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Up First briefing: Consequences of a warming Earth; mediators try to extend Gaza truce

Brent Jones/NPR
Brent Jones/NPR

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Today's top stories

As world leaders gather for the annual United Nations climate change summit, known as the Conference of the Parties or COP28, in Dubai tomorrow, one number will be top of mind: 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). It's the amount countries have agreed to limit warming by the end of the century — an amount they're not on track to meet. These are the climate impacts the U.S. will see if warming goes beyond 1.5 degrees.

  • If countries keep burning fossil fuels at the same rate, NPR's Lauren Sommer reports on Up First that the earth will warm beyond 1.5 degrees sometime in the next decade. But Deepti Singh, an assistant professor at Washington State University, says we're not "destined to some catastrophic climate," and every fraction of a degree matters.
  • Meanwhile, President Biden will skip the summit and head to Pueblo, Colo., to focus on his domestic agenda and talk about investments in clean energy jobs. He's also expected to take swipes at right-wing Republicans like Rep. Lauren Boebert, who represents the district in Pueblo.

  • NPR's Deepa Shivaram speaks with Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. He says Democrats should be picking smart fights with extreme Republicans on issues like jobs, health care and the economy. The conflict in the Middle East is still top of mind. Some in Colorado are protesting to stop US aid to Israel, while others still support the President, as seen when his motorcade passed by.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken is heading back to the Middle East, where he's expected to press for more humanitarian aid for Gaza and help secure the release of hostages. His trip comes after a meeting with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, where Russia's war with Ukraine was at the top of the agenda.

  • In Brussels, leaders pledged to ramp up the production and delivery of weapons to Ukraine and talked about a pathway for Ukraine to join the organization, NPR's Michele Kelemen reports from NATO headquarters. In the West Bank and Israel, Blinken is expected to focus on expanding the hostage deal between Israel and Hamas.
  • Hamas is set to release more hostages today in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel as mediators try to extend the truce in Gaza for at least another 48 hours. Since Friday, Hamas has released 81 hostages, mostly Israeli nationals, while Israel has released 180 Palestinian prisoners. This is what we know about the hostages still held in Gaza. 
  • Here's what we know about Yahiya Sinwar, the Hamas leader believed to have led Hamas hostage negotiations in Gaza.
  • Check out for more coverage, differing views and analysis of this conflict.

    The average U.S. life expectancy is now 77.5, according to provisional 2022 data published by the CDC. It's the first time the number has risen in two years when the COVID-19 pandemic caused a sharp decline. Still, researchers say U.S. life expectancy lags far behind other wealthy countries.

    From our hosts

    NPR's A Martinez and Oprah Winfrey.
    / NPR

    A Martínez came to NPR in 2021 and is one of Morning Edition and Up First's hosts. He was previously the host of Take Two at LAist in Los Angeles.

    What does a billionaire know about how to find happiness?

    Oprah Winfrey has the money to BUY herself happiness, but it's not stopping her from searching for ways to find it.

    She co-wrote a book with Arthur Brooks titled Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier. I spoke to them about it, and they both agreed that finding happiness does not mean eliminating unhappiness from your life. That makes sense. How would you recognize the happy moments unless there are unhappy ones to compare them to? Oprah (yeah, we're on a first-name basis) calls it striving for happier-ness.

    It also lines up with something Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence 247 years ago: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    Notice that he had the foresight not to describe happiness as a right that can never be taken away. For some or most people, it might be impossible to achieve. But you should always have the right to try to find it...just like Oprah is. Listen to our conversation and watch it on Instagram.

    Deep dive

    Teresa Cox Bates and her husband John Bates, along with their children Eli, 10, Ava, 4, and Isaac, 6, at the Brookdale Family Care Center's clinic November 20, 2023. Kholood Eid for NPR
    / Kholood Eid for NPR
    Kholood Eid for NPR
    Teresa Cox Bates and her husband John Bates, along with their children Eli, 10, Ava, 4, and Isaac, 6, at the Brookdale Family Care Center's clinic November 20, 2023. Kholood Eid for NPR

    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) like housing instability can affect kids' brains and increase the risk of chronic diseases like obesity and depression. The cycle can continue when adults who've experienced trauma have kids of their own. The intervention program HealthySteps aims to help families with lower incomes break this cycle.

  • The program helps connect parents to stable housing and food.
  • Parents with a history of trauma may struggle to form loving bonds with their kids and are likely to use harsh parenting techniques they grew up with.
  • Studies show a secure attachment to parents based on a stable, nurturing relationship is key to childhood development.
  • 3 things to know before you go

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs has temporarily stepped down as chairman of Revolt, the TV network he co-founded, following several lawsuits accusing him of sexual abuse.
  • These travelers were getting ready to spend three years on a cruise around the world. Instead, they're now scrambling to find a new place to live after the cruise company Life at Sea canceled the excursion. 
  • When Calvin Lowe took his son to get dental surgery in 2006, he couldn't help but wonder what would happen if things went wrong. His surgeon became his unsung hero with some kind words: "Today, your son is my son."
  • This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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    Suzanne Nuyen