National & World News from NPR

Several Dutch celebrities are being heavily criticized after announcing they would no longer take part in public efforts to combat COVID-19 and for their apparent support of a conspiracy theory suggesting that the government is using fear of the virus to control the population.

With the hashtag #ikdoenietmeermee ("I no longer participate"), the musicians and influencers, led by 21-year-old rapper and model Famke Louise, posted videos to social media saying they were opting out of campaigns to promote social distancing and the use of face masks.

To an uninformed viewer, it might seem silly. They're playing the game all wrong! Why is his character glitching out like that? Is she just smashing Mario into a wall? How did he just fly through the ceiling? Wait! She just skipped a crucial part of the game! But it's not silly — it's speedrunning.

Speedrunning is a popular form of entertainment in the gaming community: Instead of puttering around, exploring game worlds, players try to break records by finishing games in as little time as possible, often using glitches in a game's code and advanced techniques to skip ahead.

Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, announced on Wednesday that none of the three police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor would be charged directly over her death. One of the men was indicted for shooting into neighboring homes.

In response, protests emerged nationwide, demanding charges against the officers. Here's a selection of pictures from around the country, as demonstrators called for justice for Taylor and respect for Black life.

Updated at 2:13 p.m. ET

President Trump was met by shouts of "vote him out" and "honor her wish" as he paid his respects on Thursday to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her body is lying in repose for a second day at the Supreme Court.

Trump, wearing a black mask, was silent as he stood next to the flag-draped coffin at the top of the Supreme Court's steps.

Demonstrators took to the streets in downtown Atlanta on Wednesday night to voice anger over a Kentucky grand jury's decision not to charge three Louisville police officers directly in the killing of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor in March.

Police said they arrested 11 people while dispersing crowds, according to NPR member station WABE in Atlanta.

Denver police detained a man after a vehicle plowed through a crowd of people demonstrating for justice in the Breonna Taylor case. The protesters were gathered near the Colorado state Capitol. Some of them had blocked the vehicle, which then sped away.

Updated at 9:23 p.m. ET

President Trump resumed questioning the integrity of this year's election on Thursday after the White House sought to walk back his earlier comments suggesting he might not accept the results if he were to lose.

The back-and-forth started on Wednesday evening at a press conference.

Democratic Kentucky State Representative Charles Booker says "justice failed us" when only one of the three officers who were involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville was charged.

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Rene Chavez is one of the 200,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19. He taught high school English in El Paso, Texas, for 16 years. His wife, Annette Chavez, says his students loved him.

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Like the man at its center, We're Better Than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy is impressive on multiple levels.

It is a compelling memoir, highlighting some of the formative experiences that shaped Elijah Cummings, a son of sharecroppers who would go on to become one of the most influential members of Congress. It is an urgent call to action, imploring us to defend our democracy as it is assailed by threats internal and external. And, perhaps above all, it is a poignant reminder of just how much the nation lost with his death.

Traditional door-to-door trick or treating should be avoided this Halloween, under new national guidelines. But even with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest advice, Americans are still rallying to safely bring the spooky season to life. People are discovering new, creative ways to celebrate the occasion during the pandemic.

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The presidential election is less than six weeks away, of course. And you're going to start hearing the name Justin Clark. He's President Trump's deputy campaign manager and his senior counsel. NPR's Tamara Keith has this profile.

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Updated Friday 2:15 p.m. ET to include a comment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The federal government is preparing to crack down aggressively on hospitals for not reporting complete COVID-19 data daily into a federal data system, according to internal documents obtained by NPR.

To paraphrase The Wizard of Oz, pay no attention to what's behind the curtain.

Gretchen Goldman, a scientist and mother, recently pulled back the curtain on her own life — and a lot of people paid a lot of attention.

CNN interviewed Goldman, a research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, to discuss President Trump's choice of David Legates to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It's what CNN viewers could not see on television that created a sensation.

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Tanisha Long expects to be busy in the run up to the 2020 election.

For the next six weeks, Long, who founded an unofficial Black Lives Matter chapter for Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania, plans to make get-out-the vote videos, host mail-in voting webinars and work to enfranchise eligible incarcerated people in order to turn out voters she says "no one's talking to anymore."

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From shiny red pencils reading "My Attendance Rocks!" to countless plaques and ribbons and trophies and certificates and gold stars: For as long as anyone can remember, taking attendance — and rewarding kids for simply showing up — is a time-honored school ritual.

For good reason: Just being there, day in, day out, happens to be one of the most important factors that determines a child's success in school. And average daily head count forms the basis of school funding decisions at the federal, state and local level.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon calls it "creative combustion": The serendipity that results when people work side by side, bouncing ideas off each other and coming up with innovative ways to address problems.

The problem is, in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, that type of in-person collaboration is pretty much what businesses have wanted to avoid.

But some CEOs are now willing to take a risk in search of some of that lost magic.

Nearly 500 national security experts – both civilians and former senior uniformed officers — have endorsed Joe Biden for president, saying the "current president" is not up to "the enormous responsibilities of his office."

Addressed to "Our Fellow Citizens," the 489 national security experts include 22 four-star officers. The letter never mentions President Trump by name.

In 1999, Christopher Vialva hitched a ride with a married couple visiting West Texas for a church revival meeting.

Authorities later found the bodies of Todd and Stacie Bagley in the trunk of their car. Todd Bagley died of a gunshot wound. Stacie Bagley died of smoke inhalation after the car was set on fire.

On Thursday, 20 years after he was convicted of that brutal crime, Vialva is scheduled to face lethal injection. His case stands out only because he's like most inmates on federal death row: a Black man who murdered white people, when he was very young.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Jesus Gonzalez was about a year into starting a Cuban food catering and "pop-up" business in Lexington, Ky. It's like "a food truck, but without a truck," he says.

His steadiest gig was setting up tables with a spread of Cuban food at local breweries so people could eat while quaffing pints. But then all that shut down. And he says things aren't back to normal enough yet for the breweries to bring him back.

Miguel Arango had just turned 18 when he voted for Barack Obama in 2012.

Four years later, he was a passionate supporter of Bernie Sanders, but opted for a third-party candidate in the 2016 general election.

"I was not going to vote for Trump either," he said. "I thought all these things about him — that he was this, he was that. And slowly it started transitioning."

Enrollment at U.S. community colleges has dropped nearly 8% this fall, newly released figures show, part of an overall decline in undergraduate enrollment as students face a global pandemic and the worst economic recession in decades.

Often, enrollment in higher education spikes in times of high unemployment and recession as students seek additional job skills and postpone entering the workforce. But the pandemic has overturned those traditional calculations, according to preliminary data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which tracks college enrollment.

President Trump on Wednesday decried reported health agency efforts to issue stricter guidelines for evaluating a vaccine against COVID-19, accusing the Food and Drug Administration of playing politics.

Trump was apparently reacting to a Tuesday report in the New York Times that said the agency will soon move to tighten requirements for emergency authorization of any coronavirus vaccine to better ensure its safety and effectiveness.

New York's famed Metropolitan Opera announced on Wednesday that the house will remain closed until September 2021.

In a press release, the Met said that it had made its decision to cancel the rest of the 2020-21 season based on the advice of "health officials who advise the Met and Lincoln Center," and keeping in mind the hundreds of performers and staff members required for rehearsals and performances as well as its audiences.

In a new court filing, TikTok leaders make clear just how much is at stake in a prolonged battle with the Trump administration: If TikTok were banned for two months, up to half of its users in America would never come back. If the ban persisted for six months, 90% of TikTok users would be gone forever, according to a top TikTok executive.

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