Up First briefing: Truce in Gaza extended for 7th day; Henry Kissinger dies at 100
Today's top news
Israel and Hamas have agreed to extend their truce for a seventh day to allow for more humanitarian aid for Gaza and the exchange of more hostages and prisoners. The extension comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in the region for his third trip since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.
- NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with Blinken. For Up First, she reports that Blinken has been "relentlessly focused" on the hostages and is privately pushing for Israel to do more to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza. The concern is how they operate in the south, where Israel told Palestinians to go. Approximately 150 hostages, including some Americans, are still held by Hamas.
Check out npr.org/mideastupdates for more coverage, differing views and analysis of this conflict.
Henry Kissinger, a towering figure in U.S. foreign policy, has died at 100. Blinken said he often sought Kissinger's advice over the years, including just a month ago. Kissinger was secretary of state and national security adviser to two presidents, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He played a major role in U.S. relations with Russia, formerly known as the Soviet Union, China and major Arab nations. The House is expected to vote today to expel New York Republican Congressman George Santos. He's currently facing more than 20 federal criminal charges, including fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, according to a House Ethics Committee report.
- Only five representatives have been expelled from their seats in U.S. history, NPR's Eric McDaniel says. Three supported the confederacy, and two were convicted of crimes. McDaniel adds that a special election to fill Santos' seat could lead to a Democrat taking the district, which presents a political concern to some Republican House members.
The Justice Department announced charges yesterday against an Indian national for allegedly taking part in a murder-for-hire scheme on U.S. soil. The alleged plan involved the assassination of an American citizen who is a leader in the Sikh separatist movement. Court documents do not specify the intended victim, but Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, the general counsel for the advocacy group Sikhs for Justice, said on X that he was the target.
- A spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs says the government would take necessary follow-up action but didn't provide more details. NPR's Diaa Hadid reports that some sources say they believe the Indian government may have thought it could get away with this. Other experts note that India's right-wing nationalist government hasn't faced serious repercussions from the U.S. for other matters.
The families of the three men of Palestinian descent who were shot in Vermont this weekend believe the shooting was hate-motivated. But investigators say they don't have enough evidence to determine a motive. NPR's domestic extremism correspondent Odette Yousef explains why tracking anti-Arab hate crimes is uniquely complicated:
- When a crime is committed, evidence like statements and speech is important for making the case that the crime was hate-motivated.
- The anti-Arab hate crimes categorization was removed before the FBI began releasing nationwide hate crime data in 1992. These crimes were grouped with other ethnicities.
- Anti-Arab hate crimes weren't reported separately until 2015, which means there wasn't real tracking in periods of high anti-Arab sentiment — like 9/11.
- Maya Berry of the Arab American Institute argues the omission of this category means local law enforcement may not be trained to recognize anti-Arab hate crimes, which can compound distrust in the police in the Arab American community.
I'm really into
All Things Considered producer Linah Mohammad was 9 or 10 years old when she first learned the centuries-old Palestinian embroidery art form called tatreez. She practiced with her grandma in her home in Jordan. After moving to Washington, D.C., Mohammad reconnected with the art. She writes that tatreez helps her find her way back home and connects her with the thousands of Palestinian women who have paved the way before her.
What are you really into? Fill out this form or leave us a voice note at 1-800-329-4273, and part of your submission may be featured online or on the radio.
3 things to know before you go
- Scientists have used sniffer dogs and DNA analysis to rediscover a group of De Winton's golden moles, a seemingly-extinct species that hadn't been seen in nearly 90 years.
- Hundreds of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis game cartridges left in storage when a Nebraska video game store closed in 1998 could be worth up to six figures, according to a recent appraisal.
- Jury selection began yesterday for the trial of actor Jonathan Majors on misdemeanor charges of harassment and assaulting a former girlfriend.
This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.
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