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The leaders of three prominent Christian denominations have issued an unprecedented joint statement calling on people of all faiths to take action to halt the devastating impacts of climate change.

Last summer, Raúl Ureña signed up to run for City Council in Calexico — a border town in California's Imperial County — just days before the filing deadline. His opponent, the incumbent candidate, looked likely to keep the seat, but Ureña, who had just graduated from college in Santa Cruz, Calif., wanted to give voters a more progressive choice.

Ureña knew that a winning campaign would have to speak to Latino voters whom the pandemic had hit worse than any other group in California.

Updated September 10, 2021 at 4:19 AM ET

President Biden held a phone call with Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday, only their second since Biden took office, in an attempt initiated by the U.S. to stabilize the bilateral relationship and coax Beijing into more substantive engagement amid deepening competition.

MOSCOW — Smoke alarms went off at the Russian segment of the International Space Station in the early hours of Thursday, and the crew reported noticing smoke and the smell of burnt plastic.

Russia's space agency Roscosmos said the incident took place in the Russian-built Zvezda module and occurred as the station's batteries were being recharged.

According to Roscosmos, the crew activated air filters and returned to their "night rest" once the air quality was back to normal. The crew will proceed with a space walk Thursday as planned, the agency noted.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Florida's new "anti-riot" law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as a way to quell violent protests is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

The 90-page decision by U.S. District Judge Mark Walker in Tallahassee found the recently-enacted law "vague and overbroad" and amounted to an assault on First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly as well as the Constitution's due process protections.

Humans are not the only ones adapting to the effects of global climate change.

Animals are also adapting to the environmental changes — as some warm-blooded animals are beginning to "shapeshift" their bodies in response to shifts in climate, according to a recent study in Trends in Ecology & Evolution led by Sara Ryding, a researcher at Deakin University in Australia.

On Thursday, President Biden announced a series of actions aimed at getting control of the surging pandemic. Alongside new vaccine requirements for private businesses, he announced new steps to encourage K-12 schools to mandate masks for all, require vaccines for employees and step up testing for COVID-19.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer described as "very, very, very wrong" the court's recent refusal to block a Texas law that has the effect of banning abortions in the state after about six weeks.

"I wrote a dissent — and that's the way it works," he told NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg in an interview in Boston.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has said he will retire on his own terms amid calls from progressives for him to step down from the court so President Biden can name a younger liberal to take his place.

Updated September 9, 2021 at 6:25 PM ET

The Department of Justice has sued the state of Texas over a new law that bans abortions after about six weeks, before most people realize they are pregnant, all but halting the procedure in the country's second-largest state.

The lawsuit says the state enacted the law "in open defiance of the Constitution."

Day after day this month, Afghan women have taken to the streets in groups large and small to protest against Taliban rule, the regime's new curbs on their rights and Pakistan's influence in Afghanistan. "We want equal rights, we want women in government," women chanted in Kabul this week. Others shouted and held up signs for azadi, or freedom. Some women held signs with a question in English: "Why the world is watching us silently and cruelly?"

Updated September 9, 2021 at 4:44 PM ET

Amazon is under pressure from Democrats in Congress over how its algorithms promote hoax COVID-19 cures, including the livestock dewormer ivermectin, as well as anti-vaccination claims and other medical misinformation.

Back in 2018, I interviewed Angeline Murimirwa about her remarkable journey from poverty to power. She is the executive director of CAMFED in Africa – a group that has given scholarships and additional academic support to 4.8 million girls in the five countries where it works. She herself was one of the first scholarship recipients at a time when it looked as if she'd be unable to continue her education because her family couldn't afford school fees.

Across the political spectrum, a broad majority of Americans say they favor welcoming Afghan allies to the U.S. — driven in part by an outpouring of support from groups that generally favor tougher restrictions on immigration.

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

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Paleontologists in Canada have discovered a new species of sea animal that was 1 1/2 feet long and football-shaped, with a large protective shell over its head, a toothed mouth and a pair of spiny claws.

