National & World News

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

For more than two decades as an internist at New York City's Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Danielle Ofri has seen her share of medical errors. She warns that they are far more common than many people realize — especially as hospitals treat a rapid influx of COVID-19 patients.

"I don't think we'll ever know what number, in terms of cause of death, is [due to] medical error — but it's not small," she says.

The policies of Belgian King Leopold II left millions of people dead more than a century ago in the region that is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now, in a first for the Belgian monarchy, King Philippe has expressed his "deepest regrets" for a colonization campaign that remains notorious for its brutality.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

The Democratic Party's more establishment wing is victorious in a high-profile Kentucky Senate primary despite a late surge from a rising progressive lawmaker.

Retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath has beaten state Rep. Charles Booker in the state's Democratic U.S. Senate contest, The Associated Press projects.

The call came Tuesday, a week after the primary, as absentee ballots were counted.

McGrath will now face Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who easily won the Republican primary.

The police department in Aurora, Colo., is investigating several officers who posed for photographs near the site where Elijah McClain was forcibly arrested as he walked home from a convenience store last summer. The site became a memorial to the 23-year-old who died in police custody. He was not suspected of committing any crime.

The NAACP is planning a big move.

Leaders of the 111-year-old civil rights organization signed a letter of intent to relocate its headquarters from Baltimore, where it's been for decades, to Washington, D.C.

Muriel Bowser, the mayor of the District of Columbia, said the plan is to have the NAACP move to the city's historic U Street corridor.

Bilal Y. Saab, a senior fellow and director of the Defense and Security Program at the Middle East Institute, served from August 2018 to September 2019 in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy as senior advisor for security cooperation in the Middle East. Charlotte Armistead is a research assistant at MEI's Defense and Security Program.

South Korea has acknowledged it is permanently keeping data on patients from a previous virus epidemic, worrying privacy advocates that the government is sidestepping legal safeguards protecting personal information.

Updated at 5:53 p.m. ET

In a major victory for what advocates call the school choice movement, the U.S. Supreme Court effectively killed state constitutional provisions in as many as 38 states that bar taxpayer aid to parochial schools. The vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the decision for the court's conservative justices.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, told members of Congress on Tuesday that although he can't predict the ultimate number of infections and deaths related to the coronavirus, "it's going to be very disturbing."

U.S. travelers won't be among those allowed to visit the European Union when the bloc begins opening its external borders on July 1. EU ambassadors endorsed a list of 15 travel partners on Tuesday, including South Korea, Japan and, with a caveat, China. Those countries were hit early by the pandemic but have been able to bring the coronavirus under control.

Many immigrants have inspiring stories. Then there's Janis Shinwari, who worked eight years as an Afghan interpreter with the U.S. military in some of the most dangerous parts of his homeland.

"During his service, he saved the lives of five American soldiers. That is not something many people can say," Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

A growing number of leading Republicans are publicly embracing expert-recommended face masks as a means to slowing the spread of the deadly coronavirus, in the wake of more than 125,000 Americans killed by the virus.

In recent months, the topic of wearing masks has become politically divisive, despite official health guidance that they are one of the best defenses to restricting the spread of the deadly respiratory disease, COVID-19, from one person to another.

A typical Fourth of July usually has lots of flags, fireworks and parades. But this year is anything but typical as the pandemic has benched marching bands, banned floats, and sidelined spectators.

In Montgomery, Ohio — a small suburban Cincinnati community of about 10,000 where lawns are lush green and American flags abound — the annual Fourth of July parade is a long tradition. So when the pandemic threatened to cancel the annual parade, they decided to retool it.

Carmen Quintero works an early shift at a distribution warehouse that ships N95 masks and other products to a nation under siege from the coronavirus. On March 23, she had developed a severe cough, and her voice, usually quick and enthusiastic, was barely a whisper.

A human resources staff member told Quintero she needed to go home.

"They told me I couldn't come back until I was tested," said Quintero, who was also told that she would need to document that she didn't have the virus.

The coronavirus keeps spreading around the United States. New hot spots are emerging and heating up by the day. The death toll keeps mounting. So how can the U.S. beat back the relentless onslaught of this deadly virus?

