National & International News

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

Nearly 30 Massachusetts high school students have been told to quarantine after parents sent their child to school despite knowing that the teen was positive for the coronavirus.

The students, who attend Attleboro High School, will be required to quarantine for two weeks. Attleboro Mayor Paul Heroux told NPR that the student should have been self-isolating since Sept. 9 — the day the student was tested for the coronavirus. However, the parents of the student continued to send the teen to school even after receiving the positive results on Friday.

The winding down of the 2020 census must remain on hold nationwide through Sept. 24 at the latest, a federal judge in California has ordered.

A Salt Lake City police officer is facing a felony charge stemming from an April encounter in which he ordered a police dog to attack a Black man who was on his knees with his hands raised, seemingly complying with officer commands.

When 28-year-old Katie Kinsey moved from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles in early March, she didn't expect the pandemic would affect her directly, at least not right away. But that's exactly what happened.

She was still settling in and didn't have a primary care doctor when she got sick with symptoms of what she feared was COVID-19.

The greatest peril posed to American elections is that the cloud of fear and uncertainty about them will cause citizens to stop believing they matter, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Congress on Thursday.

Wray was asked in a House Homeland Security Committee hearing about his No. 1 concern as the FBI and other agencies work to quash the manifold foreign threats posed to this and future elections. He said the worst danger isn't something within the power of a foreign government.

Marcie was at work at a Ford plant when she got a text warning her she might have been exposed to the coronavirus. It wasn't a sure thing — she was a few steps removed from the confirmed positive case. But it was worrying.

"So am I supposed to leave work? Technically I could be positive and not know it," said Marcie, who didn't want her last name used because she's worried about retribution for talking about the plant. "But, you know, a lot of people just can't do that. Can't just get up and go. We depend on the forty hours."

The chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security condemned acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf's failure to appear in response to a subpoena on Thursday.

With nearly 98,000 new coronavirus cases confirmed Thursday, India again broke the record for the highest daily tally of infections for any country since the pandemic began. It is on track, within weeks, to become the worst-affected country in the world.

The remnants of Hurricane Sally are dropping torrential rain on southeastern states — and its center was still in Alabama early Thursday, more than 24 hours after making landfall as a Category 2 hurricane. The storm has brought rainfall that is being measured in feet, not inches, in many places.

Sally is now a tropical depression, but it's bringing new flood threats to Georgia and South Carolina Thursday, the National Hurricane Center says.

The empty chair at the House Homeland Security Committee on Thursday can't answer members' questions about the recent goings-on within the Department of Homeland Security.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf rejected a subpoena to appear, but DHS says acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli was prepped in his place.

Updated at 8:22 a.m. ET

Attorney General Bill Barr blasted his own Justice Department prosecutors as a "permanent bureaucracy" that all too often abuse their power to go after high-profile targets in a process he likened to "headhunting."

In remarks Wednesday to a largely conservative audience celebrating Constitution Day at Hillsdale College, the leader of the Justice Department asserted that he's the one who should make the big calls in cases of national interest.

I catch Patricia Stamper with a Zoom meeting going in the background and a child at her knee asking for attention. Stamper works as a teacher's assistant for special education students in the Washington, D.C., public schools.

These days, her virtual classroom is at home — and so is her toddler, who has a genetic disorder called Noonan syndrome, and her kindergartner, who receives speech therapy. Her husband works outside the home at a golf course.

If President Trump wins Wisconsin again, he'll have Republican stalwarts like Mary Ludwig to thank.

"I always vote Republican because I'm so against abortion," she said, sitting next to a lake in the Milwaukee suburb of Oconomowoc on a recent summer evening.

Ludwig has some reservations about Trump; she says that she doesn't like the "offensive" things he says. On the other hand, she also has things she admires about him: She really likes his kids and thinks he's handling the economy well.

Updated at 8:35 a.m. ET

Kris Snyder didn't set out to be a professional musician. She began her working life as a corporate trainer for a big retail company. But after churning through seven managers in five years, she got fed up. She gave up a regular paycheck and corporate benefits and started looking for music gigs.

"Weddings, funerals, parties — that sort of thing," says Snyder, a fourth-generation harpist.

Updated on Sept. 18 at 2:15 p.m. ET

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, there were lots of stories about scrappy manufacturers promising to revamp their factories to start making personal protective equipment in the U.S.

