NPR Stories

Singer Cher was in Pakistan on Friday with a message for "the world's loneliest elephant": There is life after love.

Kaavan the elephant has been languishing in poor conditions in Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad since 1985, according to the animal welfare group Four Paws International. He was brought there as a gift from Sri Lanka at 1 year old.

The Trump legal team has suffered another loss in its continuing attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election.

In a scathing opinion, a federal appeals court said Friday that a lower court acted properly when it threw out the Trump campaign's challenge to the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania.

North Korea is taking increasingly harsh measures to stop the coronavirus from entering the country, including executing an official in August who violated anti-virus rules, South Korean intelligence officials told lawmakers on Friday.

Updated at 6:54 a.m. ET Saturday

A top Iranian scientist believed to be responsible for developing the country's military nuclear program was killed Friday, causing outrage in Iran and raising U.S. concerns over potential retaliation.

Hailed as heroes during the pandemic, essential workers have cared for the elderly in nursing homes and kept food supplies moving from farms to supermarkets. But thousands of these workers are also undocumented immigrants facing this choice to keep their jobs: ride a crowded bus or drive without license.

Four French police officers have been suspended and are in custody after a video that shows them brutally beating a Black man was posted online Thursday.

"No-knock" search warrants, which allow police to force their way into a home with the element of surprise, have attracted criticism since the height of the "war on drugs" in the 1980s and 90s. But it wasn't until this year that the death of Breonna Taylor galvanized that criticism into a national movement to ban the raids.

It may only be weeks until a COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use in the U.S. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech asked the Food and Drug Administration to grant an emergency use authorization for their vaccine a week ago, and Moderna is expected to follow suit in coming days.

When police killed George Floyd outside a Minneapolis corner store, it reminded the world that racism can become lethal. But just a few miles away, on the north side of the city, racial inequality plays out in a more ordinary yet still harmful way: A lack of fresh food.

President Trump's refusal to concede and the delayed transition to the administration of President-elect Joe Biden have raised many questions about the transfer of power in our system.

One in particular has long been asked: Why do we wait until the latter part of January to swear in a president we elect in November? Put another way: How is it that the Brits can have a newly elected prime minister meeting with the queen to form a new government within a day or two, but we need 10 or 11 weeks to install a new crew?

An Australian professor detained in Iran for 804 days for espionage has returned home following a reported swap for three Iranians jailed abroad.

In statements shared on social media, Kylie Moore-Gilbert thanked Australian officials and supporters who worked "tirelessly" to get her home.

Six U.S. oil executives held for three years in Venezuela were convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms Thursday.

Known as the Citgo 6, the men are all employees of the Houston-based refining company of the same name, which is owned by Venezuela's state oil company, PDVSA.

Five of the men, Gustavo Cárdenas, Jorge Toledo, Jose Luis Zambrano and Alirio Zambrano, and Tomeu Vadell, all U.S. citizens, were sentenced to eight years and 10 months. Jose Pereira, a permanent resident of the U.S., received 13 years, The Associated Press reports.

Loujain al-Hathloul, the jailed activist who led the charge to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia, is due to stand trial in a special court that deals with national security crimes and terrorism cases.

Hathloul appeared before a Saudi judge on Wednesday to hear that her case was being transferred to the kingdom's Specialized Criminal Court. It was the first time the 31-year-old activist had been in court in more than a year.

The actual number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 53 million at the end of September and could be approaching 100 million now, according to a model developed by government researchers.

The model, created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calculated that the true number of infections is about eight times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test.

With tears, songs and prayers, a multitude of Argentines flooded into the heart of Buenos Aires to pay their final respects to Diego Maradona, one of the world's greatest soccer players.

Thousands of fans lined up from the early hours on Thursday to file past Maradona's wooden casket as he lay in the Casa Rosada, the presidential palace, beneath his nation's sky-blue-and-white flag and his signature No. 10 shirt.

This month's elections, especially in the aftermath of this summer's protests against racial injustice, were seen as a test for criminal justice reforms. This was especially true for so-called progressive district attorneys.

Many policies in the higher-profile cities of Philadelphia, San Francisco and Chicago already had drawn the ire of some in law enforcement, including choosing not to prosecute certain low-level crimes, among other changes.

Those policies appear to be just fine with voters in cities with prosecutors who vowed to continue shaking things up.

