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Baltimore's Francis Scott Key Bridge collapses; SCOTUS takes on abortion pill case

Parts of the Francis Scott Key Bridge remain after a container ship collided with a support Tuesday, March 26, in Baltimore.
Steve Ruark
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AP
Parts of the Francis Scott Key Bridge remain after a container ship collided with a support Tuesday, March 26, in Baltimore.

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Today's top stories

A search and rescue operation is underway after the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed overnight. A large boat collided with the bridge, and multiple vehicles fell into the Patapsco River. Of the three interstate crossings into downtown Baltimore, this is the only bridge. It's a busy bridge often used by people traveling between New York City and Washington, D.C. Stay updated on this developing story with NPR's live blog.

  • "Be ready to see some things that are pretty shocking to us once the sun comes up," NPR network reporter Matt Bush reports from WYPR. The Baltimore City Fire Department's communications director said at least seven people fell into the water and called the collapse a "developing mass casualty event."


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled high-level talks in Washington after the U.S. abstained from a U.N. vote on a cease-fire resolution in Gaza, clearing the way for the measure to pass. An Israeli delegation had been set to travel to the U.S. to discuss Israel's planned military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The abstention was a sign of the growing rift between the two allies. The Biden administration says it is perplexed by Israel's objection to the U.N. resolution. ​​​​​​

  • NPR's Jennifer Ludden tells Up First that Gaza's death toll led to this moment. While most of the Israeli public supports the war, Ludden says there's been a shift in opinion in the U.S., especially among young people. An internal State Department memo obtained by NPR's Daniel Estrin said Israel faces a serious hit to its global reputation over its Gaza offensive. It also said the U.S. and Israel face a "major credibility problem."

  • Abortion is back at the Supreme Court today, as anti-abortion doctors challenge FDA regulations that make abortion pills more accessible. More than half of American women who choose to terminate a pregnancy do so with a two-drug combination that includes mifepristone — the drug at the heart of this case. The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine seeks to roll back the FDA's loosened restrictions on mifepristone. ​​​​​​
  • "There's more at stake than abortion rights," NPR's Nina Totenberg reports. "It's the entire structure of the FDA's regulatory power to approve drugs, continually evaluate their safety and lift restrictions found to be unnecessary." She says this system has until now been widely viewed as the gold standard of safety and innovation in the U.S. and abroad. 


Federal agents yesterday raided two homes linked to rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs — one in Los Angeles and one in Miami. Homeland Security Investigative officials did not clarify if Combs was a target of the raids. The purpose of the ongoing investigation is unclear. The 54-year-old rapper is subject to several lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct, rape and assault. One suit alleges he was the leader of a criminal enterprise that could qualify as a "widespread and dangerous criminal sex trafficking organization."

Life advice

When relaying the difficult news of a cancer diagnosis to kids, it's important to give them time to process the information, says Elizabeth Farrell, a clinical social worker at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
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When relaying the difficult news of a cancer diagnosis to kids, it's important to give them time to process the information, says Elizabeth Farrell, a clinical social worker at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Catherine, Princess of Wales, last week revealed she was undergoing cancer treatment in an emotional video. Many have speculated about her whereabouts since December. She explained she was focused on comforting and communicating with her young children. What does a reassuring conversation with a child about cancer look like? Health experts share their advice:

  • Have the conversation early, when there is likely to be a flurry of activity and doctor's visits at home.
  • Choose a safe space to talk, where the child can feel comfortable reacting the way they want to.
  • It's ok if you get emotional. But it's important that the child doesn't feel like they have to take care of their parents.


Read more advice on how to start a conversation about cancer with your children here.

From our hosts

This essay was written by Michel Martin, Morning Edition and Up First host.

You often hear people describe something or someone as "unforgettable." I can honestly tell you that, as a dancer, Alicia Graf Mack is. I first saw her perform two decades ago with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and later with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre after overcoming a debilitating autoimmune disease.

Alicia Graf Mack, dean and director of The Juilliard School's Dance Division (center), speaks with fourth-year dance students Kailei Sin (left) and Nyoka Wotorson (right) in between classes.
Tsering Bista / NPR
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NPR
Alicia Graf Mack, dean and director of The Juilliard School's Dance Division (center), speaks with fourth-year dance students Kailei Sin (left) and Nyoka Wotorson (right) in between classes.

There is something about her that I, as a non-critic, find hard to describe. So, I'll share a quote from The New York Times' John Rockwell from 2005:

"She has a face that can register joy and pain. Her body is lissome, almost lanky, though always in exquisite control. She has remarkable arms and hands, effortless extensions and wonderful feet.

"All I can add is that Alicia is tall, gorgeous, and you could not take your eyes off her. And it's a shame that there aren't more videos of her performances out there for you to see for yourselves. But what you can see is her impact on shaping future dancers.

In 2018, she became the first Black woman to lead Juilliard's dance division, introducing new styles and voice training, promoting self-care, and empowering students to pursue their passions regardless of gender or body type. I think her greatest attribute might be the breadth of her life experience: not only excelling in classical ballet and modern dance but also recovering from a major injury, earning a BA and MA, and building her own family.

She doesn't just dance. She nurtures resilient people. Who knows what they'll achieve? That's why you still can't take your eyes off her. Listen to our conversation.

3 things to know before you go

Months after Shohei Ohtani signed a huge deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason, the team fired his interpreter over gambling and theft allegations.
Harry How / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Months after Shohei Ohtani signed a huge deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the offseason, the team fired his interpreter over gambling and theft allegations.

  1. Baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani says he's "beyond shocked" by his now-fired interpreter's alleged involvement in theft and gambling
  2. Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and Threads, has begun rolling out a feature that limits the amount of political content you see from accounts you don't follow. Here's how you can find the option to undo it.
  3. Boeing's CEO, Dave Calhoun, will step down at the end of the year. Its board chairman, Larry Kellner, will not stand for re-election and the president of its commercial airplanes division, Stan Deal, will retire effective immediately.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

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