Back in the spring, fuel-cell maker Adaptive Energy retooled part of its factory in Ann Arbor, Mich., to make plastic face shields. Now, 100,000 finished shields are piling up in cardboard boxes on the factory floor — unsold.

Updated at 10:25 a.m. ET

Jerry D'Agostino had a job but couldn't afford a few things he wanted to do: a meal out once a week, go to the movies, attend Comic-Con. He was working alongside other people with disabilities at a center in Rhode Island, doing what he calls "benchwork" — rote tasks like fitting rings into heating tubes, packaging ice packs, assembling boxes for jewelry.

A plan to save popular video-sharing app TikTok in the U.S. is taking shape behind closed doors in Washington, though President Trump cast fresh doubt Wednesday that the deal as it stands would satisfy the White House.

The urgent talks are happening with only days to go before Trump's executive order to shut down TikTok's business in the U.S. will take effect.

Athletes and fans anticipating the start of college basketball will have to wait a little bit longer.

The NCAA Division I Council announced on Wednesday that the upcoming men's and women's basketball seasons can begin on Nov. 25, roughly two weeks later than originally planned, in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The Senate and House intelligence committees say they expect top national security officials to once again provide in-person briefings on potential threats to the November election.

The director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe, caused a stir last month when he said his office would no longer provide face-to-face briefings to Congress. He said the sensitive information was routinely leaked to the media.

Ratcliffe, a staunch supporter of President Trump, said he would keep Congress updated through written reports.

A grand jury in Omaha, Neb., on Tuesday indicted the white bar owner who fatally shot a Black man during protests for racial justice in May.

Jake Gardner shot 22-year-old James Scurlock in an altercation on May 30, during a tense night of protests in the city following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

As explosive allegations were coming to light about immigrant women who say they've been subjected to unwanted hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures, one of those detainees was put on a plane back to her home country.

Pauline Binam was nearly deported Wednesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to Cameroon, a country she left when she was 2 years old. Binam, now 30, was on the tarmac when members of Congress say they intervened.

Updated at 2:51 p.m. ET

A spokesperson for Joint Forces Headquarters Command in Washington, D.C., confirmed to NPR that hours before federal police officers cleared a crowded park near the White House with smoke and tear gas on June 1, a military police staff officer asked if the D.C. National Guard had a kind of "heat ray" weapon that might be deployed against demonstrators in the nation's capital.

Distributing a vaccine or vaccines for the coronavirus will be one of the biggest challenges the next president faces, Democratic nominee Joe Biden said Wednesday.

"The development of a vaccine is only part of the battle. Distributing a vaccine to the entire population is as complex and challenging as one of the most sensitive military operations," he said in prepared remarks in Wilmington, Del., after he received a briefing from a panel of vaccine experts.

Michael Caputo, the top spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services and a longtime ally of President Trump's, is taking a 60-day leave of absence after a social media tirade in which he falsely accused government scientists of engaging in "sedition."

Updated at 8:51 p.m. ET

Los Angeles' Mount Wilson Observatory, the site of major 20th century scientific discoveries, has so far survived a terrifyingly close brush with a wildfire in the hills northeast of the city. But the threat isn't over.

The Bobcat Fire came within 500 feet of the observatory on Tuesday afternoon. Crews gathered to fight the fire, and tracked vehicles with front blades cleared fire lines to protect the area.

Since retiring from television in 2015, comedian Jon Stewart's most prominent work has been on behalf of Sept. 11 first responders — people who got sick after working in the toxic wreckage of the World Trade Center in New York. Many credit his celebrity testimony in 2019 with pushing Congress to preserve the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation fund.

Out-of-body experiences are all about rhythm, a team reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.

In mice and one person, scientists were able to reproduce the altered state often associated with ketamine by inducing certain brain cells to fire together in a slow, rhythmic fashion.

Stanley Crouch, the lauded and fiery jazz critic, has died. According to an announcement by his wife, Gloria Nixon-Crouch, Stanley Crouch died at the Calvary Hospital in New York on Wednesday, following nearly a decade of serious health issues.

The Trump administration is turning to the Supreme Court to try to revive the president's attempt to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the census numbers used to determine each state's share of seats in Congress.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he and other staff will take an unpaid furlough week, part of an effort to respond to billions of dollars in lost revenue and to show solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic shutdowns.

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