National & World News

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

For months, the government of Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has accelerated the number of visas it grants migrants seeking refuge from war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and beyond.

New York City's Times Square rang in the year 2021 with a virtual ball-dropping celebration, as coronavirus cases climbed across the U.S.

Now the party's back on, thanks to COVID-19 vaccines. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that Times Square will be open for celebrations this New Year's Eve — but only to fully vaccinated revelers.

The film that brought the wizarding world to life — from Hogwarts to Hedwig to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named — is now 20 years old.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" premiered on Nov. 16, 2001, four years after the series' first book hit the shelves.

Updated November 16, 2021 at 3:11 PM ET

Pfizer has signed a licensing deal to allow dozens of lower-income countries to benefit from generic versions of its new COVID-19 pill. The agreement covers 95 nations, but it omits some hard-hit countries.

A massive wind and rain storm that began Friday is causing flooding and mudslides in the Pacific Northwest near the Canadian border, leading to the closure of an interstate highway, evacuations and power outages.

On Monday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a severe weather state of emergency for 14 counties in the western part of the state.

Updated November 16, 2021 at 6:59 PM ET

Twelve jurors have begun deliberations in the criminal trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two protesters and wounded a third during the unrest last year in Kenosha, Wis.

Jurors deliberated for roughly eight hours on Tuesday without reaching a verdict. They will resume deliberations Wednesday at 9 a.m. CT.

Blair Braverman, an adventurer and sled dog racer who finished Alaska's nearly 1,000-mile long Iditarod race in 2019, has some advice for aspiring mushers. Rule no. 1, she says, is to never let go of the sled or the dogs.

It's pretty rare for U.S. spies to gather at a conference and talk openly about the most pressing national security threats.

Ethan Phillips was 13 years old when he first heard the term "suicide contagion."

It's the scientific concept that after one person dies by suicide, others in the community may be at higher risk.

Ah, the unassuming shipping container. It's really nothing more than a big steel box with a couple of doors. At any given time, millions of containers are piled on ships plying the world's waterways.

Updated November 16, 2021 at 12:40 PM ET

For the first time in its history, Boston is inaugurating a newly-elected mayor on Tuesday who is not a white man. Michelle Wu – who's Asian American — is the first woman and first person of color elected to lead the city. While many are hailing it as a major turning point, others see it as more of a disappointment that the three Black candidates in the race couldn't even come close.

President Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping talked by video link Monday night in an effort to dial down tensions that have eroded trust and raised the specter of conflict between the world's top two economies.

It was the first time since Biden took office 10 months ago that the two leaders had met face-to-face — albeit by video from nearly 7,000 miles apart — to try to find ways to coexist and keep an overtly competitive and at times acrimonious relationship from deteriorating.

For more than a month, students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., have been fighting for answers from the school administration as they protested poor housing conditions on campus.

But on Monday, an agreement with protesters at one of the nation's top historically Black universities had been reached, the school announced in a tweet.

Updated November 15, 2021 at 7:15 PM ET

President Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law Monday, enacting a key piece of his domestic spending agenda that will funnel billions to states and local governments to upgrade outdated roads, bridges, transit systems and more.

Louie Pitt Jr. has a clear memory of a day four years ago when a valve broke on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon. He was in a meeting with the tribal operations officer when she was interrupted by a phone call.

"The worst situation I was talking about," she told him, "it's happening now."

Prosecutors are closer to resting their case against three white men who are charged with murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. Racial aspects of the trial were prominent again on Monday, as a defense attorney objected to Rev. Jesse Jackson being in the courtroom, saying the presence of a civil rights icon could influence the jury.

Doug Kiersey has been building, buying and leasing warehouses for almost 40 years. He's never seen a time like this.

"It's completely unprecedented," says Kiersey, president of Dermody Properties, which owns warehouses used by some of the country's largest retailers. "In some markets ... we're over 99% occupancy."

In simplest terms, America's warehouses are running out of space. It's all claimed and bursting at the seams.

How did that happen?

Raquel Coronell Uribe, a history and literature major from Miami, will become the Harvard Crimson's first Latinx president in the student newspaper's 148-year history. She takes the helm in January.

"It's a huge honor," Coronell told NPR. "Even if it took 148 years, I'm thrilled that I get to be in the position to be that first person."

Family members of some victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have won a court battle by default against right-wing media personality and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website.

A Monday ruling from a Connecticut court — which found Jones and the other defendants liable for defamation — brought swift reaction from an attorney representing the families Sandy Hook victims, high-profile politicians and those defending Jones in the suit.

Austria has placed some 2 million unvaccinated people on partial lockdown, while neighboring Germany has reintroduced free coronavirus testing, as the two countries contend with soaring rates of COVID-19 amid a Europe-wide wave of new infections.

Unvaccinated people in Austria will only be allowed to leave their homes for work, food shopping or emergencies, according to the new mandate beginning Monday.

Police are conducting spot checks of digital vaccine certificates, though there's skepticism about how effectively the lockdown can be enforced.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Updated November 15, 2021 at 6:59 PM ET

In closing arguments in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, jurors heard two versions of the deadly night of Aug. 25, 2020: Was Rittenhouse a well-intentioned, responsible young man trying to keep his community safe when he was attacked by violent people trying to harm him? Or was he a reckless teenager who went looking for trouble in Kenosha, Wis., where he killed two people who intended him no harm?

Former President Donald Trump's company has agreed to sell its Trump International Hotel operation in Washington, D.C., according to multiple reports. The deal is said to be worth $375 million and will result in the Trump name being removed from the landmark property that stands close to the White House.

Updated November 15, 2021 at 4:38 PM ET

Steve Bannon, former President Donald Trump's onetime top adviser who was indicted last week for defying a congressional subpoena related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, surrendered to federal authorities and appeared in court on Monday.

Bannon turned himself in at the FBI's Washington field office and addressed his supporters in brief remarks livestreamed on Gettr, the social media platform popular with Trump allies.

Updated November 15, 2021 at 11:42 AM ET

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the longest-serving member in the Senate, announced Monday he will not seek reelection in 2022.

"Marcelle and I have reached the conclusion that it is time to put down the gavel. It is time to pass the torch to the next Vermonter who will carry on this work for our great state. It's time to come home," he said in a news conference at the state capitol in Montpelier.

Updated November 15, 2021 at 3:03 PM ET

Police are investigating a deadly car explosion in the English city of Liverpool as a terrorist incident, British authorities said on Monday.

A New Zealand Māori tribe has demanded that anti-vaccine mandate advocates stop using its ceremonial dance, the "Ka Mate" haka, at protests.

The dance, which was traditionally performed before battle and is meant to show tribal pride and unity, is an intimidating display of chanting, foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping. It has been popularized by New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team, which performs it before the start of every test match.

In the fight over who has the authority to tell companies what to do when it comes to COVID-19 and workplace safety, a random drawing could play a big role in which side prevails.

KOLKATA, India — Strings of flags showing one woman's smiling face zigzag back and forth above the old colonial streets of this city formerly known as Calcutta.

The same face appears on the side of Kolkata's city buses and on posters along the banks of a Ganges River branch. It even shows up in graffiti, as the face of a 10-armed Hindu goddess — and as Mother India, banishing Prime Minister Narendra Modi into the Bay of Bengal.

Updated November 15, 2021 at 5:22 PM ET

Internet access has always been a problem for Faylene Begay, a single mother of four living in Tuba City, Ariz.

Before the pandemic, she didn't have an internet connection at her home on the Navajo Nation Reservation — all she had was an old phone with limited data. Back then, her lack of connection was a nuisance as she worked her way through classes at Diné College.