This U.S. company is helping arm Ukraine against Russia — with AI drones

Palmer Luckey launched his first tech company as a teenager. That was Oculus, the virtual reality headset for gaming. Soon after, he sold it to Facebook for $2 billion.

Now 31, Luckey has a new company called Anduril that’s making Artificial Intelligence weapons. The Pentagon is buying them – keeping some for itself and sending others to Ukraine.

The weapons could be instrumental in helping Ukraine stand up to Russia.

Ukraine needs more weapons – and better weapons – to fight against Russia. Could AI weapons made by a billionaire tech entrepreneur’s company hold the answer?

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Russia is Top of Mind at NATO summit

Four years after World War II, leaders from Europe and North America formed an alliance largely aimed at deterring Soviet expansion — the North Atlantic Treaty Organization — NATO.

Seventy-five years later the member states of that organization have come together in Washington to celebrate NATO and plan for its future.

As they did in 1949, the NATO allies believe Russia presents the largest security threat to their world order. The immediate threat is Russia’s war with Ukraine, but the allies also worry about the future of America’s leadership.

Eight diplomats from the nations closest to Russia weigh in on the threat the country poses to them and the world order.

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Gretchen Whitmer supports Biden. Some think she should run instead.

Former President Trump derided Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer as “the woman in Michigan,” when the two publicly clashed in 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.

A Detroit rapper once put out a song about her called “Big Gretch” praising her handling of the pandemic.

Whitmer’s star soared during the pandemic with people being attracted to her human, pragmatic style.

These days she’s a national co-chair of the Biden-Harris campaign while simultaneously being touted a possible replacement for Biden on the ticket. Whitmer herself says that’s not happening.

As Democrats scramble to figure out a way forward this election year, Whitmer talks about her new memoir “True Gretch”, and what the future may hold for both her and her party.

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Support is eroding. Can President Biden hang onto the nomination?

On June 27th, long-simmering concerns about President Biden’s age – and whether he’s fit to serve a second term – exploded after a disastrous debate performance.

Biden has been trying to clean up the mess ever since. First at a fiery rally in North Carolina. And some ten days after the debate in a one-on-one interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

Neither event accomplished the goal of shoring up support for Biden, and now members of Congress are questioning whether the 46th President should remain the democratic nominee.

Evan Osnos, New Yorker staff writer and author of a biography on Joe Biden, weighs in on the Biden campaign at a crossroads.

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California is trying to lead the way on reparations but not clear on the path to take

California recently allocated $12 million for reparations for the state’s Black residents as a way to compensate them for the harm caused by the legacy of slavery and current discrimination.

Although it’s not clear what the money will be spent on, it is clear it won’t be directed toward cash payments at the moment, which many in the reparations movement say is the best way to atone for the legacy and harm of slavery.

NPR’s Adrian Florido speaks with NPR race and identity correspondent Sandhya Dirks about the latest on California’s attempts to lead the way on reparations.

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Disabled students are struggling to get what they need at school

Students with disabilities often face a tough time getting the services they need at school. When they can’t get them, many families seek help from the federal government. And, right now, the Department of Education is swamped with a record number of discrimination complaints. The backlog is leaving families across the country waiting months, even years, for help.

NPR’s Jonaki Mehta visited one such family, in central Georgia

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Wildfires are getting more extreme. And so is the need for more firefighters

Extreme wildfires doubled worldwide over the last two decades, according to a new study of NASA satellite data.

You’d think, if the wildfire crisis is getting worse, there’d be more and more firefighters in place to meet that demand. But at agencies like the U.S. Forest Service, adequate staffing has been a huge challenge.

But as organizations like the Forest Service raise alarm about firefighter shortages, there’s also a whole group of people who are trained to fight fires and are struggling to get jobs in the field: formerly incarcerated people.

We hear from Royal Ramey, a formerly incarcerated firefighter who started an organization to help others build firefighting careers once they’re released from prison.

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Supreme Court rules Trump is immune from prosecution for certain official acts

On Monday the Supreme Court issued its most anticipated decision of the term — expanding the power of the presidency, and calling into question whether former President Trump will ever face a trial in federal court for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election.

In a 6-to-3 decision, along ideological lines, the Court ruled that presidents have absolute immunity for their core constitutional powers, and are entitled to a presumption of immunity for other official acts.

But the Court ruled that presidents do not have immunity for unofficial acts.

Host Ailsa Chang speaks with constitutional law expert Kim Wehle about the legal issues raised by the ruling and with NPR Senior Political editor and Correspondent Domenico Montanaro about how this decision could impact the election.

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