NPR

Former Vice President Joe Biden is defending his record on Social Security, amid increased criticism from the campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, which has repeatedly pointed to Biden's willingness as a U.S. senator to back spending freezes for Social Security and other entitlement programs.

The candidates' back-and-forth culminated — as most disputes in modern presidential campaigns do — in dueling Twitter posts Tuesday night.

A new strain of coronavirus — named 2019-nCoV — has been discovered in China. Viruses in the coronavirus category can cause fever, breathing difficulties, pneumonia and diarrhea. Some are potentially fatal. Others can cause the relatively mild common cold.

Here is a look at the most well-known coronaviruses: what they have in common and how they differ.

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More than three months after they began, protests in Iraq have escalated and taken a new turn this week. Anti-government demonstrators are attempting to force drastic change in a country whose government is in turmoil and grappling with a crisis between Iran and the United States.

Forecasters in southern Florida had warned a sharp cold snap could bring a high chance of falling iguanas – and that's just what happened: The National Weather Service's office in Miami says immobilized iguanas began falling from the trees after temperatures plunged into the 30s and 40s early Wednesday.

It was Day Two of the House managers' opening arguments in another Senate impeachment trial 21 years ago. Bob Barr, a Georgia House Republican,
was speaking in the well of the Senate, making a case for removing President Bill Clinton from office.

"We urge you, the distinguished jurors in this case," Barr said to the assembled senators, "not to be fooled."

Memphis Meats, a Berkeley, Calif.-based startup, says it's one step closer to bringing cell-based meat to consumers' mouths.

The company plans to build a pilot production facility with funds raised from high-profile investors including Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Kimbal Musk, as well as two giant players in the animal protein and feed space, Cargill and Tyson Foods. The company says its latest funding round has brought in $161 million in new investment.

When hundreds of migrants from Central America waded across a river from Guatemala into Mexico on Monday, chaos broke out. And for Saury Vallecilla Ortega, a single mother of four, a nightmare ensued.

For more than a day, she was separated from her 5-year-old daughter, Andrea, and feared for the worst.

Chinese state media are reporting that authorities in the city of Wuhan are planning to suspend bus, subway, ferry and long-distance passenger transport. They also say that all flights and trains departing from Wuhan will be temporarily canceled in a bid to reduce spread of the new virus.

The announcement from Wuhan authorities read in part: "Residents should not leave the city, unless under special circumstances. Outbound planes and trains will be halted temporarily until further notice. We appreciate your understanding and support."

Updated at 6:17 p.m. ET

The District of Columbia is suing President Trump's inaugural committee, the Trump Organization and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, accusing them of "grossly overpaying" for event space at the hotel to enrich the president's family during the 2017 inauguration.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

Editor's note: This report includes descriptions of sexual assault.

This was never inevitable.

For much of Harvey Weinstein's career, dark rumors of sexual assault and harassment tailed the Hollywood megaproducer. But they were rarely spoken with much volume. Only in recent years did the allegations gather the heft and momentum that culminated in this: a teeming courtroom in Manhattan where, in a matter of weeks, a judge might send Weinstein to prison for the rest of his life.

Goodbye to Mr. Creosote. Goodbye to the naked organist. Goodbye to Brian's mum, and to all her screeching sisters. Goodbye to Terry Jones, who has consumed his final wafer-thin mint.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, "Pettifogging people give too much attention to small, unimportant details in a way that shows a limited mind."

On that note, let's dive in.

Petty + fogger = pettifogger

Petty means small or insignificant. A fogger is old slang for a "huckster, a cringing whining beggar."

Updated at 1:18 p.m. ET

In 2018, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a WhatsApp message to the world's richest man. That message was behind a high-profile hack of Jeff Bezos' phone, according to a report commissioned by the Amazon CEO and reviewed by United Nations human rights experts.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

President Trump says he plans to widen a controversial travel ban that prohibits nearly all people from seven countries from traveling or immigrating to the U.S., calling it "a very powerful ban" that's necessary to ensure national security.

"We're adding a couple of countries" to the ban, Trump told reporters at a news conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "We have to be safe. Our country has to be safe. You see what's going on in the world. Our country has to be safe," he said.

