Up First Briefing: Republican Party Debate Takeaways; Hollywood Actors and Studios Reach Agreement

In the Republican debates last night, the dominant topics were the Israel-Hamas war, foreign policy, the economy, and abortion. There were only five candidates on the stage in Miami, with the main contest being between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Here are six takeaways from the discussion.

In one of the most memorable moments, Haley referred to businessman Vivek Ramaswami as a "mere dropout" after he accused her daughter of using TikTok. NPR's Domenico Montanaro said on Up First that this night is unlikely to change much for Republican voters, especially without the presence of former President Donald Trump: "It was like watching a NCAA tournament game with the 65th and 66th seeds trying to compete against the top team." Trump once again did not participate, opting instead to hold his own nearby rally. Just hours earlier, his daughter Ivanka testified in a civil fraud case in New York, becoming his last family member to do so and the first to undergo cross-examination by the defense.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the lowest approval ratings in the past two decades following the deadly Hamas attack. Some relatives of the hostages demand his resignation. Netanyahu told reporters, "The only one I intend to resign is Hamas."

NPR correspondent Lauren Frayer reports from Tel Aviv that in Israel, there is a widely held view—even among Netanyahu's critics—that war is a time for unity, not a change in leadership. Israeli bombings and ground battles have caused damage to nearly one-third of Gaza City, as shown by new satellite images.

Visit npr.org/mideastupdates for more detailed information, various perspectives, and analysis of this conflict.

This is reminiscent of the end of the Hollywood strikes after major studio heads agreed to a preliminary new three-year contract with SAG-AFTRA. The union has closed its picket lines, but it still needs to officially ratify what it calls a "billion-dollar blockbuster deal." According to the union, the agreement includes raising the minimum wage "above the established level," as well as other protective measures that its hundreds of thousands of members have been demanding since July.

Actors told NPR's Mandalit del Barco that they want to get back to work, although it's unclear how long it will take for production to resume.

The FDA has approved Zepbound, a new obesity drug for adults. Manufacturer Eli Lilly & Co. claims that the drug, which is set to be available in the US by the end of the year, delivers significant weight loss at a lower list price than the popular drug Wegovy. Like other obesity drugs, Zepbound has potential side effects and, depending on insurance, a high cost.

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