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Up First briefing: Sudan's humanitarian crisis; Texas floating border; office jargon

Sudanese refugees settle temporarily in the town of Adré in Chad along the border of Sudan. Thousands have fled the fighting in Sudan seeking safety in Chad.
H.J. Mai/NPR
Sudanese refugees settle temporarily in the town of Adré in Chad along the border of Sudan. Thousands have fled the fighting in Sudan seeking safety in Chad.

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 humanitarian crisis is getting worse in Central Africa. The U.N. reports more than 400,000 have fled from Sudan into Chad due to the renewed violence this year. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, traveled to the border ahead of the General Assembly in New York. She announced sanctions against two leaders of the paramilitary group, the Rapid Support Forces, yesterday.

  • Morning Edition Host Michel Martin is in Chad with the ambassador to share with Up First what she's witnessed at the border so far. Thomas-Greenfield tells her, "There are days in life that will haunt you, and this is one of them." She spoke to a man who fled his home, who described people entering his home by gun and frightening the women.  


Yesterday, a federal judge in Austin ruled that Texas' floating border barrier in the Rio Grande made of buoys and sawblades was deployed without federal authorization and must be removed.

  • Lawyers for the state argued Texas is justified in taking a bigger role in immigration and border enforcement because of the threat of an "invasion" of illegal immigration and drug smuggling. NPR's Joel Rose says the judge didn't buy the argument and said the situation was something federal political branches should sort out.   


YouTuber and family vlogger Ruby Franke has been charged with six counts of felony child abuse, according to court documents. Franke and her business partner, Jodi Hildebrandt, were arrested last week after Franke's 12-year-old son climbed out a window to ask his neighbor for food and water. Franke rose to fame with her YouTube channel "8 Passengers," which documented her life as a mother of six children in Utah. It was taken down this year after growing criticism of her parenting techniques.

U.S. public health officials are warning of the growing threat of fake prescription pills. The share of deaths involving these pills more than doubled between mid-2019 and 2021, according to the CDC. Commonly faked drugs include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Xanax and Adderall — usually sold online and over social media.

From our hosts

Departing passengers roll their suitcases at the nearly deserted Ben Gurion airport in Lod, near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on May 13, 2021.
Gil Cohen-Magen / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Departing passengers roll their suitcases at the nearly deserted Ben Gurion airport in Lod, near the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv, on May 13, 2021.

This essay was written by Daniel Estrin. He is guest hosting Morning Edition and Up First this week. He is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem. He reported a deep dive into new travel freedoms for Palestinian Americans and Israelis.

My American passport zips me through Israel's international airport. It whizzes me through Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank. The same goes for American tourists and pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. And now, tens of thousands of Palestinian Americans can, too.

Israel updated its protocols a few weeks ago. If you have a U.S. passport and a West Bank ID, you will no longer be barred from the Tel Aviv airport, and you can go right through checkpoints and visit the Mediterranean Sea.

Why is this happening? The U.S. made Israel an offer: stop discriminating against Palestinian Americans at the border, and Israelis will get to visit the U.S. visa-free. The U.S. says it will decide by the end of the month whether Israel qualifies.

Not one Palestinian American I've spoken to is really celebrating. Millions of other Palestinians are denied the same rights. And if Israel gets visa-free travel to the U.S., they fear Israel will revoke these travel rights when the next security crisis comes around.

But I can't stop thinking about the stories I've heard from Palestinian Americans experiencing new freedoms that are second nature to me. 30-year-old Mohammed Manasrah, who sells candy on Amazon, told me he took a joy ride through every Israeli checkpoint he could.

Today's listen

A Preply survey found that American workers' least favorite corporate buzzwords include "new normal," "circle back," "win-win," "move the needle" and "think outside the box."
/ andresr/Getty Images
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andresr/Getty Images
A Preply survey found that American workers' least favorite corporate buzzwords include "new normal," "circle back," "win-win," "move the needle" and "think outside the box."

If you have the bandwidth, can we circle back and touch base on something that's been on my radar lately? If reading that sentence offended your eyes, you're not alone. A recent survey from Preply asked white-collar workers what the most annoying office jargon is — and "circling back" made the top of the list. Merriam-Webster's editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski explains why these workplace clichés are so irritating.

3 things to know before you go

Two American flamingos seen at a Zoo in Miami, in July 2016. Flamingos are native to Florida, but less than 1% of the world's population resides there after the birds were hunted to near extinction at the turn of the 20th century.
Wilfredo Lee / AP
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AP
Two American flamingos seen at a Zoo in Miami, in July 2016. Flamingos are native to Florida, but less than 1% of the world's population resides there after the birds were hunted to near extinction at the turn of the 20th century.

  1. Dozens of flamingo sightings have been reported across from Texas to Florida and as far north as Ohio. The birds are native to Florida and may have been transported far from home by Hurricane Idalia. 
  2. Alex Murdaugh, whose life was covered in the Netflix documentary The Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, is asking for a new trial over the murders of his wife and son. His attorneys allege a court clerk tampered with the jury that found him guilty.
  3. Emirati astronaut Sultan Alneyadi returned to Earth in a SpaceX capsule on Monday after six months aboard the International Space Station. He's the first person from the Middle East to conduct a space walk outside the ISS. Now, the United Arab Emirates' space program has its eyes set on Mars.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

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