A few years ago, Lauren had a big problem. The Queens, N.Y., resident had graduated from college with an art degree as the Great Recession had hit. She had private student loans with high interest rates. For work, all she could find were retail jobs. And by 2016, her loans had ballooned to about $200,000.

" 'I can't afford to actually pay my bills and eat and pay my rent,' " she remembers thinking. "I was financially handicapped. I mean, my student loan payments were higher than my rent was."

Updated at 10:51 p.m. ET

House Democrats concluded on Wednesday the first of three days of opening arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, arguing that the president must be removed from office for abusing his office and obstructing Congress.

Updated at 1:13 p.m. ET

One of the nation's largest teachers unions sued U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday. The complaint: She repealed a rule meant to protect student loan borrowers from for-profit and career-focused schools that graduate them with too much debt and limited job prospects.

Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers (AFT), says the lawsuit's message is clear: "Protect the students of the United States of America — not the for-profit [schools] that are making a buck off of them."

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a major case that could dramatically alter the line separating church and state.

At issue is a Montana state constitutional amendment that bars direct and indirect taxpayer aid to religious institutions. Conservative religious groups and advocates of school choice are challenging the "no-aid" provision.

A district encompassing Greater Seattle is set to become the first in which every voter can cast a ballot using a smartphone — a historic moment for American democracy.

Threats to U.S. elections this year could be broader and more diverse than before, warns the spy world's boss for election security — and she also acknowledged the limits of her ability to tackle them.

Shelby Pierson, the intelligence community's election threats executive, told NPR in an exclusive interview that more nations may attempt more types of interference in the United States given the extensive lessons that have since been drawn about the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.

A highly publicized approach to lowering health costs failed to pass rigorous study this month, but hospitals, insurers and government health programs don't intend to give up on the idea. It just needs to be modified, they say.

In more than 30 states, it is illegal for someone with HIV to have sex without first disclosing their status. Some are now pushing to change that, arguing that the laws are actually endangering public health.

More than 1 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and their HIV status could conceivably put them behind bars. That's what happened to Michael Holder.

"I served 8 1/2 years in prison and three years after on parole," Holder says.

This past fall, Idaho officials took the extraordinary step of closing the Clearwater River to salmon and steelhead trout fishing, leaving guides like Jeremy Sabus scrambling to find other work.

"It's six weeks of my favorite time of the year, you get to shake hands with 3-foot trout," Sabus says.

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET

A newly identified strain of coronavirus has killed at least 17 people in China and caused hundreds of confirmed infections, the Hubei provincial government said Wednesday, citing the latest figures from hard-hit Wuhan and other cities.

A new Gallup poll finds a record number of Americans are unhappy with the nation's abortion laws — a shift mostly caused by growing dissatisfaction among Democrats.

"This is almost entirely driven by Democrats and Independents who lean Democratic," said Lydia Saad, Gallup's director of U.S Social Research. "So that underlying trend is very clear, and it's showing up in the attitudes among all Americans."

The Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for water crisis victims to sue state and local government officials in Flint, Mich.

For years, Flint city officials and state regulators have argued that they are protected by "qualified immunity" from being sued for their role in the water contamination crisis. But lower courts have ruled to the contrary.

Updated at 1:57 a.m. ET on Wednesday

After more than 12 hours of action Tuesday, the Senate adopted the ground rules for the coming weeks in President Trump's impeachment trial. It brought a reminder that even this highly scripted ordeal may include a few surprises after all.

Boeing's troubled 737 Max airplane will now remain grounded from passenger service until at least June or July, which is months later than the company had previously suggested.

And that means airlines will likely cancel Max flights through the busy summer travel season.

The three U.S. airlines that fly the 737 Max, American, Southwest, and United, had already removed the planes from their flight schedules into early June.

Federal prosecutors in Brazil are accusing U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald of criminal association over his role in spreading hacked messages from Brazilian officials' phones that suggest collusion between a judge and prosecutors in the conviction and jailing of a former president.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 12:50 p.m. ET

In the latest round of chaotic volleys around the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy's short-lived president and CEO, Deborah Dugan — the organization's first female chief executive — announced Tuesday afternoon that she has filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against the Academy, the organization that gives out the Grammys.

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