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Up First briefing: Hunter Biden's second indictment; college presidents under fire

The special counsel investigating Hunter Biden charged him on nine counts related to his failure to pay federal taxes on millions of dollars of income.
Mark Makela
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Getty Images
The special counsel investigating Hunter Biden charged him on nine counts related to his failure to pay federal taxes on millions of dollars of income.

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

Hunter Biden, the president's son, has been charged with nine counts related to his failure to pay federal taxes on millions of dollars of income. The indictment stems from special counsel David Weiss' long-running investigation into Hunter Biden and comes months after a plea deal fell apart that would have allowed him to avoid jail time.

  • Earlier this summer, Biden was indicted on federal gun charges as part of the same investigation. His attorney says none of the charges would have been brought if his name isn't Biden. He accused the special counsel of folding under Republican pressure, NPR's Ryan Lucas reports on Up First


The House Education and Workforce Committee says it will investigate the disciplinary policies at the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Harvard and other universities. The presidents of the three schools testified before Congress earlier this week about rising antisemitism on their campuses. Congress members were dissatisfied with their responses. The university presidents have been under scrutiny for their answers to questions about whether students' calls for genocide would violate campus rules. Doug Emhoff, the first Jewish spouse of a U.S. vice president, singled out their comments at last night's National Menorah lighting ceremony.

  • NPR's Tovia Smith says the blowback has intensified since the university presidents testified. The Anti-Defamation League's Jonathan Greenblatt called for new leadership and described their actions as an "utter collapse of their moral responsibility." Others, like Harvard professor Steven Pinker, say removing the president would not fix the hostile environment for Jewish students on campus, which he sees as a deep-rooted problem.


Israel's military actions after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks have centered on Gaza, where forces are searching for Hamas leaders and civilians are under Israeli bombardment. Tensions have risen elsewhere in Israel — including in Jerusalem.

  • NPR's Kat Lonsdorf describes an attempted march through Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter by a small group of right-wing Israeli Jews. Police blocked the route and confiscated some inflammatory posters. Lonsdorf says their actions were unusual and show their concern about the potential for violence to break out.


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

A gunman opened fire at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on Wednesday, killing three faculty members and injuring another. The school identified two of the victims yesterday. Police searched suspect Anthony Polito's car but have not determined a motive for the shooting.

  • A search of Polito's residence revealed a document police described as "​​​​similar to a last will and testament" and ammunition consistent with cartridges found at the scene, NPR network station KNPR's Yvette Fernandez reports. 

Today's listen

Rose Previte's stuffed summer squash with lamb and rice, from her new cookbook, <em>Maydān: Recipes from Lebanon and Beyond</em>.
/ Elissa Nadworny/NPR
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Elissa Nadworny/NPR
Rose Previte's stuffed summer squash with lamb and rice, from her new cookbook, Maydān: Recipes from Lebanon and Beyond.

Michelin Star chef Rose Previte, whose parents are Lebanese and Italian, found her purpose during a 3 1/2 week journey across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway. She grew up surrounded by food — her mother catered Lebanese food, and her dad sold Italian sausage sandwiches. But it wasn't until she was living in Russia with her husband, former Morning Edition host David Greene, that she thought of cooking as a career. Her cookbook Maydān: Recipes from Lebanon and Beyond captures her food adventures in Russia, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Georgia, and Turkey.

Listen to Previte cook a dish of squash stuffed with ground lamb at her D.C. restaurant Maydan and read more about her culinary journey.

Weekend picks

Emma Stone in<em> Poor Things.</em>
/ Yorgos Lanthimos
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Yorgos Lanthimos
Emma Stone in Poor Things.

Check out what NPR is watching, reading and listening to this weekend:

Movies: Emma Stone reunites director Yorgos Lanthimos in the new film Poor Things. The darkly comedic movie sees Stone's character brought back to life from the brink of death.

TV: The fun new Australian series Colin From Accounts is part raunchy comedy, part romantic comedy, part friendship story, and part very cute dog. Books: Read up on the history of alligator poaching in Florida and the Everglades in Gator Country: Deception, Danger, and Alligators in the Everglades.

Music: Indie rock band The Hives broke into the scene with goofy lyrics, slicked-back hair and tuxedos. They say The Death of Randy Fitzsimmons, their first album in eleven years, will "reestablish the childish, glee-ish euphoria of rock and roll."

Games: Baldur's Gate 3 won the top prize at the Game Awards last night. Check out the biggest takeaways and other winners.

Theater: How to Dance In Ohio, the musical adaptation of a Peabody award-winning HBO documentary, stars seven young people at a group counseling center in Columbus getting ready for a big dance. Autistic actors play the seven leads.

Quiz: Don't take this week's news quiz until you finish reading this newsletter. You might find one of the answers below ⬇

3 things to know before you go

An influential color consultancy has already set the tone for the year ahead: Pantone's Color of the Year for 2024 is Peach Fuzz.
/ Pantone
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Pantone
An influential color consultancy has already set the tone for the year ahead: Pantone's Color of the Year for 2024 is Peach Fuzz.

  1. The Pantone Color Institute named Peach Fuzz its 2024 color of the year. The company describes the orange-pink hue as gentle, warm and cozy and says it represents "our desire to nurture ourselves and others."
  2. McDonald's says it will open CosMc's, a new spinoff brand, in Illinois this month. The cafe will serve coffee, frappes and quick bites.
  3. While the Israel-Hamas war leaves many uncertain of how to celebrate, some Jewish people tell NPR they're focusing on hope and hospitality in dark times. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Anandita Bhalerao contributed.

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

Suzanne Nuyen