Up First briefing: Extreme heat; pandemic fraud; Supreme Court election theory ruling
Today's top stories
A federal watchdog estimates that at least $200 billion of the $1.2 trillion federal aid given to businesses by the Small Business Administration during the pandemic was potentially fraudulent. The Office of the Inspector General claims in a new report that the rush to provide pandemic aid made it easier for scammers to get loans for non-existent businesses and have them forgiven.
The Supreme Court rejected the independent state legislature theory in a 6-3 ruling yesterday. Advocates of the theory want to give state legislatures ultimate authority over federal elections. The court's ruling means state courts and constitutions can protect voting rights.
After completing a visit to the detention center at U.S. naval station Guantánamo Bay, a U.N. investigator says prisoners still face "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment and that the site should be closed. The first official U.N. investigator to visit Guantánamo Bay, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, found "near-constant surveillance, forced cell extractions, [and] undue use of restraints" at the facility, where 30 men remain detained.
Despite more than a year of war in Ukraine, regular missile strikes and power outages, the party goes all night long at a basement club in Kharkiv. See photos of residents dancing the night away and shouting lyrics under flashing red, blue and green lights.
From our hosts
This essay was written by Michel Martin, Morning Edition's newest host. She's previously hosted Weekend All Things Considered, the Consider This Saturday podcast and Tell Me More.
As a little girl, I could think of few things more magical than being a ballerina. It's interesting because I don't think I saw a professional ballet until I was an adult. Television? Maybe...my family didn't always have a TV (don't ask, ok?).
That dream — sparkly tutus, glittering headpieces and twirling — is common for little girls.
But it is mostly a dream. Ballet training is expensive. Professional opportunities are few, especially for dancers of color. The classic "white ballets" (which refers to the costumes) are rooted in the white European aesthetic.
So imagine the radical notion of a Dance Theatre of Harlem: a school and company founded by Arthur Mitchell to train and showcase dancers of color, especially black dancers.
Virginia Johnson, one of the founding members, returned as Artistic Director after 28 years as a dancer to bring the company back from a years-long period of financial turmoil. Having achieved that, she is about to embark on a new adventure.
When we sat down at the company's rehearsal studios in New York, it took me a minute to shake off being starstruck. It was as if she came off the poster on my wall — which I still have as you can see!
But she was no diva. She was warm, kind and very much of this earth. Her message: Dance is human, ballet is for everyone, and so is the magic.
3 things to know before you go
This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.
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