Latest News from NPR

The highest rate of COVID-19 vaccination in the United States is not in a liberal-leaning Northeastern or West Coast state.

It's in Puerto Rico, where more than 73% of the total population is fully vaccinated. The U.S. national average is just over 57%.

In April, President Biden unveiled the United States' most ambitious plan ever to cut emissions that drive climate change, and he urged other nations to follow. Now, days before Biden prepares for a pivotal climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, the White House's keystone legislative plan to tackle climate disruption appears to be dead, sunk by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin.

At the moment, Tammy and Benny Alexie are staying in a cream-colored house that overlooks the Mississippi River delta. The house survived the flooding of Hurricane Ida with minimal damage because it stands on stilts. An expansive deck in the back is covered with an insect net on all four sides, a long wooden table in the middle, and a propane grill in the corner where the Alexies have been making their meals for the past six weeks. Their three children and two grandchildren are staying with them.

Australian footballer Josh Cavallo has come out as gay, becoming the first active male player for a top-flight squad to do so, according to media reports.

The Adelaide United midfielder announced that he was gay in a video posted to the team's Twitter account Tuesday night.

"I'm a footballer, and I'm gay," said an emotional Cavallo.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies will be holding a press briefing Wednesday with the latest on the accidental shooting on the set of the film Rust. An investigation into the incident at Bonanza Creek Ranch remains active.

Updated October 27, 2021 at 10:40 AM ET

U.S.-based pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. said it will license drug makers worldwide to produce its potentially life-saving antiviral pill for treatment of COVID-19 in adults.

The NCAA spends more on male athletes than female ones on average, especially when it comes to the few championship events seen as the organization's big money makers.

"The mere handful of championships" viewed by the college athletics regulator as revenue-producing are exclusively men's championships, according to a new report issued Tuesday night by the law firm of Kaplan Hecker & Fink.

In the 1980s, Laurie Levenson was an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting a case in federal court in Los Angeles.

In that case, the defendant decided to go "pro se" and represent himself.

When it came time for the defendant to testify, the judge did not allow him to just give a speech in his own defense. Instead, the judge instructed the defendant to play both parts: attorney and witness.

"The defendant asked himself the question," Levenson recalled recently, "goes up on the witness stand, and then says, 'Can you repeat the question?'"

Senate Democrats have unveiled a plan to tax the gains billionaires make on the assets they own as a way to help pay for President Biden's social spending plan.

Democrats say the billionaire tax alone could raise hundreds of billions of dollars to help offset the cost of the final bill, which could end up around $1.5 trillion. It is part of a broader tax framework that also includes a new minimum tax on large corporations.

As a conservation biologist, Caitlin Wells Salerno knows that some mammals — like the golden-mantled ground squirrels she studies in the Rocky Mountains — invest an insane amount of resources in their young. That didn't prepare her for the resources she would owe after the birth of her second son.

Updated October 26, 2021 at 8:55 PM ET

The LaSalle County, Ill., coroner has released the cause of death for Jelani Day, the Illinois State University graduate student who was found dead in the Illinois River last month, 11 days after he went missing.

Day's cause of death was officially ruled as drowning, said LaSalle County Coroner Richard Ploch in a statement sent to NPR.

Prosecutors in the criminal trial of Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot and killed two protesters last year in Kenosha, Wis., will not be able to refer to the people he shot as "victims," a judge has ruled, while defense attorneys may be able to call them "arsonists" or "looters."

Lawmakers in the Senate hammered representatives from Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube on Tuesday, in a combative hearing about whether the tech giants do enough to keep children safe online.

It marked the first time Snapchat and TikTok have landed in the hot seat in Washington, D.C., and for nearly four hours lawmakers pressed the officials about how the apps have been misused to promote bullying, worsen eating disorders and help teens buy dangerous drugs or engage in reckless behavior.

Updated October 26, 2021 at 6:09 PM ET

The Department of Defense says climate change is already challenging U.S. national security in concrete ways.

In a report last week, the Pentagon found that "increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change are exacerbating existing risks" for the U.S.

Long before Jon Stewart or Bill Maher, there was Mort Sahl. In the 1950s, while most comedians were telling jokes about in-laws, Sahl was ribbing politicians. His stream-of-consciousness style was influenced by jazz, and his topical humor influenced generations of stand-up comedians. Sahl died on Tuesday at his home in Mill Valley, Calif. His death was confirmed by Lucy Mercer, a longtime friend. No cause was given. He was 94.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

We're going to spend a few minutes talking about some special places for many of us, places where even if you're new to a city, you instantly feel at home - safe even. For NPR's Taylor Jennings-Brown, that's the hair salon.

A panel of independent advisers to the Food and Drug Administration is recommending that the agency issue an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 years old. The vote was 17 in favor and one abstention.

The FDA panel accepted Pfizer's data indicating the vaccine is safe and 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in this age group.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

President Biden's climate push has been tied up by members of his own party even as he exhorts other leaders to aim high. Heading into two major summits, will his "America's back" message ring hollow?

Pages