National News Content

The Politics Driving The U.S. Voting Rights Fight

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 5:21pm
SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST: Much of the western U.S. is experiencing severe drought. The region is being hit with record heat, which has led to extremely dry conditions and has depleted already scarce water reserves in some areas. Oregon is one of the states experiencing this historic drought. And with little rain and a fast melting snowpack, the state is preparing for what's expected to be a very busy wildfire season. Joining us to discuss how all of this is affecting his community is Phil Chang. He is a county commissioner for Deschutes County. That's in the central part of Oregon, and he works on water issues for the county. Welcome to the program. PHIL CHANG: Thank you, Sarah. MCCAMMON: This severe drought is affecting much of the western U.S., as we've said. Can you just briefly describe what conditions are like where you are right now and where your water reserves stand? CHANG: We've had a couple of dry years. And then we had an OK snowpack this winter but - an OK precipitation. But

Judiciary Chief, Backed By Supreme Leader, Wins Iran Presidency

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 5:10pm
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST: World leaders are sending congratulations to Iran's newly elected president, Ebrahim Raisi. As expected, Raisi won a four-candidate race in convincing fashion with the backing of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Raisi now has four years to try to turn Iran's depressed economy around. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Tehran and joins us now. Hi, Peter. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Hi, Sarah. MCCAMMON: So how did Raisi manage such a convincing victory? KENYON: Well, he's been known for some time as a prominent hardline cleric and judge. He's known to be close to the supreme leader. None of the other candidates were as familiar to the public, I think it's fair to say. But perhaps the biggest factor in Raisi's success was the candidate selection process. That's handled by a largely clerical group known as the Guardian Council. They're charged with vetting potential candidates. And critics say the council made sure to disqualify

Violent Threats Targeting 2020 Election Officials Continue

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 5:10pm
SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST: Much of the western U.S. is experiencing severe drought. The region is being hit with record heat, which has led to extremely dry conditions and has depleted already scarce water reserves in some areas. Oregon is one of the states experiencing this historic drought. And with little rain and a fast melting snowpack, the state is preparing for what's expected to be a very busy wildfire season. Joining us to discuss how all of this is affecting his community is Phil Chang. He is a county commissioner for Deschutes County. That's in the central part of Oregon, and he works on water issues for the county. Welcome to the program. PHIL CHANG: Thank you, Sarah. MCCAMMON: This severe drought is affecting much of the western U.S., as we've said. Can you just briefly describe what conditions are like where you are right now and where your water reserves stand? CHANG: We've had a couple of dry years. And then we had an OK snowpack this winter but - an OK precipitation. But

New York's positivity rate for COVID-19 is at .39%

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 1:51pm
New York state’s 7-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 is at .39%. That’s according to data released by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Saturday. He said that number has been at a record low for 22 consecutive days and it has declined for 75 consecutive days. For the Finger Lakes region, the average positivity rate is at .59%. That is second highest in the state, behind the North Country, but all regions have infection rates well below 1%. In terms of vaccinations, 56.5% of the state’s population have had at least one dose of the vaccine. 50.6% have had the completed series. In the Finger Lakes, 56.2% of the population has had one dose and 51.8% have had the completed series.

President Biden's Dog Champ Dies

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 12:21pm
Updated June 19, 2021 at 1:05 PM ET Champ Biden, one of two German shepherds belonging to President Biden and his family has died, the president and first lady Jill Biden announced late Saturday morning. He was 13 years old. "Our hearts are heavy today," Biden and first lady Jill Biden wrote in a statement , adding that the dog had died at their home. The Bidens were at their home in Delaware. Champ's longtime loyalty was also remembered in the Bidens' statement Saturday. "In our most joyful moments and in our most grief-stricken days, he was there with us, sensitive to our every unspoken feeling and emotion," the statement said. "We love our sweet, good boy and will miss him always." Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A U.S. Student Who Went Missing In Russia Is Found Dead

