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Israeli defense chief visits U.S.; 4 men charged in Moscow concert hall attack

Palestinian people with empty bowls wait for food at a donation point in Rafah. A report out this week shows widespread hunger and malnutrition in Gaza but stopped short of declaring it a "famine."
Abed Rahim Khatib
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Anadolu via Getty Images
Palestinian people with empty bowls wait for food at a donation point in Rafah. A report out this week shows widespread hunger and malnutrition in Gaza but stopped short of declaring it a "famine."

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Today's top stories

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is in Washington today to meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other senior officials. Gallant said he will discuss U.S. military aid. But some Democrats say Israel's actions may disqualify it from aid. Gallant's visit comes at a time of increasing tensions between the two allies about the next steps in the war and reducing civilian suffering in Gaza.

  • NPR's Jennifer Ludden brings the latest developments for Up First from Tel Aviv, reporting that Israel has been battling Hamas militants they claim have regrouped at al-Shifa hospital. Thousands of doctors, patients and civilians sheltering there have been caught in the fighting. Amber Alayyan, an American physician with Doctors Without Borders, says the surviving patients are "literally rotting." Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres repeated his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, calling the starvation there a "moral outrage" on his visit to the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza. 
  • Who decides the definition of a famine? An international committee said last week that 30% of Gaza's population is currently experiencing "catastrophic" levels of hunger. Here's what to know about what it takes to declare a famine, according to two experts who work with government officials and aid workers globally. 


Russia says it has arrested four men and charged them with terrorism in connection to an attack at a Russian concert hall in Moscow that killed more than 130 people last week. An affiliate of the Islamic State known as ISIS-K has claimed responsibility — a claim the U.S. agrees with. Russian President Vladimir Putin insists the assailants were captured while trying to flee to Ukraine.

  • "It seems the government is intent on channeling this grief," says NPR's Charles Maynes, who attended a memorial outside of the site of the tragedy over the weekend. All four assailants pleaded guilty. But Maynes says some may question their confessions as all four showed signs of severe beatings. He adds that the question now will be what happens in the court of public opinion and on the battlefield in Ukraine. 
  • What is the Islamic State Khorasan Province, or ISIS-K? Here's what to know about one of the most militant jihadist groups in the world that often mounts attacks against other Islamist groups. 


Former President Donald Trump is facing two legal battles today in New York City. Today is his deadline to pay a $454 billion penalty for his civil fraud trial. Though he's appealed the decision, he's still required to set the money aside. New York Attorney General Letitia James says she is ready to seize Trump's properties if he's unable to make the payment. A criminal court judge will also hold a hearing today to set a trial date for Trump's hush money case. The former president is accused of falsifying business documents and making payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels prior to the 2016 election to cover up an alleged affair.

Today's listen

A couple kisses while waiting for the start of a campaign rally with former President Donald Trump on March 9 in Rome, Ga.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A couple kisses while waiting for the start of a campaign rally with former President Donald Trump on March 9 in Rome, Ga.

Most of the news about Trump rallies concerns the controversial statements made by the former president himself. But who are his supporters, and what's it like from the inside? There are the Make America Great Again merch sellers. And then there are the Jan. 6 insurrectionists singing the national anthem. One supporter at a rally in Georgia compared it to being at a Phish rock concert.

Listen to NPR's Danielle Kurtzleben's experience inside a Trump rally, or read her account.

Picture show

Chef Joseph Lidgerwood prepares to cook beef over a wood fire at Evett restaurant in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 7.
/ Jun Michael Park for NPR
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Jun Michael Park for NPR
Chef Joseph Lidgerwood prepares to cook beef over a wood fire at Evett restaurant in Seoul, South Korea, Dec. 7.

Korean food is climbing the list of Michelin Star-awarded cuisines. While in Seoul, one chef is reinterpreting traditional Korean dishes, another kitchen in New York is leaning into the city's openness to new experiences and offering authentic Korean food that simply tastes good. South Korea's other cultural exports, like K-pop bands and TV series, have also increased Korean food's popularity — with support from its government.

See photos of Korean haute cuisine and read the story.

3 things to know before you go

Much like your bracket, the trendy upset pick Drake did not beat the odds.
Jamie Squire / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Much like your bracket, the trendy upset pick Drake did not beat the odds.

  1. Zero perfect brackets remain for the NCAA men's March Madness tournament. Should you have just picked all the top seeds? Take some of these takeaways into consideration next year. 
  2. Chick-fil-A will begin using antibiotics in its chicken again, reversing a 2014 decision to use none.
  3. Chris Rock, Chelsea Handler and Tiffany Haddish joined other comedians at the Kennedy Center last night to roast Kevin Hart as he received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Anandita Bhalerao contributed.

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

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