Yuko Watanabe had to learn a lot of plant names. She lists them with as much confidence as she does her extensive soup menu. Calathea, pothos, Swedish ivy, song of India.

For over a decade, her Yuko Kitchen has fed Los Angeles Japanese comfort food — something like your friend's mom might cook for you after the school, Watanabe says. But this pandemic spring, when streets emptied and her phones grew quiet, a mini-jungle took over the chairs and tables, her cafes pivoting to sell nourishment both for the body and the soul.

President-elect Joe Biden is doubling down on his calls for unity and healing, reminding Americans, "We are at war with the virus not with each other." In his Thanksgiving address this week, Biden reiterated the appeal he's been making since his first speech as president-elect, when he implored everyone to "put away the harsh rhetoric," "give each other a chance," and end what he calls "this grim era of demonization in America." But the notion is proving a hard sell to many, including Biden's own supporters.

On the rare occasion she leaves her room, Diane Evans uses a walker to gingerly navigate San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood. Most days, the 74-year-old wears a multicolored head wrap, known as a gele, an extra-large T-shirt and plaid pajama pants.

Deprived of classes and shared meals at the senior center she calls home, she is alone most of the time, beset by numerous health problems and severe clinical depression.

Germany is extending its current coronavirus lockdown measures through mid-December, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced this week.

The country will remain under measures introduced in early November that include limits on private gatherings and it will keep bars, restaurants, and museums closed.

Residents will be given some leeway around the Christmas holiday. Members of one household can meet up with 10 people between Dec. 23 to Jan. 1. Children under 14 are exempt.

President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to name a second high-level climate position in the White House, a counterpart to his diplomatic climate envoy John Kerry, to ramp up action dramatically at home.

Sudan's last democratically elected prime minister has died of COVID-19-related complications, his party announced early Thursday.

Sadiq al-Mahdi was 84.

He died in hospital in the United Arab Emirates, where he was receiving treatment after becoming infected with the coronavirus, the National Umma Party, which he led until his death, announced Thursday.

Updated at 3:27 p.m. ET

The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily barred New York from enforcing strict attendance limits on places of worship in areas designated coronavirus hot spots, in a decision released just before midnight on Wednesday.

A federal court in Washington, D.C., has tossed out a lawsuit filed against President Trump's efforts to exclude undocumented immigrants from a key set of census numbers.

Far more people in the U.S. are hospitalized for COVID-19 now than at any other moment of the coronavirus pandemic — more than twice as many as just a month ago.

Hospitals in some of the hardest-hit states are exhausting every health care worker, hospital room and piece of equipment to evade the worst-case scenario, when crisis plans have to be set in motion and care may have to be rationed.

Comedian Dave Chappelle had a strange request for his fans. Don't stream his show.

"I'm begging you. If you ever liked me," he said in a video of a stand-up routine he shared on Tuesday. "Boycott Chappelle's Show. Do not watch it unless they pay me."

Chappelle was calling out the network Comedy Central, which first aired Chappelle's Show from 2003 to 2006. He said in the video the company licensed the show to Netflix and HBO Max without paying him or informing him about the deal.

The day before Thanksgiving offered a jarring contrast between President-elect Joe Biden and President Trump, who has yet to concede he lost the election.

Biden on Wednesday delivered a Thanksgiving address in Wilmington, Del., calling on Americans to unite in protecting their communities as they celebrate the holiday this year amid the raging coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit for the massive Pebble Mine project in Alaska – a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine that would be upstream from the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery.

The Corps said in a statement Wednesday that it has determined that the plan "does not comply with Clean Water Act guidelines" and it had concluded that "the proposed project is contrary to the public interest."

For Walter Fleming, an enrolled member of the Kickapoo tribe in Kansas, Thanksgiving will be difficult this year because so many Native Americans have died from COVID-19.

"Particularly because it's been among our elders, the grieving is gonna be that much more," Fleming said. "These are the cultural guardians."

Fleming is a professor of Native American studies at Montana State University, who observes the holiday. He says it's a chance for people to come together, feast and celebrate.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET

Newly public documents paint a detailed and often damning portrait of the role played by members of the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma, during years when the privately owned drug company launched criminal schemes designed to "turbocharge" sales of Oxycontin and other highly addictive opioid medications.

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