National & International News

We follow stories about America and the world, with help from NPR.

President Donald Trump on Saturday was photographed wearing a mask during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, after months of refusing to don the medical expert-recommended face coverings meant to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

"I love masks in the appropriate locations," Trump said, speaking to reporters at the White House before his visit.

Thomas Chatterton Williams, along with more than 150 prominent journalists, authors and writers, published a letter decrying what it called the "intolerant climate that has set in on all sides" of debate in Harper's Magazine on Tuesday, fueling a heated controversy over free speech, privilege and the role of social media in public discourse.

Nearly four months after it closed over coronavirus concerns, Disney World is once again inviting guests to experience its Florida theme parks.

The reopening comes as Florida is experiencing a surge of new coronavirus cases, with more than 10,000 being reported on Saturday.

Both Magic Kingdom and Disney's Animal Kingdom opened Saturday to the general public, following limited openings for annual-pass holders and employees. The other two area parks — Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios — are expected to open on Wednesday.

Thomas Salts spent two weeks in a hotel in Arizona sleeping, watching TV and, most importantly, fighting COVID-19.

"I mean it was truly one of the worst bouts I'd ever had dealing with any kind of thing, with the flu or anything," Salts told NPR's Weekend Edition. "It was 10 times worse."

Democrats have had no shortage of descriptors for President Trump's decision to commute Roger Stone's prison sentence.

As Zuleika Yusuf Daffala walks across Kibera, one of the big informal settlements in Kenya's capital, she greets dozens of kids on the streets. Some are jumping rope, others chasing each other through the alley and another group is trying to make a tiny cooking pan out of an aluminum can.

As the pandemic continues, children are still mostly at home. Summer activities are canceled or up in the air, and many children are suffering confusion and stress. Parents may be stressed themselves, but there are ways to help kids feel better.

During the first few weeks of staying at home, Maryam Jernigan-Noesi's 4-year-old son Carter was excited. His working parents were around him most of the day, and it seemed like a big extended weekend. But after a few weeks, she says, things changed.

Lots of people, especially many Native Americans, loathe the name of the Washington, D.C., NFL team, the Redskins.

"The origin of that name is rooted in murder and violence and genocide and hate," says Crystal Echo Hawk, the founder and CEO of the advocacy group IllumiNative. "It's a dictionary-defined racial slur, full-stop."

A momentous Supreme Court term is over. The last strokes of the pen were devoted to repudiating President Trump's claim that he is categorically immune from state grand jury and congressional subpoenas.

But the term also featured just about every flashpoint in American law — including abortion, religion, immigration and much more.

Here are six takeaways:

I'm hearing a lot of talk about the coronavirus spreading through aerosols — is wearing a mask in a grocery store enough protection? What else should I do to stay safe?

Quick answer first: Going to the grocery store where you and everyone else is wearing a mask and keeping a distance from each other is still considered a low-risk activity. Go get your summer strawberries!

After months of prohibiting in-person visits to relatives in nursing homes amid COVID-19 fears, New York says it will begin easing those restrictions for facilities that are certified as virus-free.

The change comes after the state — one of those hardest-hit by the virus — has seen thousands of deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

According to the revised rules issued Friday by the New York State Department of Health, visitors will be allowed if a nursing home or adult-care facility hasn't had any coronavirus cases for 28 days.

The Netherlands said Friday that it will sue Russia at the European Court of Human Rights for Moscow's alleged role in the shooting down of an airliner over Ukraine six years ago that killed all 298 aboard, two-thirds of whom were Dutch.

Updated Saturday at 10:22 a.m. ET

President Trump on Friday evening commuted the prison sentence of his longtime friend Roger Stone, a veteran Republican operative who was convicted of lying to Congress about his efforts to contact WikiLeaks during Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

Georgia's governor and the mayor of the state's capital and largest city are at odds over COVID-19 restrictions, with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announcing a return to tough measures to control a spike in coronavirus infections and Gov. Brian Kemp insisting that her order is "non-binding and legally unenforceable."

Bottoms, a Democrat, announced Friday that she was bringing Atlanta back to Phase 1 reopening — the most restrictive post-lockdown measures that require all residents to stay home except for essential trips.

Mississippi's governor has imposed mandatory use of face masks and limited nonessential gatherings in 13 counties, including those that cover the state's most populous cities, as COVID-19 cases have surged in recent days, causing record hospitalizations.

