National & World News

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

MUMBAI, India — Outside an upscale Indian hospital last week, Baljeet Asthana put her phone on selfie mode, propped her eyeglasses on her head so she could stare directly into the camera, and hit record.

The U.S. Interior Department approved the country's first large-scale offshore wind project Tuesday, a final hurdle that reverses course from the Trump administration and sets the stage for a major shift in the energy landscape.

Anyone needing a ride to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot will be able to get a free trip from the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, the White House announced Tuesday, in the latest push to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

"The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4," the White House said.

People who want to use the program would need to select a vaccination site near them and then redeem the companies' offer of a free ride. The two ride-sharing firms will promote the offer in their apps.

Updated May 11, 2021 at 6:06 PM ET

Israel warned that airstrikes on Gaza would continue over the coming days as at least 30 Palestinians and three Israelis were reported killed amid rising cross-border violence sparked by clashes in Jerusalem.

Despite the pandemic, the growth rate in the world's renewable energy capacity jumped 45% in 2020, part of "an unprecedented boom" in wind and solar energy, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. It's the largest annual rate of increase since 1999.

"An exceptional 90% rise in global wind capacity additions led the expansion," the report states. It also cites a 23% expansion in new solar power installations.

A federal judge has ordered two men who are charged with conspiracy for allegedly assaulting police officers during the Capitol riot to be detained pending trial.

As the coronavirus outbreak recedes in many parts of the U.S., the Pacific Northwest has emerged as an outlier — gripped by a late spring surge that has filled hospitals in the metro areas around Seattle and Portland.

In recent weeks, the governors of both states have hit the brakes on reopening plans in hopes of countering the rapid spread of the more contagious B.1.1.7. variant of the coronavirus, first identified in the U.K.

About a year after the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery became national news, and nearly 15 months after he was shot while jogging down a street, Georgia has repealed the vague law being used to defend the men charged with murder in his killing.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the overhaul he championed at the Georgia Capitol on Monday, alongside a bipartisan group of state lawmakers as well as Arbery's mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, and sister, Jasmine Arbery.

LONDON — England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Monday recorded no new COVID-19 deaths – a milestone that health experts said represents an encouraging sign, but caution could be temporary.

Meanwhile, Wales recorded just four coronavirus-related deaths. Even so, it's a sharp contrast to a January peak across the U.K., when about 1,800 deaths were recorded in a single day.

The Vatican's top enforcer of doctrine has sent a warning to U.S. bishops about a potential proposal by some conservative clergy to deny communion to Catholic elected officials who support legislation allowing abortion.

The possible plan could affect President Biden, among other Catholic political figures.

Democrats in the House and Senate are introducing legislation Tuesday that would make pandemic-related food benefits for college students permanent. The push is being led by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent.

Updated May 11, 2021 at 11:48 AM ET

A gunman in the Russian city of Kazan opened fire at a school early Tuesday, killing at least seven students, a teacher and a school worker, and injuring 21 others, Russian officials said.

The governor of Tatarstan, an oil-rich, Muslim-majority region where Kazan is the capital, said seven of the dead were eighth-grade students at Kazan's School No. 175.

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Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Idaho's unemployment rate has been hovering around 3%. In the capital city, Boise, for-hire signs are posted at grocery stores and restaurants — and at Pete Amador's home health care agency.

His latest ad even offers a thousand-dollar signing bonus. Amador could easily hire 50 more people right now, if they would apply. There is a long waitlist of elderly clients.

"People are calling hourly asking for help," he says.

Davon-Marie Grimmer has been struggling to get help for more than year for her cousin, Kent Clark. Sometimes, when he calls from prison, he asks to speak with relatives who are no longer alive. Sometimes, he forgets the name of his cellmate.

"As far as I know, he hasn't received any medical attention for the dementia, and he's just so vulnerable in there," Grimmer said. "He's 66 years old. He can't take care of himself."

In 2018, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan sat next to his friend and ally Rep. Elise Stefanik and predicted a bright future for the New York Republican.

"This is the future of the Republican Party, the future of our country — people like Elise," Ryan told CBS.

With Stefanik poised to become the newest member of the House GOP leadership team, his statement seems a prescient one.

The Biden administration is preparing to release $5 billion in new housing vouchers, approved in the latest COVID relief bill. The goal is to help 70,000 low-income families at risk of homelessness due to the pandemic.

