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Israel strikes Iran, U.S. official says; Taylor Swift's 'Tortured Poets' is here

Demonstrators wave a huge Iranian flag in an anti-Israeli gathering in front of an anti-Israeli banner on the wall of a building at the Felestin (Palestine) Sq. in Tehran, Iran, on Monday, April 15, 2024.
Vahid Salemi
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AP
Demonstrators wave a huge Iranian flag in an anti-Israeli gathering in front of an anti-Israeli banner on the wall of a building at the Felestin (Palestine) Sq. in Tehran, Iran, on Monday, April 15, 2024.

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Today's top stories

Israel carried out a strike against Iran overnight, a U.S. official tells NPR. Iran state media reports that according to Iranian Brigadier General Mihan Dost, the loud booms heard east of Isfahan were the sounds of Iranian air defenses intercepting an "unknown object." The central city of Isfahan is home to sites associated with Iran's nuclear program. The International Atomic Agency says there's been no damage to Iran's nuclear sites. The strike comes less than a week after Iran's retaliatory drone and missile attack on Israel. Israel's military and prime minister's office have not yet responded to NPR's request for comment.

  • Reporting from Tel Aviv, NPR's Rob Schmitz tells Up First the response in Israel has been "fairly muted." Commercial flights continue in and out of its largest airport at the moment, and the system that issues threat alerts to civilians has not changed the threat level. In Iran, flights were grounded but resumed hours later. Meir Litvak, from the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies, tells Schmitz that the strike's location shows Israel's ability and intent to hit Iran's important sites. He also mentioned that the strike's limited scale and location signal a desire to stop the back-and-forth actions rather than escalate the situation.
  • Trita Parsi from the Quincy Institute in Washington, an expert on Iran and U.S.-Israel relations, points out in an interview with Morning Edition's Leila Fadel that despite public defiance from the Netanyahu government, the U.S. has tremendous influence. The big question is: Is enough of this influence being used to put a stop to this escalation?


Google has fired 28 employees in the aftermath of a sit-in earlier this week to protest Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract Google shares with Amazon to supply the Israeli government with cloud services. Last week, Time magazine obtained an internal company document that showed Israel's Ministry of Defense has also contracted with Google as recently as last month. Google says the work isn't "directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services." Employees say clarity is needed and fear the technology could be weaponized against Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Zelda Montes, one of the employees who was fired, says Google was "quite literally silencing our voices in the workplace."

All 12 jurors have been selected for former President Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York. The search for alternate jurors resumes today. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts related to payments made to adult film actor Stormy Daniels to cover up an alleged affair.

  • NPR's Ximena Bustillo, who has been at the courthouse this week, describes some lighthearted momentsahead of a serious trial as a "diverse swath of New Yorkers" shared details of their lives. One juror described dating a lawyer, saying the relationship ended "fine." Another says he uses a flip phone and doesn't watch podcasts. Trump is in the room for jury selection. Bustillo reports he's been quiet throughout the process and "is not happy to be here," as he says the trial is interfering with his ability to campaign.


It's a big day for Swifties. Taylor Swift's Tortured Poets Department is finally out. NPR critic Ann Powers says the album is "written in blood" and as "messy and confrontational as a good girl's work can get." Queue up the album, press play and read Powers' breakdown of the new tracks.

We, the voters

The busy halls of North Community High School in between classes in Minneapolis, MN on April 9, 2024.
/ Caroline Yang for NPR
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Caroline Yang for NPR
The busy halls of North Community High School in between classes in Minneapolis, MN on April 9, 2024.

Students exposed to gun violence are less likely to do well in school or graduate. At North Community High School in Minneapolis, students are well aware of those effects. The school's quarterback was shot and killed blocks from the school two years ago. Another member of the football team was shot in both legs last spring and survived. As part of President Biden's Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, Minneapolis Public Schools will receive at least $500,000 to help fund strategies to bolster school safety and mental health resources to combat gun violence. But some say there's a disconnect between what the government is offering and what they need.

  • Students and faculty share how gun violence has affected them and what they think is vital for creating a positive school culture. Read their stories here.


Thanks for joining Morning Edition this week as we explored issues surrounding gun violence. The We, The Voters series continues next week with stories about the economy on All Things Considered.

Weekend picks

Jean Grey and Cyclops in the new Disne series<em> X-Men '97.</em>
Marvel Animation / Courtesy of Marvel Animation
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Courtesy of Marvel Animation
Jean Grey and Cyclops in the new Disne series X-Men '97.

Check out what NPR is watching, reading and listening to this weekend: Movies: French writer-director Bertrand Bonello's The Beast is a wildly original adaptation of the 1903 Henry James novella about a man who lives in a constant state of fear. Bonello takes the cautionary tale about the dangers of being too cautious and takes it in unexpected directions.

  • TV: The new Disney+ series X-Men '97 picks up where the original 90s animated show ended. A lot has changed: Secrets are revealed, team rosters are shuffled, and characters meet shocking fates. But fans can still expect big fights, big powers and mutant melodrama.
  • Books: The NPR Books team has five new recommendations from my favorite genre: thrillers. These books will take you from murder in present-day Texas to cryptography in Cold War Berlin to an online community that might hold the solution to a missing-person case.
  • Music: Producer Metro Boomin and rapper/singer Future started out as collaborators and later made hits of their own. The two have reunited for a new pair of albums: We Don't Trust You and We Still Don't Trust You.
  • Quiz: Okay, so you know that jurors have been selected for Trump's trial. But do you know what that process is called? Study up before you take this week's quiz.

3 things to know before you go

An Instagram page where the user has hidden their entire photo grid. The trend is being led by younger members increasingly concerned for their privacy.
/ NPR
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NPR
An Instagram page where the user has hidden their entire photo grid. The trend is being led by younger members increasingly concerned for their privacy.

  1. More people are embracing what NPR's Bobby Allyn calls "Grid Zero" by hiding all photos from their Instagram accounts. But this trend doesn't mean that users are spending less time on the app.
  2. More than a dozen members of the Kennedy family have endorsed President Biden's reelection bid, turning their backs on their family member, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. 
  3. Trader Joe's has recalled fresh basil sold in 29 states and Washington, D.C., after a federal investigation linked it to a dozen salmonella cases.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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[Copyright 2024 NPR]