NPR Stories

Human activities have caused the world's wildlife populations to plummet by more than two-thirds in the last 50 years, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund.

The decline is happening at an unprecedented rate, the report warns, and it threatens human life as well.

"The findings are clear," the report states. "Our relationship with nature is broken."

Environmentalists in Brazil are mourning the death of a leading expert on uncontacted tribes in the Amazon, who was killed by an arrow that struck him in the chest.

Friends of Rieli Franciscato say he died inside the rainforest while on a mission to shield an isolated indigenous group from a possible hostile encounter with outsiders.

The Justice Department's Criminal Division says it has charged 57 people to date over allegedly defrauding a federal program meant to provide relief to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Criminal Division's acting assistant attorney general, Brian Rabbitt, told reporters that those charged attempted to steal more than $175 million. They actually obtained more than $70 million, he said, and the Justice Department has been to recover or freeze over $30 million.

Actor Diana Rigg, best known for starring in the 1960s British TV espionage thriller The Avengers, died on Thursday at the age of 82 in London. According to a statement from her daughter Rachael Stirling, she was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

"My Beloved Ma died peacefully in her sleep early this morning, at home, surrounded by family," Stirling wrote. "She died of cancer diagnosed in March, and spent her last months joyfully reflecting on her extraordinary life, full of love, laughter and a deep pride in her profession."

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Portland, Ore., Mayor Ted Wheeler is telling the city's police to "end the use of CS gas for crowd control" in a policy change that he says is effective immediately.

Senate Republicans rallied around a $300 billion coronavirus aid package, but it fell short of the necessary 60-vote majority to advance, effectively killing the measure. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was the lone Republican joining Senate Democrats to oppose it — Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., missed the vote.

During a press conference at the White House on Labor Day, President Trump lashed out at Democratic rival Joe Biden, claiming the former vice president threw open the borders, shipped away jobs and sent America's youth to fight in "crazy endless wars."

Then the president veered into talk of the military, taking aim at the Pentagon brass and separating them from the rank-and-file troops.

Twitter is putting new restrictions on election-related content, including labeling or removing posts that claim victory before results are official or attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.

"We will not permit our service to be abused around civic processes, most importantly elections," the company said in a blog post Thursday.

In Lebanon, a huge fire at Beirut's port has blackened skies and sent waves of panic through the devastated city, which is still reeling from last month's massive explosion in the same area that killed nearly 200 people and injured thousands more.

By early evening local time Thursday, the fire was said to be "under control" by caretaker Public Works Minister Michel Najjar, who is in charge of overseeing the port, according to local media.

Updated at 10:37 p.m. ET

At least 14 people have died in wildfires that are raging in Oregon, California and Washington state, adding to the horrible toll from record-setting fires in 2020.

When Allied troops entered Germany at the end of World War II, they were astounded to learn that more than 6 million people had been stranded in the fallen Reich after the war.

"The number of homeless, shelterless, starving civilians [in Germany] was overwhelming," historian David Nasaw says.

Venezuela's worst economic meltdown in history has had a huge impact on neighboring Colombia, where hospitals, schools and welfare agencies are dealing with 2 million Venezuelan refugees. But the crisis has produced at least one silver lining for Colombia: the curtailing of gasoline smuggling.

Ra'ed Alabed films his tent's smoldering remains in what he called the "hell camp" on the Greek island of Lesbos.

"This was my home," says the 45-year-old Syrian refugee in a video he shared with NPR, pointing to a blackened cooking pot and a thicket of charred olive-tree branches. "My home in the most horrible place."

Multiple fires this week destroyed the tents of more than 12,000 refugees living in Europe's largest refugee camp, called Moria after a nearby village. For years, the camp has symbolized the European Union's failure to manage migration in a humane way.

George Washington University says associate professor Jessica A. Krug has resigned, after a blog post published under her name last week said she had invented several Black identities.

The blog post stated that Krug is actually a white, Jewish woman from the Midwest, who for years has "assumed identities within a Blackness that I had no right to claim: first North African Blackness, then US rooted Blackness, then Caribbean rooted Bronx Blackness."

It's a grim roster of alerts. A woman, age 19, last spotted in July wearing sky blue jeans, a black sweater and black sneakers. A 16-year-girl missing since she left her home one morning in July. A 14-year-girl last seen heading to the supermarket at the end of June; she was wearing blue shoes.

