National News Content

Senate Passes $1.9 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Package

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 12:53pm
Updated at 12:56 p.m. ET The Senate approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan Saturday, securing additional aid for American families, workers and businesses — and a legislative victory for the Biden administration. After more than 24 hours of debate, the evenly divided Senate voted 50-49 to approve the measure. Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska was absent because he was in Alaska for a family funeral. The package delivers a new round of financial assistance to Americans grappling with the impact of the pandemic, including $1,400 direct payments, an extension of supplemental unemployment benefits and an increase to the child tax credit. Individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000 would receive the full direct payments of $1,400 per person. But those payments would phase out for individuals and couples who make more than $80,000 and $160,000, respectively. The income cutoff was lowered after moderate Democrats demanded that the latest

The Dalai Lama Gets A COVID-19 Shot And Urges Others To Get Vaccinated

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 11:18am
Updated at 2:12 p.m. ET The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, left his home on Saturday to receive his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and promote vaccination against the coronavirus, in what was his first public appearance in over a year. The 85-year-old scrapped plans to receive the injection at home, opting instead to travel to a clinic in Dharamsala, India, where he's lived since fleeing China after a failed uprising in 1959. He was photographed exposing his right shoulder to receive a vaccine known as Covishield in India, which was developed by the University of Oxford and drug firm AstraZeneca. In a video message afterward, the Dalai Lama said, "I took [the vaccine] so I want to share [that] more people should have courage to take this injection." YouTube This comes as India and other countries try to ramp up vaccination distribution to outrun the coronavirus and its variant forms. India currently has the world's second-highest COVID-19 caseload, with over 11

Biden Infrastructure Plan Aims To Please Both Labor And Environmentalists

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 9:40am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Joe Biden pledges to be the most labor-friendly president ever, and unions are a key part of his political coalition. He's now enlisting their support for his plan to rebuild the nation's infrastructure and transition the country to clean energy. The relationship has its complications, as NPR's national political correspondent Don Gonyea reports. DON GONYEA, BYLINE: We are in the very early days of Joe Biden's presidency, and already he's hosted top union leaders at the White House. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Every once in a while as president, you get to invite close friends into the Oval (laughter). GONYEA: Biden met with 10 labor leaders just over two weeks ago. The guests were from unions expecting to get jobs out of Biden's infrastructure plan - iron workers, machinists, building trades, electrical workers and others. RICHARD TRUMKA: This president really does get it. GONYEA: AFL-CIO President

COMIC: How One COVID-19 Nurse Navigates Anti-Mask Sentiment

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 9:11am
Agnes Boisvert, an ICU nurse at St. Luke's hospital in downtown Boise, Idaho, spends every day trying to navigate between two worlds. One is a swirl of beeping monitors, masked emotion and death; the other, she says, seems oblivious to the horrors occurring every hour of every day. Isabel Seliger is a freelance artist and illustrator based in Berlin. Her work has been published in The New York Times , Süddeutsche Zeitung , Bloomberg and The Atlantic. You can find her on instagram @isabel_seliger . Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Biden Has Overturned Trump's 'Muslim Travel Ban.' Activists Say That's Not Enough

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 9:09am
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Pope Holds Historic Meeting With Iraq's Top Shiite Cleric, Preaches Message Of Unity

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 8:22am
Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET Pope Francis sought to reinforce ties across religions during the second day of his trip to Iraq, visiting a top Shiite Muslim cleric on Saturday and leading a meeting with representatives of different faiths at the ancient site of Ur in the south of the country. According to scripture, Ur is the birthplace of Abraham, considered the founder of monotheism and revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews. In a ceremony that gathered a few dozen people next to an excavated part of the ancient city site Iraqis call the House of Abraham, Francis recalled a passage in Genesis where God calls on Abraham to look at the stars and imagine how numerous his descendants will be. "In those stars, he saw the promise of his descendants, he saw us," said Francis. The pope invited the assembled Christians, Muslims and representatives of Iraq's other minority faiths — including Yazidis and Sabean Mandeans — to see in the stars a message of unity. "They illumine the darkest nights

