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At NATO, Biden aims to prove doubters wrong. And, should minors buy zero-proof drinks?

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

In his speech to world leaders at the opening of the annual NATO summit, President Biden sought to reassure the alliance that it is as strong as it's ever been. His address comes as the president remains under pressure to show he still has what it takes for a second term.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Tuesday, July 9, in Washington.
Evan Vucci / AP
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AP
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the 75th anniversary of NATO at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, Tuesday, July 9, in Washington.

  • 🎧 The substance of Biden's speech, in which he emphasized a bipartisan commitment to the alliance, was "music to the ears of NATO leaders, NPR's Mara Liasson tells Up First. The president also announced plans to supply new air defenses to Ukraine. She reports that many European leaders are very nervous heading into the 2024 U.S. election, which "represents an existential moment for NATO." The U.S. wields "tremendous executive power when it comes to foreign policy," and Liasson says the contrast between Biden and Trump couldn't be clearer. Whereas Biden considers strengthening NATO part of his legacy, Trump has shown a consistent antipathy toward the alliance.


A growing number of tech companies are making artificial intelligence weapons that they claim will change how the U.S. and its allies wage war. Palmer Luckey heads one of these businesses? He became a billionaire in his early 20s after selling his Oculus VR headset to Facebook. Now, his company, Anduril, sells AI weapons to the Pentagon, which keeps some for itself and sends some to Ukraine. Seven years after starting, Anduril says it’s selling its weapons to about 10 countries worldwide. Anduril's drones can be programmed before takeoff to search for Russian targets, circumventing Russian electronic jamming signals. But the technology has raised questions about who would be responsible if something goes wrong.

Ozempic and similar drugs have been in short supply for people with Type 2 diabetes over the last 18 months, as people use it for off-label weight loss. For someone with the disease, missing doses can lead to uncontrolled blood sugar that can snowball into other issues, such as kidney and eye complications. Ro, a telehealth company, built a free online tool to help patients report shortages of the drugs. Every few seconds, the map lights up, showing a prescription couldn’t be filled.Zach Reitano, the company’s CEO, says within two weeks of its launch, the tracker received 35,000 reports of shortages.

  • ➡️ Ozempic, Wegovy and similar drugs are weekly shots that help the body produce insulin. Here's how the diabetes medicine turned into a blockbuster diet drug.

Today's Listen

Bun Lee / Getty Images
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Getty Images

One of the most important things to pack on a road trip is a great playlist. Morning Edition hosts Steve Inskeep and Leila Fadel talk about what they like to listen to on their long journeys, especially as Inskeep plans for his family trip around the Midwest. From Arabic music to today’s hits and podcasts, the duo covers a vast variety to blast in the car.

Deep Dive

Louisiana's Republican governor, Jeff Landry, called the state’s nonpartisan primary system a “relic of the past" and was behind an effort to change primary elections for certain offices.
Michael Johnson/Pool/The Advocate / AP
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AP/Pool/The Advocate
Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry speaks during the start of the special session in the House Chamber on Jan. 15, 2024, in Baton Rouge. Civil rights attorneys say a new Louisiana law that makes it a crime to approach within 25 feet of a police officer under certain circumstances is an affront to the movement for racial justice and violates the First Amendment. Critics have said the law signed this week by Republican Gov. Jeff Landry could hinder the public’s ability to film officers. (Michael Johnson/The Advocate via AP, Pool, File)

In recent years, many states have opened their primary elections, making them nonpartisan. In these states, independent or unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in primaries leading into the 2024 election. But some Republican-led states are moving in the opposite direction. Here's their reasoning and the potential impact of these changes:

  • ➡️ Louisiana's Republican Gov. Jeff Landry says a closed primary — which only allows registered party members to vote — would result in a "stronger, more unified team of elected leaders."
  • ➡️ Lawmakers in Wyoming say some voters are taking advantage of a law that allows them to register to vote on Election Day by casting ballots in GOP primaries and switching their party affiliation ahead of the general election. Lawmakers passed legislation preventing voters from changing their affiliation up to three months before an election.
  • ➡️ Some critics, like Democratic Louisiana state Sen. Jay Luneau, worry closed primaries will push out moderate candidates and make his state's politics more extreme.
  • ➡️ Closed primaries could have a long-term electoral cost for the GOP, which could grow its market share by welcoming independents, according to Nick Troiano, who leads a venture fund that invests in nonpartisan electoral reforms. But in the short term, he says it could lead to what Republicans want: candidates who are more partisan and won’t do things like vote to impeach Trump.

Before You Go

  1. A herd of 100 life-size sculptures of Indian elephants will travel across the U.S. this year. The moving art exhibition aims to spread awareness about conservation efforts. Check here to see if it's coming to your city.
  2. The non-alcoholic beer, wine and mocktail industry has grown steadily in recent years. Now, some health researchers are calling for clear, consistent age limits for who can purchase them, citing the risk that they can be an entry product to alcohol use.
  3. Actor Jay Johnston, known for his roles in Arrested Development, Bob’s Burgers and other comedies, has pleaded guilty to a felony charge over hisrole in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-WaheidiBrittney Melton contributed. 

Copyright 2024 NPR

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Suzanne Nuyen
[Copyright 2024 NPR]