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 11:00am
MOSCOW — Catherine Serou, a 34-year-old U.S. citizen studying in Russia, has been found dead after she went missing on Tuesday, Russia's Investigative Committee said in a statement . A man in his early 40s with past convictions, has been arrested and is cooperating with investigators, the committee said. His name was not released. Serou disappeared after she got into a car with a stranger in a suburb of Nizhny Novgorod, a city on the Volga River 250 miles east of Moscow. The last sign of life from Serou was a text message to her mother in Vicksburg, Miss., saying: "In a car with a stranger. I hope I'm not being abducted." Serou's body was found early Saturday morning, an hour after the suspect was arrested, the nn.ru news site reported, citing regional police. A tabloid site has published a photo, apparently taken by a surveillance camera, showing Serou looking out of the open passenger window of a silver car. In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow said it was "closely monitoring"

Dad Draws On Maori Roots To Raise 3 Resilient Sons. Step 1: Send Them On A Milk Run

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 10:23am
When it comes to raising resilient children, Jeff Nelligan knows more than a thing or two. He's raised three sons, dripping with hustle and composure. One of them is a senior at West Point, another graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and the third from Williams College, where he played lacrosse. "I've raised three bad asses," Nelligan says bluntly (as he does often). "I hate to say it that way, but these kids have the ability to get over adversity, and that's resilience." Nelligan himself comes from a long-line of resilient women . "My great-grandmother is Maori," he says. "She left New Zealand when she was 14 [by herself]. After she got on her two feet, he says, she ran a restaurant in Los Angeles. "Her daughter — my grandmother — was born almost 100 percent deaf. She was confident, and she made it through adversity. That's our family's storyline. We don't take things too hard. We let things roll off the back, so to speak," says Nelligan, who writes about Maori affairs and has a law

1971: The Year That Gave Us Starbucks, Disney World — And A Lower Voting Age

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 9:04am
1971. What a year. We at NPR have a special soft spot for it because it's the year we were founded. We've been celebrating our 50th anniversary, and you can come join the party here , here , and here . But 1971 was noteworthy for several other standouts as well. It gave rise to new nations, brought legislation that changed the way we live, and created some shrines to consumerism that are intertwined with our cultural existence even today. Here are some of the high points from that year half a century ago. There are now nearly 33,000 Starbucks locations around the world. Here, a Starbucks logo hangs in the window in Homestead, Pa. Gene J. Puskar / AP 1971 introduced us to the caffeine addiction of our lives It started with an appreciation of Moby Dick and good coffee. Founded by Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker and Zev Siegl, Starbucks opened its very first store in Seattle. Its name comes from Starbuck, the first mate character in Herman Melville's most famous novel. It wouldn't be until

The Record Temperatures Enveloping The West Are Not Your Average Heat Wave

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 8:47am
It might be tempting to shrug at the scorching weather across large swaths of the West. This just in: It gets hot in the summer. But this record-setting heat wave's remarkable power, size and unusually early appearance is giving meteorologists and climate experts yet more cause for concern about the routinization of extreme weather in an era of climate change. These sprawling, persistent high-pressure zones popularly called "heat domes" are relatively common in later summer months. This current system is different. "It's not only unusual for June, but it is pretty extreme even in absolute terms," says Daniel Swain, climate scientist at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. "It would be a pretty extreme event for August," Swain says, when these typically occur. From the Great Plains to the coast, cities are setting record temps This heat dome's reach is remarkable, too: It has set record highs stretching from the Great Plains to coastal California. And these aren't

Understanding 2021's Rise In Gun Violence

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 7:58am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST: 2021 is on a pace to be the most violent year for the U.S. in two decades. Over 120 people in America died in shootings last weekend alone, with at least three mass shootings in Austin, Chicago and Savannah. In May, there was a 28% increase in homicides in Philadelphia, 76% in Tucson, 23% in New York. Many reasons are advanced - the rise in unemployment, an increase in gun sales, a decline in some police patrols, a rise in inequality. What can local officials do to try to stop the bloodshed and loss now? We turn to Art Acevedo, chief of the Miami Police Department, former chief in Houston and Austin. Chief Acevedo, thanks so much for being with us, sir. ART ACEVEDO: Hey. Good morning. Thank you, Scott. Thanks for having me. SIMON: Homicides are up, as I don't have to tell you, 9.3% in Miami, forcible sex offenses by 28.4% since last year. What do you do to stop that tonight, this weekend? ACEVEDO: Well, what we're doing here in Miami is we're actually putting more

