NPR Stories

A Google executive faced bipartisan grilling in the Senate on Tuesday over the company's dominance in digital advertising, in a preview of arguments the tech giant is likely to soon face from antitrust regulators.

With so much uncertainty continuing around the coronavirus, it might be next summer before most workers for private employers in the Washington, D.C., area return to the normalcy of their offices.

2020 is shaping up to be an extraordinarily bad year for oil.

In the spring, pandemic lockdowns sent oil demand plummeting and markets into a tailspin. At one point, U.S. oil prices even turned negative for the first time in history.

But summer brought new optimism to the industry, with hopes rising for a controlled pandemic, a recovering economy and resurgent oil demand.

Facebook is launching a climate change information page in an effort to promote facts about climate change from trusted sources.

Users in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany are seeing links and information from Facebook's Climate Change Information Center starting Tuesday. It's similar to the COVID-19 information page launched in March.


Wildfires in the Western U.S. continue to blaze, with much of the activity centered in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

In Oregon and Washington, 28 large fires are burning across 1.5 million acres. But the Bureau of Land Management noted that growth has slowed for a number of the major fires. The large Beachie Creek Fire east of Salem, Ore., had recorded no new growth in the previous day.

Updated at 9:43 a.m. ET Wednesday

A bipartisan group of senators is offering a potential solution to a scheduling conundrum plaguing the 2020 census, with just over two weeks before counting is set to end.

Unlimited vacation. No dress code (just don't show up naked). No approval needed for expenses. And if you criticize the company, you might get rewarded with a promotion.

"It's risky trusting employees as much as we do. Giving them as much freedom as we do," Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings said in an interview with NPR. "But it's essential in creative companies where you have much greater risk from lack of innovation."

More than smart strategy, or good timing or simply luck, Hastings credits the company's unorthodox workplace culture for its meteoric rise.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Nalvany plans to return to Russia, according to his spokesperson. He was recently poisoned with a nerve agent and has been undergoing treatment at a German hospital for more than three weeks.

"It's puzzling to me why anyone should think otherwise," Navalny spokesperson Kira Yarmysh tweeted.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates officially opened normal relations Tuesday, signing diplomatic agreements during a White House ceremony that was hosted by President Trump.

Household income in the United States rose sharply last year while poverty declined — fruits of a record-long period of economic growth that ended abruptly when the coronavirus pandemic struck.

An annual report from the Census Bureau shows median household income jumped 6.8% in 2019, to $68,700. That's the highest since the government started keeping track in 1967.

The poverty rate declined to 10.5% — the lowest since records began in 1959.

A decade ago, building cleaner Noh Il-soon was in the market for a new church. She had previously moved within Seoul, and when she did, she looked for a local congregation to join.

A missionary introduced her to a Presbyterian church called Sarang Jeil, Korean for "love comes first." Noh says she was immediately captivated by the sermons of the charismatic pastor, Jun Kwang-hoon.

North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham said Monday during a debate that he would be "hesitant" to take a vaccine for COVID-19 approved by Election Day, leading Republicans nationwide to characterize him and Democrats as "anti-vaxxers."

Cunningham, an attorney and former state legislator, is trying to unseat first-term Republican Thom Tillis. The race is one of the most closely watched this year and could decide which party controls the Senate.

When asked a hypothetical question about a vaccine, Cunningham said "he has questions."

The top law enforcement official in South Dakota told officials that he believed he hit a deer on a rural stretch of road on Saturday night. It wasn't until the following day that it became clear Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg had fatally struck a man, and state authorities are investigating.

Decades before Google or Facebook existed, a Madison Avenue advertising man started a company called Simulmatics based on a then-revolutionary method of using computers to forecast how people would behave.

Formed in 1959, Simulmatics charged clients a hefty fee to access its "people machine" — a computer program that drew on polling information and behavioral science to predict mathematically the impact of an advertising pitch or political message.

The mayor of Rochester, N.Y., announced disciplinary actions and promised reforms on Monday after a preliminary internal report found significant issues with top police and city officials' response to the March asphyxiation death of Daniel Prude.

Updated at 1:56 p.m. ET

A federal grand jury has issued criminal subpoenas to a publishing company and a literary agency in connection with a book by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton, NPR has confirmed.

