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Rachel Treisman

Up First briefing: Trump's booking; Biden in Maui; extreme weather explained

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

Former President Donald Trump says he will voluntarily turn himself in in Fulton County, Georgia on Thursday — the day after the first Republican primary debate, which he is skipping. The Republican National Committee confirmed on Monday that eight candidates qualified for the debate. While Trump leads the polls, he is not on that list. He is reportedly planning to sit for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead.

  • Trump is one of 19 people facing criminal charges in Georgia over their efforts to overturn its 2020 election results. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is giving them until noon ET Friday to turn themselves in to be booked, a process that will likely yield the first mug shot to come out of Trump's four arrests. The DA wants the trial to start in March 2024. 
The Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, Georgia, pictured on Thursday. (Christian Monterrosa/AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden visited Maui yesterday to view the widespread damage from the deadly wildfires and pledge federal support for its recovery, saying it will be there for "as long as it takes." He said the historic town of Lahaina should be rebuilt the way residents want it — but, as NPR's Jennifer Ludden tells Up First from Maui, many are concerned that longtime residents will lose land to developers. Maui, an expensive housing market to begin with, was experiencing a housing shortage even before the fires.

  • More than 1,900 displaced survivors are sheltering in hotels and Airbnbs. One family of four, staying in a one-bedroom unit, tells Ludden applying for aid online is hard because cell service remains so spotty, and they can't get around because they lost their bike and cars.

The BRICS group of emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — kicks off its annual summit today in Johannesburg. China's Xi Jinping will attend in person, while Russia's Vladimir Putin will join virtually — and the U.S. and Europe will be watching closely. Reporter Kate Bartlett tells Morning Edition from Johannesburg that there are two main issues on the agenda: the bloc's desire to move away from U.S. dollar dominance and its possible expansion to include more countries.

  • More than 40 countries have expressed interest in joining, from democracies like Argentina to autocracies like Iran. Bartlett says that number shows that "many Global South countries buy what BRICS is selling: an alternative to what they see as a U.S.-dominated, unequal global order."   

This summer has seen a relentless stream of extreme weather, from hurricanes to wildfires to heat waves — and climate change is making these intense events more common. The last nine years are the hottest nine years ever recorded on Earth, and those warmer temperatures are driving disasters, NPR climate reporter Rebecca Hersher explains.

  • She says there are things we can do to prevent and prepare for extreme weather, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to building more resilient infrastructure to making emergency plans that keep climate-driven weather in mind and look out for those most vulnerable.

From our hosts

A Martínez's visit to a Los Angeles grocery store before Tropical Storm Hilary reminded him of the early days of the pandemic. (A Martínez/NPR)

This essay was written by A Martínez. He came to NPR in 2021 and is one of Morning Edition and Up First's hosts. He was previously the host of Take Two at LAist in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles was not built to handle rain. Even a little bit causes all kinds of headaches. Some are just little annoyances such as even worse traffic than there normally is here, and others are way more serious like mudslides and flooding. All that is to say in LA, the mere threat of rain causes panic, so you can imagine what the first ever tropical storm warning in California's modern history sparked. Saturday at the grocery store was like the start of the pandemic in 2020. Shelves empty. People sweeping up bottled drinking water and produce as if the supply chain just snapped. Then on Sunday, I got so sucked in by the Hurricane Hilary hype that I stayed at home all day just staring out the window waiting for Noah's Ark to drift down my street. While it did rain a lot and shake a bit (there was an earthquake that I slept through) it turned out to be just a rare rainy day in LA which brought all the same aggravations that any other rainy day in LA would have. Except that some people are way over stocked with toilet paper.

Today's listen

Dr. Austin Dennard, center, stands between fellow plaintiffs, Dr. Damla Karsan, left, and Samantha Casiano, outside a courthouse in Austin where their case was heard on July 20. (Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images)

Dallas-based OB-GYN Dr. Austin Dennard is one of 13 women suing Texas over its abortion bans, arguing they're unclear when it comes to pregnancy complications. She's also pregnant. Dennard traveled to the East Coast for an abortion last summer after learning she was carrying a fetus with a fatal condition. Now she's awaiting both the birth of her third child and the next step in the legal battle. She says "putting it all out there in such a raw way" is difficult — but energizing, too. Read the story and listen to it here.

3 things to know before you go

Kevin Ford attributes his work ethic to his father who worked in the Air Force, as well as his mother who raised him and his six siblings. (Kevin Ford)
  1. Kevin Ford has never taken a sick day in his 20 years at Burger King, since they don't offer paid sick leave. After management rewarded him with a goody bag, outraged strangers on the internet raised over $400,000 for him
  2. Scientists captured footage of whales doing something surprising: exfoliating themselves on the ocean floor. They say "whale spas" can teach us about much more than skincare. 
  3. What happened to throwing flowers onstage at a concert? Musicians have been hit by books, drinks and even a cell phone in recent months — and one expert blames the pandemic

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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