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Up First Briefing: Garland testifies; interest rate update; depression-fighting habits

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the American Bar Association annual meeting on August 7 in Denver.
David Zalubowski
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AP
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks at the American Bar Association annual meeting on August 7 in Denver.

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

Attorney General Merrick Garland is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee today. Republican lawmakers are expected to ask him about how the Justice Department handled the Hunter Biden investigation and former President Donald Trump's indictments.

  • Republicans have long criticized Garland and the DOJ, NPR's Jaclyn Diaz says on Up First today. They allege there's been unequal treatment from the department. Garland is expected to defend the DOJ and warn against attacks against public servants like special counsels Jack Smith and David Weiss.


The Federal Reserve will make a decision about whether to raise interest rates today. Economists expect it will maintain rates, but they're looking for signs indicating whether they could go up again in the following months.

  • NPR's Scott Horsley says inflation is still higher than the Fed's target of 2%. The Fed is also expected to give an update on when they'll lower rates. Policymakers predicted they could begin doing so next year, but Horsley says the auto workers' strike, a looming government shutdown and student loan repayment resuming add uncertainty. 


Auto workers are six days into their historic strike. What does this mean if you're thinking of buying a car?

  • Whether or not you should be worried is "just a numbers game," NPR's Camila Domonoske says. Inventories are at their highest level in two years. With only three plants on strike so far, only a few car models are affected.  But Domonoske says a prolonged strike means sales might go away, and consumers might not see holiday discounts this year.
  • Even UAW president Shawn Fain admits his union's demands are "audacious." Here's why he's still fighting for them.


Recent comments from Trump at a rally in South Dakota indicate he's looking past the Republican primary and ahead to the general election. He mentioned President Biden almost 60 times. He only referenced his closest Republican rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, twice.

  • NPR's Franco Ordoñez spoke to Republican strategist Alex Conant for Morning Edition. Conant says the attacks on Biden are a way to attract headlines and workshop material so he can "find a punch that can land" before the general election.

Living better

A study of nearly 300,000 people in the U.K. found that people who maintained at least five of seven healthy habits cut their risk of depression by 57%.
Maria Stavreva / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A study of nearly 300,000 people in the U.K. found that people who maintained at least five of seven healthy habits cut their risk of depression by 57%.

Living Better is a special series about what it takes to stay healthy in America.

Serious depression should be treated with medication and/or therapy. But a new study adds to a growing body of evidence tying behaviors to mental health. Researchers at Cambridge identified seven healthy habits that affect your mood. They looked at nearly 300,000 people in the UK Biobank database initiative and found that maintaining at least 5 of these habits could cut the risk of depression by 57%. Try adding some of these daily habits to your life:

  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night on average.
  • Add more physical activity to your routine.
  • Eat a balanced diet focused on plants, whole grains and lean proteins.
  • Limit alcohol intake and don't smoke.
  • Limit screen time to avoid being sedentary.
  • Cultivate friendship and community through hobbies.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission's new album features some of its iconic mascots on the cover and seven safety-focused tracks.
/ U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
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U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
The Consumer Product Safety Commission's new album features some of its iconic mascots on the cover and seven safety-focused tracks.

The Consumer Safety Commission is releasing a new album today aimed at reaching teens and adults. We're Safety Now Haven't We Volume 1is a pack of six genre-spanning songs (plus one Spanglish version of a song). There's an EDM banger about wearing helmets, a K-pop song about firework safety and more. Sample some of the tracks and hear how the agency partnered with artists to create the album.

3 things to know before you go

  1. Tomorrow will mark one year in space for astronaut Frank Rubio. Last week, he broke the record for the longest U.S. spaceflight. 
  2. A painting from Bob Ross' very first episode of The Joy of Painting is on sale for nearly $10 million
  3. Mango Starbucks Refreshers don't have mango. Barilla pasta isn't made in Italy. Buffalo Wild Wings' boneless wings aren't technically wings. Fed-up consumers are increasingly taking their frustrations over misleading food claims to court.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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

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