In February, China pulled off an impressive construction feat that caught the world's attention: Amid surging cases of COVID-19, China built two hospitals in the pandemic's epicenter, Wuhan, in under two weeks to isolate and treat COVID-19 patients.

Shuichi Kanno rips tape off the top of a large cardboard box at his house in the mountains in Fukushima prefecture in Japan. He opens the box and rustles around to pull out pack after pack of long, thin Roman candle fireworks. The words "Animal Exterminating Firework" are written in Japanese on the side of each canister.

Teen and youth anxiety and depression are getting worse since COVID lockdowns began in March, early studies suggest, and many experts say they fear a corresponding increase in youth suicide.

At the end of June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed Americans on their mental health. They found symptoms of anxiety and depression were up sharply across the board between March and June, compared with the same time the previous year. And young people seemed to be the hardest-hit of any group.

As U.S. law enforcement departments are accused of racist policing, one of the most common responses by the people in charge has been to have officers take "implicit bias" training.

The training usually consists of a seminar in the psychological theory that unconscious stereotypes can lead people to make dangerous snap judgments. For instance, unconscious associations of African Americans with crime might make cops quicker to see them as suspects.

Face coverings instead of costume masks. Virtual pumpkin-carving parties. No trick or treating. As fall approaches, health officials in California's most populous county are asking residents to plan for an unusual Halloween.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Wednesday released guidance to help families plan for a pandemic-safe Halloween, discouraging traditional festivities and recommending socially distant alternatives.

Several swift fires gutted Europe's largest refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, sending 12,000 asylum-seekers scrambling for emergency shelter.

The camp, named Moria, after a nearby village tucked into olive groves, was already notorious because of its horrific conditions, which included severe overcrowding, poor sanitation and lack of soap and water taps. Asylum-seekers at the camp often lined up for hours for food that was often spoiled.

Months after it was tabled due to COVID-19, indoor dining is coming back to New York City.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that restaurants can resume indoor service on Sept. 30 at 25% capacity and with other safety precautions in place.

"We want to thank New Yorkers for the increase in compliance," Cuomo said at a press briefing. "And because the compliance has gotten better we can now take the next step."

President Trump and Republicans could've set a one-month fundraising record — had their Democratic counterparts not hauled in some $150 million more.

The president's campaign, the Republican National Committee and their joint fundraising efforts raised a combined $210 million last month, they announced on Wednesday.

For nearly 20 years, a Columbia University gynecologist in New York City sexually abused dozens of female patients, including minors, according to a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Robert Hadden, 62, was arrested that morning in connection with sexual abuse that took place from 1993 to 2012, including acts against a young girl whom Hadden had delivered at birth, court documents say.

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, described him as a "predator in a white coat"

Intense winds caused havoc on Utah's highways Tuesday, flipping dozens of semi trucks onto their sides and forcing officials to restrict travel on interstates. Hurricane-force wind gusts were common, forcing the Capitol building to be closed to employees.

Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency on Wednesday due to the severe wind event.

Seven people were killed in a shooting at an illegal marijuana-growing operation in Southern California that local authorities say bears the hallmarks of organized crime.

Riverside County sheriff's deputies responded to a 911 call Monday morning about an assault with a deadly weapon and shots fired. When they arrived at the large property in the remote mountain area of Aguanga, they found six people dead of gunshot wounds. A seventh person later died at a local hospital.

In Belarus, another member of the country's opposition has been detained by security agents — the latest in a series of disappearances that have prompted the country's most famous living author, Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, to speak out against "terror against the people."

A commercial satellite photo may reveal a new Chinese space plane just moments after it landed at a remote site on the western side of China.

The photo, which is too low resolution to be conclusive, was snapped by the San Francisco-based company Planet. It shows what could be the classified Chinese spacecraft on a long runway, along with several support vehicles lined up nearby.

No reader should skip the prologue to Bob Woodward's new book on President Trump, because the author puts his best scene on its first page.

Woodward's Rage opens on the Oval Office, where the two top officials from the president's national security team are telling him that COVID-19 is a major threat to the U.S. and far worse than the flu.

"This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency," says Robert O'Brien, the national security adviser (Trump's fourth). "This is going to be the roughest thing you face."

Cpl. Waverly B. Woodson Jr. was an Army medic in the only all African American combat unit in the Normandy invasion on D-Day.

He got seriously wounded that June 6, 1944, but went on to help save scores of his fellow soldiers' lives.

On Tuesday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation to posthumously award Cpl. Woodson a Medal of Honor for his heroism.

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