Up First briefing: Hawaii fire damage repair could take years; how to see the Perseids
Today's top stories
Officials say it could take years to repair the wildfire damage in Hawaii. Gov. Josh Green said that the fires were the "greatest emergency we've seen in decades" and warned the death toll would continue to rise. At least 55 people have died. Satellite images before and after the fires show the extent of the destruction.
The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to review a controversial bankruptcy deal involving Oxycontin manufacturer Purdue Pharma and the Sackler Family. The deal would have allowed members of the Sackler family — who are not bankrupt — to pay a $6 billion settlement in exchange for immunity from future opioid lawsuits. Until Justices hear arguments in December, opioid victims won't receive settlements from the deal.
Four Iranian American dual citizens held in Iran's infamous Evin Prison were transferred to house arrest in a hotel yesterday as negotiations for their return continue. A fifth American, who was already on house arrest, is included in the negotiations. Their freedom will be granted in exchange for Iranians held in the U.S. and the release of roughly $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds, according to several people familiar with the deal.
From our hosts
This essay is written by Sarah McCammon, who is guest hosting Morning Edition this week. She is a national political correspondent and co-host of the NPR Politics Podcast. Her work focuses on political, social and cultural divides in America, including abortion policy and the intersections of politics and religion.
In another hopeful sign for Democrats who believe abortion will drive their voters to the polls next year, Ohioans this week rejected a Republican-led effort to make it harder to change their state constitution. That proposal would have raised the threshold for voters to approve an amendment protecting abortion rights that's slated to be on the November ballot.
Abortion rights supporters were encouraged by success at the ballot box last year when voters chose to protect abortion rights in several states – including traditionally conservative states like Kansas and Kentucky.
When I was in Kentucky reporting on this issue last year, I spent time with abortion rights supporters in Louisville last year as they talked with voters. I heard some of them framing the debate in terms designed to appeal to undecided voters who might have misgivings about abortion while worrying that new restrictions were going too far. One woman cited her own medically complex pregnancy.
That kind of messaging is unsatisfying for some abortion rights advocates who argue that focusing on exceptions for situations like rape, incest, or medical emergencies exacerbates stigma and ignores the limitations of those exceptions. But it may be an effective approach in states where advocates see ballot measures as a powerful tool for pushing back against anti-abortion legislation — particularly when those laws are not aligned with public opinion.
The vote in Ohio seems likely to bolster that strategy.
Check out what NPR is watching, reading and listening to this weekend:
Movies: Randall Park's comedy Shortcomings follows Ben, who has to face insecurities tied to his Asian American identity when he and his girlfriend take a hiatus from their relationship. The film has a lot to say about interracial dating and intraracial conflict.
TV: Oh, to be young and in love. To my fellow softhearted people: catch up on Netflix's Heartstopper for your teenage queer rom-com fix.
Books: Oscar-winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis has a new book out. Curtis says the climate crisis inspired Mother Nature, an eco-horror screenplay adapted into a graphic novel.
Music: Today marks hip-hop's 50th birthday. NPR music's playlist charts the genre's history and impact across more than a dozen cities.
Quiz: I hope this week's newsletters have prepared you well for the NPR news quiz. Good luck out there!
3 things to know before you go
This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.
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