But, even in the best of times, it can be hard to use such vouchers, which allow recipients to pay one-third of their income on rent, with the government covering the rest. Many landlords won't accept them and the vouchers are often hard to come by. Some families have to wait years to get one.

It may be the most surprising addition to the growing number of states setting aggressive climate goals.

Louisiana's economy has long relied on the production of oil, gas and petrochemicals. But in a major shift, officials are looking to dramatically reduce the fossil fuel emissions that disproportionately ravage the state with powerful hurricanes, intense floods, rising seas and extreme heat.

In April 1995, Ken Zeran's phone started ringing. And ringing. And ringing.

"Lots of calls. It wasn't like every second. But it was just lots of calls," Zeran said in an interview with NPR.

He ran a real estate magazine in Seattle. But his phone ringing off the hook had nothing to do with that — these callers were irate, often screaming.

"'How could you do this? What a loser you are,'" he remembers them saying. "You can use your own sense and think of what they might be saying given what had just happened in Oklahoma City."

The COVID-19 vaccination operation at the Flathead County fairgrounds in northwestern Montana can dole out 1,000 doses in seven hours. But demand has plummeted recently, down to fewer than 70 requests for the shots a day. So, the county dropped its mass vaccination offerings as May began — from three clinics a week to two. Though most of those eligible in the county haven't yet gotten the jab, the takers are few.

With college classes going online because of COVID-19, Joe Spofforth put his double major in political economies and educational studies on hold to move West and find work. When the pandemic was over, he'd go back.

"You can get real into this stuff," the 21-year-old Ohioan said, grinning at his mountain surroundings as his fellow Montana Conservation Corps crew members saw, chop and lop branches and logs away from a dirt path — trail work.

Standing, unshowered, in the shade of a tall stand of lodgepole pine in northwest Montana, he said it's a bit scary though.

Brazil, one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the pandemic, is directing more than $1 billion toward the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the country's far-right president announced Monday, Reuters reported.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who has criticized lockdown measures and has told Brazilians to "stop whining" about the deadly virus, said about $1.05 billion will be spent on the inoculation effort.

China soon won't be the world's most populous country.

The government released data Tuesday from a once-a-decade census conducted late last year that shows population growth has slowed to a crawl. Meanwhile, the proportion of senior citizens in China has expanded, the cohort of working-age people is contracting, and births are down.

The data casts a fresh spotlight on one of the ruling Communist Party's biggest long-term socio-economic challenges as it turns 100 this year: How to keep the economy humming and incomes rising while the population shrinks and ages.

Virginia Republicans have chosen businessman and first-time political candidate Glenn Youngkin to be their nominee for governor.

"I am prepared to lead, excited to serve and profoundly humbled by the trust the people have placed in me," Youngkin said in a statement late Monday, after his victory was secured. "Virginians have made it clear that they are ready for a political outsider with proven business experience to bring real change in Richmond."

A year after slashing spending to fill a record-breaking deficit spurred by the pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is eyeing a massive surplus and hopes to send out a second, larger round of stimulus checks to residents.

"It's a remarkable, remarkable turnaround," Newsom said in an interview with All Things Considered Monday.

NBC has said "no, thanks" to the Golden Globes next year, telling the Hollywood Foreign Press Association it needs to get its act together on lack of diversity and other problems recently uncovered.

The network is the latest company to distance itself from the press group which has been accused of self-dealing, corruption and conflicts of interest.

A U.S. Capitol Police watchdog told a congressional committee on Monday that the agency was not equipped to handle the flow of intelligence ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the complex, and he focused his testimony on a suggestion that the force create a dedicated counterintelligence unit.

The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that children 12 to 15 years old are now eligible to receive a key COVID-19 vaccine as the agency expanded its emergency use authorization for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting FDA commissioner, said the expansion "brings us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy."

This story is part of an NPR series, We Hold These Truths, on American democracy.

Stanley Martin was one of the Black Lives Matter activists who organized last year's protests in Rochester, N.Y. She pushed to change policing from outside the system.

This year, Martin is seeking change from the inside, running in the Rochester City Council primary on June 22. Her focus: "reimagining" public safety. To Martin, this means a radical new plan to abolish the police gradually.

In 2014, when Thea Lee was a top official with the AFL-CIO, she posed a provocative question at an economics conference about what America's trade objectives should be. Was the point to lower barriers and increase the level of trade, or was it to use American leverage to create good jobs and protect worker rights?

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