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Americans are struggling to pay off credit card debt; Tiny Desk Contest's 2024 winner

Credit card delinquencies rose in the first three months of the year. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, almost 1 in 5 card users is "maxed out," using at least 90% of their credit limit.
Justin Sullivan
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Getty Images
Credit card delinquencies rose in the first three months of the year. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, almost 1 in 5 card users is "maxed out," using at least 90% of their credit limit.

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

Americans are falling behind on their credit card bills. Nearly one in five credit card users have maxed out on their borrowing, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. People under 30 and those who live in low-income neighborhoods are more likely to be at or close to their credit limit. The debt is a sign borrowers are feeling the strain of rising prices and high interest rates.

  • "Most investors now think it's going to be September before the Federal Reserve is ready to start cutting interest rates," NPR's Scott Horsley tells Up First. Though inflation has come down from what it was several years ago, prices are still climbing faster than most would like. More than half of all credit card users pay their whole balance every month, so they're not affected by high interest rates. Because of this, there's no incentive to stop spending, which makes it hard to get inflation under control. 


Boeing has violated a deal that allowed the company to avoid criminal prosecution following two fatal crashes involving its 737 Max airplanes more than five years ago, according to the Justice Department. Prosecutors say say Boeing failed to "design, implement, and enforce a compliance and ethics program to prevent and detect violations of the U.S. fraud laws." This means the company face criminal prosecution for defrauding federal regulators, though DOJ lawyers stopped short of saying whether they will pursue that. Boeing says it disagrees with the DOJ's conclusion that it has violated the deal.

  • Boeing came under renewed scrutiny this year after a door plug blew out from an Alaska Airlines flight in January. But it's incredibly rare that anyone is killed or even injured on a commercial flight. Here's why there's usually no need to panic when a plane makes an emergency landing.


The huge container ship that struck the Francis Scott Key Bridge had electrical problems the day before it left the Port of Baltimore, according to a preliminary report by National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The Dali experienced a "blackout" about ten hours before leaving the port. Crewmembers were able to restore power before the ship suffered a second blackout, after which the crew changed the configuration of the ship's electrical system. The NTSB says it's still not clear how those incidents relate to what happened early the following morning when the Dali lost power twice in the minutes before it crashed into one of the bridge's supports.

The science of siblings

Paris Lekuuk, 15, (center) listens to a math lesson in the third-grade classroom of his primary school in northern Kenya.
Claire Harbage / NPR
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NPR
Paris Lekuuk, 15, (center) listens to a math lesson in the third-grade classroom of his primary school in northern Kenya.

The Science of Siblings is a new series from NPR exploring the ways our siblings can influence us, from our money and our mental health all the way down to our very molecules.

Until a few weeks ago, 15-year-old Paris Lekuuk had never stepped inside a school. He has recently decided to leave his life as a "moran," a warrior for the Samburu people of Kenya. His people have kept cattle in the region for centuries. The teenage warriors rely on a bond they say makes them closer than brothers to survive months on their own taking care of cattle in the highlands. But the onset of climate change threatens this brotherhood, which is why Lekuuk has broken away to attend school.

See photos of Paris and his fellow morans, and read about how he is faring in school without his brothers.

Today's listen

The Philharmonik is the winner of the 2024 Tiny Desk Contest
/ Courtesy of the artist
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Courtesy of the artist
The Philharmonik is the winner of the 2024 Tiny Desk Contest

Nearly 7,000 artists sent in entries for this year's Tiny Desk Contest. NPR's Bobby Carter, one of the 15 judges, says it's been one of the most competitive yet. Past winners have gone on to sign recording contracts, write music for Broadway, and even win Grammys. Today, NPR crowns a tenth winner.

Watch the music video for "What's It All Mean" by this year's winner, Philharmonik, and listen to Bobby Carter explain why judges chose this band from Sacramento, Calif.

3 things to know before you go

  1. Target's 2024 Pride Month collection will only be available online and in "select stores" depending on "historical sales performance," according to a company press release. 
  2. Grocery stores Aldi and Hy-Vee have issued recalls of cream cheese due to potential salmonella contamination.
  3. The Westminster Dog Show saw a few firsts this year. Mando represented the Lancashire Heeler, the latest breed to be recognized by the American Kennel Club. And Nimble became the first mixed-breed dog to win the competition's Agility Championship.

This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

Copyright 2024 NPR