National & World News

Coverage of national and world news from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

New life was breathed into a perennial debate this week, when a former Sesame Street writer revealed that not only did he consider beloved characters Bert and Ernie to be a gay couple, but he used his own relationship as creative inspiration.

On Sunday, Queerty published an interview with Mark Saltzman, who worked on the show in the 1980s and 90s, asking him if he thought of Bert and Ernie as a gay couple.

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

The Senate Judiciary Committee will move forward with a hearing scheduled for Monday on sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, despite a request for further investigation from his accuser.

Floodwaters keep rising in the Carolinas as post-Tropical Storm Florence continues to dump rain on the region. The dangerous storm has already left more than 30 dead and displaced thousands of others, leaving them without electricity or shelter.

In the aftermath of Florence, North and South Carolina officials are encouraging people to volunteer or donate if they can. Here's a guide to how to help.

Why give cash

Updated at 8:15 p.m. ET on Wednesday

Facebook became embroiled in another controversy Tuesday, after the American Civil Liberties Union accused the company of giving employers a powerful tool to discriminate against women seeking work.

Updated at 6:05 p.m. ET

President Trump issued his most forceful defense yet of his embattled Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters during a press conference with Poland's president, Trump called Kavanaugh "a great man" and said that he feels "terribly" for the federal appeals court judge and his family.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday insisted that many donations to predominantly conservative political nonprofit groups — what's often called dark money — be disclosed, seven weeks ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

The ruling closes, at least for now, a loophole that has allowed wealthy donors to finance aggressive ads while staying anonymous. Crafted by the Federal Election Commission nearly 40 years ago, the loophole flourished after the 2010 Citizens United ruling.

The fastest human to ride a bicycle over open ground is named Denise Mueller-Korenek, who rode a custom bike at an average of 183.932 miles per hour – shattering a world record that had stood since 1995.

Mueller-Korenek, 45, set the record for fastest speed riding in a slipstream, teaming up with Shea Holbrook, a professional race car driver who piloted a dragster that led the cyclist across the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

The United States' commitment to global development does not look good compared with that of other wealthy countries — and it's likely to get worse.

Updated at 4:45 a.m. ET on Wednesday

As former hurricane Florence marches on to New England, the Carolinas remain inundated with waters that just keep rising.

"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end. I know many people are tired of the present and are scared of the future," North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. "But please know we will not give up on you."

With a couple of clicks, a quotidian moment can take on a viral life of its own — captured and shared, context lost, shaped by whatever viewers project onto the images.

That's what happened to Anthony Torres, 56.

On Thursday evening, Torres was caught on video shaving his face while sitting aboard a New Jersey Transit train headed out of New York City. Video also showed him with a beer.

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