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Alex Leff

Iranians across a broad spectrum of society are having a tough time right now, and many blame U.S. sanctions.

Hospitals struggle to get medical supplies. Imported goods are hard to come by. Tourism has dried up. And forget about traveling abroad. These are just some of the many concerns Iranian photojournalist Marjan Yazdi hears from her subjects in this portrait series.

Saudi Arabia's state-backed oil giant Aramco saw its profit tumble by 44% last year, as coronavirus pandemic restrictions slashed fuel demand around the globe.

Aramco, the world's largest oil company, reported earnings of $49 billion in 2020, down from $88.2 billion in the year before. CEO Amin Nasser described last year as "one of the most challenging years in history."

Updated March 21, 2021 at 3:47 PM ET

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Afghanistan on Sunday amid uncertainty over how long American forces will stay in the country.

In his first trip to Afghanistan as defense chief, which had not been announced publicly, Austin met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani as well as U.S. diplomat Ross Wilson and Army Gen. Austin Miller, America's top commander in the country.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

Pope Francis has called for legislation to protect same-sex couples, according to comments he made in a new documentary that mark a break from Catholic doctrine.

"Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family. They are children of God and have a right to a family," the pope said in an interview in the documentary Francesco, which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival. "What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered."

President Trump has signed a bill signaling support for Hong Kong's protests, prompting Beijing to issue a sharp response and summon the U.S. ambassador to China.

The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019 allows the United States to level sanctions on individuals who carry out human rights violations in Hong Kong, which has been rocked by mass protests for more than five months.

Updated on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. ET

In Iraq and Syria, news of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death has stirred a mix of responses — from joy to disbelief to dread.

Since President Trump announced this weekend that Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, analysts have been grappling with the implications for the militant organization that has now lost its main chief in addition to all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria.

Updated on Feb. 25 at 5:45 p.m. ET

When President Trump spoke in Florida earlier this month, he issued a stern warning about Venezuela: Members of the armed forces who continue to support President Nicolás Maduro "will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out," he said. "You will lose everything."

A heavy barrage of news dominated headlines in 2018, but NPR's international correspondents continued to delve into underreported stories that mattered.

Here is a selection of original reporting from around the world that may have slipped under your radar amid the year's relentless news cycle.

In January, Pope Francis traveled to South America to spread peace and hope. Many cheered him on, but he also wound up causing emotional pain when he dismissed accusations that Chilean clergy had covered up sexual abuse.

In the weeks that followed, the Vatican's leading sex crimes investigator looked into the allegations, and the pope did an about-face: He acknowledged making mistakes.

Now, Francis has been apologizing and listening to some of those he offended most.