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Up First briefing: Hunter Biden plea deal; coup in Niger, remembering Sinead O'Connor

Hunter Biden is seen after a White House ceremony on July 7, 2022.
Susan Walsh
/
AP
Hunter Biden is seen after a White House ceremony on July 7, 2022.

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

A Delaware judge said yesterday she's not ready to accept a plea deal struck between Hunter Biden and the Justice Department over tax and gun charges. Judge Maryellen Noreika requested clarification on how much immunity the deal provides for Biden, who is also under a broader investigation related to his business dealings. As a result, Biden pleaded not guilty to the charges.

  • NPR's Deirdre Walsh reports on Up First this morning that Republicans are focused on allegations that Hunter Biden involved his father — who was then vice president — in his business dealings with foreign companies. Many on the far right called for an impeachment vote right after Joe Biden was elected president, but Walsh says more mainstream Republicans believe the House needs to build more evidence first. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat in the House Judiciary Committee, tells her there's no evidence linking the president to any wrongdoing, and the impeachment efforts are about politics and the 2024 election. 
  • Military officers in the West African nation of Niger removed the country's President and announced a coup on national television yesterday. The U.S. has condemned the coup. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he spoke to and affirmed U.S. support for President Mohamed Bazoum.

  • Niger is a key Western ally in a region where its neighbors have weakened or cut ties with the West. But despite military support from the U.S. and France, insecurity has gotten worse, according to NPR's Emmanuel Akinwotu. Like its neighbors, most people there live in poverty, and the country has been overwhelmed by Islamist insurgencies. Akinwotu explains that one challenge is that when the West isolates juntas that launch coups in this region, Russia has been there to exploit the situation, like it did in Mali.
  • New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced a new strategy in response to the unprecedented number of migrants and asylum seekers who have arrived in the city over the past year. Adams says the city will hand out flyers at the U.S-Mexico border to discourage people from coming to NYC, and single migrants can only stay in city shelters for 60 days.

  • A Columbia University immigration law professor tells NPR's Jasmine Garsd that the changes are "devastating," as the city has historically been a beacon for immigrants. Garsd says every migrant she spoke to just wants to work, but the soonest they can apply for a work permit is six months after applying for asylum — which could take years. This pushes migrants into an underground economy and puts them at risk of exploitation.
  • Sinead O'Connor, the Irish singer known for her intense voice and outspoken activism, has died at 56. Her recording of "Nothing Compares 2 U" was one of the biggest hits of the early 1990s. O'Connor's family announced the news with "great sadness." Her cause of death has not been made public.

  • Fans "cherished her singular voice and presence," says NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas. Though she was only 20 when she broke into the music scene, Tsioulcas says the "wisdom and depth in her voice immediately marked her as an old soul."
  • Deep dive

    <em>Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies</em> was recently nominated for two Emmys but it was canceled after one season and has been removed from Paramount+. Above, Tricia Fukuhara as Nancy Nakagawa, left, Marisa Davila as Jane Facciano, Cheyenne Wells as Olivia Valdovinos and Ari Notartomaso as Cynthia Zdunowski<em>.</em>
    Eduardo Araquel / Eduardo Araquel/Paramount+
    /
    Eduardo Araquel/Paramount+
    Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies was recently nominated for two Emmys but it was canceled after one season and has been removed from Paramount+. Above, Tricia Fukuhara as Nancy Nakagawa, left, Marisa Davila as Jane Facciano, Cheyenne Wells as Olivia Valdovinos and Ari Notartomaso as Cynthia Zdunowski.

    Streaming has been a major flashpoint in the ongoing Hollywood writers' and actors' strikes. But they aren't the only ones who say the current model isn't working for them.

  • Fans have complained that streamers like Netflix are canceling their favorite shows too soon, and sometimes taking them off the platforms altogether.
  • Writers say this leaves them with nothing to show for their hard work. They also have no negotiating power for future opportunities because streaming services don't share performance data, unlike TV ratings and box office numbers.
  • Streamers say they're also having a rough time. Disney CEO Bob Iger says they've realized much of their content wasn't driving subscription growth. Removing content also gives them a tax write-off.
  • Today's listen

    The Philip Glass Ensemble performing Music in Twelve Parts at the Idea Warehouse in 1975, with vocalist Joan La Barbara (far left).
    / The Museum of Modern Art/SCALA/Art Resource, N.Y.
    /
    The Museum of Modern Art/SCALA/Art Resource, N.Y.
    The Philip Glass Ensemble performing Music in Twelve Parts at the Idea Warehouse in 1975, with vocalist Joan La Barbara (far left).

    The word minimalism invokes clean, sparse spaces in shades of whites and beiges. But the minimalist movement also includes music. Fans find it hypnotic. Critics think it sounds like a needle stuck in a groove. William Robin and Kerry O'Brien are capturing stories about the genre in their new book, On Minimalism. Listen to some examples and decide for yourself.

    Lindsey Horan of USA celebrates after scoring her team's only goal against the Netherlands at the 2023 Women's World Cup group match on July 27, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand.
    Catherine Ivill / Getty Images
    /
    Getty Images
    Lindsey Horan of USA celebrates after scoring her team's only goal against the Netherlands at the 2023 Women's World Cup group match on July 27, 2023 in Wellington, New Zealand.

  • The highly anticipated Women's World Cup rematch between the U.S. and the Netherlands ended in a tie last night. Catch up on these three key moments.
  • Every year, more than 300,000 people are drawn to visit Guatemala's Lake Atitlán. Morning Edition's Lilly Quiroz traveled there and has an audio postcard from her trip to the "eternal spring country."
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 81, says he's "fine" after he abruptly stopped speaking at a press conference yesterday on Capitol Hill. He was briefly escorted away but returned to take questions.
  • This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

    Suzanne Nuyen
    [Copyright 2024 NPR]
    Anandita Bhalerao
    [Copyright 2024 NPR]
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