(It's extinct, so you don't have to worry about one of these brushing up against your leg at the beach. Read on.)

The new species — dubbed the Titanokorys gainesi — is believed to be part of a long-gone animal group from the Cambrian period some 500 million years ago.

Iconic American actress Jamie Lee Curtis has won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice International Film Festival.

Curtis accepted her award Wednesday just before the premiere of her new movie Halloween Kills, in which she reprises her longtime role as beloved protagonist Laurie Strode. The film, which comes out next month, is the sequel to 2018's Halloween and the 12th movie in the horror franchise.

Former Trump administration officials are pushing back after the Biden administration sought their removal from military academy boards.

Updated September 9, 2021 at 8:34 PM ET

President Biden on Thursday unveiled a series of steps to combat the newly surging pandemic, including the announcement of a forthcoming federal rule that all businesses with 100 or more employees have to ensure that every worker is either vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing for the coronavirus.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., announced Thursday that she underwent radiation treatment for breast cancer earlier this year and her doctors recently confirmed that the treatment went well.

"Of course this has been scary at times, since cancer is the word all of us fear, but at this point my doctors believe that my chances of developing cancer again are no greater than the average person," Klobuchar said in a post on Medium.

In a move to further protect workers and customers from COVID-19, United Airlines has told employees who are seeking religious or medical exemptions to the company's vaccine mandate that even if approved, they will be put on temporary leave starting Oct. 2 while the company works to institute safety measures for unvaccinated employees.

Employees granted religious exemptions will be placed on temporary, unpaid personal leave, and those granted medical exemptions will be placed on temporary medical leave, according to an internal memo.

Updated September 9, 2021 at 2:04 PM ET

President Biden has pulled David Chipman's nomination to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the face of opposition from gun rights groups, Republican senators and a few Democrats.

Updated September 9, 2021 at 2:50 PM ET

A flight with about 200 people, including some Americans, has landed in Doha, Qatar, after departing Kabul's airport earlier Thursday, a U.S. official says. It was the first international flight to leave Afghanistan since the U.S. withdrew its forces at the end of August.

The FBI released new information on Wednesday on the person who left pipe bombs in Capitol Hill the night before hundreds of people stormed the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6.

The new information includes a virtual map and clear surveillance video that shows the route the bomber walked while placing the two devices on Jan. 5.

Updated September 10, 2021 at 8:28 AM ET

The Food and Drug Administration said it has ruled on whether some electronic cigarette products can remain on the market, but that it's also delaying action on products made by Juul, which accounts for 40% of the e-cigarette market.

For more than three decades, a penguin named Mochica charmed visitors and served as an ambassador for his threatened species at the Oregon Zoo.

The flightless bird with an outsize persona — he was described as the "elder statesman" of his colony — personally greeted thousands of guests in his lifetime and was said to prefer the company of humans.

But he was one of the oldest Humboldt penguins on Earth, and his advanced years were accompanied by a decline in health.

With tens of thousands of people displaced by floods, wildfires and hurricanes this summer, researchers warn that the majority of untapped fossil fuels must remain in the ground to avoid even more extreme weather.

If you have a baby at home or are expecting one in the next few months, you might be on edge for all sorts of reasons, but particularly because of COVID-19. The delta variant of the coronavirus has turned nearly every community in the country into a bright red hot spot of viral infection. Babies can't get vaccinated against COVID-19 yet — and the youngest age included in current vaccine clinical studies is 6 months old.

MEXICO CITY — Mexicans are sharing spectacular videos of bursts of blue lights seen streaking across the skies as a strong earthquake rocked the country's Pacific coast city of Acapulco on Wednesday.

The 7.0 magnitude quake struck some 11 miles northeast of the resort city in the southwestern state of Guerrero. At least one person was killed, buildings were damaged and rockslides littered a major highway, but the temblor didn't cause widespread damage.

It did rattle nerves though.

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