NPR Stories

Actress Kelly Preston has died after a two-year battle with breast cancer, according to an Instagram post from her husband, John Travolta. She was 57 years old.

"She fought a courageous fight with the love and support of so many," the actor wrote. "My family and I will forever be grateful to her doctors and nurses at MD Anderson Cancer Center, all the medical centers that have helped, as well as her many friends and loved ones who have been by her side."

Updated at 12:30 pm ET

A federal judge in Washington has blocked federal executions scheduled for this week, citing concerns that the lethal injection protocol involved is "very likely to cause extreme pain and needless suffering."

Judge Tanya Chutkan said the last-minute ruling only hours before executions were set to resume for the first time in 17 years was "unfortunate," but she blamed the Justice Department for racing ahead before legal challenges had been fully aired.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

The NFL franchise in Washington, D.C., says it is officially retiring the moniker it has had for the past 87 years, which is widely viewed as a slur against Native Americans.

"Today, we are announcing we will be retiring the Redskins name and logo upon completion of this review," the team said in a statement Monday.

Poland's conservative president, Andrjez Duda, 48, narrowly won reelection to a second five-year term Sunday, further calling into question the country's commitment to Western-style democracy and continued membership in the European Union.

Turnout, at nearly 70% of eligible voters, was the highest since the fall of communism in 1989. Sunday's election was a runoff between the two top finishers in the initial round of voting last month, Duda and the relatively liberal mayor of Warsaw, Rafal Trzaskowski, also 48.

Veterans gathered recently beside the USS Alabama battleship on Mobile Bay in a show of support for former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"Let's hear it for the man of the hour, the once and future senator from Alabama, the honorable veteran Jeff Sessions," retired Brig. Gen. Richard Allen said in introducing Sessions.

But the crowd was sparse. And only one television camera showed up, even though the appearance was in his hometown of Mobile, Ala.

Mail-in voting, which tens of millions of Americans are expected to use this November, is fraught with potential problems. Hundreds of thousands of ballots go uncounted each year because people make mistakes, such as forgetting to sign the form or sending it in too late.

Updated 11:52 a.m. ET

To take control of the U.S. Senate, Democrats need to net three seats in November if former Vice President Joe Biden wins, and four if President Trump is reelected.

That once looked like a near impossibility, but it's becoming a real possibility.

Republicans hold a 53-to-47 majority in the Senate, with the Democrats' side including two independents who caucus with them.

Updated at 9:35 p.m. ET Monday

The revelation that Fox News prime-time star Tucker Carlson's top writer had posted racist, sexist and homophobic sentiments online for years under a pseudonym has led to renewed scrutiny of Carlson's own commentaries, which have inspired a series of advertising boycotts.

The writer, Blake Neff, resigned on Friday after questions raised by CNN's Oliver Darcy led to the posts becoming public.

More than one month after embarking on what he calls a march for "change, justice and equality," Terry Willis on Sunday completed a 1,000-mile walk from his hometown of Huntsville, Ala., to the site of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.

Willis, a 35-year-old business owner, said he feels obligated as a Black man and father to help create a better future for his son.

Florida reported 15,299 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, marking the largest single-day increase of any state since the start of the pandemic.

Sunday's number exceeds New York's peak of more than 12,200 new cases in one day back in April, when it was the epicenter of the outbreak.

Human error, a misaligned missile guidance system and a decision to fire without authorization contributed to Iran's downing of a civilian passenger plane in January, according to a new report from Iran's Civil Aviation Organization.

President Trump issued his first pardon in August 2017, just about seven months into his presidency. Three years and three dozen clemencies later, some patterns have emerged.

Bringing up the Iowa caucuses should come with a trigger warning for Iowa Democrats like Patt Copley.

"I was in shock," Copley, who lives in Marshalltown, Iowa, said. "And then it just went on and on ... and on."

Cardboard beds. Urban farms. Roving mariachi bands.

These are some of the ways that regular folks are solving problems and spreading happiness during the pandemic.

The solutions aren't perfect — public health experts have some critiques and suggestions. But at the same time, they applaud the ingenuity and positive vibes.

Read the stories of six grassroots change-makers — then nominate your own at the bottom of this story.

