NPR Staff

Cardboard beds. Urban farms. Roving mariachi bands.

These are some of the ways that regular folks are solving problems and spreading happiness during the pandemic.

The solutions aren't perfect — public health experts have some critiques and suggestions. But at the same time, they applaud the ingenuity and positive vibes.

Read the stories of six grassroots change-makers — then nominate your own at the bottom of this story.

Our blog covers the globe. And as we in the U.S. mourn the citizens who died of novel coronavirus, we also wanted to pay tribute to lives lost around the world. Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 people worldwide.

It has been five months since the novel coronavirus started infecting Americans. Since then, the U.S. has lost more than 120,000 people to the sickness it causes — COVID-19.

So many have been touched by the deaths of family and friends. Here we remember just a few of those who continued working during the pandemic because their jobs called for it and who, ultimately, lost their lives.

Senate Republicans are unveiling their proposal on Wednesday to reform law enforcement in the United States in response to the national protest movement that followed the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Minneapolis man, was one of a number of black Americans who died at the hands of police in recent weeks and sparked a wave of demonstrations and debate about law enforcement and race.

James Doyle/NPR

The Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on policing as lawmakers work on legislation to combat police brutality. The hearing comes amid nationwide protests on the subject. Watch the proceedings live.

President Trump unveiled an executive order on Tuesday as part of what he called an administration commitment to address the national protests over policing in black communities.

Trump and members of Congress have vowed to change federal practices — and, potentially, federal law — following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police.

Across the country, a national reckoning with race has sparked wide-ranging debates on defunding police, racial profiling, public monuments and systemic racism. This comes as protests continue nationwide, sparked by high-profile deaths of African Americans.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is stepping aside temporarily as chairman of the Intelligence Committee amid a Justice Department investigation of his stock trades, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday.

The White House released guidance on coronavirus testing on Monday, which reiterates the administration's work on testing and includes recommendations for states to further develop and implement their own testing plans.

COVID-19 is keeping most of us inside, isolated from others, for days on end.

For kids (and parents!), school work can only extend so far into the day. Earlier, the NPR Arts team offered some of our favorite distractions when we are feeling worried. Now we have some heart-felt recommendations for how to enjoy the rest of the time you have in close-quarters with your family.

Adventure Time

President Trump said in a letter to U.S. governors on Thursday that his administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local governments to use when making decisions about "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures" for the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump said officials are gathering testing data that will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as "high risk, medium risk or low risk" for the virus. The data will drive "the next phase" of the response, he said.

Evan Vucci / AP

  

Watch the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including regular White House briefings. Live coverage expected to start at 11:30am.

What helps you feel better when life is stressful and scary?

We asked members of the NPR Arts Desk, and their answers include a Norwegian knitting marathon, America's Next Top Model, British crime dramas and peanut soup.

Find 17 tried-and-true ideas below and stay tuned to the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast for an episode about this very topic.

The challenges that COVID-19 poses for governments around the world are formidable. For Taiwan, there have been additional hurdles.

Experts say the island's response to the novel coronavirus has been remarkably effective so far, despite many serious challenges, starting with its close links to China, and may even hold lessons for others to follow.

The Democratic presidential primary candidates are competing in South Carolina on Saturday, hoping to win over voters in the fourth contest of 2020. Follow NPR's live coverage of the primary, including results and analysis.

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AP Photo/John Locher

 

Warren Goes After Bloomberg For Allegations Of Sexual Harassment

Updated at 3:55 p.m. ET

Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee after the Justice Department took the unusual step of intervening in Roger Stone's sentencing recommendation.

President Trump hailed Barr on Wednesday for making the recommendation.

Here are the latest results out of New Hampshire. 

You can also listen to live coverage from NPR on 88.1 WVPE starting at 8pm and continuing through at least 10pm.

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Democratic presidential candidates are debating for the first time since the Iowa caucuses. There are seven candidates on the stage Friday night in New Hampshire, ahead of Tuesday's primary in the state.

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Rudy Giuliani, President Trump's personal attorney, says the president should not back away from investigating Joe Biden even after Trump's expected acquittal Wednesday by the U.S. Senate.

"Absolutely, 100%," Giuliani told NPR's Steve Inskeep in an interview Tuesday. "I would have no problem with him doing it. In fact, I'd have a problem with him not doing it. I think he would be saying that Joe Biden can get away with selling out the United States, making us a fool in the Ukraine."

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

As jurors in President Trump's impeachment trial, senators have remained silent as House impeachment managers and Trump's defense team make their cases. But now they have their opening.

The trial adjourned on Monday, giving senators their chance to take the floor. That window was still open on Tuesday; senators had up to 10 minutes each to speak.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spoke first on Tuesday, dismissing the two articles of impeachment against Trump as "constitutionally incoherent."

Michael Zamora, Caroline Amenabar/NPR; Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The nation's first presidential nominating contest was Monday in Iowa. NPR's reporters are still on the ground following the candidates and the caucus result reporting problems. Check here for regular updates.

In Iowa, voters expect candidates to come to them. Homes, churches and schools serve as intimate venues for presidential hopefuls to meet and greet with folks who could have an impact on the momentum of their campaigns.

"We expect to shake their hands, we expect to look them in the eye, we expect to be able to ask them the questions we care about," says Rachel Paine Caufield, a political science professor at Drake University in Des Moines.

House impeachment managers released their formal response to the summons sent by the Senate last week, a procedural part of the impeachment process ahead of the trial that begins on Tuesday.

"President Trump's conduct is the Framers' worst nightmare," they said in the brief released Saturday.

Read the brief here.

The White House released its formal response to the summons sent by the Senate last week, a procedural part of the impeachment process ahead of the trial that begins on Tuesday.

"The articles of impeachment submitted by House Democrats are a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president," the White House's response says. "This is a brazen and unlawful attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election and interfere with the 2020 election."

News organizations and journalists' advocates are challenging restrictive new ground rules for reporters assigned to cover the Senate impeachment trial.

Correspondents who submit to an official credentialing process are granted broad access throughout the Capitol complex and usually encounter few restrictions in talking with members of Congress or others.

But now Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Michael Stenger has imposed new requirements for the impeachment trial, negotiated in part with Republican leadership:

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Congress is taking additional steps to prepare for the upcoming Senate impeachment trial. The newly appointed House impeachment managers, who will present the case for impeachment, are reading the articles in the Senate chamber. Senators are also being sworn in as jurors.

An important federal watchdog released a report on Thursday concluding President Trump's actions in the Ukraine affair broken a budget law.

House Democrats impeached Trump in part because they said he abused his power in freezing military aid that Congress had allocated to help Ukraine in its war against Russia. Trump asked Ukraine's president to conduct an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential rival for the 2020 election.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

 

We don't have a crystal ball, but as journalists covering global health and development, we have a pretty good nose for emerging trends (with some help from our favorite expert sources).

Some likely trends give cause for optimism — signs of progress in solving the world's problems. Other trends are pessimistic — threats and challenges that are expected to worsen in the year ahead.

Here are 11 trend lines we'll be watching in 2020. First we'll give you the bad news — then the hopeful predictions.

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