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Congress mulls another TikTok ban; An aid ship heads to Gaza as hunger worsens

Protesters of a House bill hold signs in support of TikTok at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
Anna Moneymaker
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Getty Images
Protesters of a House bill hold signs in support of TikTok at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. 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 House of Representatives is set to vote today on a bill that would either force TikTok to divest from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, or ban the popular platform from app stores in the United States. Supporters from both parties say the app shares user data with the Chinese government in what constitutes a national security threat, and has targeted journalists and interfered with elections. TikTok argues that the bill violates free speech and has launched a fierce lobbying campaign against it, which has seen lawmakers' offices flooded by calls from upset users.


The first aid ship is on its way to Gaza, more than five months into the war between Israel and Hamas. Open Arms — named after the Spanish aid organization that owns and runs it — departed from the Mediterranean island of Cyprus on Tuesday, pulling a barge loaded with nearly 200 tons of food from the U.S.-based nonprofit World Central Kitchen. The shipment comes as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza are starving and on the brink of famine, according to the United Nations.

  • The amount of food on board is the equivalent of what could be carried by about ten trucks, NPR's Jane Arraf reports from Amman, noting that thousands of trucks are backed up at Gaza's main border crossing as they await Israeli approval. Arraf says the operation is an important test of the sea route "and whether it can be scaled up to deliver a lot more aid." 


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

Trump and other right-wing figures are spreading baseless claims about undocumented immigrants voting by the millions. NPR acquired a memo circulated by attorney and former Trump adviser Cleta Mitchell that falsely implies undocumented immigrants are exploiting loopholes in the election system. NPR's Miles Parks reports that conspiracy theories about noncitizens voting have plagued U.S. politics for over a century, but could hold new power this year due to the increase in migrants at the southern U.S. border.

  • Parks tells Morning Edition that it's illegal for noncitizens to vote in federal elections, and numerous studies confirm that it "almost never happens." Some liberal cities, including Washington, D.C., have started allowing noncitizens to vote in local elections, prompting some Republican-led states to pass constitutional amendments banning such efforts.

Deep dive

Strength training is good for everyone, but women who train regularly get a significantly higher boost in longevity than men.
Gary Yeowell / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Strength training is good for everyone, but women who train regularly get a significantly higher boost in longevity than men.

Resistance training is especially beneficial for women, new research shows. Women who do strength exercises — whether with weight machines, resistance bands or bodyweight exercises — two to three days a week are more likely to live longer and have a lower risk of death from heart disease compared to those who do none, according to a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Here's how even a little can go a long way:

  • Strength training helps protect joints, while building muscle helps burn more calories in the long-term. It can also help control blood sugar by clearing glucose out of the bloodstream.

  • Muscle mass, a predictor of longevity, peaks in our 30s before declining. Strength training can slow down this decline, plus protect against injuries and falls. 

  • A growing body of evidence shows that strength training can also improve depressive symptoms and help keep anxiety at bay. 

  • The study findings fit with the federal government's recommendation that adults get a minimum of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise a week, with strength-based activities at least two days a week.

Picture show

Head Start teacher Stephanie Perez, 23, leads a classroom full of 2-year-olds on San Antonio College's campus.
/ Anthony Francis for NPR
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Anthony Francis for NPR
Head Start teacher Stephanie Perez, 23, leads a classroom full of 2-year-olds on San Antonio College's campus.

Nearly 4 million U.S. college students are raising kids while getting a degree, and more than a third of those attend community colleges. Many have incomes at or near the poverty line, which means they're eligible for federally-funded Head Start child care programs. But they may not know that or have a convenient way to access them. A new initiative from the Association of Community College Trustees and the National Head Start Association aims to bring more such facilities to campuses across the country — to the benefit of kids, parents and child care workers.

3 things to know before you go

Boeing 787 Dreamliners are built at the aviation company's North Charleston, S.C., assembly plant in 2023.
Juliette Michel / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Boeing 787 Dreamliners are built at the aviation company's North Charleston, S.C., assembly plant in 2023.

  1. Charleston, S.C., police are investigating the death of Boeing whistleblower John Barnett, whose body was found in a car in a hotel parking lot the day after he testified about safety issues he first raised in 2017. 
  2. "Love is Blind" is a hit reality show — but is the saying actually true? Psychologists unpack the factors that can lead to attraction
  3. A new statue of Kobe Bryant is apparently riddled with typos. It's not the first U.S. memorial to have been marred by misspellings

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2024 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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