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Up First: Modi's state visit, Titan search continues, East Palestine train hearings

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden greet India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC.
MANDEL NGAN
/
AFP via Getty Images
US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden greet India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he arrives at the South Portico of the White House in Washington, DC.

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 news

President Biden is welcoming India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a state visit and a black-tie dinner this evening. It's an honor reserved only for the U.S.' closest allies and a sign of the importance of India's relationship with America. But the warm welcome comes amid concerns about religious liberty and press freedom in India.

  •  The U.S. sees India as an "indispensable partner" in countering China's influence, according to NPR's Asma Khalid. She tells Up First there's tension in Biden's foreign policy mission between his values and geopolitical priorities. More than 70 Democratic Congress members have signed a letter urging Biden to address human rights issues during Modi's visit.
  • Time is running out and oxygen supplies onboard the Titan submersible are dwindling as crews continue to search for the five passengers.

  • WBUR's Walter Wuthmann says a marine scientist consulting on noises heard during yesterday's search described them as "banging sounds," but officials caution people not to draw conclusions. Still, Wuthmann reports Coast Guard officials are reluctant to discuss when the rescue mission will become a recovery mission.
  • The National Transportation Safety Board will begin hearings today looking into what caused the February train derailments that spewed toxic chemicals in East Palestine, Ohio.

  • The hearings will build off reports the agency released in February and look at hot box systems, train wheel bearings, emergency response preparation and the decision to vent and burn the chemicals in the train cars, according to The Allegheny Front's Julie Grant. Grant reports that while community members have been frustrated with environmental regulators, local and state leaders, many seemed "genuinely thankful" to the NTSB.
  • U.S. reading and math scores have fallen to their lowest levels in decades, according to new data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Math scores revealed widening learning gaps based on gender and race, and lower performing students saw more pronounced drops in scores.

  • National Center of Education Statistic Commissioner Peggy Carr tells Morning Edition the results show that other factors beyond the pandemic affect student 
  • Life advice

    To reap the potential rewards of caffeine consumption, you have to understand what a healthy relationship with caffeine looks like.
    / Beck Harlan/NPR
    /
    Beck Harlan/NPR
    To reap the potential rewards of caffeine consumption, you have to understand what a healthy relationship with caffeine looks like.

    Have you had your morning dose of caffeine yet? Perhaps you're reading this newsletter with a cup of coffee in hand. When consumed responsibly, caffeine is associated with many health benefits. Here's how to foster a healthy relationship with caffeine:

  • It isn't a substitute for nutrition and rest. Eat balanced meals and get enough sleep. It isn't one size fits all. Your genes determine how much you can tolerate.
  • It's not considered an addictive substance, though you can develop a tolerance to it and misuse it.
  • Cut back slowly. Don't quit caffeine cold turkey. Listen to more advice on healthy caffeine consumption on Life Kit.
  • Picture show

    Miss June, Crystal Diamond (from left); Miss July, Xola Tatubana; and Miss April, Britney Misty Daniels in their evening wear outfits at the Kersefontein Guest Farm in South Africa on March 24, 2019.
    / Julia Gunther
    /
    Julia Gunther
    Miss June, Crystal Diamond (from left); Miss July, Xola Tatubana; and Miss April, Britney Misty Daniels in their evening wear outfits at the Kersefontein Guest Farm in South Africa on March 24, 2019.

    Chedino Martin is a transgender woman who has competed in over 80 LGBTQ+ beauty pageants in South Africa. She felt welcome at the events until she began taking hormones to prepare for her gender-affirming surgeries. So Chedino and her husband started Miss Calendar Girl — a pageant meant to celebrate transgender women, gay men and drag queens, regardless of whether they've fully transitioned.

    3 things you need to know before you go

    Cultivated Meat is an alternative to traditional meat derived from cells in a lab. In this photo, a chicken breast is prepared at Upside Foods.
    / Brian L. Frank for NPR
    /
    Brian L. Frank for NPR
    Cultivated Meat is an alternative to traditional meat derived from cells in a lab. In this photo, a chicken breast is prepared at Upside Foods.

  • Your next dinner could soon be made with cultivated meat. The USDA has approved GOOD Meat to sell a chicken product grown directly from animal cells — no slaughter necessary.
  • Poet and translator Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, is making history as the first Latino executive director and president of the Academy of American Poets.
  • The FTC has sued Amazon, alleging that the company has "tricked" millions of consumers into buying Prime memberships that are purposefully hard to cancel.
  • This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

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