Public health experts agree on one powerful weapon that's gotten a lot of attention but apparently still needs a lot more: testing.

A new analysis that researchers at Harvard conducted for NPR finds that more states have begun to do enough testing to keep their outbreaks from getting worse, but most are still falling short.

A progressive shift underway in Colorado Democratic politics is spotlighted Tuesday in the primary for a U.S. Senate race that will likely help decide control of the chamber.

The contest between former Gov. John Hickenlooper and former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is the marquee race on Tuesday, but other themes are at play elsewhere, as voters also head to the polls in Utah and Oklahoma:

  • Former Gov. Jon Huntsman is looking to make a comeback in Utah.

The Antelope Valley's decades of entrenched racism have helped fuel the outcry over the death of 24-year-old Robert Fuller, a Black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, Calif., earlier this month.

Many locals are skeptical that Fuller's death was a suicide — the initial explanation that the L.A. County Sheriff's Department issued and then retracted days later.

Some call it a lynching. Thousands have poured into Palmdale's streets, at times shutting down traffic. They're demanding an independent investigation by California's attorney general.

More than 15 months after grounding Boeing's 737 Max, the Federal Aviation Administration conducted the first in a series of certification test flights of the aircraft Monday, a pivotal step toward allowing the troubled plane to return to service.

The news sent Boeing's stock soaring, as the aerospace giant's share price climbed more than 14% on Monday. The 737 Max is the company's best-selling commercial jet ever. Nearly 5,000 of the planes were on back-order at the time the plane was grounded last March.

Updated 12:50 p.m. ET

Beijing's top legislative body has unanimously passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, a controversial move that could effectively criminalize most dissent in the city and that risks widening the rift between China and Western countries that have criticized the law.

Just months ahead of the November election, a federal appeals court in Wisconsin has reaffirmed voting restrictions favored by Republicans in a state that's one of the keys in the presidential race.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit found in favor of restrictions on early voting and restored a requirement that residents must live in a district for 28 days — instead of 10 days — to be eligible to vote there. They also declared emailing or faxing of absentee ballots unconstitutional.

Updated at 9:31 p.m. ET

The nation's largest movie theater chain is delaying its U.S. reopening until the end of July because film companies have postponed release dates of two anticipated blockbusters.

AMC Theatres announced that a first round of approximately 450 locations will resume operations two weeks later than initially planned, to coincide with the updated August release dates of Warner Brothers' Tenet and Disney's Mulan.

In an about-face, Arizona's Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the state's bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to shut down for at least 30 days amid thousands of new coronavirus cases in the state.

Ducey issued the order Monday to go into effect from 8 p.m. local time, citing concern over a recent spike in new cases — including a one-day record of more than 3,800 in the state on Sunday. It was the seventh time in the past 10 days that new cases in Arizona exceeded 3,000. He also ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until Aug. 17.

The head of the World Health Organization is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is speeding up, and he criticized governments that have failed to establish reliable contact tracing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Speaking at a briefing in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over."

"Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up," he said.

The drugmaker behind the experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir has announced how much it will charge for the drug, after months of speculation as the company tried to figure out how to balance profit and public health needs in the middle of a pandemic.

For the first time, the familiar marble faces outside the New York Public Library will be obscured by masks.

Patience and Fortitude, the iconic lion sculptures guarding the 42nd Street library, are wearing face coverings to remind New Yorkers to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at a press conference on Monday that the state has seen its lowest number of hospitalizations and average death toll from the coronavirus since the pandemic began.

"You look at where we are compared to where we have been, you remember at one time we had 800 deaths per day," Cuomo said. "Today we have eight."

The exodus of major advertisers from Facebook continues to grow as the company weathers criticism over its handling of racist, violent and other hateful rhetoric on the platform.

Indoor restaurant dining in New Jersey, initially set to open Thursday, is postponed indefinitely.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that restrictions will remain in place, citing surges in COVID-19 cases in other states "driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining."

"We've always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health," Murphy tweeted. "This is one of those times."

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