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What to know about Iran's strike on Israel; Jury selection begins for Trump trial

Israeli Iron Dome air defense systems launch to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel on Sunday.
Tomer Neuberg
/
AP
Israeli Iron Dome air defense systems launch to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in central Israel on Sunday.

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

Iran sent more than 300 drones and ballistic missiles toward Israel on Saturday. Nearly all of them were intercepted by Israel and its allies, including the U.S., the U.K. and France. Iran says the strikes were in retaliation for a suspected Israeli airstrike that killed top Iranian officers at an Iranian consulate in Syria. No deaths have been reported. Here's what to know about Iran's unprecedented attack.

  • "This is not the shadow war anymore," NPR's Daniel Estrin, who is in Tel Aviv, tells Up First. "This is not Iran hiding behind proxy groups in Yemen or Lebanon." He adds that Israel sees this first-ever declared attack from Iran as an escalation. Estrin reports the question now is how Israel will respond. Some officials he spoke to say they want a strong military response. Others see a diplomatic opportunity to build a strategic alliance in the region and even end the war in Gaza.
  • U.S. officials say President Biden has told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. will provide "ironclad" support to help Israel defend itself but will not take part in offensive operations against Iran, NPR's Greg Myre reports from Washington. Myre says the U.S. would prefer Israel to see this as a "very successful operation" that proves Israel can defend itself with help from its allies, and it should consider de-escalation.
  • The House of Representatives is shifting its schedule this week to consider legislation supporting Israel in light of Iran's attack.


For the first time in American history, a former president is going on trial as a criminal defendant.Jury selection starts today in New York City for Donald Trump's hush money trial. At the center of the trial are payments Trump's then-attorney, Michael Cohen, made in 2016 to adult film star Stormy Daniels to prevent her from speaking about an alleged affair with Trump. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 out of his own pocket. The former president's criminal charges stem from how he reimbursed Cohen. Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony charges and says he'll take the stand.

From our hosts

NPR's Michel Martin interviewing filmmaker Kyra Knox about gun violence in Philadelphia on March 26.
HJ Mai / NPR
/
NPR
NPR's Michel Martin interviewing filmmaker Kyra Knox about gun violence in Philadelphia on March 26.

This essay was written by Michel Martin, Morning Edition and Up First host.

As part of the We, The Voters series, NPR is bringing you stories of gun violence and its impact on communities all week.

What does it mean to live in a place wracked by gun violence?

A lot of tears.

That might seem obvious... but I've been doing this work a long time and it's rare to go report a story and have just about everyone you interview — men and women — cry at some point or have to compose themselves. This happened back in 2018 when we took a team to Puerto Rico a year after that devastating hurricane to report on how the territory was recovering —or not.

You'd be going along, asking people how they were and what they were up to, when at some point their eyes would fill and they'd look away. Every time.

It happened again a few weeks ago when we were traveling around Pennsylvania reporting on how gun violence is affecting people's lives and also our political conversations in this election year.

We went to a bunch of places: Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg. We talked to all kinds of people. Once again, you'd be talking to someone –a political leader, a teacher, a filmmaker, a mom, a dad, a coach---and they'd say, oh, yeah, my oldest daughter, my best friend, my son, my nephew, my neighbor, my cousin—was shot, was murdered, was hit in a drive by, took his own life – with a gun.

Guns are woven into the fabric of American life. And they are woven into the fabric of American death. We have a snapshot of how people are thinking about that in a big and consequential state that has played an outsized role in our nation's politics and may do so again. Through tears.

Picture show

Scientists Carly Biedul, Bonnie Baxter and Heidi Hoven look for migratory birds on the eerily dry south shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
Lindsay D'Addato / for NPR
/
for NPR
Scientists Carly Biedul, Bonnie Baxter and Heidi Hoven look for migratory birds on the eerily dry south shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

Utah's Great Salt Lake, the largest saline lake in the Western Hemisphere, reached peak water levels in the 1980s. Since then, it has steadily dried up to an alarming level — a process accelerated by megadrought and climate change. The lake is also home to a lively ecosystem for migratory birds. A team of biologists has been tracking these contradictions as state leaders start paying attention and taking action.

See photos of the lake and biologists at work.

3 things to know before you go

Conan O'Brien eats a chicken wing during his Hot Ones interview.
/ Hot Ones/Screenshot by NPR
/
Hot Ones/Screenshot by NPR
Conan O'Brien eats a chicken wing during his Hot Ones interview.

  1. Is Conan O'Brien the best Hot Ones guest ever? NPR's Glen Weldon breaks down O'Brien's viral appearance on the popular YouTube series, which features celebrities interviewed while they consume increasingly spicy chicken wings.
  2. After Twitch streamer Kitboga realized people were taking advantage of his grandma, he decided to fight back by scamming the scammers
  3. Kirsty Paterson's portrayal of a sad-looking Oompa Loompa at Scotland's disastrous Willy Wonka Experience took the internet by storm. Now, she's in LA using her viral moment to raise money for a mental health charity.

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

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

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