NPR News

Amtrak has reversed course — at least partly — on its plan to charge two wheelchair users $25,000 for a short train ride, after hearing criticism, including from a U.S. senator.

On Friday, NPR reported that two riders, who use power wheelchairs, were told they'd have to pay at least $25,000 for a two-hour train ride from Chicago to the station in Bloomington-Normal, Ill. It's a ticket that usually costs $16.

As fires in Australia claimed thousands of homes and at least 28 lives, smoke became a pervasive part of everyday life.

But smoke doesn’t affect everyone equally. And vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and the sick, have faced additional risks from the smog that made its way into homes and even hospitals.

So did Gemma Carey’s unborn baby.

Australia's southeast was already dealing with the terrible effects of historic bushfires and huge smoke clouds. Then Canberra, Melbourne and other places were hit by golf-ball-sized hail that destroyed car windshields, killed birds and shredded the leaves off trees.

The Bureau of Meteorology in New South Wales, the country's most populous state, warned residents of "damaging winds, large, possibly giant hailstones and heavy rainfall" as it issued severe thunderstorm warnings in the east and northeast.

Harriet Tubman may be the best-known conductor of the Underground Railroad, but a new album highlights another key figure: William Still, who helped nearly 800 enslaved African Americans escape to freedom in the years before the Civil War.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Women And The Legal Bounds Of Self-Defense

5 hours ago

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DJ Sessions: 5 Artists To Know In 2020

5 hours ago

From Tin Pan Alley to the hollows of West Virginia, KCRW DJ Chris Douridas (@chrisdouridas) brings us his picks for the year.

Music From The Segment

Jensen McRae, “White Boy”

Watch on YouTube.

Jordan Mackampa, “What Am I?”

Watch on YouTube.

Sharon Langley was the first African American child to ride the carousel at the Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore, Maryland, on the day the park was formally integrated, which took place the same day as the March on Washington.

Host Robin Young speaks with Langley, who has now co-written a new book “A Ride to Remember: A Civil Rights Story.

New information is being reported about the new coronavirus that emerged in China in December and causes respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia — heightening concerns about its potential threat to humans.

On Monday, Chinese authorities reported that the total caseload has risen to over 200, roughly tripling the previous number. In addition, authorities in Wuhan, where the virus was first reported, confirmed a third death but did not release details except to say that the three victims, all men, had prior illnesses.

The Senate impeachment trial of President Trump begins Tuesday, as the White House loudly denounces proceedings as “highly partisan and reckless.”

Democrats continue to argue for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call additional witnesses, but few Republicans agree.

NPR’s Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) discusses the latest with host Jeremy Hobson.

Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET

The White House is offering a fiery legal response to the articles of impeachment, in an executive summary of a legal brief obtained by NPR.

Decrying a "rigged process" that is "brazenly political," President Trump's legal team accuses House Democrats of "focus-group testing various charges for weeks" and says that "all that House Democrats have succeeded in proving is hat the President did absolutely nothing wrong."

Updated 4:05 p.m. ET Sunday

Investigators in Honolulu are combing through the charred rubble of seven homes and searching for the remains of a man who police say stabbed his landlord, fatally shot two officers and set a fire that destroyed his bungalow and six other homes.

It wasn't just the fact that one of China's best universities had changed its charter last December to emphasize loyalty to the ruling Communist Party that raised eyebrows. Shanghai's Fudan University also deleted principles like freedom of thought, and did so publicly, as if expecting praise.

Furious students staged a rare and risky protest in the school cafeteria in December. They sang the school's anthem, which praises academic freedom.

The third Monday of January is a U.S. federal holiday honoring the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., but two Southern states — Alabama and Mississippi — also use the day to celebrate Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate forces during the Civil War.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Thousands of gun ownership enthusiasts and armed militia members gathered at the Virginia State Capitol Monday for a rally aimed at quashing new gun restrictions. The rally ended peacefully, but the city of Richmond remains under a state of emergency and Gov. Ralph Northam's temporary ban on weapons on Capitol grounds will remain in place until Tuesday.

The extradition hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer for the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, began Monday in Vancouver, Canada. American officials want Meng sent to the U.S. to face federal fraud charges.

Sometimes, the approval of a new generic drug offers more hype than hope for patients' wallets, as people with multiple sclerosis know all too well. New research shows just how little the introduction of a generic version of Copaxone — one of the most popular MS drugs — did to lower their medicine costs.

The Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in Miami next month, after dominating the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers, respectively, in their conference championship games on Sunday.

Kansas City ends a 50-year drought

The Kansas City Chiefs knocked out the Tennessee Titans 35-24 in the AFC Championship game on Sunday to secure their first trip to the Super Bowl in 50 years.

When NPR host Scott Simon was in his late teens, he took a job in an assisted living facility in Chicago, working with people who had developmental disabilities.

"It was more formative in my life, I think, than most any war I've covered, any political campaign I've covered, any reportorial experience I've had," Simon says. "It really opened my eyes into seeing the world differently."

Simon has wanted to tell this story for years, and so he drew on the experiences he had back then to write a new mystery for young readers called Sunnyside Plaza.

It's pretty clear why Tiffany Tsao's The Majesties has been compared to the smash hit Crazy Rich Asians. After all, both are about obscenely wealthy Chinese families. But once I started reading, it became clear that this is a very different story — if Crazy Rich Asians was all about the luster and the shiny surface, The Majesties is focused on the grit and ruthlessness that makes the opulence possible.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The United States now has 46 million people age 65 or older. That's a record number, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

How confident are Iowa Democrats in their choices, now two weeks out from the caucuses?

The response Renee Kleinpeter gave NPR when asked which candidates she's narrowed her choice down to could sum it up: four seconds of laughter.

"I'll go with anybody who could beat [President] Trump," she said after laughing. "I wish somebody could tell me."

When Heather Woock was in her late 20s, she started researching her family history. As part of the project she spit into a tube and sent it to Ancestry, a consumer DNA testing service. Then in 2017, she started getting messages about the results from people who said they could be half-siblings.

"I immediately called my mom and said, 'Mom, is it possible that I have random siblings out there somewhere?'" Woock says. She remembers her mom responded, "No, why? That's ridiculous."

Halfway through Garth Greenwell's exquisite story collection, Cleanness, the narrator and his boyfriend wander through a Bologna museum devoted to a single, unnamed artist. The narrator becomes transfixed by paintings "humming at a frequency I wanted to tune myself to catch."

Pages