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Laurel Wamsley

The seventeen people from an Christian aid mission abducted in Haiti while returning from an orphanage remain missing, four days later.

Their kidnapping – brazen even in a country where abductions have increased exponentially recently – have cast a spotlight on the work that religious relief organizations undertake in sometimes dangerous conditions.

Indeed, such aid groups are often found in the parts of the world where conditions are most dire.

A small plane crashed into a residential neighborhood in southern California, killing at least two people. Footage from the scene showed burned homes and a charred delivery truck in the city of Santee, a suburb northeast of San Diego.

A UPS delivery driver was among those killed in the crash, the company confirmed to NPR.

The plane, a twin-engine Cessna C340, crashed into the neighborhood at about 12:14 p.m. local time on Monday.

Updated October 11, 2021 at 10:54 PM ET

Jon Gruden, the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, has resigned following news reports that he used derogatory language in emails dating back to 2011.

Updated October 4, 2021 at 12:51 PM ET

Brittany Watson worked as a nurse at the hospital in Winchester, Va. — until her employer, Valley Health, announced that all staff must get vaccinated.

Updated September 14, 2021 at 5:19 PM ET

Poverty in the United States fell last year, even amid the impact of the pandemic, due to government aid, including relief payments and unemployment insurance. That's according to new data just released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Supplemental Poverty Measure rate in 2020 was 9.1%, 2.6 percentage points lower than that rate in 2019.

In a courthouse in Memphis, Tenn., a full docket of cases means tenants are packed into eviction court – as much as social distancing will allow, and then a little more. When each tenant is called up for their case, Judge Phyllis Gardner asks this question: "Are you interested in the rental assistance program?"

For many Americans, COVID-19 has upended their lives. They've lost their jobs, and with them, the ability to pay their rent.

While getting evicted is traumatic generally, eviction during a pandemic adds new layers of peril: Evicted families may double up with other households or move into crowded shelters. That can lead to the coronavirus spreading quickly, especially within vulnerable communities.

TOKYO — We're in the home stretch of the most dramatic Olympics in recent memory, held against great odds amid a global pandemic in a country where many Japanese residents didn't want it to happen at all.

An ocean expedition exploring more than a mile under the surface of the Atlantic captured a startlingly silly sight this week: a sponge that looked very much like SpongeBob SquarePants.

And right next to it, a pink sea star — a doppelganger for Patrick, SpongeBob's dim-witted best friend.

When revising its mask guidance this week to urge even vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in much of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was criticized for not citing data in making that move.

Now it has — and the data is sobering.

For some of us, the Olympics don't really get started until the runners take the starting line and the javelins go flying.

With the Olympics underway, Tokyo has set a new, unfortunate record: for coronavirus cases.

Tokyo had 3,177 new positive cases on Tuesday, according to the city's government. The city has become Japan's biggest COVID-19 hot spot and is host to most of the Olympic events.

Protests by athletes have become common and more widely embraced in the last few years, and the Olympics has updated its rules to allow for it – within limits.

Pictogram people become unlikely MVPs

One of the most striking sequences in the Tokyo Olympics' opening ceremony revolved around pictograms. Tokyo organizers have been touting their "kinetic pictograms," which show figures bursting into motion across dozens of disciplines. For Friday's ceremony, they brought all 50 of those pictograms to life.

While the delta variant of the coronavirus has quickly become the dominant strain in the United States, it's not the only variant circulating in the population.

Updated July 20, 2021 at 12:47 PM ET

Wearing a cowboy hat under the West Texas morning sun, Jeff Bezos crossed the bridge to enter the capsule made by his company Blue Origin. He was accompanied by three others – his brother Mark Bezos, female aviation pioneer Wally Funk and 18-year-old Oliver Daemen.

Then the shuttle hatch closed and just before 9:15 a.m. ET, the four blasted into space on the first human flight on Blue Origin's New Shepard launch vehicle.

England has lifted most of its domestic COVID-19 restrictions, marking a milestone as the country moves into a new phase of pandemic life — what some have dubbed "Freedom Day."

Young people gathered at nightclubs just after midnight to celebrate the return of crowds to raucous indoor spaces. "This is what life's about," one clubgoer said.

Richard Branson, the British billionaire, plans to blast into space on Sunday from New Mexico aboard a rocket made by his company Virgin Galactic.

Nine days later, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is scheduled to rocket into space from West Texas in a capsule made by his company Blue Origin.

In many ways, American life is returning to normalcy: Masks are no longer required in many locations, schools and universities are slated to reopen and the days of social distancing have begun to fade as

The assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse at his home threatens to exacerbate Haiti's already rampant problems.

"Everything that could go wrong seems to be going wrong," says Robert Fatton, an expert on Haitian politics at the University of Virginia, and a native of Haiti himself.

The Western portion of the island of Hispaniola, Haiti is perched in the Caribbean just 600 miles southeast of Florida. It threw off French rule with a successful revolt, becoming the first Black-led republic in 1804.

Updated July 6, 2021 at 11:31 AM ET

Less than a week after trustees at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill belatedly voted to grant tenure to New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, Howard University announced Hannah-Jones will instead be joining its faculty.

Starting immediately, an applicant for a U.S. passport can simply check "M" or "F" as their gender – without needing to provide medical certification if that gender doesn't match their other documents. And soon applicants will have the option to select a gender marker that isn't male or female, the State Department said Wednesday.

Studies have found that Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is effective against several variants of concern, including the delta variant, the biotech company announced.

Moderna said Tuesday that recently completed studies have found the vaccine to have a neutralizing effect against all COVID-19 variants tested, including the beta, delta, eta and kappa variants.

While rescuers continue to search for survivors amid the rubble from the building collapse in Surfside, Fla., law enforcement detectives and crime scene personnel are working to identify the human remains recovered from the wreckage.

Before a large portion of Champlain Towers South came smashing down, the building's condo board sent a letter to residents noting significant deterioration and explaining the need for a $15 million special assessment to be paid by members.

The letter obtained by NPR, and first published in full by The Wall Street Journal, was sent before the condominium association's board meeting in April. It is signed by Jean Wodnicki, president of the board of directors of the condo association.

Updated June 28, 2021 at 8:18 PM ET

Researchers from a government agency that investigated the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9/11 are already on-site at Surfside, Fla.

A team from NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is in the preliminary stages of an investigation into what caused the apparent building failure early Thursday at the Champlain Towers South condo building north of Miami Beach.

Updated June 25, 2021 at 6:09 PM ET

Wearing a gray headband with a bow on it, George Floyd's daughter Gianna told the court that she missed her father.

In a two-minute prerecorded video, 7-year-old Gianna answered questions from a woman off camera.

"I ask about him all the time," Gianna said. She then explained what she asks about: "How did my dad get hurt?"

Updated June 25, 2021 at 4:41 PM ET

A Minnesota judge sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to 22 1/2 years in prison Friday for the murder of George Floyd.

President Biden says his "heart goes out" to the families anxiously waiting for updates as rescuers search for survivors in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South complex in Surfside, Fla.

Biden made the remarks Friday at a ceremony signing H.R. 49, designating the Pulse nightclub a national memorial in memory of the shooting where 49 people were killed in 2016.

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