National & World News

Coverage of national and world news from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

Thousands of LGBTQ veterans who were discharged from the military under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy have gained new access to full government benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Young investors have a new strategy: watching financial disclosures of sitting members of Congress for stock tips.

The Biden administration is pushing for new worker protections after record-setting temperatures across the country left dozens of workers injured and dead this summer.

In the latest example of a wicked hot housing market, a 10-foot wide house in Boston has sold for $1.25 million.

Located in the city's historic North End neighborhood, the 2-bedroom 1-bath home was built in 1890, according to city tax records, though some accounts say 1862.

It's been a violent few days in Melbourne, Australia, where construction workers and other demonstrators are clashing with police as they protest the government's COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

Amid the surging delta variant, officials in Victoria state — where Melbourne is the largest city — recently announced a vaccination mandate for construction workers that requires each employee to show proof of at least one dose by Thursday.

Here's a tweet you wouldn't expect to see at the 76th annual session of the U.N. General Assembly:

"Why i'm like a proud mom watching this?!? I love you, BTS!!!"

After a virtual assembly in 2020, the United Nations is holding this year's event as a hybrid with in-person and online participation. On Monday, the seven members of the world's hottest supergroup strode onstage to kick off the high-level gathering.

The toys that come in McDonald's Happy Meals will soon be made mostly from corn and other materials rather than from fossil fuel-based plastic, the fast-food chain says. The switch is already underway in some international markets; it's expected to be complete globally by 2025.

Updated September 21, 2021 at 5:22 PM ET

The FBI has confirmed that remains found in Wyoming Sunday are the body of 22-year-old Gabrielle Petito. The mystery around the death of the photogenic young white woman with a carefree social media presence has been headline news across the country.

Updated September 21, 2021 at 3:17 PM ET

Images of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback chasing Haitian migrants along the Rio Grande are "horrific," the White House says.

The migrants were attempting to return to a camp near the international Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, where thousands of migrants have gathered on the U.S. side of the border river. Many of them carried food they'd just bought in Mexico.

LONDON — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet with President Biden in Washington on Tuesday afternoon to discuss climate change and international security, among other topics.

On the climate front, Johnson is pressuring wealthy countries, including the United States, to spend more to help developing nations tackle climate change. Rich nations had pledged to spend $100 billion a year on the effort, but have fallen short. Speaking to reporters Monday, Johnson said he hoped Biden would commit to more.

Last month, hundreds of Afghans flooded into small photo studios in Kabul, seeking photographs for passports and ID cards before the last of the previous government's institutions closed their doors.

The Taliban have now taken Afghanistan, the U.S. has left — and thousands of Afghans are also trying to leave. As the international evacuation window narrowed, there was a rush to fill out visa applications for countries that many knew very little of, but hoped would offer them safety and a new home.

Updated September 21, 2021 at 10:47 AM ET

The European Court of Human Rights has found the Kremlin responsible for the 2006 assassination by radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence official who defected to the West.

Meanwhile, British police said Tuesday that they have identified a third suspect in a Russian-linked nerve agent attack on a former Russian double agent in southern England.

People who receive a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine booster shot are better protected against the coronavirus for a longer period of time, according to the pharmaceutical company's latest trial results.

As the country celebrates all things Latino, we think it's time to show some culinary appreciation for some of the tastiest foods indigenous to Latin America but that over centuries have been victim to some bad PR, and are commonly associated with European countries.

Mmmm ... chocolate

Television commercials and magazine ads make it seem that the Swiss and the Belgians must be somehow connected to the very origins of chocolate, but the caffeinated treat's history stretches back millennia to what is now southeastern Mexico.

Sarah Dash, the singer and co-founder of the all-female singing group Labelle, best known for their 1974 hit "Lady Marmalade," died Monday at the age of 76.

Dash's bandmate Patti LaBelle announced her longtime friend's death on social media.

Nicole Wolter runs a factory in Wauconda, Ill., that makes gears and pulleys used in a variety of industrial equipment. She has plenty of orders, but she's straining to get all the parts she needs – and that's creating trouble across the supply chain.

