Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

"I loved you before I met you. Before I held you in my arms, I sang you down from the stars."

As more schools open for in-person learning and some organized sports resume, many children — like adults — are returning to the world after having packed on extra body weight.

While data is sparse on whether there's been a rise in children's weight over the pandemic, some health professionals have seen worrisome signs.

Suzannah Stivison, a pediatric nurse practitioner in Kensington, Md., told NPR that some of her patients put on what she calls "the other COVID-19" — as in, 19 pounds.

Ten years ago this week, Syrian government forces opened fire on protesters, setting off a bloody civil war. Since March 2011, the civil war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and displaced more than 10 million people.

In the early days of the uprising, Bassam Khabieh, then an amateur photographer, picked up his camera — his phone at the time — and began documenting what would be years of urban warfare from his hometown of Douma, a rebel holdout.

Inside the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package President Biden signed on Thursday is a huge, much-needed boost for the child care industry.

Almost $25 billion is going toward child care providers and centers, and an additional $15 billion will go toward helping families get access to child care.

Vaccination programs work best when as many people as possible get vaccinated, but Latinos in the United States are getting inoculated at lower rates.

In Florida, for example, Latinos are 27% of the population but they've made up only about 17% of COVID-19 vaccinations so far, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Several cities across the country that count obesity as an underlying condition have opened COVID-19 vaccine appointments to people with a body mass index of 30 or higher — the medical benchmark for obesity.

While BMI isn't a foolproof standard by which to assess potential health risk factors, obesity medicine physician Dr. Fatima Stanford told NPR, "overall, it's a good measure" in this case.

At a high school in Washington, D.C., this past week, Bridget Cronin looked on as public school workers shuffled through the two dozen vaccination stations that lined the building's atrium.

Volunteers alternated waving green placards to usher in the next patient. Red placards were on hand to signal the need for more vaccine doses.

The mass vaccination event to immunize teachers and other public school workers in the district, held at Dunbar High School, was the culmination of weeks of planning.

Just before voting Saturday to acquit former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial, the Senate seemed to reverse course, with a decision not to call witnesses.

Del. Stacey Plaskett, a Democrat from the U.S. Virgin Islands who was one of the House impeachment managers, is defending the agreement between House managers and Trump's attorneys not to call witnesses after all.

This past summer, public health officials sounded warnings about the dangers of an impending flu epidemic on top of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet this year's flu season has been exceptionally mild.

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LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

A famous young actor's marriage to a pop mega-star is crumbling. To get away from the real-life drama, William Harding immerses himself in the role of Hotspur in glittering Broadway production of Shakespeare's Henry IV.

The novel is called A Bright Ray of Darkness and the author — Ethan Hawke — is someone who might know a thing or two about what life for the main character is like.

Helen was "the face that launched a thousand ships" — the Spartan queen, seduced by the son of a Trojan king, leaving her husband to send Greek sailors and soldiers to retrieve her, and kicking off an epic and bloody war.

That classic tale has been told and re-told for generations — and there's now a new version with a twist: The stories of the women are the focus, not the stories of the men.

As a former international correspondent who covered a dozen wars and revolutions, I know the signs of civil strife. And now, I see the battle lines being drawn up in my own family's text-messaging groups, in heated email exchanges and, more chilling, in the refusal to discuss politics at all just to preserve a common bond.

For over a decade, arts journalist Betto Arcos has been a familiar voice to public radio listeners, bringing them the sounds of the world — be it from a samba school in Rio or an amphitheater in Colombia, profiling artists who play unusual instruments or create cross-cultural mashups. More than 140 of those reports are collected in his new book, Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio. Arcos spoke with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro about learning in his travels how music creates community, and vice versa. Hear the radio version at the audio link, and read on for an edited transcript.

The music of Aaron Frazer feels a bit like stepping into a time machine: It's got touches of Curtis Mayfield and Carole King, but it's also very much of this moment.

A global catastrophe has wiped out most of humanity. An astronomer living in an outpost inside the Arctic Circle is in a race against time to help the crew of a spacecraft returning from one of Jupiter's moons.

