Up First briefing: Concerns over Israel’s war strategy; long COVID origins

This briefing covers concerns over Israel’s war strategy, the potential origins of long COVID, and the nomination of a new House Speaker following weeks of chaos in the House.

Conflict update: Israel has intensified bombing of Gaza for over two weeks following Hamas attacks, with over 1,400 people killed and more than 6,000 casualties reported.
* U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has criticized Israel’s strategy as a violation of international humanitarian law, and fears are escalating over the possibility of the conflict spreading, including potential involvement of Iran.
* Violence has also increased in the occupied West Bank, with dozens of Palestinians being killed by Israeli settlers and the Israel Defense Forces since the Hamas attacks.
* NPR’s Tom Bowman notes on Up First that a significant concern is “you destroy Hamas, who governs Gaza?”

US Politics: Louisiana Rep. Mike Johnson has become the latest nominee for House Speaker after Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer dropped out of the race.
* House Republicans are expressing frustrations with the House’s inability to function effectively amidst three weeks of chaos.
* With a pending government shutdown, it remains uncertain whether Johnson can secure the House vote, with NPR’s Deirdre Walsh attributing the current state of uncertainties to this looming issue.

Legal action: Over 40 states have filed suit against Meta, accusing Facebook and Instagram’s parent company of deliberately designing addictive products harmful to teen mental health.
* Despite a doubled rate of teen depression between 2011 and 2021, Meta has yet to address the substance of the lawsuit. San Diego State University professor Jean Twenge suggests that an increase in social media use is the most fitting explanation for such mental health trends.

Long COVID research: Recent research suggests that low serotonin levels in the blood might predict persistent long COVID symptoms like brain fog, memory loss, and fatigue.
* The research highlights a potential issue with the absorption of the amino acid tryptophan, which plays a critical role in producing serotonin in the gut.
* It is suggested that lingering viral RNA could lead to inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract hampering tryptophan absorption and resulting in impaired brain activity due to low serotonin.
* Further research is required to fully understand this potential cause of long COVID symptoms, as this particular study was conducted on mice.

View original article on NPR

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