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U.S. prices far outpace paychecks; centuries-old fruit found at Washington’s home

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Today's top stories

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen travels to Atlanta today, where she's expected to announce new financial sanctions against individuals and organizations involved in fentanyl trafficking. Street fentanyl kills more than 70,000 Americans a year and generates billions of dollars annually in black market profits.

An officer from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Trade and Cargo Division finds Oxycodone pills in a parcel at John F. Kennedy Airport's US Postal Service facility on June 24, 2019, in New York.
Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
An officer from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Trade and Cargo Division finds Oxycodone pills in a parcel at John F. Kennedy Airport's US Postal Service facility on June 24, 2019, in New York.

  • 🎧 Law enforcement agencies are already seizing a lot more fentanyl at the border and inside the U.S., NPR's Brian Mann tells Up First. But fentanyl is so easy and cheap to make that when cops capture a big batch, cartels just churn out more. "That’s seen as a relatively harmless cost of doing business," Mann reports. Yellen's expected sanctions aim to disrupt fentanyl networks by seizing cash and assets and penalizing legitimate companies that support the drug trade.


Home prices have far outpaced paychecks in many parts of the U.S., according to a new report from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Median home sales prices last year were about five times the median household income, and there are signs it could get worse. Rising property taxes and insurance rates add additional financial strain for would-be homebuyers. Millions of Americans are stuck renting, which has driven up competition and pricing in that market too. How bad is it where you live?Search your city here to find out.

The Israeli military says it's approved plans for an offensive in Lebanon if diplomatic efforts fail to contain the conflict at the border, where Israel has been regularly trading fire with the Iran-backed militia group Hezbollah. In Lebanon, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah had stark warnings for Israel if they followed through.

  • 🎧 NPR's Jane Arraf says Nasrallah's remarks were the "hardest hitting" since the war in Gaza began in October, and not just in rhetoric. He said that Hezbollah did not want to go to war, but if it broke out, Hezbollah would fight with "no rules." Hezbollah has also made it clear that it won't resolve its conflict with Israel until the war in Gaza is also resolved. Analysts say speeches like this from both sides are meant to act as a deterrent rather than an escalation, and the likelihood of the scenario Nasrallah outlined remains low.

Deep Dive

Surveys show younger Americans doubt the safety of sunscreen. Misinformation on social media isn't helping.
Anna Vishnyak / Getty Images
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Getty Images
Surveys show younger Americans doubt the safety of sunscreen. Misinformation on social media isn't helping.

TikTok is full of videos of influencers giving advice on health and skin care. When it comes to sunscreen, there’s a lot of misinformation.

  • ☀️ 1 in 7 American adults under 35 believe using sunscreen daily is more harmful than direct sun exposure, according to an Orlando Health Cancer Institute survey. Rajesh Nair, a surgical oncologist who helped craft the survey, says this is especially concerning because melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults.
  • ☀️ Many Gen Z members are unaware of sunburn risks and basic sun protection, according to an American Academy of Dermatology survey. 30% mistakenly think tanning is safe if you don't burn.
  • ☀️ Dermatologist Heather Rogers says hesitation towards sunscreen may stem from studies that found chemical sunscreens may be absorbed into the bloodstream at higher levels than previously thought. Although she says this should be studied further, she says it’s important to note that risks with chemical sunscreens have not been shown in humans
  • ☀️ If you're concerned about chemical sunscreens, Nair and Rogers recommend using a mineral sunscreen like zinc oxide, which creates a physical barrier against UV rays and is less likely to enter the bloodstream.
  • ☀️ Sun exposure isn't only bad for your health. It’s one of the most common causes of wrinkles, dark spots and other signs of premature aging.

New from NPR

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This essay was written by Meribah Knight, Embedded: Supermajority host.

I live in Tennessee, one of 29 states with a legislative supermajority. Republicans outnumber Democrats 3-to-1 in the statehouse. And what’s been happening there has made a lot of news recently. Last spring, Republicans expelled two freshman Black lawmakers, both Democrats, for protesting on the House floor in favor of stricter gun laws. It was a striking power flex that made me wonder: Is there a bigger story to tell about this political moment? And what might it reveal about democracy?

Supermajority, a new series from NPR's Embedded in partnership with WPLN, covers one legislative session as I follow three politically conservative mothers whose children survived a mass shooting at their small private Christian school. This was the incident that led those Democratic lawmakers to protest inside the Capitol. These women were not active in politics. They’d never spent time at their state Capitol. Each came from deeply conservative upbringings, and they assumed their lawmakers shared their values. But now they are challenging their Republican lawmakers. State politics, the women come to realize, are far more consequential than they’d ever imagined.

The first episode of Supermajority is out today. You can listen to it here. Catch new episodes of this 4-part series every Thursday.

3 things to know before you go

In this handout photo, Just Stop Oil protesters sit after spraying an orange substance on Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England, on Wednesday. (Just Stop Oil via AP)
Just Stop Oil / via AP
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PA
In this handout photo, Just Stop Oil protesters sit after spraying an orange substance on Stonehenge, in Salisbury, England, on Wednesday. (Just Stop Oil via AP)

  1. Two climate activists from the environmental group Just Stop Oil have been arrested after spraying an orange substance on the Stonehenge monument in England. They said the action was a call for the U.K. to stop using fossil fuels by 2030.
  2. Archeologists at George Washington’s historic Virginia home have unearthed more than two dozen bottles of cherries and berries from the 18th century.
  3. Ralph Lauren has unveiled Team USA's Olympic and Paralympic uniforms for the opening and closing ceremonies in Paris. This is the brand's ninth time serving as its official outfitter.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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