HomeTravelUp First briefing: holiday travel records; migrant crisis in California desert

Up First briefing: holiday travel records; migrant crisis in California desert


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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 news

If you’re traveling to see family this week, brace yourselves. Millions of Americans are expected on the roads and in the skies. The holiday rush will put an already stressed aviation system to the test.

  • A safety review commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reveals major concerns about a shortage of air traffic controllers, NPR’s Joel Rose says on Up First. Though the FAA administrator says the agency is taking steps to hire more controllers, Rose says there are no quick fixes, and the current hiring rate is barely keeping up with retirement. 

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made a surprise visit to Ukraine this week to reemphasize how the U.S. is still committed to the country for the long haul. His trip comes at a critical time for Ukraine as officials brace themselves for a tough winter.

  • NPR’s Nathan Rott says Russia made “a concerted effort” to make life miserable for people last winter by attacking power plants, heating facilities and electrical infrastructure. Neither Russia nor Ukraine made significant territorial gains in the past year. Soldiers in the Donetsk region tell Rott they’re tired and understand the war isn’t ending anytime soon.

A humanitarian crisis is brewing on the outskirts of Jacumba, Calif., a community near the U.S.-Mexico border. Hundreds of migrants have been placed in informal, open-air camps in the area after crossing the border and turning themselves in to Border Patrol.

  • After visiting the camps, NPR’s Jasmine Garsd describes conditions like “a scene out of a refugee camp,” but with no infrastructure or official humanitarian aid. Locals volunteer to provide basic supplies and first aid. Garsd says because official asylum processes can take months, some migrants are desperate enough to cross the border and hope for the best.

The Qatar-based political leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, said early this morning that Hamas officials are approaching a “truce agreement” with Israel. The deal is expected to involve a temporary cease-fire and the release of some of the roughly 240 hostages taken from Israel during the Oct. 7 armed attacks in exchange for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Check out npr.org/mideastupdates for more coverage, differing views and analysis of this conflict.

Today’s listen

/ April Laissle/NPR


April Laissle/NPR

Louise Vincent has used street drugs since she was 13. She has emerged as a leading voice trying to humanize and help people who use drugs as they face the most devastating overdose crisis in U.S. history.

Louise Vincent began using drugs at the age of 13 and has never been able to live sober long-term. She’s become a leading voice in the U.S., pushing to end stigma against drug users who aren’t willing or able to get sober. Her philosophy of “harm reduction” is controversial and often faces opposition from politicians.

Listen to Vincent explain the research behind how complex addiction can be, or read the story here.

Life advice

In Lan Lam's recipe, the turkey is cooked in a preheated roasting pan placed on top of a preheated pizza stone or pizza steel to deliver more heat to the legs and thighs. "By the time the breasts hit 160 degrees, the legs are done and you don't have to go in and do much to the turkey," she says.

/ America’s Test Kitchen


America’s Test Kitchen

In Lan Lam’s recipe, the turkey is cooked in a preheated roasting pan placed on top of a preheated pizza stone or pizza steel to deliver more heat to the legs and thighs. “By the time the breasts hit 160 degrees, the legs are done and you don’t have to go in and do much to the turkey,” she says.

Which Thanksgiving dish are you in charge of this year? Don’t be too intimidated if you’re responsible for the turkey. Lan Lam, a chef and senior editor at Cooks Illustrated, has cooked more than 500 of them. Here are her secrets to a juicy, tender roast, as well as a foolproof turkey recipe.

  • Buy a 10- to 12-pound turkey to feed 8-10 people with leftovers. If you have a bigger party, buy more turkeys — not a bigger one.
  • Allow enough time to thaw and season the bird. It will need a day in the fridge for every four to five pounds of meat and six hours to two days to season.
  • Get it in the oven early. Turkey takes 3 1/2 to 4 hours to cook. 

3 things to know before you go

An enlarged replica of a block of four rare United States airmail error stamps, known as the Inverted Jenny plate block.

/ Spencer Platt/Getty Images


Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An enlarged replica of a block of four rare United States airmail error stamps, known as the Inverted Jenny plate block.

  1. No, your eyes aren’t lying. These stamps are printed upside down. The history and intrigue behind this sheet of misprinted stamps earned it $2 million at auction. 
  2. Biologist Isabella Muratore studies how army ants use collective intelligence to create bridges with their bodies in order to overcome obstacles and collect food. Her findings could help engineers create self-assembling robots.
  3. Talk about a dream job! At the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Dairy Research, this team of researchers taste cheese for a living. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

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