National & International News

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The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday at age 87 will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty political battle over who will succeed her at the Supreme Court.

Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

After a record-breaking year in 2019 for women's soccer, FIFA President Gianni Infantino suggested Friday that the FIFA Women's World Cup could be held every two years instead of every four.

Infantino addressed the annual FIFA Congress virtually and emphasized the need to build on the momentum of success that the FIFA Women's World Cup saw last year.

Updated on Sept. 23 at 10:29 a.m. ET

President Trump said it was a "situation that has to be."

Follow NPR's coverage of Ginsburg's death and the political aftermath here.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington, D.C., surrounded by family. She was 87.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said Friday he's tested positive for the coronavirus. Giammattei made the announcement to Sonora, a local radio station.

He said he feels well, is showing typical symptoms of high fever and body aches and has been treated at the Centro Medico Militar, one of the hospitals designated to treat COVID-19 patients in Guatemala City.

Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

Hurricane season, like many other aspects of life, has reached peak 2020.

When Tropical Storm Wilfred and Subtropical Storm Alpha formed on Friday, they became the 21st and 22nd named storms of the season. Not long after them, weather forecasters spotted Tropical Storm Beta.

Put another way, this marks just the second time in history that forecasters have had to resort to the Greek alphabet because available storm names have been exhausted.

Puerto Rico is being promised nearly $13 billion in federal disaster funding to repair its electrical and education infrastructure three years after Hurricane Maria's devastation and six weeks before the presidential election.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to award two separate grants to help rebuild Puerto Rico's electrical grid system and educational facilities, the White House announced Friday.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

OK, so I'd planned a flight to visit my grandkids last week because with cold weather and the flu season looming in the U.S., it seemed like late summer/early fall might be a good window of opportunity to travel.

President Trump on Friday said "every American" will have a vaccine for the coronavirus available by April, escalating already ambitious goals to fast-track a vaccine for the virus that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the United States.

If the coronavirus vaccines currently being tested don't pan out, don't expect new drugs to fill the gap any time soon.

Many drugs are in the works, and those that succeed could play a role in reducing symptoms and sometimes saving lives. But, given the way drugs are developed, it's unlikely that any single medicine will be anywhere as potent against the coronavirus as a successful vaccine.

The Government Accountability Office is investigating the Pentagon's interest in deploying a "heat ray" to control crowds around the White House, part of a broader review of the tactics and use of nonlethal weapons that have been leveled against social justice protesters this summer, NPR has learned.

Perhaps you're an avid reader — or you're just stuck at home and suddenly have more time to read. Either way, if you're looking for reading recommendations, why not start with one of the 50 works contending for a National Book Award?

The National Book Foundation released its annual book award longlists over the past few days, ending with fiction on Friday, featuring work from seasoned and debut writers alike, as well as a collection of short stories from an author who died last month.

A firefighter was killed Thursday in California's El Dorado Fire, according to officials at the San Bernardino National Forest.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends and fellow firefighters during this time," forest officials said in a statement. The cause is under investigation, and the name of the firefighter is being withheld until the notification of next of kin.

Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead President Trump in the 2020 presidential election nationally by a substantial margin, according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

Biden leads Trump by 9 points, 52% to 43%, among likely voters, the survey finds. This is the first time this election cycle the poll has screened for likely voters — this narrower group is the most likely to actually cast a ballot, compared to the larger group of people who are registered to vote.

Updated at 2:41 p.m. ET

The Trump administration is banning Americans from downloading popular video-sharing app TikTok and limiting the use of WeChat because of national security concerns, the Commerce Department announced on Friday.

As of midnight on Sunday, TikTok will also not be able to receive system updates, which could affect its functionality, including slowing down the app, but the app's current version will still work for American users. Over time, however, TikTok may stop working altogether.

Never before has Israel had such a high need for those schooled in the rarefied art of shofar blowing.

