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SCOTUS immunity ruling helps Trump, angers Democrats. Plus, July 4th travel tips

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Today's top stories

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that former President Donald Trump has broad immunity from federal prosecution. In a 6-3 opinion along ideological lines, the justices said a former president is entitled to a presumption of immunity for his official acts but lacks immunity for unofficial acts. The court sent the case back to the judge in Trump's election case to determine whether any of Trump's actions were part of his official duties. President Biden said the ruling sets a "dangerous precedent" and "undermines the rule of law" in remarks from the White House.

President Biden gives remarks on the Supreme Court's immunity decision at the White House on July 1.
Andrew Harnik / Getty Images
Getty Images North America
President Biden gives remarks on the Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity at the White House on July 1.

  • 🎧 The timing of the court's decision means there's "no chance" voters will have a verdict in Trump's Jan. 6 case before the November election, NPR's Domenico Montanaro tells Up First. Trust in the court has nosedived due to controversial decisions and ethics issues, according to an NPR poll. The next president could potentially nominate three new justices, as Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonya Sotomayor are all above 70. If Trump wins the presidency and is able to appoint younger, conservative justices, it could "set Democrats back another 20 years," Domenico says.

Hurricane Beryl strengthened to a Category 5 storm yesterday after it made landfall on Grenada's Carriacou Island in the Caribbean. It's the earliest Atlantic hurricane to reach this strength on record due partly to record-high ocean temperatures.

  • 🎧 The speed at which Beryl grew is something climate scientists have been expecting, NPR's Michael Copley says. Though climate change is still an active area of research, Copley says it's clear hotter temperatures are strengthening hurricanes. Coastal communities will see the biggest risk from storm surges, which are walls of water that get pushed on shore. Hurricanes can also hold a large amount of water vapor, causing torrential rains and floods that threaten inland communities, even if they're not in the storm's path.
  • ➡️ Experts are expecting an extremely active Atlantic hurricane season. The best time to prepare is before a storm forms. Learn how to pack a go bag, an essential tool during natural disasters.

Longevity researchers have their eyes on a generic drug that they think could help extend people's lives. The FDA first approved rapamycin in the 1990s for transplant patients to suppress the immune system and prevent transplant rejection. At lower doses, it helps decrease inflammation. Now, the FDA has approved rapamycin testing in patients with gum disease — a common condition that tends to accelerate with age. Jonathan An, the doctor leading this research, gum disease is the "canary in the coalmine" of age-related diseases, as it's linked to a higher risk of heart disease and dementia.

Life advice

Nearly 71 million people are expected to make trips for the Independence Day travel period, AAA predicts.<br>
David Schaper/NPR
Nearly 71 million people are expected to make trips for the Independence Day travel period, AAA predicts.

Nearly 71 million Americans are expected to travel for the Fourth of July this week, the AAA predicts. It could be the busiest Independence Day travel season on record — both in the air and on the roads. Here's what to know and how to avoid slowdowns if you're planning a trip this week:

  • ✈️ It's vital to get to the airport well before your departure time, says Gerardo Spero, the TSA’s federal security director at Philadelphia International Airport. Travel volumes are up at many airports, so allow extra time for parking,, checking your bags and security.
  • 🚗 Drivers in metro areas can expect the worst traffic tomorrow. If you haven't hit the road already, the best time to start is before 10:00 a.m.
  • ☀️ High temperatures and thunderstorms may slow trains and planes. Traveling in the morning or evening can offset these risks.
  • 🚫 If a flight is canceled, airlines must offer travelers a refund or book another flight. But the rules for flight delays are more complicated. Check your airline's policy on the Transportation Department website.

Picture show

A century-old wrestling competition in Chittagong, Bangladesh, known as Abdul Jabbar's Boli Kheladraws thousands of spectators annually. In this picture from April 24, 2023, two wrestlers go at it on a sandy stage in front of a street audience.
Sanchayan Chowdhury /
Abdul Jabbar's Boli Khela, a century-old traditional wrestling competition in Chittagong, draws thousands of eager spectators annually. In this picture captured in Chittagong, Bangladesh on April 24, 2023, two individuals are seen wrestling on a sandy stage in front of a street audience.

A pack of pelicans, a snowed-in village and a wrestling match: these are some finalists for the 2024 Siena Drone Photo Awards. Thanks to technological advancements, drone photography has evolved over the years. Drones can fly faster, secure better-quality images, and move more precisely, allowing photographers to capture stunning aerial shots. Emanuela Ascoli, one of the judges, says she'll consider each photograph's "emotional and aesthetic impact" and how well it captures "the perfect moment."

3 things to know before you go

An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis is unveiled during his beatification ceremony at the St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, Italy, in October 2020.
Gregorio Borgia / AP
An image of 15-year-old Carlo Acutis is unveiled during his beatification ceremony at the St. Francis Basilica in Assisi, Italy in October 2020.

  1. Carlos Acutis, a teen tech whiz who died of leukemia at age 15, will be canonized as the Catholic Church's first millennial saint. Acutis is fondly remembered as "God's influencer" and the "patron saint of the internet" for his work cataloging Eucharistic miracles worldwide.
  2. Naomi Osaka won her first Wimbledon match in six years yesterday. In 2021, she took a short hiatus from tennis for mental health reasons. She's been vocal about her struggles on the court
  3. Celebrity stingray Charlotte, who was declared pregnant without a male mate earlier this year, has died. The North Carolina aquarium where she lived previously announced she had a "rare reproductive disease."

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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