The move signals the Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation surrounding the publication of Bolton's book The Room Where It Happened after an unsuccessful effort to block it from being published in June.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency fails to help tens of thousands of people whose homes have repeatedly flooded, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security.

Updated at 6:15 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Sally's eye made landfall Wednesday morning, bringing a perilous threat of floods to areas along the northern Gulf Coast, according to forecasters. The hurricane is crawling along at just 2 mph, giving its heavy rains even more potential impact. A tornado watch has also been issued.

"Because of that slow movement, we're going to see torrential rainfall, a dangerous amount of rainfall," National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said in an online briefing Tuesday morning.

Dwight David Eisenhower was one of the towering figures of the 20th century: A five-star general, he led the D-Day invasion and helped defeat the Nazis. A two-term president, he brought stability to postwar America.

Since his death in 1969, memories of the man called Ike have faded. But this week, the dedication of an Eisenhower Memorial in Washington, D.C., will bring him vividly back to mind.

This memorial is not like any other presidential monument in Washington. No sky-piercing white obelisk (George Washington), no massive, looming statue (Abraham Lincoln.)

These days, Miriam Robles spends a lot of time on the phone. In between her day job as an environmental justice organizer at Mi Familia Vota, a Latino political advocacy group that opposes President Trump, Robles phone-banks to register new voters.

One new voter she's worked with is her 18-year-old brother, Kevin.

A high school senior kneels in the forest duff, grasping a handmade bow. He moves his arm back and forth, and a high-pitched squeaking sound ricochets through the woods.

Eight-year-old Asher Wool stands a few feet away. He explains what this teenager is up to.

"So, he's rubbing the string against the spindle to make a coal that can make a fire," Asher says.

No matches. No crumpled newspaper. The teenager has worked for years to develop the skill of building a friction fire here at Earthwork, a wilderness school located in western Massachusetts.

Where the major party presidential campaigns are spending their money on TV advertising can tell you a lot about where they're focusing their efforts.

And based on that, it's pretty clear that the race between President Trump and Joe Biden is coming down to just six swing states — Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona. They are getting the lion's share of the TV advertising money from the campaigns and outside groups supporting them.

A federal appeals court panel ruled on Monday that the Trump administration can end humanitarian protections for some 300,000 immigrants living in the United States, clearing the way for their potential deportation starting next year.

The 9th Circuit Appeals Court's decision affects citizens from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Sudan, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades, have U.S.-born children and have been considered essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin provided a limited lifeline to Alexander Lukashenko as the Belarusian strongman paid a visit to the Russian city of Sochi on Monday amid the biggest crisis of his 26-year rule.

For the past four weeks, Belarusians have repeatedly taken to the streets demanding Lukashenko's resignation following an August presidential election that demonstrators say was rigged to keep Lukashenko in power.

Farmworkers in California are facing two crises at once: the coronavirus and exposure to dangerous air from wildfires.

Massive fires border large swaths of California's agriculture region, the Central Valley. Monitoring stations report unhealthy air across the interior of the state.

Demonstrators gathered to protest the death of 27-year-old man who was shot and killed by a police officer in Lancaster, Pa., over the weekend.

The Lancaster District Attorney's office said in a statement that the investigation is ongoing, and that the man, identified as Ricardo Munoz, was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by an officer who has not been publicly identified.

Wildfires have now burned more than 4.6 million acres in 87 large fires across 10 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. At least 35 people have died in California, Oregon and Washington, The Associated Press reported.

Dense smoke and fog enveloped an area far beyond the fires on Monday, keeping temperatures cooler but also creating new hazards in an ongoing catastrophe, with reduced visibility and a high risk of smoke inhalation.

Wildfires are destroying homes and communities on the West Coast — and they are also creating some of the world's worst air pollution in a region usually known for its clean living and stunning views. The fires and massive plumes of smoke are also affecting the fight to control COVID-19.

India's parliament reopened Monday for the first time in nearly six months, but at least 25 lawmakers were barred from entering the chamber after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Scientists say they've detected a gas in the clouds of Venus that, on Earth, is produced by microbial life.

The researchers have racked their brains trying to understand why this toxic gas, phosphine, is there in such quantities, but they can't think of any geologic or chemical explanation.

The mystery raises the astonishing possibility that Venus, the planet that comes closest to Earth as it whizzes around the sun, might have some kind of life flourishing more than 30 miles up in its yellow, hazy clouds.

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