NPR Stories

Pandemic protocols have kept Olympic venues primarily fan-free, required extra precautions and testing for athletes and staff and prevented many loved ones from cheering their teams on in person.

But one COVID-19 concession may actually make for a beautiful new Olympic tradition.

All guests two years and older at Disney theme parks in the U.S. will once again be required to don face masks along with their optional mouse ears while indoors — a precaution against the spread of the highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

TOKYO — At Thursday's Summer Olympics, the women's all-around gymnastics winner was ... not Simone Biles.

The title and gold medal went to Sunisa Lee of the U.S.

Germany's Olympic federation is firing Patrick Moster as the sports director of its cycling program, after he was recorded using a racial slur during the men's time trial Wednesday. Moster is being sent home early from the Tokyo Olympics, German officials said.

Now might be the time to wipe the dust off that pair of binoculars and extract the family telescope from the back of the closet: Saturn is about to put on its best and brightest show, looking spiffier than at any time during the year – a performance that will be followed a few weeks later by Jupiter.

They're the ones who are always keeping a close eye on all the art exhibits. But now, a team of museum guards have a chance to become guest curators.

A new exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which is scheduled to open in March 2022, will be curated entirely by security officers who work in the museum.

The new "Guarding the Art" exhibition will be fully curated by 17 members of the museum's security team and will draw from current works of art in the BMA's collection, with each work selected by one of the participating officers.

Fida started working with U.S. Special Forces in 2006. In the following decade, the Afghan interpreter worked for USAID, U.S. Marines and finally the U.S. State Department. When he spoke to NPR back in 2018, Fida asked to only be identified by his first name for security reasons.

"I am proud to have worked with such wonderful people," he said of the Americans he met over the years, "And they stand by me."

Come, young ones: Gather around the glow of the smartphone's screen for a tale of a distant time when we watched TV on big boxy machines, and switched channels when we were bored.

There were commercials — several of them — between the segments of TV shows. What's more, in the distant era before streaming, you had to watch them all — or, if you had time, run to the kitchen or the bathroom. You couldn't pause, or fast forward, or take the screen with you.

When Tonya Galvan spent three months in a Houston jail this year, she said she felt hopeless.

"I'm thinking about my grandkids. Like, this is not where I'm supposed to be. I'm supposed to be out to be able to help with my family, my grandchildren," Galvan said.

When she was charged with assault in a family dispute and held on $15,000 bond, she couldn't afford to get out. When she learned about the nonprofit organization the Bail Project and they put up the money for her, Galvan was floored.

When award-winning poet Adrian Matejka was working on his latest book last year, he thought we'd be out of the pandemic by the time it would be published.

The book, Somebody Else Sold The World, was released this month — and we're notably not out of the period that's been so difficult for so many of us.

The White House is unveiling a strategy to address root causes of migration, a long-term effort that includes increased cooperation with the private sector and with other foreign governments to try to accelerate change in Central America.

The proposal comes as thousands of migrants arrived at the U.S. southern border every day last month.

Senior Biden administration officials on Wednesday described the plan as "the first of its kind," but much of the proposal is expanding on previous efforts that have done little to curb migration from the region.

Updated July 29, 2021 at 12:03 PM ET

Minnesota native Sunisa Lee, also known as Suni, is an 18-year-old high school graduate, but she is no stranger to facing immense pressure. And while she's risen to the tops of world gymnastics, she's still grounded in her home Hmong community.

Updated July 29, 2021 at 9:38 AM ET

PERRYVILLE, Alaska — A powerful earthquake that struck just off Alaska's southern coast caused prolonged shaking and prompted tsunami warnings that sent people scrambling for shelters.

Residents reported only minor damage, but officials said that could change after sunrise and people get a better look.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions quickly would save tens of millions of lives worldwide, a new study finds. It's the latest indication that climate change is deadly to humans, and that the benefits of transitioning to a cleaner economy could be profound.

