NPR News

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2021 WBEZ. To see more, visit WBEZ.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

One year after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered classrooms around the country and the world, U.S. parents are guardedly optimistic about the academic and social development of their children, an NPR/Ipsos poll finds.

House Democrats are planning a strategic wave of party priority legislation on everything from guns to immigration, even as none — if any — of the bills is likely to pass a 50-50 Senate.

"We believe these bills enjoy overwhelming support among Democrats, Republicans and independents among the American people," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said this week. "Frankly, we don't know why that support, particularly in terms of Republican support, doesn't translate to the members of the House or the Senate."

Tens of millions of Americans experienced at least a day last year shrouded in wildfire smoke. Entire cities were blanketed, in some cases for weeks, as unprecedented wildfires tore across the Western U.S., causing increases in hospitalizations for respiratory emergencies and concerns about people's longer-term health.

A new study finds those concerns are well founded.

"Okay ... great gowns – beautiful gowns."

Those were the words thrown out by the one and only Aretha Franklin several years ago, when pressed by a journalist to say the first thing that came to mind at the mention of Taylor Swift's name. Think "If you can't say anything nice ..." pragmatically applied to a real-world situation. A shade that will live in infamy and memes.

The recently ousted CEO of the entity that maintains and operates much of Texas's electricity grid has told its board of directors he will not accept an $800,000 severance.

Bill Magness was fired, officially without cause, Wednesday. He had been president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, but was removed following last month's winter storm that resulted in days-long blackouts for more than 4 million Texas residents.

This week, health care providers began administering the first doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. — the third vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to help stop the coronavirus pandemic.

That's welcome news in a country that still faces high levels of circulating virus in most regions, and a demand for vaccine that still far outstrips supply.

The Biden administration is aiming to process and release migrant families arriving at the border seeking asylum more quickly — within 72 hours — by converting some detention facilities, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

The objective is to turn them into processing centers where criminal background checks and full health screenings can be completed, before migrant parents and children are released with orders to appear in court.

The number of refugees has soared over the past four years, with more than 26 million refugees worldwide as of mid-2020, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Last summer, an appointee of former President Donald Trump was irate because he could not simply fire top executives who had warned him that some of his plans might be illegal.

Michael Pack, who was CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media that oversees Voice of America, in August suspended those top executives. He also immediately ordered up an investigation to determine what wrongdoing the executives might have committed.

U.S. Capitol Police requested a 60-day extension for a portion of the National Guard troops currently in Washington, D.C., Thursday as the threat of a possible attack from militia groups looms over the city.

As the world approaches a year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the appeal of virtual happy hours and other ways of staying connected via screens has faded for many people.

Enter Canada Post, which is providing an alternate way for people to connect with those they're missing — one postcard at a time.

A persistent question about COVID-19 that remains unanswered a year into this pandemic: Why do so many people die in some countries — but not in others?

More than 515,000 people have now died from COVID-19 in the U.S., but in India, the recorded deaths have been less than one-third of that, even though the population is about four times as large.

Similarly, South Africa has been hit hard, but in Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, the deaths have been far lower than expected.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Two trend lines have moved in opposite directions over the last four years. One is the number of refugees worldwide. It has been soaring - 26.3 million as of mid-2020. The other is the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. It has plummeted from 85,000 a year at the start of the Trump administration to about 12,000 last year. President Biden wants to reverse that second trend. And here to talk about what that means is the U.N. Refugee Agency's deputy high commissioner, Kelly Clements.

Hi there.

KELLY CLEMENTS: Hi, Ari.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Two trend lines have moved in opposite directions over the last four years. One is the number of refugees worldwide. It has been soaring - 26.3 million as of mid-2020. The other is the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. It has plummeted from 85,000 a year at the start of the Trump administration to about 12,000 last year. President Biden wants to reverse that second trend. And here to talk about what that means is the U.N. Refugee Agency's deputy high commissioner, Kelly Clements.

Hi there.

KELLY CLEMENTS: Hi, Ari.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Two trend lines have moved in opposite directions over the last four years. One is the number of refugees worldwide. It has been soaring - 26.3 million as of mid-2020. The other is the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. It has plummeted from 85,000 a year at the start of the Trump administration to about 12,000 last year. President Biden wants to reverse that second trend. And here to talk about what that means is the U.N. Refugee Agency's deputy high commissioner, Kelly Clements.

Hi there.

KELLY CLEMENTS: Hi, Ari.

Many U.S. doctors have received their COVID-19 vaccines, but nearly a third are foreign-born with family in countries facing no access to it — a disparity that troubles many as they fight the virus.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A choral group in Dallas hopes to use blockchain to monetize their new recording. Instead of making pennies from streams, they can sell a single copy for thousands of dollars... if they find a bidder.

Senate Democrats are moving ahead with an updated version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes several tweaks intended to satisfy some moderates ahead of an expected final vote in the coming days.

The Senate voted 51-50 along party lines to advance the bill on Thursday. Vice President Harris voted with all Democrats to break the tie and move ahead with the lengthy debate and amendment process.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday made it more difficult for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for a long time to fight deportation. The court's 5-to-3 ruling came in the case of a man who had lived in the U.S. for 25 years but who had used a fake Social Security card to get a job as a janitor.

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

OPEC and its allies said Thursday they are keeping oil production largely steady, even as crude prices stage a remarkable recovery, betting that a restrained approach will lay the groundwork for prices to climb even more.

Russia and Kazakhstan will raise their output modestly, but all other members of the alliance will hold their production steady instead of returning more oil to the global market. Saudi Arabia also said it will extend its voluntary cut in oil production of 1 million barrels per day into April.

In the middle of a pandemic, Mavis Owureku-Asare is optimistic.

The reason? On February 24, her homeland, Ghana, became the first low-resource country to receive free COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX.

"I feel very hopeful," says Owureku-Asare, a food scientist with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and a 2020 Aspen New Voices fellow. "Ghana has become a role model for other countries."

Opinion: Brazil's President Is A Global Health Threat

13 hours ago

Robert Muggah is a principal of the SecDev Group and cofounder of the Igarape Institute. His latest book, Terra Incognita, co-authored with Ian Goldin, focuses on the systemic threats facing our world.

Movie theaters in Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia have been open for months. But attendance remains low, not just because of public safety concerns—but because there isn't much to see. Major studios are delaying their blockbusters, or releasing them straight to streaming.

One big reason? The two biggest movie markets in the country, New York City and Los Angeles, remain closed.

Puerto Rico’s new governor, who took office in January, has inherited a bevy of challenges, from COVID-19 pandemic response to continued recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017.

This week, however, he’s in Washington, D.C., trying to boost the island’s latest push for statehood.

The U.S. oil boom created a lot of oil. But it destroyed a lot of money — investors poured cash into oil companies and got nothing to show for it.

So now, as the industry tries to recover from the pandemic and address concerns about climate change, investors are clamoring to see more cash, which means — counterintuitively — pumping less oil.

Camila Domonoske, who covers cars, energy and the future of mobility for NPR’s business desk, has the story.

In 2014, Los Angeles Times journalist Sandy Banks wrote a column praising the decision to condemn a 19-year-old accused of shooting into a crowd with a 40-year prison sentence.

Looking back, she regrets her article. Now, Banks wants more journalists to admit when they are wrong and move toward reparative journalism.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Pages