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Up First briefing: Wildfires ravage Maui; meet the Women's World Cup quarterfinalists

This photo provided by County of Maui shows fire and smoke filling the sky from wildfires near the Lahaina Bypass in Maui, Hawaii, on Tuesday.
Zeke Kalua/County of Maui via AP
This photo provided by County of Maui shows fire and smoke filling the sky from wildfires near the Lahaina Bypass in Maui, Hawaii, on Tuesday.

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Today's top stories

At least 36 people have died in the wildfire sweeping through the Hawaiian island of Maui. Winds from Hurricane Dora have fanned the flames, helping them jump highways. Lahaina, a historic port town and popular tourist destination, has been hit especially hard. Stay updated with the latest developments with Hawaii Public Radio's live blog.

  •  Wildfires and hurricanes are part of "seasonal realities" in the state, but the combination is unusual and dangerous, Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman tells Up First this morning. Hurricane winds not only spread the fires — they also dry out the atmosphere. 
  • "We have never experienced this type of wildfire as a result of hurricanes," Hawaii's Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke tells Morning Edition. Luke got an aerial view of Lahaina burning in a flight with the U.S. Coast Guard and said it looked like the "whole town was dissolved into ashes."
  • Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that manufacturers Ozempic and Wegovy, wants Medicare to cover its weight loss drugs — and it's turning to influential Black lawmakers for help. The company wants to reverse a 20-year ban on weight loss drug coverage under Medicare, arguing that this will help reduce obesity levels among Black Americans.

  • KFF Health News' Rachana Pradhan says we were "living in a different time" when Medicare created its prescription drug benefit in 2003. The weight loss drugs available at the time were not as effective as the current generation of drugs. Pradhan adds that while the weight loss experience for patients taking Ozempic or Wegovy is "very significant," its benefits must also be balanced with potential risks.
  • In a quarterly earnings report, Disney announced its overall revenue grew 4%. Despite declining ad revenue and the Hollywood writers' and actors' strikes, CEO Bob Iger said he was optimistic about the company's future and believed movies, parks/cruises, and streaming/ direct-to-consumer products can all be potential growth drivers. Here are six takeaways from the report.

    Deep dive

    Residents of Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood register to vote at a voter registration event on Sept. 29, 2021.
    Mary Altaffer / AP
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    AP
    Residents of Brooklyn's Flatbush neighborhood register to vote at a voter registration event on Sept. 29, 2021.

    Historically, young people have had the lowest rates of voter registration and participation out of any age group in the U.S. Many 18-year-olds are moving around a lot for college when they become eligible to vote and haven't regularly interacted with the government before. They might feel confused or embarrassed that they don't know how to register. States nationwide are adopting new policies to fix this.

  • About half of the states currently have automatic voter registration policies, where typically, voters can register while they're at the DMV.
  • About 20 states offer pre-registration, where 16- and 17-year-olds can pre-register when they get their driver's licenses.
  • Experts say the most common way of getting young people to register is to let them do it online. Only a few states still require a signature on a paper form. 
  • Enlighten me

    Patty Krawec at a Wet'suwet'en solidarity event at the Canada-U.S. border.
    / Patty Krawec
    /
    Patty Krawec
    Patty Krawec at a Wet'suwet'en solidarity event at the Canada-U.S. border.

    Enlighten Me is a special series with Rachel Martin about the human condition.

    Author Patty Krawec was raised as an evangelical Christian. Her mother, who is German and Ukrainian, split from her father, who is from the Ojibwe people, when she was very young. When she reconnected with her dad years later, she also connected with her Ojibwe identity. Krawec discusses reconciling her Christian faith with her Indigenous identity and how you can honor Indigenous traditions respectfully.

    3 things to know before you go

    Spain's Laia Codina (center) celebrates with teammates Esther Gonzalez (left) and Irene Paredes (right) after scoring her team's fourth goal on Switzerland during the round of 16.
    Buda Mendes / Getty Images
    /
    Getty Images
    Spain's Laia Codina (center) celebrates with teammates Esther Gonzalez (left) and Irene Paredes (right) after scoring her team's fourth goal on Switzerland during the round of 16.

  • And then there were eight. Spain and the Netherlands kick off the Women's World Cup quarterfinals tonight. Here's how all eight teams are doing so far.
  • LaQuista Erinna's son, Jackson, went almost two years without a haircut because his autism made him sensitive to everyday touches, textures and sounds. A barber named Ree became her unsung hero when she turned a haircut into a game to calm Jackson down.
  • These goats have my dream job. They get to eat all day — and their grazing helps prevent California wildfires.
  • This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

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