Up First briefing: Biden impeachment inquiry; Libya flood; ineffective decongestants
Today's top stories
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced a formal impeachment inquiry into President Biden yesterday. McCarthy said Biden "used his official office to coordinate with Hunter Biden's business partners about Hunter's role in Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company." The White House called the action "extreme politics at its worst."
- There's almost no chance the investigation ends with a conviction, NPR's Susan Davis says on Up First today. Senate Republicans like Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Mitt Romney have expressed skepticism. Davis says McCarthy's announcement doesn't make him look "particularly strong" at this moment." How he navigates the impeachment inquiry and potential government shutdown will dominate the Capitol in the following weeks.
Russia's Vladimir Putin and North Korea's Kim Jong Un met today in Vladivostok, where Putin gave Kim a tour of his country's space launch facility.
- NPR's Charles Maynes says the setting was "really designed to impress" and was of special interest since North Korea recently failed to launch its satellites. Maynes adds the timing of the meeting is clearly tied to Ukraine and Russia's wider conflict with the West.
Check your medicine cabinets ahead of cold and flu season. A panel of FDA advisers concluded yesterday that phenylephrine, a key ingredient in dozens of cold and allergy medicines, doesn't work. Phenylephrine can be found in many popular over-the-counter medications, including Sudafed, Benadryl and Nyquil.
- The idea that phenylephrine doesn't work isn't new, says NPR's Allison Aubrey. Studies in 2015 revealed its ineffectiveness. Laws passed in the early 2000s aimed at combating methamphetamine use pushed products using pseudo-ephedrine behind the counter because the ingredient could be used to make meth. So, over-the-counter medications had to be reformulated.
Thousands are dead, and thousands are feared missing after catastrophic floods across eastern Libya from Storm Daniel. The storm ruptured dams and submerged entire neighborhoods.
- Anas El Gomati, the director of a Libyan think tank, got a picture of the devastation from residents inside Derna city. He tells NPR's Ruth Sherlock that the scale of the disaster is "epic" and unlike anything Libya has seen in modern history. Sherlock reports it's taken days for help to reach the worst affected areas.
From our hosts
This essay was written by A Martínez. He 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.
If you ever get a chance to speak to actor Matthew McConaughey, I challenge you NOT to be charmed by his positivity.
I'll admit I was skeptical because writing a children's book seems to be something celebrities do because they know their fan base will probably buy in. The cover caught the eyes of my soon-to-be 10-year-old granddaughter, so I figured: Why not have a child read this new children's book first and get her thoughts on it?
She had not only thoughts but also questions — lots of them — and we spent some time talking about them, which made me realize before I even had the chance to read it that McConaughey's book accomplished what it set out to do: Get kids and their grown-ups talking.
OK, McConaughey, you win this one.
Oh, and about that charming positivity I mentioned earlier: McConaughey has three kids aged 15, 13 and 10. It was clear that he loves being a father, so when I asked him what a Grandpa Matthew might be like one day, I could HEAR the grin spread across his face when he said in his famous Texas drawl: "Oh I got chicken skin when you said it."
OK, McConaughey, you win again.
Dan Buettner's new Netflix documentary, Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones, looks at five communities across the world where people live longer than average — without intentionally setting out to do so. NPR's Allison Aubrey interviewed Buettner, watched his series and read his book to learn more about which specific habit swaps can lead to longer lives. Here are a few of her takeaways:
- Trade the La-Z-Boy for a mat and a garden: Build more movement into your everyday routine and spend more time sitting on the floor than on a sofa.
- Ditch DoorDash and eat like a peasant: The pillars of the blue zones' diets are whole grains, vegetables, greens, beans and tubers.
- Revamp your social media: Curate your feed so you're seeing content from people who share your interests and inspire you.
- Swap your afternoon espresso for a nap: Science shows a 20-minute nap can make up for an hour of lost sleep.
- Trade big-city rents for an affordable home: Easier said than done, but worth considering, especially if you're a young adult looking to put down roots.
3 things to know before you go
- Roughly 2.2 million liters of red wine flooded the streets of a small town in Portugal this weekend after two tanks at a nearby distillery ruptured. The "river of wine" was caught on video.
- Apple unveiled its newest iPhone yesterday. But Apple haters looking for a more minimalistic phone might want to try the Nothing Phone.
- In the nearly two weeks since convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante escaped prison, he's skirted authorities, stolen a van and rifle and been spotted on a doorbell camera. Here's what authorities say it takes to search for a fugitive.
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