Three Los Angeles police officers are facing charges of falsifying records and obstruction of justice over allegations that they wrongly identified people as gang members, the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office announced on Friday.

California will release up to 8,000 prisoners this summer in an effort to create more space and prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in prisons.

News of the plan comes after more than a third of the inmates and staff at the San Quentin State Prison in the San Francisco Bay Area tested positive for the coronavirus.

Around the world, countries are debating what to do about schools during a pandemic.

In many places, they've been shut. In some they've reopened.

Hong Kong offers a cautionary tale of how difficult these decisions can be.

Schoolchildren were sent home at the end of January as the first wave of the outbreak began, originating from visitors from mainland China. Schools stayed closed through a second wave, sparked largely by European and North American travelers.

The American Academy of Pediatrics once again plunged into the growing debate over school reopening with a strong new statement Friday, making clear that while in-person school provides crucial benefits to children, "Public health agencies must make recommendations based on evidence, not politics." The statement also said that "science and community circumstances must guide decision-making."

The U.S. Department of Education moved this week to make it easier for colleges to reconsider and potentially increase financial aid for students who have lost jobs or family income in the economic crisis.

Conspiracy theories need just the right ingredients to take off within a population, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been a breeding ground for them. A Pew Research Center survey recently asked people if they had heard the theory that the COVID-19 outbreak was intentionally planned by people in power. Seventy-one percent of U.S. adults said they had. And a third of those respondents said it was "definitely" or "probably" true.

When his phone died, 11-year-old Davon McNeal was at a Stop the Violence cookout in Washington, D.C., that his mother had helped organize. She took him to his aunt's house close by to borrow a charger and John Ayala, his grandfather, says the little boy hopped out of the car.

"At that moment shots rang out. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. He goes to the ground. You know, you hear bullets, you get out the way," Ayala said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster announced on Friday that all bars and restaurants in the state must stop serving alcohol by 11 each night to try to stem a statewide rise in coronavirus cases.

This week, South Carolina is averaging 1,570 new cases of the virus per day. That's more than twice the rate of new cases compared with three weeks ago.

As Major League Baseball prepares to start its season, a massive set of coronavirus test results shows that 28 out of the league's 30 teams have had a player or staff member test positive.

So far, 71 players and 12 staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus, MLB announced Friday.

When teams convened for training camps at the beginning of the month, the league carried out intake screenings. Some 58 players and eight staff members tested positive. That's a rate of 1.8%, with more than 3,700 samples tested.

More than 20 states have now issued orders requiring people to wear face masks in public as the rate of new coronavirus cases surges to record heights in parts of the United States.

The U.S. has recorded more than 1 million coronavirus infections over the past month alone, pushing the number of confirmed cases past the 3 million mark this week.

A Christian camp in Missouri has been forced to shut down after dozens of staff, campers and counselors tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Kanakuk K-2 camp in Lampe, just north of the border with Arkansas, closed after 41 people became infected with the coronavirus, the Stone County Health Department announced last week.

New leadership has taken over at a company known for a particular brand of cute.

Shintaro Tsuji, the 92-year-old founder of Sanrio, the Japanese company that created Hello Kitty, handed over the reins to his 31-year-old grandson Tomokuni Tsuji, who officially became Sanrio's president and CEO on July 1. It's the first leadership change in the company's 60-year history.

No invitation cards, no shuttles to shows, no cameras clicking, no front row seats, no influencers or street style. In a first among firsts in fashion, the Autumn/Winter 2020 Haute Couture shows — normally held in Paris — were egalitarian, presented online for everyone to see.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Hagia Sophia museum, one of Istanbul's most famous landmarks, to be converted into a mosque.

He made the announcement on Friday, hours after a top court cleared the way for him to make the change.

The Hagia Sophia, a major draw for tourists, has a long and complicated history. The architectural marvel was built as a church by the Byzantines in the 6th century and then converted to a mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453.

Around the country, communities of color continue to be among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. So in many of these communities, local leaders are stepping in to try to help solve a problem they say is years in the making.

In Richmond, Va., crews of local firefighters and volunteers have been fanning out across the city, going door to door with plastic bags filled with masks, hand sanitizer and information about staying healthy.

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