NPR

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced on Wednesday that the state's economy will remain paused in Phase 2 for five more weeks, keeping bars, gyms and indoor entertainment venues closed until at least Sept. 11.

He said that the state's coronavirus numbers show promising signs of stabilization, and the start of the school year later this month means it is the time to "double down" on safety.

Florida's elections system, which has been the butt of political jokes for almost two full decades, got a reprieve this week, as President Trump seemed to indicate it was the only state he felt confident could run a vote-by-mail system.

"Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True," Trump tweeted Tuesday. "I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!"

During an interview that aired on Axios on HBO on Monday night, President Trump was interviewed by journalist Jonathan Swan. One of the topics: the number of deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19.

Swan noted that there are about 1,000 deaths a day in the United States.

A Louisiana man will continue to spend his life in prison for stealing a pair of hedge clippers, after the state's Supreme Court denied his request to review a lower court's sentence.

Fair Wayne Bryant was convicted in 1997 of stealing the hedge clippers. Prosecutors pursued and won a life sentence in the case, a penalty permissible under the state's habitual offender law. Bryant appealed the life sentence as too severe.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday that he has received death threats and his daughters have been harassed as a result of his high-profile statements about the coronavirus pandemic.

"Getting death threats for me and my family and harassing my daughters to the point where I have to get security is just, I mean, it's amazing," Fauci said.

The governors of New York and Connecticut are launching investigations into utility companies' response to Tropical Storm Isaias, which tore through the Northeast on Tuesday and left thousands of households without power one day later.

Each governor has also declared a state of emergency in order to expedite support for local governments. Connecticut's applies statewide, while New York's specifically includes 11 counties and three others that border them.

It's been a rough two days for former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, one of the country's most influential politicians.

Uribe has gone from kingmaker to detainee after the country's Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that he be placed under house arrest. Then, on Wednesday, Colombian media reported that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Colorado State is investigating its football department, the university announced in a press release, following reports that coaches in the program had attempted to coerce players out of reporting possible symptoms of the coronavirus and warned the team against submitting themselves to self quarantine.

In the midst of another hot summer and an ongoing pandemic, public parks are vital refuge. But a new study has found that access to parks in the U.S. differs sharply according to income and race.

A study published by The Trust for Public Land found that parks serving primarily nonwhite populations are, on average, half the size of parks that serve majority-white populations, and are potentially five times more crowded.

The police chief in Aurora, Colo., has apologized after officers handcuffed children and reportedly drew their weapons on a Black family — an incident captured on video this week that renewed criticism the department is racially insensitive and disconnected from its community.

A woman and four girls were wrongly detained, police later acknowledged.

Updated at 10:47 a.m. ET Thursday

A former Atlanta police officer, charged in the fatal shooting of a Black man in a Wendy's parking lot in June, has sued the city's mayor and interim police chief over his firing.

In the suit filed Tuesday against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and interim police Chief Rodney Bryant, former Officer Garrett Rolfe's attorneys claim that his use of deadly force against Rayshard Brooks had been justifiable.

Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed an executive order Wednesday restoring voting rights to tens of thousands of Iowans with felony convictions ahead of the November election.

Iowa was the only state that still permanently disenfranchised all felons unless they appealed directly to the governor.

Facebook has launched its answer to TikTok, the wildly popular video-sharing app that the Trump administration considers a national security threat.

Reels is a new feature on Instagram, the photo-sharing app owned by Facebook. Like TikTok, users can make short videos set to music, add filters and other effects, and easily share them.

Despite strong opposition from Republicans and rural voters, Missouri on Tuesday joined 37 states and the District of Columbia in expanding its Medicaid program.

Voters in Missouri approved creating a state constitutional amendment that will open Medicaid eligibility to include healthy adults starting on July 1, 2021.

Voters approved expansion by a vote of 53.25% to 46.75%. A total of 1,263,776 voters weighed in on the measure.

Updated at 4:51 a.m. ET Thursday

Beirut is reeling and Lebanon is in grief after a powerful explosion tore through the capital's port area on Tuesday. The enormous blast, which officials said was driven by thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate, killed at least 137 people and injured thousands more. Emergency crews are still working to find all the victims.