Week In Politics: Biden Meets With Putin, ACA Sees Another Supreme Court Victory

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 7:58am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Meeting this week in Geneva between the leaders of two rival superpowers. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It's clearly not in anybody's interest, your country's or mine, for us to be in a situation where we're in a new cold war. SIMON: President Joe Biden speaking to reporters after his three-hour summit meeting with Russian President Putin. Meanwhile, a new federal holiday commemorates the end of slavery in this country. And joining us now to talk about the week in politics is NPR White House correspondent Ayesha Rascoe. Happy Juneteenth. AYESHA RASCOE, BYLINE: Thanks for having me. SIMON: And let's start, please, with that Juneteenth legislation. Just seemed like that rare thing at the Capitol. It happened so quickly. The president signed the bill into law under general consensus, and it took effect, really, within hours. How's the creation of this new federal holiday being received? RASCOE: In many

Harris' Dinner For Female Senators Sees Women Bonding Amid A Divided Washington

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 7:58am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: This week, Vice President Harris invited a few former co-workers to dinner. Her guests were women with whom she used to serve in the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats. Dinners like that might be a surprise in this deeply divided Capitol, but senators say they need more of these moments. NPR's congressional correspondent Kelsey Snell reports. KELSEY SNELL, BYLINE: There was rose and fish, a simple centerpiece of white flowers and greenery and plenty of selfies. Basically, it was a normal dinner party. TAMMY BALDWIN: It's like getting the band back together. SNELL: That's Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin talking about the bipartisan dinner at Harris's new residence. The women of the Senate used to have dinners like this before the coronavirus made it impossible. So this was a chance to catch up. And West Virginia Republican Shelley Moore Capito said they also got to sample some of Harris's well-documented cooking skills.

How Film Has Shaped The American Image Of Democracy

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 7:58am
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit SCOTT SIMON, HOST: During NPR's 50th anniversary year, we're doing some stories under the banner We Hold These Truths about American democracy. How have Americans learned about democracy? How do we learn about most anything? - at the movies. (SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) SIMON: Movies have shown us democracy means people speaking freely without fear, as when a young senator played by Jimmy Stewart in 1939's "Mr. Smith Goes To Washington" holds the floor to tell crusty, old colleagues... (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON") JAMES STEWART: (As Jefferson Smith) Get up there with that lady that's up on top of this Capitol dome, that lady that stands for liberty. SIMON: Democracy is supposed to help dreams come true and life get better, as when Claudia McNeil as the Southside Chicago grandmother of 1961's "A Raisin In The Sun" rebukes her family. (SOUNDBITE OF FILM, " A RAISIN IN THE SUN") CLAUDIA MCNEIL: (As Lena Younger) You ain't satisfied or

Afghan Interpreters Who Await Visas After Helping The U.S. Now Fear For Their Lives

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 7:01am
On a warm May night, the sound of footsteps and a stranger's voice in the darkness outside his home startled a man in Afghanistan. Alarmed, he went to investigate. He saw that someone had affixed something to his door. He found a handwritten note: "You have been helping U.S. occupier forces and ... you are an ally and spy of infidels, we will never leave you alive." Khan, in his early 30s, is only using his middle name out of fear for his life. He had already received a series of death threats — which came, he says, in the form of phone calls to his father from the Taliban. That night in May, insurgents made it clear they knew where he lived. Khan inspected his home's main gate and found a grenade wired to the doorknob, set to explode if someone opened the gate from inside. He and his father managed to dispose of the device before it could be triggered. "Fortunately, no one was harmed," Khan tells NPR. He has a three-year-old son, and his wife is pregnant. Since 2015, Khan has worked

COMIC: Adopted Pandemic Dogs Got Us Through. Now They Need Our Help

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 7:00am
Sarah Mirk is a visual journalist and the author of several books, including Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World's Most Infamous Prison . She is a contributing editor of The Nib and a digital producer for the Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting . Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Overdose Deaths Rose During The War On Drugs, But Efforts To Reduce Them Face Backlash

