, she warns that a second Trump presidency threatens democracy and says the Republican party of today does not represent her.

  • "If the party goes down the path of nominating Donald Trump, certainly, the party itself will have lost any claim to be a party that is, in fact, supportive of the constitution," Cheney tells Fadel. Listen to their full interview and read it here.

Enlighten me

Sa'ed Atshan says his commitment to pacifism and Quakerism is a spiritual anchoring in his life.
/ Swarthmore College
Swarthmore College
Sa'ed Atshan says his commitment to pacifism and Quakerism is a spiritual anchoring in his life.

Enlighten Me is a special series with Rachel Martin on building a life of meaning.

Sa'ed Atshan is a Palestinian American professor of peace and conflict studies at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He grew up going to the same Quaker school in the West Bank as the three Palestinian American college students who were shot in Vermont last week. He still has family living in the West Bank. Atshan says the weeks since the Hamas attack on Israel and the war in Gaza have been "really, really, really difficult," but leading a life of meaning and purpose has helped him keep it together.

Listen to Atshan and Martin discuss how he holds on to the Quaker tenets of pacifism and silent meditation when it feels like the world is on fire. You can read the interview here.

Living better

/ Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Living Better is a special series about what it takes to get healthy in America.

About 1 in 4 adults worldwide say they're lonely. Loneliness isn't just bad for your mental health — it can have physical effects like an increased risk of heart attacks or dementia, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Primary care physician Dr. Jeremy Nobel offers a pathway to making connections through creative expression in his book, Project UnLonely.

  • Make something that can communicate what puts your thoughts, feelings and values into a tangible object.
  • Take risks and share something about yourself. It's the first step to authentic connection.
  • If you see someone else experiencing loneliness, take the risk of reaching out to ask how they're doing.

3 things to know before you go

  1. The 50-year-old heavy rock band Kiss played the last show of its four-year-long "End of the Road World Tour" this weekend. Music writer Joel Selvin thinks this might not be the last we'll hear from the band.
  2. Radio journalist Maria Emilia Martin, a former NPR journalist who created the radio show Latino USA, has died at 72. Martin brought Latin American and Latino voices to public radio for more than 50 years and trained generations of journalists in Guatemala, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Kyrgyzstan and the U.S. 
  3. Undefeated Florida State has been left out of the four-team College Football Playoff this year. Michigan, Washington, Texas and Alabama will be taking the field. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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