NPR Stories

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

Nearly a week after Joe Biden's campaign and the Democratic Party announced they had raised a blockbuster $364 million in August, the Trump campaign and Republican Party still haven't released their numbers, and President Trump is talking about putting in his own money.

Updated at 2:06 p.m. ET

House Democrats say they are investigating Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over allegations reported by The Washington Post that he asked employees to donate to certain political candidates and then reimbursed them through bonuses.

Nine drug companies pledged Tuesday that they will not submit vaccine candidates for FDA review until their safety and efficacy is shown in large clinical trials. The move is intended to bolster public confidence amid the rush to make a COVID-19 vaccine widely available, and counter fears of political pressure to have a vaccine before the November presidential election.

Japan's Olympic minister, Seiko Hashimoto, says the Tokyo Olympics should go forward in 2021 "at any cost." Multiple Japanese and International Olympic Committee officials have stressed in the past week that the games will proceed regardless of the state of the global pandemic.

Heather Larson has enjoyed kayaking for several years. Before the pandemic, she'd often rent a kayak for the weekend and ride it at state parks in Illinois and nearby Wisconsin. But the Des Plaines, Ill., resident has had no luck finding one for the past three months.

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Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Almost every structure in the small farming town of Malden in eastern Washington state was destroyed by a fast-moving wildfire Monday as high winds created what officials described as a firestorm.

According to the Whitman County Sheriff's Office, 80% of the town's structures were destroyed. The town of about 200 people is 35 miles south of Spokane in an agricultural region known as the Palouse.

Six months into schools' pandemic-driven experiment in distance learning, much has been said (and debated) about whether children are learning. But the more urgent question, for the more than 30 million kids who depend on U.S. schools for free or reduced-price meals, is this:

Are they eating?

The answer, based on recent data and interviews with school nutrition leaders and anti-hunger advocates across the country, is alarming.

Few people have been looking forward to colleges reopening – and staying open — this fall, as much as the people who run Cornwall's Tavern in Boston's Kenmore Square. A go-to for students and faculty at Boston University, the family-owned pub has been counting on the back-to-school crowds to help it survive. In an industry hard-hit by the pandemic, it's a test Cornwall's can't afford to fail.

"It's a frightening time," said Pam Beale, who owns the place with her husband John. "It feels like the earth is moving under your feel all the time."

Much of the country is facing a long, painful recovery from the coronavirus recession. But some communities are getting a head start.

Owensboro, Ky., has already recovered most of the jobs it lost this spring, even as the rest of the country is experiencing a painfully slow improvement in employment.

Long before he came into office, Donald Trump was so preoccupied with then-President Barack Obama that he hired a look-alike actor — a "faux-Bama" — to castigate and then pretend to fire on video.

That's just one of many episodes recounted and accusations levied by Michael Cohen, Trump's former personal attorney, in his new book, Disloyal: A Memoir, which is being published Tuesday and which NPR obtained before its publication.

Updated at 8:25 p.m. ET Tuesday

Belarusian authorities say an opposition leader who disappeared Monday has been detained by police while trying to flee the country for neighboring Ukraine.

Maria Kolesnikova was last seen Monday morning when masked men plucked her off the streets of central Minsk and sped off in a van, according to local media reports.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has granted "an absolute pardon" to U.S. Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton convicted of killing a transgender woman in 2014.

The surprise move to free the 25-year-old American Marine comes just days after the president's office said it would intervene to block his early release.

The pardon has angered Philippine nationalists who resent the U.S., and gay and transgender groups who fear the decision encourages hate crimes against them.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, hospitalized in Berlin for several weeks after being poisoned, has been taken out of his medically induced coma.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has made no secret of his affection for The Princess Bride — the 1987 cult classic starring Robin Wright. But he's now making it clear he's no fan of a plan by cast members to stump for Democrats in Wisconsin next week.

After more than 100 days of protests in Portland, there is fatigue and increasing anxiety heading into opposing Labor Day demonstrations as officials urge protesters on opposing sides to stop the violence.