Updated July 29, 2021 at 9:28 AM ET

The U.S. economy grew at a strong pace in the spring as the country emerged from the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic. The question now is what happens next, especially as the delta variant continues to spread.

On Thursday morning, the Commerce Department reported gross domestic product grew 6.5% in the period between April and June from a year earlier as the rollout of vaccines spurred a surge in economic activity.

TOKYO — When a U.S. athlete makes it onto the podium in an Olympic event, two things really catch the eye of people watching at home: the shiny medal around their neck and the unusual-looking mask on their face.

The white mask emblazoned with "USA" in red letters is strikingly voluminous, jutting about an inch in front of the face. It also has a distinctive pleat pattern.

Organizers at the Tokyo Summer Olympics have reported one of the highest daily increases of coronavirus cases since they started keeping records on July 1.

Since Wednesday, 24 people linked to the Games have tested positive — including three athletes. That brings the total of Olympic-related officials to catch the virus to 193 people, including 20 athletes.

U.S. gymnastics superstar Simone Biles says the wave of support she's received after pulling out of the two marquee events of Olympic women's gymnastics has changed the way she sees herself.

"the outpouring love & support I've received has made me realize I'm more than my accomplishments and gymnastics which I never truly believed before," Biles said in a tweet.

TOKYO — American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks is out of the Tokyo Summer Olympics after testing positive for the coronavirus. Kendricks, a world champion, was considered a medal contender.

According to a statement from U.S. Olympic officials, Sam Kendricks is ineligible to compete in the Tokyo Games following his positive test. He's been transferred to a hotel and put in isolation. Kendricks' dad, who's also his coach, said on social media his son feels fine and has no symptoms.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 11:05 PM ET

TOKYO — U.S. swimmer Bobby Finke had his work cut out for him heading into the last lap of the men's 800 meter freestyle final.

He was in fifth place for most of the 16 lap race.

Then, he surged from behind in the final 50 meter stretch.

"I noticed 10 meters out I was catching up a little bit of ground and that was the only motivation I needed to try and pass and get my hand to the wall first," he said after the race.

Depending on whom you ask, the stock trading app Robinhood has either democratized Wall Street trading or launched a generation of unsavvy investors who have become addicted to the promise of quick cash.

The tension looms as Robinhood is set to make its debut on the Nasdaq on Thursday under the symbol HOOD, raising the profile of a company that has become a household name during the pandemic – while also attracting intense regulatory scrutiny.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 6:01 PM ET

The U.S. Department of Defense has issued directions that require anyone inside its facilities to wear a mask, even if they're vaccinated.

As track and field competition gets underway at the Tokyo Olympics, you won't see one of the sport's brightest stars: two-time Olympic gold medalist Caster Semenya of South Africa, the world's fastest woman in the 800 meters.

That's because of new rules from track's governing body, World Athletics. Under the rules, Semenya and other female athletes who refuse to lower their naturally high testosterone levels are barred from competing in races from 400 meters to 1 mile.

Employees at the video game studio Activision Blizzard walked off the job Wednesday following an explosive lawsuit that detailed rampant sexual harassment and gender discrimination inside the California company.

TV cameras picked up a German cycling official yelling a racial slur during the men's time trial Wednesday at the Tokyo Olympics, prompting an apology from the official and a reaction from at least two of the cyclists involved.

Patrick Moster, sporting director of the German cycling federation, apologized shortly after he was recorded using a racial slur while cheering on German cyclist Nikias Arndt.

The Justice Department is putting states on notice about their obligations under federal law as GOP-led efforts to conduct reviews of the 2020 election intensify.

Federal authorities on Wednesday issued a pair of new guidance documents to states and voters to remind them of their responsibilities — and their rights.

The moves are part of the Biden administration's push to demonstrate it is on guard amid new voting restrictions proposed and enacted by Republican-led states across the nation — and as Democratic-led federal voting legislation has stalled in Congress.

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