New satellite photos show the aftermath of Tuesday's massive, deadly explosion at the port of Beirut.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden says if elected, he would not tear down the parts of the barrier along the U.S. Southern border built during the Trump administration — but he would cease construction.

"There will not be another foot of wall constructed on my administration, No. 1," he told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro during an interview with journalists from the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach lost the Senate GOP primary on Tuesday, delivering a victory of sorts for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy to hold on to his majority this November.

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare many of the problems of societies around the world. In Italy, the first Western country hit by COVID-19, it revealed how much the country relies on its migrant work force. Many undocumented migrants work on farms, as field hands and harvesting crops — jobs that Italians don't want. With the pandemic, they were suddenly recognized as essential.

One African-Italian became the spokesman for hundreds of thousands of migrants — those who couldn't stay home, who were risking their health to go out to work.

Thousands of foreign workers who entered the U.S. on temporary work visas received $1,200 checks in error during the first round of stimulus payments, and many of them are spending the money in their home nations. One tax preparation firm told NPR that it has clients from 129 countries who mistakenly received stimulus checks, including Brazil, Canada, China, India, Nigeria and South Korea.

Susan Weiss has been a poll worker in Bethesda, Md., for 16 years.

"It's really quite an experience doing it," she says. "Setting up all the equipment, putting signs up, putting arrows on the floor, etc. The camaraderie of the group that volunteers is marvelous."

But this year, with the coronavirus pandemic raging, Weiss, who's 74, decided it's just too risky to work the election in November.

Betsy Bonner's The Book of Atlantis Black: The Search for a Sister Gone Missing is a haunting, heartbreaking, frustrating read.

A mixture of biography and true crime, this narrative explores the death of Bonner's sister under mysterious circumstances in a hotel in Mexico — and offers more plot twists, shocking revelations and shady characters than most contemporary thrillers.

President Trump's allies in the Senate are set to resume a public investigation on Wednesday that aims to tie former Vice President Joe Biden with what Republicans call abuses of power.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., wants to question former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates about her actions and those of the Justice Department and FBI as President Barack Obama's era closed and Trump's began.

Most Americans support Trump administration efforts to stop immigrants from coming to the United States as long as it's done in the name of slowing the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll.

But Trump's anti-immigration rhetoric during the pandemic has done little to budge public opinion on other immigration policies, the poll found. Most of Trump's policies, including his border wall, remain unpopular except among Republicans.

Updated at 8:41 a.m. ET

Cori Bush, a nurse and Black Lives Matter activist, has ousted longtime Missouri U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay in a Democratic primary, according to The Associated Press.

It's the latest example of a progressive challenger topping a long-tenured Democratic incumbent.

Three stranded mariners were rescued from a remote island in Micronesia on Monday after search crews spotted their "SOS" message written in the sand.

The three-person crew of a skiff had not been heard from since July 29, and were reported missing on July 31. The mariners were reportedly sailing a 23 nautical-mile journey from Pulawat to Pulap atolls in the Federated States of Micronesia, in the western Pacific, when they sailed off course and ran out of fuel.

Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall has defeated former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in the Republican Senate primary, according to The Associated Press, calming Republicans' worst fears about putting a seat in a deep red state in play this fall with the Senate majority contested.

With Mississippi on track to become the number-one state for new coronavirus infections per capita, Gov. Tate Reeves is implementing a temporary mask mandate and delaying the reopening of schools in certain counties.

Reeves announced the new measures at a press conference on Tuesday.

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

An enormous explosion shook Beirut, Lebanon, on Tuesday. At least 100 people are dead and thousands more people were hurt, according to officials. The death toll is expected to rise as searches are underway for people who have been reported missing.

Buildings collapsed and glass shattered as helicopters and firefighters doused the flames in the city's port. On Wednesday, residents are assessing the damage and beginning to clean up the debris in the Lebanese capital.

Six states led by a bipartisan group of governors are joining together in an effort to speed up coronavirus testing. As the nation's death count continues to rise above 150,000, the states said they will jointly purchase 3 million rapid antigen tests that can quickly detect the virus.

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