National & World News from NPR

La Soufrière, the highest peak on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, began to explosively erupt Friday morning, forcing thousands to evacuate as ash and smoke filled the sky.

And a larger eruption may be on the way.

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We've talked about whether so-called vaccine passports are legal and whether they might be necessary for travel. Now we want to ask whether bringing them into widespread use is the right thing to do. Yasmeen Serhan is worried about this. She wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled "The Futility Of Vaccine Passports." In it, she argues that vaccine passports could divide society into two groups, the jabbed and the jab-less. And Yasmeen Serhan is with us now from London.

Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

YASMEEN SERHAN: Thanks for having me.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We've talked about whether so-called vaccine passports are legal and whether they might be necessary for travel. Now we want to ask whether bringing them into widespread use is the right thing to do. Yasmeen Serhan is worried about this. She wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled "The Futility Of Vaccine Passports." In it, she argues that vaccine passports could divide society into two groups, the jabbed and the jab-less. And Yasmeen Serhan is with us now from London.

Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

YASMEEN SERHAN: Thanks for having me.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We've talked about whether so-called vaccine passports are legal and whether they might be necessary for travel. Now we want to ask whether bringing them into widespread use is the right thing to do. Yasmeen Serhan is worried about this. She wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled "The Futility Of Vaccine Passports." In it, she argues that vaccine passports could divide society into two groups, the jabbed and the jab-less. And Yasmeen Serhan is with us now from London.

Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

YASMEEN SERHAN: Thanks for having me.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We've talked about whether so-called vaccine passports are legal and whether they might be necessary for travel. Now we want to ask whether bringing them into widespread use is the right thing to do. Yasmeen Serhan is worried about this. She wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled "The Futility Of Vaccine Passports." In it, she argues that vaccine passports could divide society into two groups, the jabbed and the jab-less. And Yasmeen Serhan is with us now from London.

Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

YASMEEN SERHAN: Thanks for having me.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We've talked about whether so-called vaccine passports are legal and whether they might be necessary for travel. Now we want to ask whether bringing them into widespread use is the right thing to do. Yasmeen Serhan is worried about this. She wrote a piece for The Atlantic titled "The Futility Of Vaccine Passports." In it, she argues that vaccine passports could divide society into two groups, the jabbed and the jab-less. And Yasmeen Serhan is with us now from London.

Welcome. Thanks so much for joining us.

YASMEEN SERHAN: Thanks for having me.

The Chinese government says it is issuing a $2.8 billion fine on the e-commerce company Alibaba Group for violating its anti-monopoly regulations.

Alibaba is one of the most influential tech giants in China and the world. The company was under investigation by the Chinese government since December for "suspected monopolistic conduct."

In Coney Island, The Wonder Wheel Spins Again

14 hours ago

Coney Island's eccentric orchestra is back: Roller coaster carts tick up, up, up and then plummet and swerve along winding tracks. Rides hum, buzz and creak to the beat of carnival music.

After a year of being shut down due to the pandemic, Coney Island's two amusement parks, Luna Park and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park, have reopened — at a third of their normal capacity.

At Deno's, kids and adults face off to see who can squirt water into the mouth of a clown fastest — and get a balloon to pop like a firecracker.

Coordinated gun salutes simultaneously rang throughout the United Kingdom Saturday to honor the late Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II. He died Friday at the age of 99. A small funeral is set for April 17 at Windsor Castle.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, said his father devoted his life to the Queen, his family, the country and the Commonwealth.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Colorado Assault-Style Weapons Ban Doesn't Look Likely

16 hours ago

Any major push to pass an assault-style weapons ban in Colorado is looking increasingly less likely, with the legislature's highest-profile advocate for stricter gun laws saying now — weeks after the mass shooting that killed 10 people at a grocery store in the city of Boulder — isn't the time.

"It diverts all of the attention," says Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan.

Ally Love's regular Sunday classes, "Sundays with Love," have made the beloved spinning teacher a pandemic celebrity. We've invited Love to play a game called "Peloton? Meet Skele-ton." Three questions about bones.

Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

Judy Hoarfrost remembers the day she walked into China a half-century ago.

She was 15 and the youngest member of the U.S. pingpong team, which had been in Nagoya, Japan, competing in the World Championships. Two days before the tournament ended, Team China surprised the Americans with an invitation to come to their country and play some games.

I'd like to salute the great comedy writer Anne Beatts with some her own words. Anne died this week at the age of 74. But many of her signature, boundary-breaking routines are tricky to quote on a Saturday morning radio show.

"I'm often accused of 'going too far,' " she once said. "Behind my desire to shock is an even stronger desire to evade the 'feminine stereotype.' You say women are afraid of mice? I'll show you! I'll eat the mouse!"

When an assailant stormed a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., last month and fatally shot 10 people, the suspected weapon of choice — a Ruger AR-556 pistol — captured immediate attention. Not for what it technically was — a pistol — but for what it more closely resembled — an assault-style rifle.

From toilet paper to hand sanitizer to disinfecting wipes, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to some major shortages across the United States. While supermarket aisles may have finally returned to their fully stocked state, restaurants across the country are now facing a new and uniquely American shortage — ketchup.

"They are really sweating over it. I mean, it's costing a lot," says Heather Haddon, a restaurant reporter for The Wall Street Journal. "It's, you know, a service issue. So for these restaurant owners, it's not a laughing matter."

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And I wait all week to say, and now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Amazon Warehouse Workers Vote 'No' To Union

20 hours ago

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Direct government payments to Americans have been a crucial economic lifeline in this pandemic. But one nonprofit in Jackson, Miss., has been running an experiment since 2018. What if their struggling neighbors got checks every month, month after month?

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As more people get their shots and begin to reemerge from pandemic hibernation, one exclamation seems to rise from towns all across America.

JENN CUBBAGE: Girl, what did you do to your hair?

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President Biden is asking for a lot of federal funding - this time, $1.5 trillion for the next fiscal year on top of the more than $2 trillion infrastructure plan he announced just last week. NPR's Ron Elving joins us. Morning, Ron.

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Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says during his 30 years in Congress, and years earlier as a U.S. Capitol Police officer, a fencing system for the Capitol was not top of mind.

"That was never, ever considered when I was the leader, or when I served on the Capitol Police force — never considered," said Reid, who served in various congressional roles from 1983 to 2015 and as a Capitol Police officer in the 1960s while attending law school.

In April of 2009, a bespectacled former Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate took the microphone at a small rally just outside of Boston to introduce his new self-styled militia.

"I'm Stewart Rhodes," he said. "And I'm the founder of Oath Keepers."

That event on Lexington Green served as a coming-out party for Rhodes and Oath Keepers, a group that touts itself as a defender of the rights of Americans from what it views as a tyrannical government.

Newly Discovered Dinosaur Was Top Carnivorous Predator In Argentina

22 hours ago

A new dinosaur named for its ability to strike fear in its prey has been discovered by paleontologists in South America.

The skull of the dinosaur named Llukalkan aliocranianus, which means "one who causes fear" in Mapuche, a local indigenous language, was discovered in 2015 by a group of paleontologists in Argentina.

For the fifth time, the U.S. Supreme Court has sided with religious adherents and against California's COVID-19 restrictions. This time, the court barred the state from enforcing a rule that for now limits both religious and non-religious gatherings in homes to no more than three households.

The court's unsigned order came on a 5-4 vote. Chief Justice John Roberts cast his lot with the dissenters, but failed to join their opinion. He noted simply that he would have left the lower court order intact.

There will be 86% fewer Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses allocated to states next week, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show, highlighting the company's yo-yoing vaccine supply from week to week.

But next week's dip in supply isn't exactly the setback it appears to be.

It's official: This week U.S. health authorities announced that the mutant strain of the coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom last winter is now the predominant strain in the United States. And it's been found in at least 130 other countries as well.

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