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TikTok sues federal government over free speech; U.S. pauses an Israel bomb shipment

This photo provided by the Israel Defense Forces shows a tank with an Israel flag on it entering the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday.
AP
This photo provided by the Israel Defense Forces shows a tank with an Israel flag on it entering the Gazan side of the Rafah border crossing on Tuesday.

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

The U.S. paused a shipment of bombs to Israel last week over concerns they would be used in densely packed areas like Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians are taking refuge. The decision comes as the State Department is expected to release a legal review of Israel's conduct during the war and whether it has violated U.S. and international law.

  • Several other countries that export weapons to Israel are doing similar legal reviews, NPR's Lauren Frayer reports. These countries fear that they "could be complicit in any alleged war crimes" the weapons are used for — allegations Israel has vehemently denied. 


TikTok is suing the federal government over a new law that would ban the app next year unless its parent company, the China-based ByteDance, finds a non-Chinese buyer. The lawsuit alleges the ban is unconstitutional and amounts to an unprecedented suppression of free speech.

  • "History is on TikTok's side," NPR's Bobby Allyn says. It won twice in federal court when Trump tried to ban it and beat a statewide ban in Montana. Selling the app is possible but complicated. ByteDance says TikTok's algorithm isn't for sale, and without it, the app is like "a Lamborghini without its engine," Allyn says. Even if it were to sell the whole app, 90% of users are from outside the U.S., meaning the American investor-owned TikTok would compete with other TikToks worldwide. 


Adult film star Stormy Daniels took the stand yesterday at former President Donald Trump's New York hush money trial. She offered details about an alleged sexual encounter with the president in 2006 — an affair he has denied. Trump's defense team will continue cross-examining Daniels on Thursday. Trump faces 34 felony counts alleging he falsified business records to conceal damaging information during the 2016 election. Here's how Daniels fits into this case.

  • Daniels' story contained some contradictions over whether to come clean about the alleged affair or stay silent, reports NPR's Andrea Bernstein, who was at the trial. She tells Up First that Trump's lawyers have leaned into these contradictions — but they haven't been able to "undermine the essential elements of her story:" that Daniels had an encounter with Trump, agreed to keep quiet during the 2016 election for money, and felt the value of her silence was tied to the election.
  • Only people in the courtroom are allowed to see this trial unfold, and photography is off-limits. These courtroom sketch artists bring the case to life for the rest of us.

We, the voters

Yajaíra Peñaloza and Marion Aroujo pose with their children while waiting for their ride at the Casa Alitas shelter in Tucson, Ariz., on March 26.
/ Ash Ponders for NPR
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Ash Ponders for NPR
Yajaíra Peñaloza and Marion Aroujo pose with their children while waiting for their ride at the Casa Alitas shelter in Tucson, Ariz., on March 26.

As part of the We, The Voters series, NPR is bringing you stories about immigration reported from the U.S.-Mexico border all week.

Illegal immigration is at the heart of the debate at the U.S.-Mexico border. The issue is further complicated by the hundreds of thousands of people arriving at the border requesting asylum as permitted under U.S. law. The number of arrivals asking for protections has overwhelmed the system, though.

The science of siblings

/ Lily Padula for NPR
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Lily Padula for NPR

The Science of Siblings is a new series from NPR exploring the ways our siblings can influence us, from our money and our mental health all the way down to our very molecules.

Pop quiz: Do you know which planet is Earth's closest sibling? Many might think it's nearby Mars, but Venusians, as scientists who study Venus call themselves, would disagree. They like to refer to Venus as Earth's twin. Long ago, these three planets wouldn't have looked so different. So, how did Earth end up full of life, Mars cold, dry and dusty — and Venus as the hottest planet in the solar system? Scientists say size and location matter in the delicate balance of developing life on a planet.

Learn more about the Science of Siblings here, including why siblings — especially twins — tend to share the same weird quirks.

3 things to know before you go

An Eagle Scout Award is seen pinned to a uniform. After a lengthy sex-abuse scandal and bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts are changing their name to Scouting America.
David Ryder / Getty Images
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Getty Images
An Eagle Scout Award is seen pinned to a uniform. After a lengthy sex-abuse scandal and bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts are changing their name to Scouting America.

  1. The Boy Scouts are getting a rebrand. After years of a sex abuse scandal and a bankruptcy, the 114-year-old organization will change its name to Scouting America early next year. BSA President Roger Krone says the organization aims to make everyone feel welcome and wants the name to reflect that. 
  2. In 1997, Apryle Oswald was on a road trip when she lost control of her car and crashed. Multiple cars drove past the wreck until a stranger stopped and helped take her to the hospital. The unsung hero stayed around for days afterward. He inspires her always to stop when she sees someone who needs help on the road. 
  3. A new study reveals that sperm whales may have a more complex system of communication than researchers previously thought. Scientists found an alphabet-like pattern in the clicks they use to talk to each other.

This newsletter was edited by Obed Manuel.

Copyright 2024 NPR

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