Up First briefing: DeSantis ends presidential bid; tent shortage in Gaza
Today's tops stories
The New Hampshire primaries will take place tomorrow with one fewer candidate. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended his campaign yesterday and endorsed former President Donald Trump.
- NPR's Ashley Lopez notes on Up First that DeSantis' campaign is "particularly interesting to look at" because he was positioned as a "Trump-like character" but without the legal baggage. He would have had more support if Republican voters cared about Trump's legal issues and electability — but they don't.
- Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is now the only other major candidate in the Republican race. Independent and unaffiliated voters outnumber registered Republican voters in the state, and they're allowed to vote in the primary. Tomorrow could be Haley's best chance to keep her presidential campaign alive.
- As voters prepare to head to the primary, here are major questions answered, including why New Hampshire is important and — obviously — can anyone beat Trump?
Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that federally enshrined abortion rights, would have turned 51 today. Two years ago, the high court overturned its decision. Since then, voters have turned out at the state level nationwide to ensure abortion protections where they live. Vice President Kamala Harris kicks off a tour to talk about abortion in Wisconsin today as Democrats try to tap into voters' energy leading into the presidential election.
- In state-level elections last year, Democrats campaigning on protecting abortion rights were able to win back full control of the state legislature, NPR's Deepa Shivaram says. Biden and Harris want to tap into that momentum. A White House official tells Shivaram that Wisconsin represents "the chaos of what overturning Roe did to people's lives."
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi today led the consecration of Ram Janmabhoomi Mandir – a temple devoted to Lord Ram – in northern India's Ayodhya. It was a celebration for many Hindus — but the temple has controversial origins. It's built over the site of a historical mosque that was torn down 30 years ago by Hindu nationalists who believed it was the birthplace of Lord Ram.
- Thousands of people — mostly Muslims — were killed in the violence that ensued after the mosque was torn down, NPR's Diaa Hadid reports. Hindus were attacked in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh. Experts tell her the timing of the consecration is key. Though the temple isn't finished, it's expected to give a major boost to Modi's election campaign.
As the Israel-Gaza war continues for a fourth month, more than a million Palestinians are taking shelter in Rafah, Gaza's southernmost city. Many have fled violence for the fourth or fifth time. Demand for shelter and skyrocketing prices for materials have made finding even a tent difficult.
- Satellite imagery provided to NPR shows a rapid expansion of tent camps in Rafah since mid-December. Some locals say opportunists are taking advantage of the demand to jack up prices. Palestinians told NPR that some sell shelter materials to make money, while others do so out of necessity to afford food and water.
- Some badly needed tents are waiting on the other side of the Gaza border. They've been rejected at Israeli inspection points due to fears Hamas could use the metal poles to make weapons.
- Nighttime temperatures can dip into the 40s. Fresh water must be purchased, and there are no bathrooms. "These are not conditions meant for human beings," a U.N. spokesperson says.
- Israel's military response to the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks has left much of Gaza in ruins. The U.N. estimates that a fourth of Palestinians no longer have a home to return to.
Check out npr.org/mideastupdates for more coverage and analysis of this conflict.
When Lily Gladstone became the first Indigenous person to win a Golden Globe for best actress this year, she made a memorable speech in the Blackfeet language. Gladstone, who is mixed, thanked her mother Betty Peace-Gladstone, who is not Blackfeet but pushed heavily for the language to be taught in her classrooms.
Peace-Gladstone joins Morning Edition to discuss her daughter's achievements and the importance of language immersion in the preservation of family, community and culture.
3 things to know before you go
- The recent winter storms can make it hard to appreciate the beauty of seeing snow for the first time. Regain that wonder through listener and reader stories recounting their first time experiencing snow.
- Stanford's women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer has set an all-time record for most coaching wins in the history of college basketball — men's or women's.
- Billions of cicadas from two broods will emerge this April in what one entomologist is calling a "spectacular, macabre Mardi Gras."
This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.
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