National & World News

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

What Melissa Hickson says happened to her husband — and what the hospital says — are in conflict.

But this much is for sure: Michael Hickson, a 46-year old quadriplegic who'd contracted COVID-19, died at St. David's South Austin Medical Center in Austin, Texas, on June 11 after the hospital ended treatment for him and moved him from the intensive care unit to hospice care.

After voting for President Trump in 2016 and staunchly defending him in conservative publications, a Federalist Society leader appears to be having some very public buyer's remorse.

Steven Calabresi, co-founder of the powerful conservative legal organization, is now calling on the House of Representatives to do again what it has already done once this year: impeach Trump.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

Hong Kong is seeing its biggest surge in coronavirus cases since the outbreak began.

Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET

A coronavirus vaccine could be ready for distribution by the end of the year, and distributed to Americans in 2021, the nation's top infectious disease specialist told lawmakers Friday.

While it typically takes years to develop vaccines, new technologies, the lack of bureaucratic red tape and the human body's robust immune response to COVID-19 have hastened the process, Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

For the fourth day in a row, Florida set a record for the number of COVID-19 deaths with 257 deaths reported Friday. A total of 6,843 people in Florida have died so far from the coronavirus.

Epidemiologists say that number will keep rising following the surge in cases seen over the past six weeks.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is delaying the region's legislative elections by a year, citing a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Critics decry the decision, seen as the latest in a series of recent moves that curb Hong Kong's limited autonomy. That autonomy was guaranteed for 50 years after the end of British rule and its handover to China in 1997.

The House unanimously passed a rare ethics resolution on Friday morning to reprimand Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., for breaking congressional and campaign finance rules.

Schweikert agreed to pay a $50,000 fine and admitted to 11 ethics violations including the misuse of official funds.

The House Ethics Committee had been investigating Schweikert, who was elected in 2010, for more than two years. Its investigative subcommittee concluded there was "substantial reason" to believe Schweikert violated the government code of ethics, campaign finance laws, and House rules.

Americans continue to wait in long lines to get tested for the coronavirus. Many then face frustration and anxiety waiting days — sometimes even weeks — to get their results.

Could technology finally solve the testing woes that have hobbled the nation's ability to fight the pandemic? The National Institutes of Health hopes so.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is facing a new round of serious allegations, this time of sexual harassment and misconduct against three of the daily talk show's executive producers, as well as other forms of workplace misconduct. The allegations come from 36 former Ellen DeGeneres employees.

On Thursday, DeGeneres sent a note to her staff in which she apologized for the show's reputed toxic workplace environment and pledged to do better.

A federal judge in New York issued two strongly worded rulings on Wednesday that put a temporary freeze on restrictive Trump administration immigration policies.

The measures, which are now on hold, had broadened the grounds under which immigrants could be considered "public charges," a label that can harm the chances of obtaining either a green card or entry to the United States.

The Army is now getting back to large-scale training, after several months preparing to hold off that invisible foe: the coronavirus.

Back in May at its massive training base in the Mojave Desert, the Army practiced taking temperatures, isolating soldiers who tested positive and socially distancing.

It was all in preparation for 4,000 National Guard soldiers from 20 states who arrived recently at Fort Irwin, Calif., for two weeks of training at this vast swath of deserts and mountains the size of Rhode Island.

In any ordinary school year, school nurses are busy. This year, that's an understatement.

"Our role has expanded tenfold," says Eileen Gavin, who co-leads a team of nurses for Middletown Township Public Schools in New Jersey.

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As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage around the world, some of the largest outbreaks are in countries that fall into one particular economic category. They're not rich. They're not poor. They're middle income.

In fact, of the countries reporting the most cases globally, 6 of 7 are middle-income nations.

Kirk Gallegos is a single father of four. He works construction in Barstow, Calif. Prudence Carter is a single mother of one. She's the dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley.

Both share the same problem with tens of millions of other parents around the country: Their public schools aren't operating full time in-person this fall. And the rest of the child care system, which had been stretched even before the pandemic, is itself under pressure.

If you spend any time on social media, you know it can be a war of words out there. Whether it's the debate over wearing masks, the racial unrest sweeping across the U.S. or the impending presidential election — everyone's got an opinion and someone is always ready to give a hot take.

Earlier this month, when the Trump administration told hospitals to send crucial data about coronavirus cases and intensive care capacity to a new online system, it promised the change would be worth it. The data would be more complete and transparent and an improvement over the old platform run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, administration officials said.

