A service of Salisbury University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Student loan proposal targets accrued interest; Israel and Hamas war hits six months

TOPSHOT - Shadows form on the ground as the moon moves in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Singapore on December 26, 2019.
LOUIS KWOK
/
AFP via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Shadows form on the ground as the moon moves in front of the sun in a rare "ring of fire" solar eclipse in Singapore on December 26, 2019.

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 just a few hours, millions of Americans will be turning their heads to the sky to get a glimpse at the total solar eclipse. The moon will begin to block out the sun a little before 1:30 p.m. Central time in Eagle Pass, Texas. The moon will then move across the country through Maine. Cities and counties across the U.S. are holding watch parties and celebrations for the event. But weather in certain parts of the United States may play a role in how visible the eclipse will be.

  • Fortunately, it seems like it will be clearer skies than expected, Shelly Brisbin ​​​​​​explains on Up First. A big problem, though, may be traffic as people drive into towns to get the best spot for the eclipse. Some towns have even declared disaster zones to make it easier to guide the flow of cars. 
  • If you want to keep up with eclipse coverage today, check out our live blog. It's full of eclipse viewing advice for those who need last-minute tips on where to get glasses and how to take the best photos. The live blog will also be updated with unforgettable pictures, stories and coverage from all over NPR's network as soon as the celestial event starts.  


The Department of Education released new proposals that could eliminate student debt for millions of Americans. The new proposals emphasize reducing or eliminating accrued interest. The proposal would cancel $20,000 in interest for any borrower, regardless of income. It would also make it so that low and middle-income borrowers could become eligible to have all of their interest forgiven.

  • Millions of borrowers owe more money now than they originally took out, NPR's Sequoia Carrillo explains on Up FirstThis new proposal hopes to tackle this problem. The Biden administration is using a process called "negotiated rulemaking" to ensure that the proposal can survive legal challenges this time around. The negotiated rulemaking process is a slower and far more traditional path to change higher education policy. The stakes for getting student debt relief passed are high for the administration, Carrillo says, because student loan borrowers are a pretty young group, which is a key demographic the president is hoping to keep in his camp.  


It has been six months since the war between Israel and Hamas first started on October 7, when 1,200 people were killed by Hamas, according to the Israeli government. Over 30,000 people in Gaza have been killed, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, making it the deadliest period of violence in Israeli-Palestinian history. Ceasefire negotiations have failed to bring a new pause in fighting or a hostage exchange deal for the remaining hostages taken by Hamas. Over the weekend, Israel withdrew a significant number of troops from the southern city of Khan Younis. And there has been a significant increase in the number of aid trucks allowed into Gaza.

  • The increase in aid and the withdrawal of troops comes after President Biden called on Israel to do more to lessen the suffering in Gaza. But yesterday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated Israel's stated goal of eliminating Hamas in all of Gaza, including Rafah, where the majority of the displaced population is living in deplorable conditions. The United States is continuing to put heavy pressure on Israel to reach some sort of deal with Hamas. But Hamas wants a permanent ceasefire, and Netanyahu has repeatedly said he would only agree to a six-week pause in fighting.

Life advice

<em>The </em><a href="https://www.npr.org/series/1241438370/the-science-of-siblings"><em>Science of Siblings</em></a><em> is a new series exploring the ways our siblings can influence us, from our money and our mental health all the way down to our very molecules. We'll be sharing these stories over the next several weeks.</em>
/ Lily Padula for NPR
/
Lily Padula for NPR
The Science of Siblings is a new series exploring the ways our siblings can influence us, from our money and our mental health all the way down to our very molecules. We'll be sharing these stories over the next several weeks.

Blended families are common in pop culture. But in real life, the blended family experience is usually somewhere in between Cinderella and The Brady Bunch. When it comes to the stepsibling relationships, one thing is almost always true: it takes work to get along. Here are some science-backed tips for blended families:

  • Big changes take time to get used to, especially for kids. Don't try to rush things. 
  • Creating new family rituals can help foster a bond. At the same time, it's important not to force a bond or try to "normalize" things if someone's not ready. 
  • Preserve one-on-one time with your biological child to help them feel secure in unfamiliar territory. And, leave the disciplining to the biological parent until you've established a caring, trusting relationship with your stepchild.

Behind the story

New Jersey is known as the diner capital of the world. But over the past decade, around 150 diners have closed in the state. The ones that remain have made big changes to survive.
/ Peter Sedereas
/
Peter Sedereas
New Jersey is known as the diner capital of the world. But over the past decade, around 150 diners have closed in the state. The ones that remain have made big changes to survive.

I grew up in New Jersey, so naturally, I love diners. New Jersey is considered the diner capital of the world. And Peter Sedereas, head of an unofficial New Jersey diner coalition and owner of Townsquare Diner in Wharton, N.J., estimates that there are around 450 diners in the state.

Diners are closing nationwide. When the diner across the street from my apartment in Maryland suddenly closed to be replaced by an apartment building, I started to wonder how diners were doing in my home state.

Around 150 diners have closed in New Jersey over the past decade. And it's not just because of the pandemic. Most New Jersey diners are family businesses, and many members of the next generation are not interested in taking over their family's diner.

When I spoke to Peter Sedereas for this Morning Edition story, he said diners are always at the best locations. He gets at least one offer a month to buy his diner.

As a diner lover, it eased my mind to see and hear that people still go to diners and that Sedereas' business is doing better than 20 years ago. Even though diners are closing and the remaining ones are changing a lot, he says he doesn't see diners ever leaving New Jersey. And I don't think the passion people from New Jersey have for diners will ever go away.

Before you go

Walmart, the largest retailer the United States, will report second quarter earnings on August 16, 2022.
ROBYN BECK / AFP via Getty Images
/
AFP via Getty Images
Walmart, the largest retailer the United States, will report second quarter earnings on August 16, 2022.

  1. Customers who bought certain "weighted goods" and bagged citrus at Walmart stores in the last six years may be eligible for cash payments, thanks to a $45 million class action lawsuit. 
  2. Frictionless payments methods like Apple or Google pay might be causing you to spend more money.
  3. "Waterloo" by ABBA  leaped to the top of the charts when it came out 50 years ago. On its 50th anniversary, fans gathered in England, Sweden and elsewhere to celebrate the song that put the Swedish supergroup on the map. 

This newsletter was edited by Treye Green. Anandita Bhalerao contributed.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tags
Mansee Khurana
[Copyright 2024 NPR]