The wail of the biblical shofar — made from the horn of a ram or a certain antelope species — is a hallmark of prayer gatherings on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which begins this weekend.

But because of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel is mandating smaller, socially distanced prayer gatherings — so the country needs many more shofar blowers than in years past.

This past Sunday at Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, it was life as usual.

Kids took rides on horses and camels. Families and lovers shared paddle boats in the lake at the center of the park.

Alice Nyambura and Lucy Wahu, both college sophomores, sat on the grass watching the boats. The sun was shining; the lily pads blooming. They had come here to get their minds off the pandemic.

"I don't think there is anything like corona," Nyambura said.

"It is there," Wahu corrected her. "But I think they are exaggerating the numbers."

The mother of Breonna Taylor says that if the police reforms announced this week by officials in Louisville were in place six months ago, her daughter might still be alive.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who worked as an emergency room technician, was fatally shot by Louisville police during a botched narcotics raid at her home during the early morning hours of March 13.

A decision on whether to bring charges against the three officers who carried out the raid is expected in the coming days.

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The people behind the Guinness World Records used to make money by, well, selling books.

Joeller Stanton used to be an assistant teacher at a private school in Baltimore and made about $30,000 a year. In mid-March, when the pandemic was just starting, her school closed for what was supposed to be two weeks. "Up to that point, we were under the impression that it wasn't that serious, that everything was going to be OK," Stanton recalls.

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden both travel to northern Minnesota on Friday, as the contested state begins its early voting period.

Trump plans to hold a rally at an airport in the city of Bemidji on Friday evening. Meanwhile, the former vice president will visit a union training center in Duluth.

Election workers around the country are preparing for what could be one of the most chaotic elections in history. There's not only a pandemic, but dozens of ongoing legal fights over voting rules. That's left a lot of things up in the air only weeks before Election Day.

In election offices such as the one in Lehigh County, Pa., workers are trying to deal with the uncertainty.

Nationwide protests over police accountability and racial justice have reenergized longstanding efforts to fundamentally change how police departments respond to someone in a mental health emergency. Many are calling for removing or dramatically reducing law enforcement's role in responding to those crisis calls unless absolutely necessary.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulate nursing facilities, are lifting the ban on visitors, effective immediately. CMS imposed the restriction in March in an effort to control outbreaks of the coronavirus.

The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that weekly coronavirus case numbers are rising in Europe at a higher rate than during the pandemic's peak in March.

At a virtual news conference, Dr. Hans Kluge, regional director of WHO in Europe, warned, "We do have a very serious situation unfolding before us."

"Weekly cases have exceeded those reported when the pandemic first peaked in Europe in March," he said. "Last week, the region's weekly tally exceeded 300,000 patients."

Certain businesses in most of Texas will be able to expand their operations starting Monday, thanks to an improvement in the state's COVID-19 metrics. But there is one notable exception: Bars must stay closed.

In a call that included a number of "tense moments," Postmaster General Louis DeJoy sought to reassure a group of the nation's top election officials Thursday that election mail will be his agency's highest priority this fall, according to one state election official on the call.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down several voting-related decisions Thursday that are likely to help Democrats this fall.

The court extended the deadline for accepting mail ballots, will allow voters to submit their ballots through drop boxes, and removed the Green Party's candidate for president from the ballot.

The decisions come less than two months before Election Day and as a flurry of election-related lawsuits continue to pile up around the country.

As colleges around the U.S. are facing COVID-19 outbreaks and crackdowns on students engaged in coronavirus-risky behavior, campuses are also facing a new threat: legal challenges from the students they're punishing.

Wildfires are ravaging large swaths of the West in the middle of the wine grape harvest, sending hazardous smoke through picturesque vineyards.

It's forcing many agricultural workers to make a stark choice: Should they prioritize their health or earn badly needed money?

"The truth is that I have to work," said Maricela, 48, a team leader at a vineyard near Medford in southern Oregon. There are multiple fires blazing close to the town.

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