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Up First briefing: U.N. and climate change; UAW strike Day 4; Barrymore pauses show

Thousands of activists, indigenous groups, students and others take to the streets of New York for the March to End Fossil Fuels protest on Sunday, Sept. 17, in New York.
Spencer Platt
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Getty Images
Thousands of activists, indigenous groups, students and others take to the streets of New York for the March to End Fossil Fuels protest on Sunday, Sept. 17, in New York.

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

Climate change will be one of the top agenda items this week as world leaders gather in New York for the annual U.N. General Assembly. Tens of thousands of people rallied through the city yesterday ahead of the event. Many of them called on President Biden to move away from fossil fuels.

  • U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres will host a new event, the Climate Ambition Summit, this week. He asked countries to come with credible commitments to get on track to slash greenhouse gas emissions. NPR's Rachel Waldholz tells Up First that we've already "locked in" on a certain amount of warming, but we need to cut global emissions to zero to avoid things getting worse, and we're not currently on track to reach those targets.
  • Meanwhile, on the West Coast, the state of California filed a lawsuit against oil giants including Exxon Mobil, Shell and BP. The suit claims the companies misled the public about climate change and the dangers of fossil fuels.
  • Climate change is a top issue for young voters but lags behind other issues, according to polls. Here's why environmental activists think this is changing. 


The auto workers' strike enters its fourth day today. Three manufacturing plants have shut down in Missouri, Ohio and Michigan in the first-ever strike against Ford, General Motors and Stellantis at the same time. Here's how the strike could have ripple effects across the economy.

  • Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton is on the picket line in Michigan. She says workers there are "resolute and fairly defiant." She reports the union has lowered its initial demand of a 40% wage increase over four years to the mid-30s. But it's still a big gap from Ford and GM's counteroffer of 20%.
  • Shawn Fain, the United Auto Workers union president, has been in office for fewer than six months. Samilton says he "got more applause than Bernie Sanders" at a Detroit rally last Friday. Read about his family's long history with the auto industry.


Drew Barrymore, who drew criticism for taping new episodes of her daytime talk show despite the ongoing writers' and actors' strikes, now says she will postpone the upcoming season until after the Hollywood writers' and actors' strikes. The Talk and Jennifer Hudson's show will also go on pause.

  • Barrymore wasn't the only talk show host to resume filming. But NPR's Mandalit del Barco says attention was on Barrymore because she made very public announcements, has been famous almost her whole life and "comes from Hollywood royalty."


Rescuers pulled American explorer Mark Dickey out of Turkey's Morca cave last Tuesday, more than a week after he became seriously ill due to stomach bleeding, thousands of feet below the entrance. Nearly 200 people participated in the rescue efforts. Dickey was in the cave to continue work from a Turkish expedition from last year.

  • On Morning Edition today, Dickey says he's getting better every day and he's ready to go caving again. He adds that as far as he knows, the illness wasn't related to the cave or caving. He says while caves can "exude a lot of fear for people," he finds them "very straightforward" and believes they're a great place to "push your limits and grow your endurance." 

I'm really into

Bagels on display at Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan.
Stan Honda / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Bagels on display at Katz's Delicatessen in Manhattan.

NPR's Emma Bowman used to be worried that her plain-Jane bagel order meant she had boring taste buds. But now, she writes in praise of the plain bagel, which she calls a "litmus test for the quality of an establishment." In a world of Instagrammable food maximalism, Bowman stays true to her love of the unadulterated carb.

What are you really into? Fill out this form or leave us a voice note at 800-329-4273, and part of your submission may be featured online or on the radio.

Today's listen

Andy Buchanan / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images

2020 was a catastrophic year for Peng Haitao. His father died of pneumonia during the COVID lockdown in Wuhan, China. His son died in childbirth a few months later. When Peng came across a melancholic piano song called "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," his emotions flooded out. He taught himself to play it and performed in public to help others process their pain. Peng talks to All Things Considered about how sorrow connects people.

3 things to know before you go

The James Webb Space Telescope captured an image of a newborn star that reveals what Earth's sun may have looked like when it was only a few tens of thousands of years old.
/ ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, T. Ray (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies)
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ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, T. Ray (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies)
The James Webb Space Telescope captured an image of a newborn star that reveals what Earth's sun may have looked like when it was only a few tens of thousands of years old.

  1. Have you ever wondered what our sun might have looked like as a baby star? A new image captured by the James Webb telescope shows the newborn star Herbig-Haro 211, which will eventually grow into a star like our sun.
  2. A joint investigation by British media The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4 accused actor and comedian Russell Brand of sexual assault, rape and emotional abuse. Brand released a statement last Friday denying the allegations.
  3. Jann Wenner, the founder of Rolling Stone magazine, has apologized and was removed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation board after saying that Black and female musicians weren't "articulate" enough to be in his book. 

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

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