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Up First briefing: Romney won't run again; prepare for hurricanes; immigration growth

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and other senators arrive at the chamber for votes at the U.S. Capitol on September 6.
J. Scott Applewhite
/
AP
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and other senators arrive at the chamber for votes at the U.S. Capitol on September 6.

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

Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney is not running for reelection in 2024. He cites his age and the current state of the Republican party as reasons for his departure, though in a video statement he said he's "not retiring from the fight."

  • On Up First today, NPR's Domenico Montanaro says Romney's belief in bipartisanship and the need to work with the other side to get things done is rare, particularly for Republicans. Romney believes that the next generation needs to address the problems, rather than boomers who have put in place a lot of these programs but haven't paid for a lot of them.


Newly disclosed evidence from a federal corruption trial in Chicago revealed a conflict of interest for Anita Dunn, a top Biden adviser. In 2018, her public relations firm SKDK partnered with anti-harassment charity Time's Up Legal Defense Fund and supported Alaina Hampton, who sued then-Democratic Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for retaliating against her when she reported harassment. At the same time, her firm was also providing "crisis communications" for Madigan.

  • NPR's Tom Dreisbach spoke to Hampton, who said she never would have worked with Dunn's firm if she knew it was also advising Madigan. SKDK initially defended its work but later apologized to Hampton. However, Hampton told Dreisbach the apology doesn't repair the damage done to her and the #MeToo movement.


Hurricane Lee heading toward the Atlantic Coast. The storm is expected to cause flooding and high winds in New England and parts of Canada Friday and through the weekend.

  • New Englanders are used to winter nor'easters that bring feet of snow — not hurricanes. NPR's Tovia Smith reports from Boston that conditions will be complicated because it's been one of the wettest summers New England has ever seen, which means the ground is already saturated.   Hurricanes can bring another danger that gets little attention: riptides. Here's what to know about them. 


The immigrant population in the U.S. reached a record high last year, according to a new estimate by the Census Bureau. Growth slowed sharply in recent years due to the pandemic and Trump administration policies. The renewed growth coincides with a gradual reboot of legal immigration like vetting refugees and processing visas, experts say.

  • Washington's reaction will depend on which side of the debate you're on, NPR's Joel Rose says on Morning Edition. Hardliners will see this as more evidence that immigration is out of control and straining resources. Advocates will emphasize that immigration helps the economy grow. 

Today's listen

In Nicaragua, everything points to normal. On the weekends, the bars and restaurants at this lakefront pier are packed. The illuminated sign reads, "Nicaragua loves peace."
/ Eyder Peralta
/
Eyder Peralta
In Nicaragua, everything points to normal. On the weekends, the bars and restaurants at this lakefront pier are packed. The illuminated sign reads, "Nicaragua loves peace."

Nicaragua is one of the most authoritarian places in the Western Hemisphere. The country has barred access to foreign journalists for the past few years. But NPR's Eyder Peralta entered through a rural land border with his Nicaraguan passport. There, he describes a country "soaked in fear." He attended a celebration of the 44th anniversary of President Daniel Ortega's revolution against the military and spoke to locals.

Life advice

schfer / Getty Images
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Getty Images

Hurricanes can intensify very rapidly, giving residents very little time to prepare. That's why it's never too late to get ready for one. Here's what you can do:

  • Know what makes you vulnerable – are you in a flood-prone area? Do you have limited exits? – and plan accordingly.
  • Choose a destination for evacuation. Going to family and friends is ideal.
  • Prepare a go-to kit with essentials like nonperishable food, medications and cash.
  • Have a checklist so you don't forget anything when you're stressed.

3 things to know before you go

Remains of an allegedly "nonhuman" being are displayed during a briefing on unidentified flying objects at the San Lazaro legislative palace, in Mexico City, Tuesday.
Henry Romero / Reuters
/
Reuters
Remains of an allegedly "nonhuman" being are displayed during a briefing on unidentified flying objects at the San Lazaro legislative palace, in Mexico City, Tuesday.

  1. A Mexican Congressional hearing on extraterrestrials started with a surprise on Tuesday. A self-described ufologist brought two caskets containing what he claimed were alien corpses.
  2. San Francisco is considering raising its historic waterfront Ferry Building by seven feet to save it from rising sea levels. 
  3. This story includes references to suicide: Trieste Belmont had one of the darkest days of her life in 2014. She was standing and sobbing on a high bridge when a stranger shouted "Don't jump!" from their car. That unsung hero saved her life and inspired her to seek help.


If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 9-8-8 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

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

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Suzanne Nuyen
[Copyright 2024 NPR]