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Up First briefing: Gaza's post-war future; insect-borne disease

Have you been "whammed" yet this year?
Pete Still/Redferns
Have you been "whammed" yet this year?

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

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan is in Jerusalem to discuss the future of Gaza with Palestinian and Israeli leaders. The U.S., Israel and Palestinian and Gulf leaders disagree on who should be in charge of the Gaza Strip after the war.

People stand outside a mosque destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct.8, 2023. The Hamas militants broke out of the blockaded Gaza Strip and rampaged through nearby Israeli communities, taking captives, while Israel's retaliation strikes leveled buildings in Gaza. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)
Yousef Masoud / AP
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AP
People stand outside a mosque destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Oct.8, 2023. The Hamas militants broke out of the blockaded Gaza Strip and rampaged through nearby Israeli communities, taking captives, while Israel's retaliation strikes leveled buildings in Gaza. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

  • Discussions are focused on three things: reconstruction of Gaza after the war, security to ensure no more attacks on Israel, and who will govern day-today life, NPR's Daniel Estrin reports for Up First from Tel Aviv. The U.S. wants the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to gradually take over Gaza. Israel's leaders demand a different kind of Palestinian leadership in Gaza. They say those in charge in the West Bank, who have not condemned Hamas's attacks, cannot play a role.


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

About 100 prosecutors in Ohio violated standards meant to preserve a defendant's civil rights in criminal trials, an investigation by NPR and Columbia Journalism Investigations revealed. The report analyzed four years of state appellate court decisions and found a pattern of improper conduct including failing to disclose evidence or making inappropriate comments to the jury.

  • Though the investigation focused on Ohio, similar cases were found in other states, NPR's Cheryl W. Thompson says. She speaks to Bennett Gershman, a prosecutor who now teaches at Pace University Law School. Gershman says the pattern of misconduct NPR uncovered in Ohio is a "microcosm" of the criminal justice issues across the country.


Global public health experts warn that new mosquito- and tick-borne tropical viruses are coming to the U.S., and the country is unprepared to face the looming threat. This year, the U.S. had locally transmitted cases of malaria, Zika and dengue fever. Globalization and climate change have made insect-borne diseases spread more widely worldwide.

A 28-year-old man has been charged in connection with the fatal stabbing of Samantha Woll, a Jewish community leader in Detroit. Police said at a press conference that they believe Woll was killed during a break-in and the incident was not a case of overt antisemitism, as was initially feared. Woll was found dead outside her home two weeks after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks.

Picture show

On November 30, 2023, Kfarkila, Southern Lebanon, a heavily damaged house after an Israeli attack, near the border Wall that divides the village of KafrKila in south Lebanon from Israel Diego Ibarra Sánchez for NPR
Diego Ibarra Sánchez for NPR / Diego Ibarra Sánchez for NPR
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Diego Ibarra Sánchez for NPR
On November 30, 2023, Kfarkila, Southern Lebanon, a heavily damaged house after an Israeli attack, near the border Wall that divides the village of KafrKila in south Lebanon from Israel Diego Ibarra Sánchez for NPR

Since the war in Gaza began, residents living in a small farming village along the Israel-Lebanon border have been on the front lines of a parallel conflict. Their homes are often threatened by attacks between Israel and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militia. Photos show the destruction residents have faced from Israeli strikes as they tell NPR their stories.

Weekend picks

Timothée Chalamet stars as the iconic candyman in the new musical film <em>Wonka.</em>
/ Warner Bros. Pictures
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Warner Bros. Pictures
Timothée Chalamet stars as the iconic candyman in the new musical film Wonka.

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

Movies: The new musical film Wonka tells a less menacing story of Roald Dahl's iconic candyman. Timothée Chalamet portrays a younger Willy Wonka who comes to the big city with nothing and strikes it rich by dreaming big dreams.

TV: Tony Shalhoub returns after 15 years as Adrian Monk, a detective with OCD, for Mr. Monk's Last Case. NPR's David Bianculli says Schalhoub "nails the comedy in each scene while making room for some somber tones of loss and depression."

Books: Some books are meant to be admired as much as they are read. These four art books will make a great visual feast for your coffee table.

Music: Instead of a ranked list, NPR's best songs of 2023 will show up in a different order every time you load this page. Plus, the music team will handpick more song recommendations based on ones you like.

Games: In the VR game Asgard's Wrath 2, players will see epic set pieces and gigantic enemies. Gameplay is extremely varied, with opportunities for combat, puzzles, climbing, swinging and more.

Quiz: This week's quiz is getting festive. Make sure you've caught up on your holiday-related news before taking it.

3 things to know before you go

  1. Have you heard of the game "Whamageddon?" You've probably already lost it. The rules are simple: This month, avoid hearing the song "Last Christmas" by Wham for as long as you can.
  2. This year has brought us news about war, tragedy and controversies. But there's also been plenty of joy. From wild scientific discoveries to climate change wins, these are some of NPR's best stories to uplift you.
  3. Jury deliberations have begun for actor Jonathan Majors' assault trial. Majors is accused of attacking his now ex-girlfriend Grace Jabbari in the back of a car.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

Suzanne Nuyen