That's the premise of The Midnight Sky, the new science fiction movie starring George Clooney. It's based on the 2016 book Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. Though the story is set in 2049, the themes are very 2020.

Staff at Cedars-Sinai in LA got a surprise from a former COVID-19 patient last week: 800 homemade tamales. Margarita Montanez spent five days making them as a "thank you" for her care last spring.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

A snafu with Operation Warp Speed leaves at least 14 states short of the vaccine doses they were promised. NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro talks with WPLN's Blake Farmer about what that means in Tennessee.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

President-elect Joe Biden carried Georgia with less than a 13,000-vote lead, a tiny margin made possible, in part, by historic turnout among Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the Peach State. It's the first time in nearly 30 years that Georgia voters chose a Democrat for president.

The number of coronavirus cases in California has topped 1.2 million, leaving the state's hospitals near a breaking point. There are projections that the state could run out of intensive care beds before Christmas. And Gov. Gavin Newsom says he's considering another statewide stay-at-home order to stop the surge.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

At least 231 people in Texas prisons and jails have died from COVID-19, including 27 staff members, 14 people in jail and 190 people in prison, according to a new report from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin.

The report's lead researcher, Professor Michele Deitch, told NPR's Weekend Edition that the main takeaway from the report is the overall "devastating toll of COVID on the Texas prison system."

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the initial novelty of whipping up more homemade meals is fading.

Earlier this year, people busied themselves with batches of sourdough and banana bread. Americans bought groceries like never before, and embraced the chance to dabble in elaborate cooking projects.

Mary Anning was just 12 years old in 1811 when she unearthed the skeleton of an ichthyosaur, a marine reptile that lived some 200 million years ago – and yet, most people have never heard of this self-taught, British paleontologist. With her new film Ammonite, Kate Winslet hopes to change that.

Anning's hands were always raw from digging, Winslet says. "She made so little money, she was completely impoverished. And yet she was remarkably uncomplaining. This was a stoic, kind, compassionate person."

An American actor buys a 200-year-old Italian home for 1 euro. What could go wrong? Well, a lot, as it turns out.

Lorraine Bracco is best known for her roles in The Sopranos and Goodfellas. In her new HGTV show, My Big Italian Adventure, Bracco renovates — really renovates — the abandoned house she bought in Sicily.

Growing a mustache. Teaching a girl to dance. Lying in bed on a rainy morning.

These are the everyday daydreams of Wachito Rico, the titular character at the heart of Boy Pablo's new album.

And they're not far off from the real life of Nico Muñoz, the 21-year-old Chilean-Norwegian musician behind Boy Pablo.

United States politicians are no strangers to using unkind language against their opponents. It's a trend that dates back to at least 1800 when, during the presidential campaign, Thomas Jefferson hired James Callender to slime John Adams. But Alexander Theodoridis, who teaches political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, says that today's partisanship can lend itself to particularly dehumanizing language not only between political opponents, but also between regular Americans who belong to opposite political parties.

National Book Award winner Phil Klay's new novel Missionaries takes readers around the world, from the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan to turmoil in rural Colombia.

"The more that I thought about the way that we wage war in the 21st century, the more it seemed to me insufficient to just talk about one theater of conflict," Klay explains. "I wanted to talk about the ways these wars bleed into each other."

Imagine being able to lay down your burdens and fly away from Earth — to a place of harmony, where discrimination is left behind. That dream is the basis of the song "Blackstronauts" by Britton & The Sting, a standout entry in this year's Tiny Desk Contest. Britton Smith, who wrote the song, tells Weekend Edition he wrote "Blackstronauts" while thinking about one particular burden: the need for affirmation.

Linda Ronstadt — the chart-topping, Grammy- and Emmy-winning Rock & Roll Hall of Famer — is due to be honored again this week. This time, she'll receive a Hispanic Heritage Award, in recognition both of her pop music and her smash-hit mariachi albums. Ahead of the virtual ceremony, which will be broadcast by PBS on Oct. 6, she joined NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro to talk about the role of her Mexican-American identity in her career and what music she's been listening to lately.

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