"I'm getting phone calls of 'Hey, you're holding up a $5 million machine,'" says Wolter, adding that customers sometimes offer to pay for overtime in her factory or next-day air delivery. "I think there's just that air of desperation."

Morgan Byrd said that had it not been for the restrictive new Texas abortion law, she probably wouldn't have signed up to volunteer to canvass for Planned Parenthood.

"I wish I could say that I would have, but no — this is really the far stretch that's kind of encouraging me to stand up more," she said. "This is telling me I need to be out there. I need to be spreading the word."

Byrd was part of a small group of volunteers who met outside a cafe in Arlington, Va., this month to learn about canvassing for the abortion-rights group.

On a hill in Oakland, Calif., Igor Lacan looks out from under his Stetson hat at the neighborhood below and begins listing trees.

"Maples to birches to plums to liquid amber," says Lacan, horticulture adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension. "A cedar. I see some palms, and then you've got a monkey puzzle up here!"

Canadian voters have narrowly awarded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a third term in a snap parliamentary election, but he fell short of his goal of winning an outright majority for his Liberal Party.

Early Tuesday, ballots were still being counted across the country, but the broad outlines of the next government were already evident. Trudeau, who had hoped that voters would reward Liberals for his government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, instead came up with much the same result as in 2019: another minority government dependent on the help of partners to govern.

People who have had a stroke appear to regain more hand and arm function if intensive rehabilitation starts two to three months after the injury to their brain.

A study of 72 stroke patients suggests this is a "critical period," when the brain has the greatest capacity to rewire, a team reports in this week's journal PNAS.

COVID-19 has now killed about as many Americans as the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did — approximately 675,000.

The U.S. population a century ago was just one-third of what it is today, meaning the flu cut a much bigger, more lethal swath through the country. But the COVID-19 crisis is by any measure a colossal tragedy in its own right, especially given the incredible advances in scientific knowledge since then and the failure to take maximum advantage of the vaccines available this time.

TRABZON, Turkey — They had reached the end of the road.

Sitting on a park bench in this small Turkish city on the Black Sea, Sayyid Ali Hussaini held his 9-year-old daughter as she slept. His wife Mahbube huddled next to him as the hours ticked past into the night. He had given all he had to the smugglers who shepherded him and his family out of Afghanistan and across the mountains in a grueling, monthlong journey through Iran to reach Turkey. Now, they weren't sure where they would sleep.

The world's largest tree recently got a blanket to help protect it from a raging wildfire. Photos of the sequoia named General Sherman — with a base measuring a massive 36 feet in diameter — set off a flurry of interest in why and how a blanket might work against flames.

As the Biden administration moves quickly to expel migrants camped under a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, its plan depends on a controversial Trump-era policy put in place in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to speed up removals.

A tourist hot spot off the coast of Australia, Fraser Island, will once again be known as K'gari, its original Indigenous name, the Queensland government announced.

Updated September 20, 2021 at 5:56 PM ET

Stock markets from Hong Kong to New York were hit by a major sell-off on Monday as a massive Chinese real estate conglomerate called China Evergrande Group faces a potentially devastating debt default.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 614 points, its worst performance in about two months, after earlier falling more than 900 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also fell sharply, posting their worst daily percentage falls since mid-May.

Comedian and actor A.J. Johnson has died. Johnson was best known for Friday, Menace II Society and The Players Club.

Anthony "A.J." Johnson, who played Ezal, a homeless man with drug addiction, in Friday and E.Z.E. in House Party, died on Friday. His death was confirmed by a spokesperson. He was 55. No cause of death has been disclosed.

According to TMZ, Johnson "was found lifeless in a store earlier this month in Los Angeles and rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead."

Updated September 20, 2021 at 3:43 PM ET

Two students were wounded in a shooting at a Virginia high school Monday afternoon, police said.

A 17-year-old boy was shot in the face at Heritage High School and a 17-year-old girl was shot in the leg, Newport News police Chief Steve Drew said at a news conference. Both were taken to the hospital and neither injury was thought to be life-threatening, he said.

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