NPR Stories

Luis Grijalva was running against the clock — but this time it wasn't on a track.

The Northern Arizona University track star qualified in June to run at the Tokyo Olympics representing his home country of Guatemala. But leaving the United States to compete abroad wasn't an option.

Grijalva is a DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, recipient. He was born in Guatemala but came to the U.S. at the age of one.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Joey Jordison, a founding member of Slipknot, who drummed for the influential metal band in its most popular period and helped write many of its best-known songs, has died Monday at age 46, his family said.

"We are heartbroken to share the news that Joey Jordison, prolific drummer, musician and artist passed away peacefully in his sleep," his family said in a statement. "Joey's death has left us with empty hearts and feelings of indescribable sorrow."

No cause or place of death was provided.

Pigeon shooting. Tug-of-war. Motorboating. These were all once included in the Olympic Games, but today, they're relics of the past. If you've ever wondered who gets to decide what's included in the Olympic Games, you're probably not the only one, but buckle up, because it's a little complicated.

For all the socializing that can't happen this year at the Olympic village because of COVID-19 restrictions, Olympic TikTok is giving everyone (those in Tokyo and those stuck at home) a socially distanced way to connect.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 7:24 PM ET

Hours after bipartisan Senate negotiators reached a deal on an infrastructure package, the chamber voted to advance it, setting in motion a final vote on the bill in the coming days.

The procedural motion was approved 67-32, with 17 Republicans joining all Democrats to begin legislative action. The top Senate GOP leader, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, was among those voting to move ahead with the proposal.

Talk about overcoming long odds. In the past year, British swimmer Tom Dean has battled COVID-19 not once, but twice. And now, he's won two Olympic gold medals in Tokyo.

"This is the single greatest achievement of my life," the 21-year-old said in a news conference after his victory in the in the men's 200-meter freestyle Tuesday. "It's amazing. It's a dream come true having a gold around my neck."

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York will require all state employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by Labor Day or undergo weekly tests for COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

"It's smart, it's fair and it's in everyone's interest," Cuomo said in a Zoom call with the nonprofit Association for a Better New York.

In mandating either the shots, or frequent testing for government workers, Cuomo is following on the heels of California and New York City, which announced similar policies for employees earlier this week.

President Biden just signed a national security directive aimed at boosting defenses against ransomware attacks and the hacking of critical infrastructure like energy, food, water and power systems.

The directive sets performance standards for technology and systems used by private companies in those sectors — though it can't force those companies to comply.

There will soon be a day without the reminder that every day, when you're walking down the street, everybody that you meet has an original point of view.

But hey (hey!), Arthur had a good, long run.

The much beloved animated kids show is coming to an end in early 2022, after its 25th and final season.

BEIJING — Sun Dawu, one of China's best-known rural entrepreneurs, was handed an 18-year prison sentence on Wednesday amid broader efforts by authorities in China to rein in powerful businessmen and limit the influence of private enterprise.

With the Olympics underway, Tokyo has set a new, unfortunate record: for coronavirus cases.

Tokyo had 3,177 new positive cases on Tuesday, according to the city's government. The city has become Japan's biggest COVID-19 hot spot and is host to most of the Olympic events.

U.S. soccer superstar and Olympian Megan Rapinoe has been slinging her own CBD products and promoting their benefits for athletes at the Olympics, and people on Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms are not having it.

Simone Biles' decision to pull out of the women's team final has prompted comments and analysis around the world, including much praise for Biles' choosing to prioritize her mental health.

QUITO, Ecuador — Ecuador has revoked the citizenship of Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks who is currently in a British prison.

Ecuador's justice system formally notified the Australian of the nullity of his naturalization in a letter that came in response to a claim filed by the South American country's Foreign Ministry.

Star gymnast Simone Biles cited her mental health concerns for withdrawing from the individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics. "It's been a long Olympic process, it's been a long year," she told reporters after she stopped competing in the team event. "And I think we're just a little bit too stressed out."

Biles' teammates applauded her decision to take care of her mental well-being. But she's not the only athlete who has talked about the pressures of performing at the Games.

