National & World News from NPR

On a recent Friday afternoon, the critical care charge nurse at a South Los Angeles hospital tries to send another nurse off to grab lunch. Maria Arechiga is interrupted by the beeping of an alarm, the vitals of a patient declining, organs failing.

She dons a surgical gown and unzips a plastic tarp that hangs from the doorway of a hospital room — a makeshift isolation room on this floor temporarily transformed into a larger intensive care unit to make space for the patients that just keep coming. She slips inside.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A deal for the sale of the Atlanta Dream women's basketball team is close to being finalized. The WNBA has not said who's buying the team, but the current owners include former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican. The team's mostly Black players wanted the league to force her to sell after the candidate came out against Black Lives Matter during her senatorial campaign. NPR's Emma Peaslee reports.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It is the first full day of the Biden administration, and the president says there is going to be a new approach to the pandemic. He did acknowledge there may still be many challenges ahead.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A deal for the sale of the Atlanta Dream women's basketball team is close to being finalized. The WNBA has not said who's buying the team, but the current owners include former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican. The team's mostly Black players wanted the league to force her to sell after the candidate came out against Black Lives Matter during her senatorial campaign. NPR's Emma Peaslee reports.

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A new global treaty banning nuclear weapons goes into effect tomorrow. It aims to make nuclear war obsolete. But as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, some question whether it'll work.

As a violent mob descended on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, lawmakers and aides hid wherever they could, waiting for the military and police to arrive. But many of those who stormed the Capitol were military veterans themselves, who had once sworn to protect the Constitution. In fact, an NPR analysis has found that nearly 1 in 5 people charged over their alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. Capitol appear to have a military history.

Smashing the patriarchy is hard work.

The Doctors Blackwell, by historian Janice P. Nimura, profiles two sisters who faced what was a daunting lack of choices for 19th century women. They achieved a series of near-impossible feats to become America's first and third certified women medical doctors. Nimura's account is not only an exhaustive biography, but also a window into egregious 19th century medical practices and the role these sisters played in building medical institutions.

Christopher Wray is staying at the helm of the FBI.

Less than 24 hours after President Biden's press secretary, Jen Psaki, generated speculation about Wray's future after giving a noncommittal response when asked whether Biden had confidence in the FBI director, Psaki made clear that Wray will remain at his post.

"I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday so [I] wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing," Psaki wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

President Biden has called reopening schools a "national emergency" and said he wants to see most K-12 schools in the United States open during his first 100 days in office, which would be between now and April.

Copyright 2021 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Home to the London Stock Exchange, the Bank of England and scores of corporations, the financial district, known as the City, is normally teeming with activity.

But the scenes, sounds and scents of the normally busy City have been restrained thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Recently, people in the area noticed something else in the air.

The smell of cannabis.

A former top South Korean speedskating coach has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for repeatedly sexually assaulting an Olympic champion.

Shim Suk-hee, a star short track speedskater who has won four Olympic medals including two golds, accused former coach Cho Jae-beom of rape in 2019. He was indicted after she said she endured dozens of incidents of sexual abuse over the course of more than three years, starting in 2014 when she was 17.

For much of history, human beings needed to be physically active every day in order to hunt or gather food — or to avoid becoming food themselves. It was an active lifestyle, but one thing it didn't include was any kind of formal exercise.

Daniel Lieberman is a professor in the department of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. He says that the notion of "getting exercise" — movement just for movement's sake — is a relatively new phenomenon in human history.

The morning after her powerful performance of "The Hill We Climb" at the inauguration of President Biden, poet Amanda Gorman hit another high point: She took the top two slots on Amazon's bestseller list — for titles that won't be out until the fall.

The number of Americans filing for new state unemployment benefits dipped to 900,000 — down from the previous week but still high by historical standards, signaling the economic challenges facing the Biden administration.

The latest weekly data from the Labor Department was likely distorted somewhat by the ebb and flow of government relief programs, but the overall picture continues to show a struggling U.S. job market as President Biden takes office.

The presidential inauguration ceremony on Wednesday looked a lot different than in previous years. Masks were a reminder of a pandemic still raging. The ceremonial parade was canceled and some customs went virtual.

President Biden is preparing to reverse a Trump administration policy that prohibits U.S. funding for nongovernmental groups that provide or refer patients for abortions — the first of several moves reproductive rights advocates are hoping to see from the Biden administration.

In prepared remarks released by the White House on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the World Health Organization's executive board that Biden will soon revoke the Mexico City Policy "as part of his broader commitment to protect women's health and advance gender equality at home and around the world."

We've seen a force that would shatter our nation rather than share it,

Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.

And this effort very nearly succeeded.

But while democracy can be periodically delayed,

It can never be permanently defeated.

Updated at 10:06 a.m. ET

"I am honored to announce that the United States will remain a member of the World Health Organization," Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday, informing the WHO's executive board that President Biden has reversed former President Donald Trump's move to leave the U.N.'s health agency.

The U.S. will also fulfill its financial obligations to the WHO, Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, said, as well as cease a drawdown of U.S. staff who work with the organization.

Wednesday's inauguration ushered in new occupants of the White House, as well as a revamped White House website.

Shortly after President Biden and Vice President Harris took office, sharp-eyed Internet users noticed several major changes relating to the inclusivity and accessibility of the executive branch's official site. Among them are a new feature allowing users to include their pronouns when submitting contact forms and a relaunch of the Spanish-language website.

Back in April, COVID-19 hit the city of Manaus, Brazil, extremely hard. In fact, the outbreak there was arguably the worst in the world. One study, published in the journal Science, estimated that so many people were infected that the city could have reached herd immunity — that the outbreak there slowed down because up to 76% of the population had protection against the virus.

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.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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.

NOEL KING, HOST:

In his inaugural address, President Joe Biden called for an end to, quote, "this uncivil war."

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation, one nation.

President Biden.

That's going to take some getting used to after these past four years.

The new president was sworn in Wednesday and made an inaugural address aimed at unity. Biden didn't sugarcoat, however, the hurdles to bringing Americans together, and he leaned into the challenges the U.S. faces, as he sees it.

Here are six takeaways from Biden's inauguration:

1. A starkly different tone was set.

Copyright 2021 Iowa Public Radio News. To see more, visit Iowa Public Radio News.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The devastating fall and winter wave of coronavirus infections that is causing so much misery across the U.S. appears to have finally peaked, according to several researchers who are closely tracking the virus.

While another surge remains possible, especially with new, more infectious variants on the horizon, the number of new daily infections in the current wave appears to have hit a high in the past week or two and has been steadily declining in most states since, the researchers say.

Pages