NPR Stories

Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical ally of President Trump, is taking an indefinite leave of absence from his position as the president and chancellor of a Liberty University in Virginia.

That comes days after Falwell received criticism for posting photos to social media that showed him with his pants unzipped, alongside a woman who was not his wife.

An Air India Express flight overshot its landing in heavy rain Friday night, skidding off a runway and plunging down a 35-foot slope – and cracking the Boeing 737 in two.

At least 17 people died, officials said. The jetliner had 190 people aboard on the flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Kozhikode in Kerala, a state in southern India.

"I offer my heartfelt condolences to their next of kin & pray for speedy recovery of the injured," Indian Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Twitter.

Schools across New York state will be allowed to open for in-person learning this fall because of low coronavirus infection rates, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

"We've been smart from day one. We do the masks, we do the social distancing, we've kept that infection rate down," Cuomo said during the announcement. "And we can bring the same level of intelligence to the school reopening that we brought to the economic reopening."

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a variant of the anesthetic and party drug ketamine for suicidal patients with major depression.

The drug is a nasal spray called Spravato and it contains esketamine, a chemical cousin of ketamine.

A county official in Michigan is defending his use of the N-word — by repeatedly saying the slur, and insisting that it does not imply he is a racist.

Leelanau County Road Commissioner Tom Eckerle has been facing calls to resign since Tuesday, when he reportedly used one of the most taboo words in U.S. society to explain why he would not be wearing a face mask.

"Well, this whole thing is because of them n****** down in Detroit," Eckerle said, according to the Leelanau Enterprise.

When Westerners think of Beirut, they might rely on dated notions of the city: a 15-year civil war that ended in 1990; a war with Israel and sporadic airstrikes; bombings of the U.S. Marine barracks and the U.S. Embassy; an attack 15 years ago on the prime minister's convoy.

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

The top counterintelligence official in the U.S. government warned Friday of ongoing interference and influence efforts by China, Russia and Iran.

William Evanina, who leads the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said that the U.S. government has assessed that China prefers President Trump losing the election, because Beijing considers him "unpredictable," while Russia is working to undermine Democrat Joe Biden.

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

O, The Oprah Magazine has commissioned 26 billboards calling for the arrest of the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor to be placed across Louisville, Ky., the magazine said in a Friday article.

"Demand that the police involved in killing Breonna Taylor be arrested and charged," each of the 26 billboards — one for every year Taylor was alive — reads.

The head of the U.S. Postal Service promised Friday to make the organization more efficient and more financially stable, but his remarks may do little to quell fears that the post office's cost-cutting measures will hurt service during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are at the beginning of a transformative process," Louis DeJoy said in his first public remarks since becoming postmaster general. "Our goal is to change and improve the Postal Service to better serve the American public, and I am excited about the opportunities ahead."

Texas Tech has fired the head coach and assistant coach of its women's basketball team, after a scathing report chronicling claims of physical, mental and verbal abuse against players was published on Wednesday.

Head coach Marlene Stollings was fired Thursday; the termination of assistant coach Nikita Lowry Dawkins was announced Friday morning. A third staff member, strength and conditioning coach Ralph Petrella, resigned in March at the end of the season.

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden sought to clear up comments he made earlier this week that suggested the African American community is mostly not diverse.

His comments came during a virtual interview published Thursday morning with journalists from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Baseball is back, for now at least. And many major league teams this year are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, which gave African Americans a place to showcase their talents before the game was integrated.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Baseball is back, for now at least. And many major league teams this year are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, which gave African Americans a place to showcase their talents before the game was integrated.

There are two kinds of reactions to Beyoncé's new Black Is King video: lavish praise – and deep criticism. The praise comes from her many fans and from many reviewers. The criticism often comes from Africans.

We are both from Africa. Esther Ngumbi was born and grew up in Kenya. Ifeanyi Nsofor was born and grew up in Nigeria. We can understand the critiques – and have some of our own. But in the end, we think the positives outweigh the problems.

India is now the third country to record more than 2 million coronavirus cases. The country is enduring a terrible surge in new cases — 62,538 were reported on Friday alone. Only the U.S. and Brazil are reporting more.

