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Up First briefing: Biden at Camp David; mortgage rates jump; NPR news quiz

Members of an honor guard stand at attention for the arrival of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to Camp David on June 26, 2008.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais
/
Associated Press
Members of an honor guard stand at attention for the arrival of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to Camp David on June 26, 2008.

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

President Biden will host Japan and South Korea's leaders today at Camp David. Presidents have used the mountain retreat for 80 years to host foreign leaders, but this is the first time since 2015 that any have been invited. Here's a look at Camp David's long legacy of diplomacy.

  • South Korea and Japan have had a strained relationship dating back to when Japan colonized South Korea, according to NPR's Asma Khalid. But she tells Up First today that it's improved in recent years. The three countries will announce a commitment to "step up security coordination" and "establish an understanding that a security challenge for one country poses a concern to the other." She adds that the Camp David setting brings "a level of intimacy and gravitas" to the meeting. 
  • About 20,000 residents in Yellowknife, the capital of Canada's Northwest Territories, are rushing to evacuate as a wildfire burns out of control near the city. Canada is seeing its worst wildfire season ever recorded, with more than 230 active fires threatening the northwest region and more than 1,000 burning nationwide.

  • Canada's Global News reporter Jayme Doll says officials are concerned the fire could reach the city as soon as Saturday. Thousands of people were airlifted out of the city yesterday, but many waited in line for hours only to be told to come back today as there were no more flights. Doll, who had to evacuate while on vacation a few weeks ago, says that the wildfires are a new reality for Canada as temperatures warm.
  • Maui's Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya has resigned, citing health issues. Andaya has been criticized for not activating Hawaii's siren system during the wildfires. At a press conference, he said he didn't regret his decision because he was concerned residents would head toward the mountains into the fires if they heard the sirens, which are primarily used to warn of tsunamis.

  • Residents have also expressed frustration with the slow pace of recovery after the fire, NPR's Greg Allen reports on Morning Edition. A forensic anthropologist who worked on recovery efforts after the 2018 fire in Paradise, Calif. told him it's a painstaking process because "you want to make sure that you recover as much as possible" so that "the family gets a full accounting of their loved ones.
  • The average cost of a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage jumped to 7.09% this week— the highest in 21 years. Rising rates have increased the price of a typical home loan, pricing out first-time buyers. It's also discouraged homeowners with smaller mortgages from upgrading their houses, leading to a shortage of homes for sale.

    Deep dive

    Lawmakers, teachers, school board members and parents gather for a town hall meeting on new Florida curriculum standards for Black history on Thursday in Miami Gardens, Fla.
    Daniel Kozin / Associated Press
    /
    Associated Press
    Lawmakers, teachers, school board members and parents gather for a town hall meeting on new Florida curriculum standards for Black history on Thursday in Miami Gardens, Fla.

    Many of Florida's students go back to school this month. The state's school system has been in the headlines recently after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in public colleges, and the state's board of education approved a new social studies curriculum. Here's how classes will look different this year:

  • Students K-12 could see videos from the conservative nonprofit Prager University Foundation.
  • More students will now be eligible for vouchers to attend private schools.
  • Parents must sign a consent form to allow teachers to call students anything other than their birth name. 
  • Teachers won't be allowed to call trans students by their pronouns.
  • Weekend picks

    Kaley Cuoco and Lake Bell voice Harley and Poison Ivy on <em>Harley Quinn.</em>
    / Max
    /
    Max
    Kaley Cuoco and Lake Bell voice Harley and Poison Ivy on Harley Quinn.

    Check out what NPR is watching, reading and listening to this weekend:

    Movies: A royal wedding and a catastrophic cake smash puts the queer, enemies-to-lovers romance in motion in Red, White & Royal Blue.

    TV: Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are back in another season of Max's animated series. But this time, Harley's one of the good guys.

    Books: Jump into a noir style mystery that explores the realities of the Japanese American post-WWII experience with Mike Davis' Evergreen.

    Music: In the 2000s, Be Your Own Pet's frenetic punk sneered at adulthood. The band returns from a 15-year hiatus with Mommy, an album that builds on its oppositional beginnings.

    Quiz: If you've been paying attention to this week's newsletters, you should be a Trump indictment expert by now and get at least a 10/11 on the NPR news quiz. Test yourself here.

    3 things to know before you go

    John Hunt catches a fish during his extensive fun-filled summer.
    / John Hunt
    /
    John Hunt
    John Hunt catches a fish during his extensive fun-filled summer.

  • Despite record heat waves, canceled flights, and more, Americans are determined to have fun. Domestic leisure travel has reached pre-pandemic levels, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
  • A study from USC Annenberg looking at 1,600 top films from 2007 to 2022 reveals that while 2022 was a high point for girls and women of color in lead roles, inclusivity is still lacking in Hollywood studios.
  • New York City is banning TikTok from all government devices, joining several federal agencies and states concerned about security risks
  • This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

    Corrected: August 17, 2023 at 10:00 PM MDT
    A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that South Korea colonized Japan. In fact, Japan colonized the Korean peninsula in the early 20th century.
    Suzanne Nuyen