Instead, the public data hub created under the new system is updated erratically and is rife with inconsistencies and errors, data analysts say.

A new report from the centrist Democratic group Third Way, shared first with NPR, finds that Democrats are on track to win the suburbs in five of six key states they lost in the 2016 presidential election.

The analysis is based on voter-file data from the progressive-aligned firm Catalist and models that measure the likelihood of people to vote Democratic or Republican. It finds the following:

As protests over racial injustice in the U.S. continue, Major League Baseball is honoring an institution created 100 years ago because of its own racist past. The Negro Leagues showcased Black baseball players when they were banned from the big leagues.

MLB had to reschedule a celebration of the leagues' centennial originally set for June because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of Negro Leaguers left to celebrate is dwindling. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., estimates there are about 100 players still living.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

A federal judge has unsealed hundreds of pages of deposition transcripts and other documents related to a now-settled defamation suit brought against Ghislaine Maxwell, who is accused of helping the late Jeffrey Epstein run a sex trafficking operation that catered to rich and powerful men.

The 47 documents include a deposition given by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, the draft of a memoir she was writing about her experiences inside the sex-trafficking ring, and previously unseen email exchanges between Maxwell and Epstein.

President Trump's claims about why November's election could be marred and illegitimate shifted again Thursday, after he walked back his desire to potentially delay voting.

Trump falsely claimed that the U.S. is sending out "hundreds of millions of universal mail-in ballots" and also repeated a conspiracy theory about foreign countries counterfeiting ballots.

"I was proud that John Lewis was a friend of mine," former President Barack Obama said on Thursday, delivering an emotional eulogy for the civil rights leader who was an inspiration for America's first Black president.

Updated at 8:35 p.m. ET

Spikes in online shopping during the pandemic helped Amazon net $5.2 billion in profits as its sales soared to record highs between April and June.

Historically Black colleges and universities have an extra factor to consider as they plan on how to operate this next school year: Black communities are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

According to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, Black people are dying from the coronavirus at two and a half times the rate of white people.

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

A week after Major League Baseball's pandemic-shortened regular season began, another team is altering its schedule because of positive test results for the coronavirus.

The Philadelphia Phillies announced Thursday they've shut down their ballpark and an upcoming series of games has been postponed. The Phillies were the last team to play the Miami Marlins before the Marlins paused their schedule this week due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Now the Phillies are dealing with the virus.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

Former Republican presidential candidate and pizza magnate Herman Cain has died from the coronavirus.

Cain, 74, had been hospitalized since early July after he began having trouble breathing.

"Herman Cain – our boss, our friend, like a father to so many of us – has passed away," aides announced on Cain's website Thursday.

The U.S. Army on Thursday named its five-person civilian panel that will conduct a review of the culture at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, following the death and dismemberment of a 20-year-old soldier who had been stationed at the base.

"The Army is committed to taking care of our Soldiers, civilians, families, and Soldiers for life, and this independent review will explore the current command climate and culture at Fort Hood," Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said in a statement.

The NBA will have its first revamped games of the 2019-2020 season on Thursday evening, after the global coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the world of professional sports.

This evening, the Utah Jazz will face off against the New Orleans Pelicans. Later, the two teams from Los Angeles, the Clippers and the Lakers, will play the second and final game of the night.

Players have been based at Walt Disney World Resort just outside of Orlando, Fla., since early July under strict health and safety measures.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Former President Barack Obama called on Americans to honor the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis by working to expand voting rights — and if Congress has to abolish the filibuster to strengthen the Voting Rights Act, then so be it, Obama said.

Every morning, Rosa Gallegos has to make a decision: stay at home with her family to be safe from the coronavirus or hit the streets of Mexico City to make money so they can eat.

The 61-year-old grandmother always comes to the same conclusion: "If coronavirus doesn't kill me, hunger will."

On a recent Thursday, she stands on a street corner near a public hospital complex, hawking little bags of nuts. "Nuts, 10 pesos. Get your nuts, 10 pesos," she said to passersby.

The places with the most severe air pollution nearly 40 years ago remain among the most polluted places today, according to a new study that uses historical air pollution data to track disparities in air quality over time.

Decades of research and the lived experiences of millions of Americans have established that people in the United States do not have equal access to clean air, and that poor people and people of color are more likely to breathe polluted air than their fellow citizens who are white or rich.

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