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Updated June 17, 2021 at 4:23 PM ET

Opal Lee is 94 and she's doing a holy dance.

It's a dance she says she and her ancestors have been waiting 155 years, 11 months and 28 days to do.

Ever since Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to spread the news of the Emancipation Proclamation outlawing slavery in Confederate states. President Abraham Lincoln had signed it more than two years earlier.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 4:28 PM ET

President Biden on Thursday signed a bill to recognize Juneteenth — the celebration to commemorate the end of chattel slavery in the United States — as a federal holiday.

He and Vice President Harris delivered pre-signing remarks in the East Room of the White House. Guests included members of the Congressional Black Caucus and 94-year-old Opal Lee, a decades-long activist to see Juneteenth recognized nationally.

Earth-orbiting satellites usually end their lives in a fiery reentry — but a tiny CubeSat scheduled for launch by the European Space Agency later this year might put off a warmer glow than most in its final moments.

That's because WISA-Woodsat is made mostly out of plywood.

It's not such a crazy idea: Since it became widely available about a century ago, plywood has been prized for its strength, rigidity and durability — three things that are good in a spacecraft.

The 2021 Tiny Desk Contest closed for entries on June 7. We've heard songs from every state in the country, from big bands and solo artists, in a huge range of genres and styles — and we've seen an equally huge range of desks to match. Now, our judges will start to comb through our entries to find a winner. Here are some of the best entries we've seen recently.


The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday to establish Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

The bill recognizes June 19, 1865, the day when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger led soldiers to Galveston, Texas to deliver the message that the Union had won the war and the ending of slavery would be enforced.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 3:52 PM ET

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul says it is suffering from a major COVID-19 outbreak that has largely confined staff to their quarters and is disrupting many of its operations. Earlier this week, the embassy announced that it was suspending in-person visa interviews for Afghans who had worked for the U.S. military.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 9:34 AM ET

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared that the variant of coronavirus first detected in India is a variant of concern, meaning it poses a significant threat to those who are not vaccinated.

The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is the most contagious yet. The CDC estimates that it may be responsible for nearly 10% of all new COVID-19 infections in the United States. In some Western U.S. states, the variant may be responsible for nearly 20% of cases.

The saxophonist and composer Anthony Braxton has been a galvanizing figure in American music for more than 50 years – and at 76, he's definitely not slowing down. Braxton has two new box sets out this month, totaling more than 20 hours of music.

Murder hornets. They're back.

Authorities in Washington state have announced that they've confirmed the first U.S. report this year of an Asian giant hornet, or Vespa mandarinia, in a town north of Seattle.

"Basically the only information we have is that a slightly dried out, dead specimen was collected off of a lawn in Marysville," said Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist with the state agriculture department, during a press conference.

LUSAKA, Zambia — Zambia's first president and champion of African independence Kenneth Kaunda has died at the age of 97, the country's president Edgar Lungu announced on Facebook Thursday evening.

Zambia will have 21 days of mourning, said Lungu.

Kaunda's son, Kamarange Kaunda, also gave the news of the statesman's death on Facebook Thursday.

"I am sad to inform we have lost Mzee," Kaunda's son wrote, using a Swahili term of respect for an elder. "Let's pray for him."

Updated June 17, 2021 at 11:39 AM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday sided with Catholic Social Services in a battle that pitted religious freedom against anti-discrimination laws in Philadelphia and across the country. The court declared that the private Catholic agency was entitled to renewal of its contract with the city for screening foster parents, even though the agency violated city law by refusing to consider married LGBT couples.

The maker of the Snapchat app is eliminating a feature known as the "speed filter" that lets users capture how fast they are moving and share it with friends, a company spokesperson told NPR.

The move is a dramatic reversal for Snap, Inc., which introduced the feature in 2013.

Lordstown Motors launched with huge ambitions — and a redemption story. Today it's scrambling for cash and trying to assuage investor anxieties.

The stumble of the much-hyped electric truck manufacturer offers a glimpse at the do-or-die moment facing many electric vehicle startups. They successfully sold an idea to investors. But now can they actually deliver vehicles to buyers?

