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Up First briefing: Humanitarian corridors in Gaza; Manchin's Senate seat up for grabs

Palestinians with foreign passports wait to cross the Rafah Border Gate into Egypt.
Anadolu Agency
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Anadolu via Getty Images
Palestinians with foreign passports wait to cross the Rafah Border Gate into Egypt.

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

Tens of thousands of people are fleeing Gaza City on foot, and Israel has agreed to allow civilians stuck in northern Gaza to move south for several hours each day in what the Israeli government is calling humanitarian corridors. Israel has held brief pauses throughout the week. The journey south is still arduous, NPR's Daniel Estrin tells Up First.

  • NPR producer Anas Baba reports from Gaza that people are holding white flags as they walk past dead bodies and Israeli tanks. Thirsty and panting with exhaustion, many tell him they don't know where they're going next
  • This agreement is not the cease-fire many have been calling for, or a humanitarian pause. Here's what those terms mean.


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

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin will not seek reelection next year, complicating Democrats' hopes of keeping their already-slim majority in the Senate. Manchin wielded significant influence on key legislation — and irked many people — in his party, as a moderate from a red state. His decision gives an advantage to Republicans seeking to flip that seat.

  • NPR's Dave Mistich reports from Morgantown that Manchin would have faced a tough reelection fight, with two strong Republican candidates already in the race. He says Manchin's departure is a big loss for Democrats in Republican-led West Virginia, which voted overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump in both elections.
  • There's reason for both Democrats and Republicans to worry about the 2024 elections, but it's still early days, says NPR's Domenico Montanaro.   


Migrant crossings along the U.S. southern border hit new highs this year, as did the number of displaced people worldwide. NPR's Jasmine Garsd spent time in Tijuana, Mexico this week speaking with people who are increasingly desperate while waiting for their immigration appointments. They include a Venezuelan medical student who has spent months living in Mexican shelters and a Russian medical specialist fleeing the war with his family.

  • Garsd tells Morning Edition that people are worried about finding lodging and work, and potentially facing xenophobia, once in the U.S. She says all the migrants she spoke with said "it can't be worse than where they come from." 

Today's listen

A 1497 woodcut printed in Strasburg, Germany, shows a man being de-loused.
Science & Society Picture Librar / SSPL via Getty Images
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SSPL via Getty Images
A 1497 woodcut printed in Strasburg, Germany, shows a man being de-loused.

Lice have been hitchhiking on our heads for so long that they've recorded human history in their DNA. "We can think of human lice as heirlooms of our past," says Marina Ascunce, a U.S. Department of Agriculture evolutionary geneticist. Her team just released a study revealing what lice can tell us about human migration to the Americas — and their research doesn't stop there. Listen to the story or read it here.

Weekend picks

Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi are Priscilla and Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola's new film.
/ A24
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A24
Cailee Spaeny and Jacob Elordi are Priscilla and Elvis Presley in Sofia Coppola's new film.

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

Movies: Sofia Coppola's Priscilla tells the story of one of America's most iconic couples, through the eyes of a teenage Priscilla Presley living with Elvis at Graceland.

TV: In the Australian Paramount+ series Colin from Accounts, a real-life husband and wife duo play two lonely strangers who bond after an accident leaves them with an injured dog and large veterinary bills.

Books: The Golden Screen: The Movies That Made Asian America is a collection of cultural commentary on the state of Asian American representation in media. Author Jeff Yang describes it as "sort of like a cheer out loud."

Music: Cher's first album of original material in a decade, "Christmas," is also her first holiday album. She spoke with NPR about her process, collaborators and that time she jumped a freight train as a child.

Games: Looking for a Thanksgiving group activity? WarioWare: Move It! will transform your family and friends into "squirming chaos imps," writes NPR's James Perkins Mastromarino.

Quiz: It's been a big week for politics and animals. You'll need to be up-to-date on both to ace the ever-tricky NPR news quiz.

3 things to know before you go

Singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman performs in Carhaix-Plouguer, France, in 2006.
Andre Durand / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman performs in Carhaix-Plouguer, France, in 2006.

  1. Tracy Chapman's 1988 folk anthem "Fast Car" was named Song of the Year at this week's Country Music Awards, making her the first Black artist to win the award
  2. Video chat site Omegle shuttered after more than a decade, with its creator acknowledging some people misused the platform to "commit unspeakably heinous crimes." 
  3. Laura Eshelman was going through a tough time when she snapped at a man who asked her for money on the street. His response moved her to tears.

This newsletter was edited by Olivia Hampton.

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

Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.
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