Among labor organizers and Black Lives Matter supporters, who began convening on the city's streets to protest police brutality and social injustice following the killing of George Floyd in May, there is a growing sense of dread over a possible confrontation with pro-Trump groups.

Gary Peacock, a versatile bassist who collaborated with some of the 20th century's most notable jazz musicians, has died. He was 85.

His family confirmed in a statement to NPR that Peacock died peacefully Friday, Sept. 4, at his home in upstate New York. No cause of death was provided.

Over a career that spanned seven decades, he played on recordings alongside Albert Ayler, Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, among many others.

The mayor of Rochester, N.Y., is promising reforms to the city's police department after five nights of protests over the death of Daniel Prude after his arrest in March.

Updated at 8:16 p.m. ET

At 121 degrees, Los Angeles County hit its highest temperature ever recorded this weekend, as the state swelters in a heat wave that has helped intensify the most devastating wildfire season California has experienced in years.

The record temperature was measured in Woodland Hills, northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

At 6' 2", wearing a purple tunic and crowned with a sky blue hat, Soumana Saley cut a dramatic figure at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival's "Crafts of African Fashion" program in 2018. He was surrounded by his leatherwork — from wallets to sandals to shoulder bags with etched geometric designs reflecting the art of his homeland, Niger. He now lives in Millersburg, Penn. When we spoke, he had two sources of income: He worked in a factory and he sold his leather goods at festivals — the biggest bags going for hundreds of dollars.

India's recorded coronavirus case total has surpassed that of Brazil, making India the second worst-affected country in the world after the United States.

India overtook Brazil on Monday after registering 90,802 fresh cases — the highest single-day increase any country has recorded so far during the pandemic. India's total cases are now more than 4.2 million.

With precision, farm workers swiftly harvest rows of strawberries at an organic field in Salinas, Calif. It's hard work, even without a global pandemic and wildfires burning in the background.

Four major wildfires erupted across the state's Central Coast in mid-August, one near Salinas. Smoke blanketed the region, the sun glowed orange and ash rained down.

"It hurt our sinuses," said Jesús Ahumada, an agricultural foreman, in Spanish. "The smoke was so thick."

The weather was calm, the atmosphere festive. Which made it all the more surprising when several boats sank Saturday at an event put on by Trump supporters near Austin, Texas.

"Decorate your boats in patriotic colors and fly as many Trump flags as she can handle!" the Facebook page for the Lake Travis Trump Boat Parade encouraged. "Let's really make a statement!"

Since it was first popularized by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in the 1920s, fascism, and accusations of it, have been a common theme in American political discourse.

Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old Black man who was shot by police in Wisconsin last month, spoke from his hospital bed about the pain of recovery and his hope for the future in a video posted to Twitter by his attorney on Saturday.

Firefighters in central California are searching for people stranded by a fast-moving fire that has already burned an estimated 45,000 acres. The Creek Fire started Friday evening and, fueled by timber and dry vegetation, quickly jumped the San Joaquin River and blocked evacuation routes.

Lebanon has held its breath for three days, waiting for rescue teams to emerge from the wreckage of a collapsed building with good news. The potential for finding a survivor had offered a brief glimmer of hope for Lebanon, still mourning after a massive explosion in Beirut's port ripped through half the city last month.

Note: This piece contains a disturbing description of self-immolation.

In the middle of Jelma, a town of roughly 6,000 in Tunisia's interior, a light wind picks up dust on a colonial-era built railroad that's no longer in use. Several people walk over the worn tracks going about their business in a place that largely feels abandoned by the government.

Peggy Bouva was at home in the Dutch port city of Rotterdam a couple of years ago when she got a call that fascinated her.

The woman on the phone, Maartje Duin, calling from Amsterdam, said she wanted to talk about slavery. Duin told Bouva that she had done some research into her own family history and found their families shared a connection: One of Duin's ancestors had co-owned a plantation in South America where Bouva's ancestors had been enslaved.

Whatever Happened To ... The Melting Permafrost?

Sep 6, 2020

In 2018, we reported on concerns that zombie pathogens — ancient bacteria and viruses that could potentially rise from the dead and threaten humans if the layers of frozen permafrost where they're buried thaw as the Earth warms.

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