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TikTok faces its biggest threat yet; Earth Day tips for sustainable living

The latest effort in Congress to force TikTok to be sold is the most serious threat yet to the app's future in the U.S.
Michael Dwyer
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AP
The latest effort in Congress to force TikTok to be sold is the most serious threat yet to the app's future in the U.S.

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 stories

TikTok is facing its biggest threat yet in the U.S. The House on Saturday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would ban the social media app if its China-based owner, ByteDance, does not sell it within a year. The Senate could vote on the bill as soon as tomorrow. The last time the House tried to pass a sell-or-be-banned bill, it didn't pass in the Senate. But this time, the ban is attached to a large package of aid to Israel and Ukraine. It also addresses concerns from some members of the Senate by extending the deadline for TikTok to find a buyer.

  • NPR's Bobby Allyn tells Up First that ByteDance will face two major complications in trying to sell TikTok: its price and algorithm. One of the most popular apps in the world will be extremely expensive. And, China has said it will not approve the selling of TikTok's algorithm. "To buy a social media app without the algorithm is like buying Coca-Cola without its secret recipe," Allyn says. "Who would want that?" 


The Supreme Court will hear a major homelessness case today that questions whether people can be punished for sleeping outside if there's no shelter available. The court's decision could have a big impact on the more than 250,000 people in the U.S. living in tens and cars — and the cities struggling to manage them.

  • Today's case centers on the small city of Grants Pass, Ore., which has a population of just under 40,000 and is a symbol of just how widespread the problem has become. An appeals court in cases from Grants Pass and Boise, Idaho, ruled that fining people for sleeping outside if they have nowhere else to go amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment," NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports. Officials in these states say rules are needed to keep public spaces safe and open to everyone. A lawyer opposing the rule argues that punishing someone for something they have no control over will only make things worse because it's harder to find housing if you have a criminal record.


Europe is heating up twice as quickly as the global average, and that heat is killing large numbers of people in the summer months, according to a new report by European climate experts. The number of heat-related deaths on the continent has increased by at least 30% in the last two decades, the analysis by Europe's Copernicus Climate Change Service and the United Nations estimates. But there's also good news in the new report: Europe is increasingly turning to solar and wind for its electricity, and those sources of energy are increasingly reliable. Read about the factors driving Europe's rapid warming and what governments are doing about it.

Life advice

Malte Mueller / Getty Images/fStop
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Getty Images/fStop

There's a lot going on with the Earth these days. And while we know that individual actions can only get us so far in combating climate change, they can help tip the scales toward progress. Here's your Earth Day reminder of things you can do to live more sustainably:

  • Cut back on meat. You don't have to go vegan — a little goes a long way. When you eat seafood, try to make sure it's local or fish pole- or line-caught.
  • Wear your clothes for as long as you can. Try to think beyond trends and become a more mindful shopper.
  • Freeze your produce to make it last longer and avoid waste. You can even freeze food scraps to take to your local compost collector.
  • Take note of how much plastic you use, then try to cut back.
  • Switch to clean energy and climate-friendly appliances like induction stoves.
  • Use your voice and your vote. Let companies and your representatives know that climate is a top priority for you.

Picture show

Although matzo sold in supermarkets is typically square, the round matzo is believed to be the earliest form of this unleavened bread that is eaten during the Passover holiday as a symbol of both suffering and freedom.
Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Although matzo sold in supermarkets is typically square, the round matzo is believed to be the earliest form of this unleavened bread that is eaten during the Passover holiday as a symbol of both suffering and freedom.

As the sun sets tonight, Jewish people around the world mark the beginning of Passover. The festival commemorates the ancient Jewish exodus from slavery in Egypt and begins with a meal called a Passover Seder, during which a piece of matzo is broken in two. The flat, unleavened bread is a reminder of how the Jews in Egypt fled so abruptly that they didn't have time to let their bread rise. In Jewish tradition, matzo is called the bread of affliction — and freedom.

  • Around the world, bread — and the lack thereof — plays an important role in many conflict zones and humanitarian crises. See photos of people from Israel, Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan and more and read about what bread symbolizes for them. 

3 things to know before you go

<em>Ask Dalí</em> at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., allows visitors talk to the famous surrealist artist via an AI-generated version of his voice.
/ Martin Pagh Ludvigsen/Goodby Silverstein & Partners
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Martin Pagh Ludvigsen/Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Ask Dalí at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla., allows visitors talk to the famous surrealist artist via an AI-generated version of his voice.

  1. A new AI art installation inspired by Salvador Dalí's famous lobster phone sculpture will let visitors pick up the crustacean-shaped receiver, ask a question, and hear the surrealist artist's response.
  2. Cher, Dave Matthews Band and Ozzy Osbourne are among this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. See the full list here.
  3. A U.S. Navy sailor who previously served in Japan has been convicted of attempted espionage and other related charges.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Anandita Bhaleraocontributed.

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

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