NPR

Calling the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a "symbol of lawlessness and human rights abuses," two dozen U.S. senators are urging President Biden to shut it down quickly and find new homes for the 40 men remaining there. Many of the detainees have been confined at Guantánamo for nearly two decades without being tried or charged, and some have been cleared for release but are still being held.

Updated April 16, 2021 at 1:50 PM ET

A heavy metal musician and founding member of the Oath Keepers extremist group pleaded guilty Friday to charges connected to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and agreed to cooperate with investigators — a first in the massive probe into the deadly Jan. 6 assault.

Updated April 16, 2021 at 8:45 PM ET

The White House has walked back its announcement that it will keep this year's historically low refugee ceiling of 15,000 set by the Trump administration, saying its earlier statement Friday, which was panned by fellow Democrats, was meant only to ease restrictions from countries from which refugees are currently banned.

The White House said President Biden would raise the cap by May 15.

The Biden administration will send $1.7 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state governments and other research efforts, starting early next month to find and track coronavirus variants lurking in the United States. Already, the more contagious U.K. variant, B.1.1.7, is now the dominant strain in this country, fueling surges in Michigan and the Northeast.

"This release includes bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements."

The routine software update may be one of the most familiar and least understood parts of our digital lives. A pop-up window announces its arrival and all that is required of us is to plug everything in before bed. The next morning, rather like the shoemaker and the elves, our software is magically transformed.

BEIJING — Nine veteran activists and lawmakers in Hong Kong have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 18 months because of their participation in anti-government protests nearly two years ago.

Media mogul Jimmy Lai received one year in prison, while prominent lawyers Margaret Ng and Martin Lee received suspended sentences of 12 and 11 months respectively, meaning if they are not convicted of another crime in the next two years, they will not have to spend time behind bars. The heaviest sentence of 18 months was meted out to Lee Cheuk-yan, an activist and former lawmaker.

President Biden stood in the Roosevelt Room at the White House and declared the end of U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan. He spoke from the same spot where former President George W. Bush announced the beginning of the war 20 years ago with a bombing campaign.

"It's time to end America's longest war," Biden said. "It's time for American troops to come home."

Updated April 16, 2021 at 9:06 PM ET

A man identified by police as Brandon Hole, 19, opened fire outside a FedEx warehouse facility in Indianapolis late Thursday night before moving inside the facility, killing eight people and injuring several others. Hole is believed to have shot himself and is among the nine dead, according to police.

"FedEx officials have confirmed that Mr. Hole was an employee at the facility and that he was last employed in 2020," Indianapolis Deputy Police Chief Craig McCartt said.

The volcano La Soufrière began to explosively erupt on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent last Friday. For nearly a week, periodic eruptions have covered the island in ash and volcanic flows of molten rock and gas have gushed down the mountainside. Residents have been displaced and are left without clean water or electricity, adding a humanitarian emergency into the mix.

Health officials in Brazil say many hospitals are running dangerously short of sedatives and other crucial medications used for treating gravely ill COVID-19 patients.

They say some health services have already exhausted stocks of certain drugs, while others expect to do so within the next few days unless they receive fresh supplies.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 8:30 PM ET

Chicago has released video footage showing the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo, more than two weeks after the 13-year-old was killed during a foot chase in the Little Village neighborhood.

A graphic and disturbing video captures what police have described as an alleyway confrontation between Toledo and an officer identified as Eric Stillman in the early morning of March 29.

Liberal congressional Democrats unveiled a proposal Thursday to expand the number of seats on the U.S. Supreme Court from nine to 13 — a move Republicans have blasted as "court packing" and which has almost no chance of being voted on after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has "no plans to bring it to the floor."

The measure, the Judiciary Act of 2021, is being co-sponsored by Reps. Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee; Hank Johnson of Georgia; Mondaire Jones of New York; and Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

SEOUL — As Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has readied for his trip to Washington — where, on Friday, he will be the first foreign leader to meet face-to-face with President Biden — opposition lawmaker Shiori Yamao has been making preparations of her own.

President Biden and his team have been making a simple case for why Republican elected officials should support his roughly $2 trillion infrastructure plan: Lawmakers might not like it, but their voters do.