President Trump on Saturday was photographed wearing a mask during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after months of refusing to don the medical expert-recommended face coverings meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"I love masks in the appropriate locations," Trump said, speaking to reporters at the White House before his visit.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, along with more than 150 prominent journalists, authors and writers, published a letter in Harper's Magazine on Tuesday, decrying what it called the "intolerant climate that has set in on all sides" of debate. The letter set off a heated controversy over free speech, privilege and the role of social media in public discourse.

Nearly four months after it closed over coronavirus concerns, Disney World is once again inviting guests to experience its Florida theme parks.

The reopening comes as Florida is experiencing a surge of new coronavirus cases, with more than 10,000 being reported on Saturday.

Both Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom opened Saturday to the general public, following limited openings for annual-pass holders and employees. The other two area parks — Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios — are expected to open on Wednesday.

Thomas Salts spent two weeks in a hotel in Arizona sleeping, watching TV and, most importantly, fighting COVID-19.

"I mean it was truly one of the worst bouts I'd ever had dealing with any kind of thing, with the flu or anything," Salts told NPR's Weekend Edition. "It was 10 times worse."

As Zuleika Yusuf Daffala walks across Kibera, one of the big informal settlements in Kenya's capital, she greets dozens of kids on the streets. Some are jumping rope, others chasing each other through the alley and another group is trying to make a tiny cooking pan out of an aluminum can.

As the pandemic continues, children are still mostly at home. Summer activities are canceled or up in the air, and many children are suffering confusion and stress. Parents may be stressed themselves, but there are ways to help kids feel better.

During the first few weeks of staying at home, Maryam Jernigan-Noesi's 4-year-old son Carter was excited. His working parents were around him most of the day, and it seemed like a big extended weekend. But after a few weeks, she says, things changed.

A momentous Supreme Court term is over. The last strokes of the pen were devoted to repudiating President Trump's claim that he is categorically immune from state grand jury and congressional subpoenas.

But the term also featured just about every flashpoint in American law — including abortion, religion, immigration and much more.

Here are six takeaways:

Lots of people, especially many Native Americans, loathe the name of the Washington, D.C., NFL team, the Redskins.

"The origin of that name is rooted in murder and violence and genocide and hate," says Crystal Echo Hawk, the founder and CEO of the advocacy group IllumiNative. "It's a dictionary-defined racial slur, full-stop."

I'm hearing a lot of talk about the coronavirus spreading through aerosols — is wearing a mask in a grocery store enough protection? What else should I do to stay safe?

Quick answer first: Going to the grocery store where you and everyone else is wearing a mask and keeping a distance from each other is still considered a low-risk activity. Go get your summer strawberries!

After months of prohibiting in-person visits to relatives in nursing homes amid COVID-19 fears, New York says it will begin easing those restrictions for facilities that are certified as virus-free.

The change comes after the state — one of those hardest-hit by the virus — has seen thousands of deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

According to the revised rules issued Friday by the New York State Department of Health, visitors will be allowed if a nursing home or adult-care facility hasn't had any coronavirus cases for 28 days.

The Netherlands said Friday that it will sue Russia at the European Court of Human Rights for Moscow's alleged role in the shooting down of an airliner over Ukraine six years ago that killed all 298 aboard, two-thirds of whom were Dutch.

Updated Saturday at 10:22 a.m. ET

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative who was convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks during Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Georgia's governor and the mayor of the state's capital and largest city are at odds over COVID-19 restrictions, with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announcing a return to tough measures to control a spike in coronavirus infections and Gov. Brian Kemp insisting that her order is "non-binding and legally unenforceable."

Bottoms, a Democrat, announced Friday that she was bringing Atlanta back to Phase 1 reopening — the most restrictive post-lockdown measures that require all residents to stay home except for essential trips.

Mississippi's governor has imposed mandatory use of face masks and limited nonessential gatherings in 13 counties, including those that cover the state's most populous cities, as COVID-19 cases have surged in recent days, causing record hospitalizations.

Three Los Angeles police officers are facing charges of falsifying records and obstruction of justice over allegations that they wrongly identified people as gang members, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office announced on Friday.

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