TOKYO — The U.S. women's 3-on-3 team beat out the team from Russia to win the first-ever gold medal in the dizzyingly fast sport at the Olympics.

They took an early lead against the Russians and maintained it the entire game, with a final score of 18-15.

Stefanie Dolson, who is 6'5 and plays for the Chicago Sky, led the team in scoring with seven points.

The Justice Department on Tuesday night rejected a request by Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks for legal protection in court against a lawsuit linking him to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Masks are again required for members of the House side of the U.S. Capitol amid a nationwide rise in coronavirus cases.

Under the reimplemented mandate, members, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, must wear a "well-fitted, medical grade, filtration face mask" in House office buildings, during meetings and while in the House chamber.

Under the order from Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress' attending physician, the new rule doesn't affect members of the Senate.

The return of masks in the House comes a month after the requirement was first lifted for vaccinated members.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 4:04 PM ET

BEIJING — As a spokesperson, he delivered excoriating one-liners and helped pioneer a brash, more sharply confident communication style from the Chinese foreign ministry's pulpit.

The stunning attack on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters roughly six months ago threatened lawmakers and came close to upending the process to certify the 2020 presidential election.

Most members of Congress decried the onslaught in the hours after the Jan. 6 insurrection, but since then the date has become a deeply polarizing moment on Capitol Hill.

For many, it was a welcome surprise. On July 15, cash flowed into the bank accounts of parents across the U.S. as the government rolled out the first monthly payments of the enhanced child tax credit passed by Congress this spring.

But as helpful as those payments are to a lot of families, they could actually create headaches for others, with some people owing money to the government next year.

As a result, some parents have already opted out of the monthly payments and are instead choosing to receive the entire credit next year when they file their taxes.

For the first time, scientists have shown that a new kind of genetic engineering can crash populations of malaria-spreading mosquitoes.

In the landmark study, published Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications, researchers placed the genetically modified mosquitoes in a special laboratory that simulated the conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, where they spread the deadly disease.

Jim Holland says he was raped by a priest when he was 13 years old. For the next 30 years, Holland locked his trauma away, holding it at bay with drinking, drugs and promiscuity. The 2002-2004 Boston Globe Spotlight investigation of sexual abuse by priests triggered his memories.

"I kept on saying, 'No, it was no big deal. That really didn't happen,' " says Holland.

Holland knew he needed help, but there were few therapists specializing in this kind of trauma. So he shoved his pain back down.

The White House is moving forward on a plan to have Department of Homeland Security asylum officers take over cases on the southern United States border, a change that would shift future asylum cases out of backlogged immigration courts.

The Biden administration's measure is one of a series of moves to speed up consideration of asylum claims, steps it says would reduce the backlog and make the immigration system more orderly and fair.

Minneapolis voters will decide this November whether to end their city's police department, replacing it with a new "Department of Public Safety."

The city council last week signed off on language for a ballot question to change the city charter to create a new agency.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 6:00 PM ET

President Biden proposed a rule on Wednesday that would change the way the federal government assesses products made in America.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 3:05 AM ET

TOKYO — U.S. superstar gymnast Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time, will not compete in the individual all-around gymnastics final at the Summer Olympics on Thursday.

The Olympic individual all-around is the sport's marquee individual event, and she won by a huge margin at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

Updated July 28, 2021 at 12:01 AM ET

TOKYO — Katie Ledecky has won her first gold of the Tokyo Olympics, in the 1,500 meter freestyle race. She took silver in her first race of the Games, and then missed out on medaling in the 200 meter freestyle.

After the race, she talked about the immense pressure she feels to meet the sky-high expectations on her — and the pressure she places on herself. Other stars such as Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka are opening up about the difficulties of being in the spotlight.

President Biden is said to be giving "strong consideration" to new requirements for federal employees to help arrest the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

One option under consideration: verifying that federal employees are vaccinated for COVID-19 using an "attestation of vaccination," a source familiar with the deliberations tells NPR's Tamara Keith.

If all of the publicly out LGBTQ athletes at the Olympics represented a country under a single rainbow flag they'd be coming in 14th in the world for their medal count.

That's the assessment of Outsports, which has been tracking the athletes — 168 of them — and the group is tied with Brazil and Switzerland.

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