India passed 1 million confirmed cases just three weeks ago.

In 1963, 11-year-old Klaus Teuber received a gift that would change his life: a board game. "When I opened the box of the game, I liked the scent of the game," he remembers, inhaling deeply. "Ah, so wonderful! There is adventure in this box!"

It was a game of Romans versus Carthaginians. "It was a tabletop game with wonderful painted figures, and you had to role the dice to fight against the others," Teuber recalls.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET

U.S. employers added 1.8 million jobs last month, as the unemployment rate dipped to 10.2%.

The pace of hiring slowed from June, when employers added a record 4.8 million jobs. That suggests a long road back to full employment for the tens of millions of people who have been laid off during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Two weeks after President Trump signed an executive order "Lowering Drug Prices By Putting America First," the White House still hasn't released the text of the order. The unorthodox move is apparently a leverage play, an attempt to squeeze drug companies into offering concessions, but so far there's little indication Trump is getting the deal he was after.

Trump had American flags and women in white lab coats behind him, his big presidential sharpie marker in hand when he signed the order July 24.

A lanky, long-haired kid stands in front of a stack of shelves lined with more than a dozen varieties of canned beans. He's 10, and his name is Wiley. He's got a shopping list in his hand and a mask on his face. This is the first time he's been in a grocery store in over five months. His cart is loaded with onions, limes, yogurt, bell peppers, feta cheese. Now he needs chickpeas, and although he's peering at a can with a picture of chickpeas on the label, his brow is furrowed.

"It just says garbanzo beans," he says. "What are garbanzo beans?"

Ten years ago, Republicans flipped 20 state legislative chambers, seizing control of district mapmaking in many states after the decennial census. That cemented GOP dominance at the state and congressional levels for most of the last decade.

This time, Democrats are making sure they're mobilizing.

For the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, correctional officer Kareen "Troy" Troitino says things were "pretty relaxed" at FCI Miami. There were no cases of COVID-19 at the low-security federal prison, which currently houses some 1,000 inmates.

That all changed, he says, early last month. "And then on the week of the Fourth of July, we had one case, and then it just spread in one week. I mean, tremendously. It's like wildfire. And you don't even see the fire because you don't know who has it until it's too late."

By Dec. 1, the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could reach nearly 300,000. That's the grim new projection from researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation — one of the more prominent teams modeling the pandemic. The new forecast, released Thursday, projects that between now and December, 137,000 people will die on top of the roughly 160,000 who have died so far.

Sweden's gross domestic product took its largest tumble in a single quarter in modern history during the second quarter of this year, despite the country's decision to not shut down its economy.

Amid deteriorating U.S.-China relations, further aggravated by a highly unusual trip to Taiwan this weekend by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Defense Secretary Mark Esper talked for 90 minutes on Thursday with his Chinese counterpart, Defense Minister Wei Fenghe.

Updated at 6:18 p.m. ET

Amid staggering job losses in March and April, Florida's unemployment system was the slowest in the country to process claims. Residents described nightmarish experiences as they tried to get benefits. By April 20, just 6% of Floridians who had applied for unemployment benefits had received a check.

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET Friday

Some of Beirut's residents, angered by their city's seeming negligence that led to this week's deadly warehouse explosion, took to the streets late Thursday to demand reform.

Near parliament, Lebanese security forces fired tear gas as they clashed with anti-government protesters.

In the central square of Beirut's mostly destroyed downtown, a group of Lebanese, some carrying shovels to dig through the debris, shouted, "The people want the fall of the regime."

A federal appeals court in San Francisco has denied the Justice Department's motion for a retrial in the case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who led an armed standoff against federal agents over cattle grazing near his ranch in 2014.

How much will vaccines against the coronavirus cost? Even though none has finished clinical testing, some clues about pricing are starting to emerge.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna, one of the leading horses in the vaccine race, has already made deals at between $32 and $37 per dose of its experimental coronavirus vaccine in agreements with some foreign countries, rattling consumer advocates, who fear an unfair deal for U.S. taxpayers.

The State Department has lifted its Level 4 global travel advisory, the highest warning against U.S. citizens traveling internationally, citing changing conditions in the coronavirus pandemic.

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