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More news from National Public Radio

The owner of British Airways is calling for digital health passes for passengers as a step toward getting airlines back in the sky after devastating losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigerian authorities are searching for hundreds of schoolgirls who were kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in a raid early Friday morning, according to police in the northwestern state of Zamfara.

Shamima Begum, who left London in 2015 to join ISIS, cannot return to Britain while she fights to restore her citizenship, the U.K. Supreme Court ruled on Friday. Begum was 15 when she ran away to Syria with two friends; she's now being held in a detention camp in northern Syria.

North Korea is using forced labor from its network of prison camps to mine coal and other minerals to boost exports and earn foreign currency, using the cash to support its nuclear weapons programs, according to a South Korean human rights group.

A report by the Seoul-based Citizens' Alliance for North Korea Human Rights said an intricate network of government ministries and other entities relies on prison labor and other illicit operations to bring in money to the isolated Asian country.

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

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

NOEL KING, HOST:

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

We've heard a lot about how hard it's been for restaurants to stay open during the pandemic. But what we often don't hear is that closing can be just as tough.

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

How Rhode Island Is Handling Vaccine Rollout

Feb 26, 2021

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

Despite a lifelong struggle with panic attacks, Divya Singh made a brave move across the world last fall from her home in Mumbai, India. She enrolled at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., to study physics and explore an interest in stand-up comedy in Manhattan.

Two titans of Silicon Valley, Facebook and Apple, are in a bitter fight that centers on the iPhone data of millions of people and whether companies should be able to track that data as easily as they do now.

Facebook believes the answer is yes. On Wednesday, it even unveiled a video voiced by Grace Jones aimed at currying the public's favor.

Somewhere near his fifty-sixth straight hour of chasing flames, CalFire Captain Matt Newberry and his crew were hitting a wall. They'd been dispatched to the wildfire days earlier in the middle of the night. By the next morning, the fire had already ripped across 11,000 acres of Napa County, tearing even through the night the way fires do now.

Despite everything they'd done, hundreds of homes were in smolders.

Just over a month into President Biden's administration, his cabinet remains sparsely staffed as nearly two dozen of his nominees await Senate confirmation.

Nearly eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, Democrats in Virginia are poised to enact state-level legislation they say would boost voter protections.

Backers of the Virginia Voting Rights Act say it's the most comprehensive bill of its kind — and the first in the South. The legislation cleared a final vote on Thursday and now goes to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

The COVID-19 relief bill working its way through Congress is full of big ideas to help people. But there's one idea that's so big, it was politically unthinkable not that long ago.

President Biden and Democratic lawmakers want to fight child poverty by giving U.S. families a few hundred dollars every month for every child in their household — no strings attached. A kind of child allowance.

If this proposal survives the wrangling in Congress and makes it to Biden's desk, experts say it could cut child poverty nearly in half.

For President Biden, it's a $1.9 trillion gamble.

If successful, his "American Rescue Plan" will help struggling families and businesses weather an unprecedented pandemic and provide a boost to a badly dented economy. It's also broadly popular with voters.

Critics, however, worry it will be end up being a poorly targeted plan that squanders trillions in borrowed money in ways that will do little to improve the nation's long-term economic outlook.

One of the key aims of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill is to send money to people who were already at risk of falling behind on bills or slipping into poverty.

Democrats say the relief bill set to pass the House Friday includes several new programs intended to create a new social safety net that some in the party are comparing to a new, smaller version of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal.

2020 was a bad year for butterflies, too.

The population of monarch butterflies that migrated to Mexico to ride out the cold winter months in the north fell 26% from a year earlier, according to a new report from the Mexican government and the Word Wildlife Fund.

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, testifying remotely through a video link, told a House committee that her agency head had requested military backup about a half-dozen times in the first hour after the Capitol complex was breached on Jan. 6, the day of the insurrection.

Pittman based her assessment on phone records her agency obtained for then-Chief Steven Sund showing he reached out to the Capitol's top security officials starting shortly before 1 p.m. in the first of six calls requesting the National Guard to respond.

Updated at 4:44 p.m. ET

A former USA Gymnastics coach charged Thursday morning with two dozen criminal charges died by suicide hours later, Michigan's state attorney general has confirmed.

John Geddert, 63, was accused of human trafficking, forced labor and sexual misconduct, among other crimes.

In a statement Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said: "My office has been notified that the body of John Geddert was found late this afternoon after taking his own life. This is a tragic end to a tragic story for everyone involved."

A former adviser to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shared details of alleged sexual harassment by the governor, including an unwanted kiss and touching. A spokeswoman for Cuomo denied the allegations.

In a post on Medium published Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan describes troubling behavior from the time she first met the governor in January 2016. Boylan served as an economic advisor in the Cuomo administration from 2015 to 2018.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Some of the most viewed, most remarkable and revealing video of the January 6 Capitol riot was shot inside the Senate chamber by my guest, Luke Mogelson. Some of his video was used as evidence by House managers prosecuting Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial.

The U.S. is still ramping up its vaccination program, hoping to finally clamp down on the COVID-19 pandemic. But even as vaccine doses are being rolled out, their makers are exploring several strategies to bolster them, hoping to protect people against worrying new variants that have sprung up in recent months, from South Africa to the U.K.

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

The Manhattan district attorney's office is in possession of Donald Trump's tax returns, following a years-long effort by the former president to shield his finances and business affairs from scrutiny.

Costco plans to edge up its starting wage to $16 an hour starting next week, CEO W. Craig Jelinek said on Thursday, revealing plans that would propel his company ahead of most of its retail competitors.

One of the rioters accused of storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was turned in by his ex-girlfriend after sending her several videos and texts from the scene, including one calling her a "moron," court documents show.

The traditional prelude to the Olympics, the torch relay, will look – and sound – a bit different this year, as spectators are asked to avoid crowds and dampen their cheers when the torch passes by them.

Members of the Tokyo Organizing Committee announced a series of pandemic measures on Thursday, including leaving the option open for suspending portions of the relay should health officials deem it necessary.

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is warning of a coup after the army issued a scathing statement faulting his leadership and demanding he step down following a conflict last year with Azerbaijan that resulted in a significant loss of territory claimed by ethnic Armenians.

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