© 2024 South Carolina Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
South Carolina Public Radio's offices will be closed Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. Our local news and programming will return Tuesday, May 28.

Biden warns he'll halt Israel weapons shipments; the Kendrick and Drake beef explained

President Biden is seen at the White House on May 2. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Biden said he would halt some weapons shipments to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a full invasion of Rafah.
Kevin Dietsch
/
Getty Images
President Biden is seen at the White House on May 2. In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Biden said he would halt some weapons shipments to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a full invasion of Rafah.

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

President Biden says he will halt the shipment of weapons to Israel if it proceeds with a major ground invasion of Rafah. "I'm not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities — that deal with that problem," Biden told CNN during an interview yesterday. His comments mark a shift, as the president has previously shown unwavering support for Israel's war on Hamas despite domestic and international concerns over the civilian deaths and destruction in Gaza.

  • NPR's Jackie Northam is reporting from Tel Aviv, where she says the reaction to Biden's comments range from anger to a sense that Israel has been abandoned. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu now faces pressure on multiple fronts: from the U.S. to avoid a major ground invasion, from the right-wing members of his government to go into Rafah, and from the families of Israeli hostages to reach a cease-fire and hostage release deal.
  • Israel has vowed for months it would launch a military operation in Rafah, regardless of whether a cease-fire happens. Here's a timeline of events leading up to this moment.


Republican lawmakers have turned their attention in their fight against antisemitism from college campuses to K-12 public schools. Yesterday, members of the House Education Committee questioned the leaders of three school districts on how they handled recent incidents at their campuses that some lawmakers say have made Jewish students feel unsafe.

  • The school district leaders pushed back on Republican lawmakers in the hearing. NPR's Cory Turner says Republicans "didn't score any political points this time," compared to when they questioned university presidents a few months ago. All three educators acknowledged that antisemitic incidents have happened and reassured lawmakers they have taken action in response.


The Taliban has affirmed that stoning and public flogging would be used as a punishment for adulterers — especially women — according to an audio recording from Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban's supreme leader. The statement was broadcast on Afghanistan's state radio and television networks in March. The call for stoning is controversial and contested among Islamic scholars. Sarah Eltantawi, an associate professor of modern Islam at Fordham University, says there's no justification in the Quran for singling out women for this punishment. Here's how some scholars interpret what Islamic law says about the matter.

We, the voters

Police arrest an alleged thief, not shown, on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, New York. The neighborhood has seen a jump in robbery over the past year. Many residents blame migrants, but this suspect was American.
Martin Kaste / NPR
/
NPR
Police arrest an alleged thief, not shown, on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, New York. The neighborhood has seen a jump in robbery over the past year. Many residents blame migrants, but this suspect was American.

As part of the We, The Voters series, NPR is bringing you stories this week about immigration with some reporting from the U.S.-Mexico border.

The flow of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, many of whom are seeking asylum, has overwhelmed the federal government's ability to hear their cases. This and other immigration-related issues have become a focus of the election, with some Republican candidates raising alarm about a migrant crime wave. National statistics show violent crime is trending down even as migration is up. But FBI statistics don't include immigration status, so it's impossible to tell how immigrants may be affecting crime rates.

NPR spoke with more than 20 people along a commercial strip on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, New York, who say their impression is that crime has gone up in the last year. Listen to their observations and frustrations, or read their stories here.

Deep dive

Kendrick Lamar performs during the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2023 and Drake performs during day two of Lollapalooza Chile 2023. Last week, the two rappers' long-running feud exploded in a flurry of diss tracks.<a href="https://www.gettyimages.com/license/1515117715?adppopup=true"></a>
/ Jesse Wensing/ANP/AFP and Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images
/
Jesse Wensing/ANP/AFP and Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images
Kendrick Lamar performs during the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2023 and Drake performs during day two of Lollapalooza Chile 2023. Last week, the two rappers' long-running feud exploded in a flurry of diss tracks.

The feud between rap icons Kendrick Lamar and Drake boiled over this past weekend as the two rap stars dropped diss tracks at breakneck speed. NPR Music editor Sheldon Pearce explains why "Drake fatigue" is real and analyzes how the current rap climate mirrors our political one. Listen to the diss tracks and read his thoughts here.

  • The bad blood between the two rappers goes back more than a decade. It was reignited after Kendrick came for Drake in a verse in the song "Like That" in March.
  • In April, Drake responds with "Push Ups." In it, he implies all of Kendrick's accomplishments have been merely to spite him.
  • On the same day, Drake also released "Taylor Made Freestyle," in which he used voice filters of Tupac and Snoop Dogg to goad Kendrick into responding. The Tupac estate had the song removed on social platforms.
  • Kendrick responds with the venomous "Euphoria" two weeks later. Kendrick paints Drake as a master manipulator and taunts him with a list of everything Drake does that irritates him.
  • In "Family Matters," Drake attacks Kendrick's activist reputation and accuses him of abusing his partner. NPR's Sheldon Pearce says the track demonstrates the peak of Drake's narrative power.
  • Kendrick then released "Meet the Grahams" and "Not Like Us" within hours of each other. The songs address Drake's parents, his son, and a daughter he suggests Drake is neglecting. They also highlight Drake's questionable relationships with underage girls.
  • Pearce says it was "impossible to bounce back" from Kendrick's last two songs. Drake's "The Heart Part 6" was "foiled and defensive." 

3 things to know before you go

A Victorinox Swiss Army knife is displayed during Baselworld on March 16, 2016 in Basel, Switzerland.
Harold Cunningham / Getty Images
/
Getty Images
A Victorinox Swiss Army knife is displayed during Baselworld on March 16, 2016 in Basel, Switzerland.

  1. The maker of the Swiss Army Knife plans to offer pocket tools without blades. The company says rising violence in parts of the world has prompted governments to enact stricter laws about what types of blades people can carry in public. 
  2. OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, says it's exploring how to "responsibly" allow users to make AI-generated porn and other explicit content. 
  3. Shohei Ohtani's former interpreter is expected to plead guilty for allegedly stealing more than $16 million from the Dodgers star to pay off gambling debts. (via LAist)

This newsletter was edited by Erika Aguilar.

Copyright 2024 NPR