Up First briefing: New House speaker search; wind-powered cargo ships

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Today’s top news

Republicans are scrambling to find a new House speaker after House members voted Kevin McCarthy out of the role on Tuesday. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan are seeking the post. Rep. Kevin Hern, who chairs the Republican Study Committee, may also run but hasn’t publicly announced his candidacy.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is running for speaker of the House, a race that will have a significant impact on the future of the Republican Party and the governing ability of Congress.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images


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Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images


Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is running for speaker of the House, a race that will have a significant impact on the future of the Republican Party and the governing ability of Congress.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

  • It’s unclear if House Republicans like their options because it will be a secret ballot election, NPR’s Deirdre Walsh says on Up First. She adds there’s “concern about avoiding another messy fight,” like in January when it took four days and 15 votes to elect McCarthy.
  • Meanwhile, North Carolina GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry is serving as speaker pro tempore, making him interim House Speaker. The 10-term congressman gained prominence during this year’s debt ceiling and government shutdown negotiations. Read about the man handpicked by McCarthy to lead if the speaker seat is vacant.

More than 2,500 migrants have died or gone missing while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe this year, according to the U.N. Many boats sink without a trace, which means the actual death toll is likely even higher.

  • NPR’s Ruth Sherlock is on a search and rescue boat with Doctors Without Borders, or MSF. They’re watching for migrants in distress off the Tunisian coast. She says staff there have rescued hundreds of people. They tell her the ship acts as “an ambulance for people in need,” but their efforts are “politically difficult.”

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors noticed a connection between COVID-19 infections and cardiovascular issues — especially among those with preexisting conditions. Now, researchers have found that the virus that causes COVID-19 can infect plaque cells in the arteries and cause inflammation, increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. The good news? Vaccination can cut the risk.

  • More than 75,000 workers at Kaiser Permanente hospitals walked off the job yesterday in what unions are calling the biggest health care strike in U.S. history. They aim to pressure their employer to address a staffing shortage. Kaiser, which serves nearly 13 million patients, warned that non-emergency and elective services may be rescheduled.

Climate solutions week

Pyxis Ocean sets sail in August on its first voyage since being retrofitted with WindWings.

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Cargill


Pyxis Ocean sets sail in August on its first voyage since being retrofitted with WindWings.

Cargill

NPR is dedicating this entire week to stories and conversations about the search for climate solutions.

Climate change concerns are prompting a new look at an old technology that could once again harness wind to propel commercial cargo ships — this time with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cargo ships equipped with massive rigid sails called WindWings could save a substantial amount of fuel, considering how much of the world’s goods are transported by sea.

Check out all of NPR’s Climate Solutions Week stories, including how student activists are pushing back against big polluters — and winning.

Life advice

Two hands hold an open book up against a bright blue sky.

Jerome Tisne/Getty Images

Two hands hold an open book up against a bright blue sky.

Jerome Tisne/Getty Images

Trying to get out of a reading rut? Traci Thomas, host of the book podcast The Stacks, shares her tips for finding your next great read with Life Kit.

  • Pick a book cover that speaks to you. A lot of people worked hard to make sure it accurately represents the book!
  • Trust yourself, not Oprah. Just because it was on a bestseller list doesn’t mean it’s for you.
  • Take a hint from your other interests. What kind of movies have you been in the mood for?
  • Ask for recommendations. Browse through the front tables of your local bookstore, or talk to a librarian.

3 things to know before you go

President Biden’s dog Commander sits on the Truman Balcony at the White House on Sept. 30, 2023. The German shepherd is not staying at the White House at the moment after a series of biting incidents.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images


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Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images


President Biden’s dog Commander sits on the Truman Balcony at the White House on Sept. 30, 2023. The German shepherd is not staying at the White House at the moment after a series of biting incidents.

Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

  1. President Biden’s dog Commander is no longer staying at the White House after he bit another Secret Service officer last week. I still think he’s a good boy!
  2. In 2016, Renee was struggling to leave a bad relationship. When her boyfriend snapped at her at the airport, an unsung hero stepped in. His kind gesture reminded Renee that she was worthy of compassion.
  3. A woman is suing Walt Disney Parks and Resorts after she says she suffered a wedgie and severe “gynecologic injuries” while going down the Typhoon Lagoon water park’s fastest, tallest slide.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi. Arielle Retting and Anandita Bhalerao contributed.