Up First briefing: Congress averts shutdown again; DOJ report details Uvalde failures

Up First briefing: Congress averts shutdown again; DOJ report details Uvalde failures

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Today’s top stories

Congress passed another stopgap spending bill to fund the government through early March and avert a government shutdown — just one day before money would have run out. It now heads to President Biden for a signature.

The Senate has approved a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded until early March. The House is set to vote on the measure later today.

Catie Dull/NPR


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Catie Dull/NPR

The Senate has approved a short-term spending bill to keep the government funded until early March. The House is set to vote on the measure later today.

Catie Dull/NPR

  • For a long time, “compromise was the name of the game” in politics, NPR’s Eric McDaniel tells Up First. But McDaniel says that over the last 15 years or so, there’s been a growing number of Republicans who would rather shut down the government than compromise on policies they feel are insufficiently conservative. With a wafer-thin Republican majority, this anti-compromise faction holds a lot of influence. As Congress works towards separate deals for immigration and Ukraine aid, McDaniel says it’s fair to “anticipate a stunningly unproductive year in terms of legislation.” 

The Justice Department has released a new report detailing the “cascading failures of leadership, decision-making, tactics, policy and training” that contributed to law enforcement’s response to the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen children and two teachers died. The report reveals the most significant failure was the officers’ failure to classify the incident as an active shooter scenario and do everything possible to stop the threat. Instead, they treated the attack as a barricaded subject scenario, where police are encouraged to negotiate.

  • Sergio Martínez-Beltrán, who reports for the NPR network’s Texas Newsroom, is in Uvalde, where he speaks with parents who lost loved ones. He says while the report hasn’t delivered closure for the victims’ families, many say it’s a good step toward accountability. The families are again calling on lawmakers to improve police training and pass gun control laws to prevent the next tragedy. 

A few hundred Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv last night to call for a ceasefire in Gaza and peace with Palestinians as the war between Hamas and Israel continues. Their demonstration coincided with a press conference where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he informed the United States that he opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state as part of any postwar scenario.

  •  NPR’s Aya Batrawy spoke to demonstrators as they played drums and held up anti-war signs. Many told her they grieve for the Israelis killed by Hamas and the more than 100 hostages still held in Gaza, as well as the Palestinians who have been killed and displaced by Israel’s military offensive. “My people did it. My government did it. It’s my responsibility,” one protester said. “This is why I stand here.”

Picture show

Three days before the start of the Miss Trans Global pageant, Chedino takes a break from sewing her national costume by going for a walk in the Riverside Nature Reserve in Guildford, U.K., on July 28, 2023.

Julia Gunther


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Julia Gunther

Three days before the start of the Miss Trans Global pageant, Chedino takes a break from sewing her national costume by going for a walk in the Riverside Nature Reserve in Guildford, U.K., on July 28, 2023.

Julia Gunther

Last year, NPR covered South African trans activist Chedino Martin’s inspiring journey from being abandoned as a baby to winning the Miss Trans Africa pageant in 2022. Martin founded the Miss Calendar Girl pageant, which became a platform for change in South Africa. She recently left South Africa for the first time to compete in an international pageant.

See behind-the-scenes photos of the extravagant gowns of Miss Trans Global 2023 and read about Martin’s competition experience.

Weekend picks

Le Phong Vu plays Thien, a young man looking for answers in the Vietnamese countryside.

Cercamon


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Cercamon

Le Phong Vu plays Thien, a young man looking for answers in the Vietnamese countryside.

Cercamon

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

Movies: Critic Justin Chang says if there’s one film you see in theaters right now, it’s Pham Thien An’s Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell. The transfixing drama’s gorgeous images and hypnotic rhythms will quietly transport you to another world.

TV: AppleTV+’s Criminal Record pits two smart, driven London cops against each other in a rivalry that goes beyond the personal to address questions about the ethics and politics of police work.

Books: Joe Sacco’s graphic novel Palestine didn’t get much attention 30 years ago. It’s now gaining interest due to the war in Israel and Gaza. The memoir recounts his experiences in Gaza and the West Bank.

Music: NPR Music’s Anamaria Sayre and Tom Huizenga discuss their current musical obsessions on All Songs Considered. Hear everything from Philip Glass’s solo piano to the garage punk of Sprints.

Games: Ubisoft and Nintendo’s first games of the year are here. Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown brings a new format to an old series, while Another Code: Recollection updates a forgotten franchise.

Quiz: Careful readers of this week’s news quiz should get at least a 10/11. Can you beat my score?

3 things to know before you go

This sign seen in 2020 in Carmel, Indiana along with several others throughout the state, displayed humorous messages for May the Fourth.

Michael Conroy/AP


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Michael Conroy/AP

This sign seen in 2020 in Carmel, Indiana along with several others throughout the state, displayed humorous messages for May the Fourth.

Michael Conroy/AP

  1. It’s the end of the road for those funny highway signs that remind you to slow down and use your seatbelt. The Federal Highway Administration wants states to phase them out because it could take longer for drivers to process the meaning behind the puns and pop culture references.
  2. The ability to measure your blood oxygen is no longer available on Apple Watch Series 9 and Watch Ultra 2 models following a legal setback in its patent dispute with medical technology company Masimo Corp. 
  3. Only 3% of people still wear suits to work, according to a Gallup poll. At a Maine school, students buck the trend and get spiffed up for “Dapper Wednesdays.” The tradition was inspired by a classmate who started wearing suits in first grade.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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Suzanne Nuyen