Pandemic Inspires More Than 1,200 New German Words

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 8:13am
The pandemic has changed how people talk and write. In English, dictionaries have noted a few dozen new entries and revisions: social distancing , frontliner , super-spreader , "Zoom" as a verb. But in Germany, lexicographers at the Leibniz Institute for the German Language have compiled more than 1,200 new words related to the coronavirus pandemic. German's propensity for compounding words has been a big part of the proliferation. For example, Coronamutationsgebiet is an area where coronavirus mutations are widespread. A Geisterveranstaltung (ghost event) is an event with no people in attendance, usually sports. Live music is allowed, provided the audience remains in their cars, at an Autokonzert . New nouns are often formed in German by combining two or three nouns, says Anatol Stefanowitsch, a professor of linguistics at the Freie Universität Berlin. "That's one of the explanations for why we find so many new words," he tells Scott Simon on Weekend Edition . "It's just so easy to

Opinion: Death Of A Teenage Protester in Myanmar

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:59am
Kyal Sin was clear-eyed as she prepared to take part in protests this week against the military regime in Myanmar. The teenage girl wrote down her blood type in a Facebook post, should she be injured; and asked that her organs be donated should she die. Her nickname was Angel. The photo of Kyal Sin at that demonstration has been seen around the world by now. A young girl on the ground, reaching out, crouching behind protest banners, and wearing a T-shirt that says, "Everything will be OK." But police fired tear gas. Shooting started from security forces. Kyal Sin shouted, "Are we united?" and the protesters around her shouted back, in a chant, "United! United!" Her friend Myat Thu told Reuters that Kyal Sin kicked open a water pipe so protesters could wash tear gas from their eyes. "She told me, 'Sit! Bullets will hit you,' " he said when police opened fire. "She cared for and protected others." Moe Myint of the BBC's Burmese Service reported that Angel was one of a number of teenagers

Senate Moves Forward With Vote On COVID-19 Relief Bill

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:59am
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New York Lawmakers Strip Cuomo's Power To Issue New Emergency Orders During Pandemic

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:59am
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Aung San Suu Kyi's Lawyer Gives Updates On Her Trial

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:59am
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Neighbors Help Minneapolis Pharmacist Rebuild Shop After George Floyd Protests

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:59am
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Asylum-Seekers Are Entering The U.S. Again — But Many More Migrants Are Left Behind

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:35am
Sandra Zuniga and her teenaged son, Elder, are among the lucky ones. Earlier this week, the Honduran migrants walked across the international bridge from the infamous migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, received a notice to appear in U.S. immigration court, and settled into a cozy condo in Brownsville, Texas. "Glory be to God," Zuniga says. "The day I arrived I spent the whole day crying — to end up in such a beautiful place with my own bedroom and bathroom. We passed a great test in the camp. Some people even doubted the existence of God. But we overcame!" U.S. immigration agents have begun admitting some asylum-seekers after the Biden administration reversed policies put in place by the Trump administration, which had forced them to wait in Mexico while their cases are considered and then suspended most asylum applications because of the pandemic. But many migrants will not be so lucky. Left behind are people like Danilo Peraza, also from Honduras. He continues to wait in the squalid

Coronavirus FAQ: Does It Make Your Hair Fall Out?

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:27am
Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." I had COVID-19 months ago. Now my hair is falling out! What is going on? First of all, don't panic! Losing fistfuls of hair may seem alarming, but it's actually a common response to extreme stress, both physical (i.e., an illness such as COVID-19) and emotional (i.e., living through a pandemic). Given the number of us who have experienced either the physical or emotional stress of COVID, it's no surprise that the number of people who have been Googling hair loss has skyrocketed, according to The New York Times , or that a recent study published in The Lancet showed that 22% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in China reported hair loss six months later. In fact, this type of stress-related hair loss, officially called telogen effluvium, may