"Overwhelmingly, the majority of the American people — Democrats, Republicans and independents — support infrastructure investments that meets the moment," Biden said last week. "So, I urge the Congress: Listen to your constituents and, together, we can lay a foundation for an economy that works for everyone and allows America to remain the world leader."

For the first time, scientists have created embryos that are a mix of human and monkey cells.

The embryos, described Thursday in the journal Cell, were created in part to try to find new ways to produce organs for people who need transplants, said the international team of scientists who collaborated in the work. But the research raises a variety of concerns.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 4:52 PM ET

Signs of an economic boom are emerging as Americans open up their wallets to spend freely.

Retail sales soared 9.8% in March, according to a report Thursday from the Commerce Department. The increase follows a 2.7% slump in February, which analysts blamed partly on severe winter weather.

There are more than enough shots to go around in communities such as Hartsville, Tenn., the seat of Trousdale County, a quiet town tucked in the wooded hills northeast of Nashville.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 5:40 PM ET

President Biden is ordering a new round of economic sanctions on Russia — a response in part to Moscow's election meddling and a Kremlin-linked computer breach that penetrated numerous U.S. government networks.

Biden said Thursday that the United States isn't pushing for "a cycle of escalation and conflict" with Russia, but instead for both nations to manage tensions and work together when needed.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 1:41 PM ET

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kabul on Thursday in an unannounced visit that comes just a day after President Biden announced he has decided to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, ending America's longest conflict.

The world is going to need more batteries. A lot more batteries.

Every major automaker is preparing to pivot from gas and diesel cars to electric and hybrid ones. Ford F-150s and Kia crossovers, Volkswagen hatchbacks and BMW sedans: They'll all plug in instead of fill up. It's a remarkable transformation that will change the way we drive and shake up world energy markets.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 4:16 PM ET

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Members of Congress heard for the first time on Thursday public testimony from the U.S. Capitol Police inspector general on the most extensive findings yet in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

For months, stories swirled around a prominent Muslim civil rights leader, alleging secret marriages, bullying, sexual harassment.

Then, late last year, some of the allegations against 34-year-old Hassan Shibly burst into public view. In a video posted on GoFundMe, Shibly's estranged wife, mother of their three children, looked directly into the camera and begged for help. She said her abusive husband had cut her off financially.

One recent tweet from New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — along with its reams of snarky responses — sums up a key divide over infrastructure in Washington right now.

"Paid leave is infrastructure. Child care is infrastructure. Caregiving is infrastructure," she wrote.

Coinbase, a San Francisco startup that allows people to buy and sell digital currency, became the first major cryptocurrency company to go public when it made its stock market debut on Wednesday.

Trading began around $381 a share, pushing the company's valuation close to $100 billion. That's about what Facebook was worth when it had its initial public offering in 2012.

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday it will not pursue charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer who fatally shot a rioter inside the Capitol building on Jan. 6. Officials determined there wasn't enough evidence to support a criminal prosecution.

One in 4 Americans would refuse a coronavirus vaccine if offered, a recent NPR/Marist poll found. Another 5% are "undecided" about whether they would get the shot. And some researchers are growing worried that this reluctance will be enough to prevent the nation from reaching what's known as herd immunity.

When the pandemic hit, many Americans turned to vitamins and supplements in hopes of boosting their immune systems.

Scientists also raced to study them. Vitamin D, perhaps more than any other, captured the attention of researchers.

Updated April 14, 2021 at 7:33 PM ET

Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center, Minn., police officer who shot Daunte Wright, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, according to Minnesota authorities.

The Washington County Attorney's Office announced the charges Wednesday.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause in the U.S. – because of reports of rare cases of potentially fatal blood clots in a small number of vaccinated women – could have global ramifications.

Even though the J&J vaccine so far has had very limited distribution outside of the United States, it's slated to provide more than a billion doses to the global fight against COVID.

J&J is authorized in, among other countries, Brazil, Canada, Peru, Chile and New Zealand (although none of those countries have received shipments yet).

The Sackler family has spent decades making a name for itself in philanthropic circles, with sizable donations to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre, the British Museum, Harvard University and Yale University, among other institutions.

But as the public began to scrutinize the source of the family's money, many museum wings and buildings that once displayed the Sackler name have removed it.

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