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 7:00am
Every time Shani Damron, 34, buys methamphetamines or heroin on the streets of Huntington, W.Va., she knows the risk is extreme. "That fentanyl is no joke," Damron said, referring to the deadly synthetic opioid that now contaminates much of the illegal drug supply in the United States. "Every time we stick a needle in our arm, we're taking a 50-50 chance. We could die." There's also a high risk of disease from contaminated needles shared by drug users. Damron's community has seen a major HIV/AIDS outbreak. "I don't know if I have any friends that's not positive for HIV," she said. "Every one of us are. I am, too." Harm reduction advocates say these outcomes for Americans struggling with addiction are avoidable. Louise Vincent runs a program in Greensboro, N.C., where people can get clean needles and test street drugs for contamination. These services help keep people safer, she said, but they're banned in much of the country. "You know I guess we have to decide, as a community and as a

Tropical Storm Claudette Brings Rain And Floods To The Gulf Coast

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 5:32am
Updated June 19, 2021 at 1:24 PM ET NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Thunderstorms and high winds on the east side of Tropical Storm Claudette battered the Florida Panhandle and much of Alabama on Saturday, as the weather system moved toward the North Carolina coast. The National Hurricane Center declared Claudette organized enough to qualify as a named storm at 4 a.m. Saturday, well after the storm's center of circulation had come ashore southwest of New Orleans. By mid-morning it was 75 miles (120 kilometers) north-northeast of the city with winds clocked at 40 mph (65 kph). It was moving north-northeast at 14 mph (22 kph), and most of the heavy weather was happening far to the north and east of the center. After dumping flooding rains north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and along the Mississippi coast, the storm was inundating the Florida Panhandle and, well inland, a broad expanse of Alabama. The National Weather Service issued a series of possible tornado warnings Saturday morning in north

Journalists Follow Up on Unused Vaccines and For-Profit Medical Schools

Latest Updates From Kaiser Health News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 5:00am

KHN correspondent Rachana Pradhan discussed the politics of unused Johnson & Johnson covid vaccines and the FDA’s potential announcement that their shelf life can be extended on Newsy on June 11.

KHN reporter Victoria Knight discussed for-profit medical schools on Montana Public Radio on June 10.

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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Milkha Singh, India's 'Flying Sikh' Ace Runner, Dies At 91

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 4:38am
NEW DELHI (AP) — Milkha Singh, one of India's first sport superstars and ace sprinter who overcame a childhood tragedy to become the country's most celebrated athlete, has died. He was 91. Singh's family said he died late Friday of complications from COVID-19 in a hospital in the northern city of Chandigarh. Singh had first tested positive for the coronavirus on May 20. His wife Nirmal Kaur, a former volleyball captain, had died of the virus just days earlier. She was 85. "He fought hard but God has his ways," Singh's family said in a statement. Popularly known as "the Flying Sikh," Singh was the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in the 400m division in 1958. He narrowly missed out on an Olympic medal, finishing fourth at the 400m final of the 1960 Rome Games. Singh represented India at the Olympics in 1956, 1960 and 1964. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tributes to the athlete and called him a "colossal sportsperson, who captured the nation's

Hard-Line Judiciary Head Wins Iran's Presidency Amid A Low Turnout

WXXI US News - Sat, 06/19/2021 - 3:08am
Updated June 19, 2021 at 3:30 PM ET DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran's hard-line judiciary chief won a landslide victory Saturday in the country's presidential election, a vote that both propelled the supreme leader's protege into Tehran's highest civilian position and saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic's history. The election of Ebrahim Raisi, already sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, became more of a coronation after his strongest competition found themselves disqualified from running. That sparked calls for a boycott and many apparently did stay home — out of over 59 million eligible voters, only 28.9 million voted. Of those voting, some 3.7 million people either accidentally or intentionally voided their ballots, far beyond the amount seen in previous elections and suggesting some wanted none of the four candidates. Iranian state television immediately blamed challenges of the
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