'It Really Is A Gag Order': California May Limit Nondisclosure Agreements

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 7:25am
Ifeoma Ozoma didn't ever expect to tell the world why she walked away from her job at the social media company Pinterest. She worked on developing the company's policies on thorny issues, from removing vaccine misinformation to stopping the promotion of slave plantations as wedding venues. Even though there were questions surrounding her departure, she kept quiet for more than a year. Like most employees at major tech firms, she had signed a nondisclosure agreement. It legally barred her from speaking out about nearly everything that went on inside Pinterest — including discrimination and harassment. "If Pinterest decided to sue me, I would be bankrupted," says Ozoma, who is supporting a bill before the California state legislature that would make such sweeping nondisclosure agreements, or NDAs, illegal. Her breaking point came last summer. Pinterest, like many other companies, announced its support for the Black Lives Matter movement amid national protests for racial justice. Ozoma

New Pokémon Game Goes Off The Beaten Path

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 6:00am
From cartoons to trading cards to toys, Pokémon has been a succesful media franchise for 25 years, with tons of fans from all over the world. But fans of the Pokémon video games have been begging for a major shake-up to the series — and now, with the announcement of the new Pokémon Legends: Arceus , they may get one. Earlier this month, Pokémon player ChocolateKieran — who asked us to refer to him by his username for privacy and safety reasons — was watching the company's 25th anniversary live stream with his followers on Twitch. "This is how they always start it off, ya know," he told his followers. "Little nostalgia thing." A few minutes later the company announced remakes of two classic Pokémon games, Diamond and Pearl . It was predictable, in line with the kind of things fans have come to expect. And then something not so predictable happened: The company showed off a brand new, "open-world" Pokémon game for the Nintendo Switch. To ChocolateKieran, it looked a lot like a classic

Hold That Drill: Why Wall Street Wants Energy Companies To Pump Less Oil, Not More

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 5:01am
Oil prices have risen sharply over the last few months. Normally, that's a recipe for a drilling frenzy from U.S. oil producers. But something strange is happening, or rather, not happening. "U.S. producers are actually being restrained at the moment," says Helima Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC Capital Markets. "They are trying to be disciplined." Oil companies are under a lot of pressure to keep their production down. And the call is coming from inside the house: it's oil investors who are pushing for companies to pump less oil. To understand why, it helps to take a little trip back in time. Over the last decade, the fracking revolution sent U.S. oil production skyrocketing. Starry-eyed investors poured vast sums of money into the oil patch. Even after oil prices crashed in 2014, they bailed out companies on the brink of bankruptcy, and waited for all their investments to pay off. Instead, "the people that came in and put money to work ... got burned," says Dan

Journalists Dissect Covid Vaccines and Variants

Latest Updates From Kaiser Health News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 5:00am

KHN correspondent Rachana Pradhan discussed vaccine production and supply chains on KERA’s “Think” with host Krys Boyd, C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and PBS’ “NewsHour Weekend.” She also joined Newsy to discuss how federal rules restrict patients and their doctors from knowing whether someone has been infected by a covid-19 variant.

Montana correspondent Katheryn Houghton and Midwest editor and correspondent Laura Ungar joined Yellowstone Public Radio to discuss Adam Meier, Montana’s pick for health director, and his political legacy in Kentucky.

KHN Midwest correspondent Lauren Weber discussed the covid vaccine rollout on Illinois Public Media’s “The 21st Show.”

Chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed Xavier Becerra’s confirmation hearings in the Senate on Crooked Media’s “America Dissected: Coronavirus.”

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


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Cressida Dixon: Tending to Monroe County’s dead when no one else will

WXXI US News - Sat, 03/06/2021 - 5:00am
About three people die each week in Monroe County without a will to bestow their earthly possessions unto family or friends or charities. Many of them die as they lived -- poor, alone, and unseen. Yet their dying touches off a flurry of life in the office of the county public administrator, an obscure agency that manages estates when there is no one else to do so, often when the deceased leave behind no instructions on how to disperse their belongings or have no known heirs. “Truth be told, you get ‘death calls,’ ” explained Cressida Dixon, a seasoned estate lawyer at the firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King, who in January was appointed the first new public administrator in 20 years, becoming the first woman to ever hold the post. The calls come mostly from hospitals and the county medical examiner, sometimes police and nursing homes. “Some of them are just like you think: Someone passed away, we need you to find the family. Some are someone died alone in the street, someone died alone
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