Carrie Kahn

As U.S. joblessness climbs, immigrant workers are facing a tough decision: pay rent and buy food or send critical dollars to family back home.

Fifty-one-year-old Anabel is struggling to do both. The Beverly Hills clothing store she cleaned four nights a week closed in early March. Holding onto the small apartment she and her husband share in Los Angeles is a top priority.

"We have had to cut back on food just to pay the rent," says Anabel, who asked NPR to not use her full name because she is undocumented.

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Every Good Friday, for the last 176 years, the Iztapalapa neighborhood of Mexico City fills with religious pilgrims, tourists and the curious. In modern times, up to 2 million people crowd the streets to watch one of Latin America's most elaborate reenactments of Christ's crucifixion.

This year though, the whole affair has been moved indoors, and will be streamed live on the Internet and broadcast on national TV, due to Mexico's nationwide COVID-19 shutdown.

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Mexico's president says his government won't be bailing out banks or giving tax breaks to big businesses hurt by the coronavirus. Instead, he's promising to help the poor. NPR's Carrie Kahn went out on the streets and found the need is urgent.

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told his countrymen this weekend, in video announcements, "Don't go out into the streets unless it's for something absolutely necessary." But the president, who's been slow to acknowledge the new coronavirus threat, drew sharp criticism for failing to model good social distancing.

As recently as eight days ago, López Obrador urged Mexicans to go out to eat in restaurants, out of concern over an economic fallout from the virus.

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At this point, we have all heard how important it is to wash our hands. But what about people who don't have clean water? Tens of millions of people in Mexico are in that very position. NPR's Carrie Kahn is there, and she brought us this.

Mexico's health officials say it's time to keep your distance. Beginning Monday, people will be urged to maintain safe distances from one another and, if possible, work from home. Public schools, which were open through Friday, will remain closed until at least April 20.

As of Saturday night, Mexico's Secretary of Health reported 251 confirmed cases and two deaths from the coronavirus disease COVID-19. Some state and cities have already imposed stricter measures. On Sunday, Mexico City's mayor announced that bars, theaters and museums would be closed, also beginning Monday.

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With borders closing all over the world to stop the spread of the coronavirus, today's announcement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was expected.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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Women across the world marched for International Women's Day over the weekend.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: You work for us. You work for us.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: What do we want?

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: Equality.

Editor's note: This story includes graphic descriptions of the search for human remains.

Manky Lugo has developed a gruesome expertise. Like a human bloodhound, she sniffs out traces of death.

Her gray hair wrapped in a bright-green bandanna, the 64-year-old applies her skill during an annual search for remains of fellow citizens who have vanished without a trace — victims of Mexico's drug wars and armed groups. A loved one of her own is among the missing.

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Mexico's president is gearing up for a national raffle. The prize? The presidential plane. It's like Mexico's Air Force One, but the president refuses to step foot in it.

The plane, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, has long been a symbol of government excess in the eyes of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. He loves to rail on what he calls Mexico's corrupt political class, especially by pointing to the plane and those who bought and used it.

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The last two weeks have been busy for Mexico's immigration authorities. Since Jan. 18, the Mexican government says it has "assisted returns" of 2,303 Central American migrants back to their home countries.

"Assisted returns" means deported — but much of the official language referring to migration in Mexico remains euphemistic, critics say, even as the government's migration policies have grown harsher.

Updated at 9:45 p.m. ET

A powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands on Tuesday, startling people as far away as Miami and prompting official tsunami alerts for a large area of the Caribbean that were later withdrawn.

The quake, initially reported as 7.3 magnitude before being upgraded, was centered 86 miles northwest of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and 87 miles west-southwest of Niquero, Cuba, at a depth of just 6 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at 2:10 p.m. ET.

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Ten years ago, a 7.0 earthquake absolutely demolished parts of Haiti. More than 100,000 people died and many more were hurt. NPR's Carrie Kahn has the story of how the country is marking this disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED PRIEST: Amen.

On the wind-whipped hills north of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, Berthenid Dasny holds the keys to the gated memorial erected for Haiti's earthquake victims. Thousands of bodies are buried here in a mass grave dug after a magnitude 7 earthquake shook the country on Jan. 12, 2010.

"They've forgotten about this place; it should look better than this," Dasny says as she walks past the overgrown grass, rusted metal statues and brittle brush. For the past year, she has been the memorial's groundskeeper, though she has never been paid.

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It is one of the world's most expensive spices and most difficult to grow. It's also in great demand. Vanilla is fetching top dollars these days. In Mexico, though, where vanilla originated and has been cultivated for centuries, it's struggling to survive.

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