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With a boost from the Republican-led Senate, President Trump has now confirmed 200 federal judges. Each one has a life term, representing a legacy that could extend for a generation.

The president often trumpets the achievement in speeches and on Twitter. But the credit belongs as much to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who took a victory lap last week.

One of a series of reports looking at Joe Biden's potential running mates


Many progressives are loudly calling for Joe Biden to pick Elizabeth Warren as his running mate. They insist the liberal senator, who's long been a darling of the left, would help the presumptive Democratic nominee win over skeptical young voters.

In El Cajon, Calif., a procession of cars carrying 600 soon-to-be U.S. citizens from 68 countries passed through a series of stations behind a local community center earlier this week, where they were asked a series of final questions: "Any coronavirus symptoms? Have you been arrested since your interview? No tickets, nothing like that?"

Fabiano Do Nascimento: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

Jul 2, 2020

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

In a grim accounting of the coronavirus's progress in the United States, another milestone was reached Wednesday: more than 50,000 new cases reported in a single day.

Johns Hopkins University & Medicine's Coronavirus Resource Center, which tracks the virus worldwide, says the total number of cases reported in the U.S. stands at 2,686,480, an increase of 50,700 over Tuesday's figure. U.S. deaths attributed to the coronavirus stand at 128,062.

Germany's defense minister on Wednesday disbanded a unit of the country's elite commando force, known as the KSK, following an official report earlier this year that found far-right extremism within its ranks.

In January, a report by Germany's Military Counterintelligence Service revealed that some 500 soldiers in the German military, or Bundeswehr, were being investigated for far-right extremism. It noted that 20 of those cases involved soldiers who were part of the Command Special Forces, or KSK – an anti-terrorism and hostage rescue unit with approximately 1,300 soldiers.

Members of the Boston Art Commission voted unanimously Tuesday evening to remove Boston's copy of Thomas Ball's sculpture Emancipation Memorial from Park Square. The work depicting a formerly enslaved man at the feet of Abraham Lincoln has stood there since 1879.

As with Confederate memorials around the country, this sculpture has been controversial for years. The original in Washington, D.C., was funded by formerly enslaved people, but designed without their input.

Russian voters have overwhelmingly backed a referendum on constitutional changes that includes a provision allowing President Vladimir Putin — who has already served for some two decades — to remain in power until 2036.

With nearly all of the ballots counted, the tally for the voting that has taken place over a full week showed a 78% "yes" vote, according to Russia's Central Election Commission. The commission estimated the turnout was 65% of eligible voters.

The opposition accused the government of rigging the vote.

While conceding missteps in the federal response to the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday it is not too late to avoid the dire picture he outlined in congressional testimony of 100,000 coronavirus cases a day.

House members unanimously passed an extension of the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, aimed at helping small businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic. The voice vote came a day after the Senate approved the measure.

The PPP had expired Tuesday at midnight. If President Trump signs the extension, the program will operate through Aug. 8.

Pennsylvania officials announced Wednesday that residents must wear face coverings when outside the home, the latest in a series of mask mandates in various states to combat the spread of COVID-19.

So you want to wear a face mask? Good call.

A growing body of evidence supports the idea that wearing face masks in public, even when you feel well, can help curb the spread of the coronavirus — since people can spread the virus even without showing symptoms. That's the main reason to wear a mask: to protect other people from you.

A decade after being banned amid concerns about wildfires and groundwater pollution, and despite protests by Native Americans and recommendations from public health officials to avoid public gatherings, fireworks will once again be exploding over Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of western South Dakota on Friday, anticipating the Fourth of July.

As protests swept the nation following the police killing of George Floyd, there was a surge of reports that Nextdoor, the hyperlocal social media app, was censoring posts about Black Lives Matter and racial injustice.

In an interview with NPR, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar said the company should have moved more quickly to protect posts related to Black Lives Matter by providing clearer guidance.

The surge in COVID-19 infections throughout Alabama is forcing Gov. Kay Ivey to rethink plans to reopen the state.

For the last seven days, Alabama has logged an average of nearly 1,000 new daily coronavirus cases, with hospitalizations at their highest level since the pandemic began.

Dr. Basim Ali graduated at the top of his medical school class in Pakistan and landed a residency at a renowned teaching hospital in Texas, where he'll be on the front lines of one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S.

"There's obviously some degree of anxiety about what that's going to be like," Ali said by phone from Karachi before coming here. "But there's also this understanding that this is what we signed up for."

The federal agency charged with preventing terrorist attacks and securing the border announced Wednesday that it would deploy personnel across the country to carry out President Trump's orders to protect statues and monuments from vandalism amid ongoing protests for racial justice.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the department has established a Protecting American Communities Task Force to secure historic landmarks against "violent anarchists and rioters."

Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering 19 counties to shift many business operations outdoors or close them immediately, citing a sharp spike in new coronavirus cases. The state recorded nearly 6,000 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the governor said.

A surveillance camera is said to have recorded it all: a woman in a black t-shirt stepping out of a tan minivan; the lighting of a toilet-paper fuse, the arc of a beer bottle filled with fuel as it was thrown onto the dashboard of an empty police car. That act of vandalism, in the early hours of May 30, is why two Brooklyn lawyers are fighting federal explosives charges and could face as much as life in prison.

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

Virginia's capital city began taking down its statue of Stonewall Jackson after Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the immediate removal of multiple Confederate statues in Richmond.

A crane and a cherry picker swiftly arrived on the city's Monument Avenue to remove the statue of the Confederate general. Crowds gathered to watch and cheer the crew's work, reported Mallory Noe-Payne of NPR member station WVTF.

Updated July 3 at 2 p.m. ET

More than two months after Spc. Vanessa Guillen was last seen at Fort Hood in Texas, her family's lawyer said they believe "her remains have been found."

Attorney Natalie Khawam revealed the news at a press conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., as the Guillen family called for a congressional probe into the U.S. military's response to her disappearance.

When Al Yarubiyah border crossing was closed in January, 1.4 million Syrians were cut off from outside help, aid groups say. 

Al Yarubiyah connects northeastern Syria with northern Iraq. It was one of five official border crossings to get humanitarian aid into northern Syria.

Related: US targets Assad govt and backers with toughest sanctions yet against Syria

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COVID-19 infections are now on the rise in 40 states, and that is forcing many governors to rethink their reopening plans. In Alabama yesterday, Gov. Kay Ivey extended her state's safer-at-home orders until the end of July.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KAY IVEY: While we are not overwhelmed yet, we should not think that because our summer feels more normal than our spring that we are back to normal. Fact is, folks, we are still in the thick of this virus disease, and it is deadly.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

COVID-19 infections are now on the rise in 40 states, and that is forcing many governors to rethink their reopening plans. In Alabama yesterday, Gov. Kay Ivey extended her state's safer-at-home orders until the end of July.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KAY IVEY: While we are not overwhelmed yet, we should not think that because our summer feels more normal than our spring that we are back to normal. Fact is, folks, we are still in the thick of this virus disease, and it is deadly.

The Army is holding its first nationwide virtual recruiting campaign, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to scale back face-to-face interactions and revealed gaps in its digital outreach strategy.

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