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Columbia students barricade themselves in campus building; China's EV vehicles

Demonstrators supporting Palestinians in Gaza barricade themselves inside Hamilton Hall, where the office of the dean is located, on April 30 in New York City.
Alex Kent
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Getty Images
Demonstrators supporting Palestinians in Gaza barricade themselves inside Hamilton Hall, where the office of the dean is located, on April 30 in New York City.

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

Student protesters at Columbia University have begun occupying at least one building this morning after the school gave them a deadline yesterday to leave their encampment by 2:00 p.m. or face suspension. The students say they won't leave until the school divests from investments in companies operating in Israel.

  • NPR's Brian Mann says "things changed fast" after he reported on Up First yesterday that both sides were working on de-escalation. One of the major groups that organized this protest said in a statement that their main encampment is peaceful and separate from the group of students occupying Hamilton Hall, but said the students' actions were "justified." As school graduations loom, Mann says universities nationwide are "really struggling" to end these protests without resorting to police force.


Charlotte, N.C., is mourning one of the deadliest days for law enforcement in the city's history. Three U.S. Marshals and a local police officer were shot and killed yesterday while serving a warrant for weapons charges. Another Marshall and three police officers were wounded. The suspect was also killed. (via WFAE)

  • In the last three decades, there have been two incidents where multiple officers were killed in North Carolina, Kenneth Lee with NPR network station WFAE in Charlotte reports. The city's police chief choked up as he described Joshua Eyer, one of the slain officers who was recently awarded Officer of the Month. An investigation is ongoing as police try to put together what happened and why.


A federal appeals court has ruled that state health insurance plans in West Virginia and North Carolina must cover gender-affirming care. In oral arguments, judges asked about procedures like mastectomies, which are covered for women enrolled in these state plans but not covered for transgender patients. Judge Roger Gregory, writing the majority opinion, called the denial of coverage "obviously discriminatory."

Today's listen

The Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, or Auto China 2024, in Beijing, China.
/ Stefen Chow
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Stefen Chow
The Beijing International Automotive Exhibition, or Auto China 2024, in Beijing, China.

NPR's Steve Inskeep recently attended this year's Beijing auto show, which he called "like the Super Bowl, except for cars." The latest electric vehicles were displayed there, spotlighting the newest front of competition between the U.S. and China. Steve spoke with Tu Le, who writes a newsletter called Sino Auto Insights.

Listen to why American carmakers will need to improve their game to compete with the global electric vehicle market.

Life advice

/ Photo illustration by Becky Harlan/Getty Images/NPR
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Photo illustration by Becky Harlan/Getty Images/NPR

In the U.S., many weddings occur between May and October, when the warmer, sunnier weather is ideal for outdoor ceremonies. My husband and I attended eight weddings during these months last year. We got married three months ago and have four more weddings to attend this year. If you find yourself in our shoes, this Dear Life Kit episode will help you navigate wedding etiquette as a guest, couple or parent.

  • Guests don't have to spend what the couple spent on them. The average person spends $120 on a gift.
  • Your plus-one shouldn't be expected to chip in for the gift. 
  • Couples should avoid telling guests how much they spent. It could make guests feel guilty.
  • The rule that the bride's family should pay for the wedding is outdated. Sit down with both families to decide who should be in charge of what.

3 things to know before you go

<em>Valentine's Mascara</em> by street artist Banksy, on the side of a house in Margate, England.
William Edwards / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Valentine's Mascara by street artist Banksy, on the side of a house in Margate, England.

  1. What happens when Banksy graces your property with one of his works? While some property owners try to turn a profit from the street artist's murals, others have carried the intense and costly responsibility of protecting them.
  2. The World Health Organization says its latest global measles numbers are "very concerning." The first several months of 2024 have seen nearly 100,000 measles cases. 
  3. Scientists have discovered a way to restore brain cells impaired by a life-threatening genetic disorder called Timothy syndrome. The approach may help researchers develop treatments for other genetic conditions, including the ones that cause schizophrenia, epilepsy and ADHD. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.