It all started when the electric truck startup bought the giant Lordstown, Ohio, auto plant that General Motors had just shut down.

To the Code Switch family,

We are thrilled (and, frankly, devastated) to announce that Shereen Marisol Meraji will be leaving Code Switch in August for a couple of amazing new opportunities.

It's been a little more than a month since adolescents as young as 12 became eligible in the United States to receive the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19, and nearly all reports have been positive: The vaccine is very effective in this age group, and the vast majority of kids experience mild side effects, if any — the same sore arm or mild flulike symptoms seen among adults who get the shot.

We are marking a milestone, 50 years of NPR, with a look back at stories from the archive.

On June 17, 1972, a band of five burglars broke into the Democratic National Committee's headquarters at the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C. After failing to wiretap the office's phones during their first break-in, they returned with a new microphone. However, before successfully carrying out their plan, a security guard had noted that the doors' locks were taped. The police were called, and the burglars were arrested.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 10:21 AM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act for the third time on Thursday, leaving in place the broad provisions of the law enacted by Congress in 201o. The vote was 7 to 2.

The opinion was authored by Justice Stephen Breyer who was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

It's still a mystery. How did the pandemic begin?

There is the leading hypothesis among scientists: The virus hopped from an animal — possibly a bat — to a human, or to some other animal, which later spread the disease to humans.

And then there is the lab leak hypothesis: The virus somehow escaped from the Wuhan Virology Institute.

Ever thought about what it would be like to own the World Wide Web? Now you sort of can — well, a digital representation of its source code anyway.

Next week, British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, dubbed the "Father of the Web" will auction the original source code for the World Wide Web as an NFT.

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Art and government make prickly bedfellows. When President Harry Truman wanted to add a balcony to the White House, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts advised against it. Truman built it anyway and let those commissioners' terms expire.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A sudden power failure left more than 337,000 customers in the dark across Puerto Rico late Wednesday, enraging many who were recovering from a massive outage that hit the U.S. territory just days ago.

When Aaron Hinton walked through the housing project in Brownsville on a recent summer afternoon, he voiced love and pride for this tightknit, but troubled working-class neighborhood in New York City where he grew up.

He pointed to a community garden, the lush plots of vegetables and flowers tended by volunteers, and to the library where he has led after-school programs for kids.

But he also expressed deep rage and sorrow over the scars left by the nation's 50-year-long War on Drugs. "What good is it doing for us?" Hinton asked.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 11:34 AM ET

The U.S. House of Representatives moved Thursday to repeal a nearly two-decade-old war powers measure, marking what many lawmakers hope will be the beginning of the end of wide-ranging authorities given to the president after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The vote was 268 to 161. The measure now heads to the Senate.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 9:00 AM ET

Several major companies, financial institutions and airlines from the U.S. to Australia and Hong Kong suffered brief online outages Thursday due to a third-party IT provider.

The outage appeared to affect each company's website and mobile applications. Internet monitoring websites including ThousandEyes and Downdetector.com showed disruptions across the world.

In Australia, major banks and airlines were hit by the outage, affecting business in the middle of the day.

Facebook researchers say they've developed artificial intelligence that can identify so-called "deepfakes" and track their origin by using reverse engineering.

Deepfakes are altered photos, videos, and still images that use artificial intelligence to appear like the real thing. They've become increasingly realistic in recent years, making it harder to detect the real from the fake with just the naked eye.

BEIJING — Hong Kong police have arrested five editorial executives, including the editor in chief, of media outlet Apple Daily, freezing more corporate accounts and imperiling the future of the region's most feisty, investigative paper.

JIUQUAN, China — Under bright-blue morning skies, China launched its first crewed space mission in five years Thursday, sending three science-minded military pilots rocketing to a new orbiting station they're expected to reach around midafternoon.

The Democratic-led House of Representatives on Wednesday easily approved legislation to commemorate Juneteenth, the national remembrance of the end of chattel slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday.

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