Connor Donevan

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Caroline Tung Richmond was on the phone one night recently talking about how virtual schooling had its challenges, but she thought it was going all right for her 7-year-old daughter.

Her school was open and back to in-person learning, but they had made the decision to keep her home for now to reduce the COVID-19 risk to their 4-year-old son, who isn't yet eligible for a vaccine.

"I said, let's focus on math and reading, just because she had fallen really behind on reading, and I actually thought she had done OK, all things considered," Richmond said.

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By now, you've likely heard of the metaverse.

Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent everyone running to their dictionaries to figure out what he was talking about when he said Facebook was changing its name to Meta and declared the metaverse not only the next chapter for his company, but "the next chapter for the internet."

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Not long ago, Australian musician Courtney Barnett was struggling.

COURTNEY BARNETT: It's kind of hard to, like, put into a couple of catchy sentences. But I think it's just - I guess, I just was probably pretty depressed at a point.

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Another story of what has been lost in Afghanistan this week. Yesterday, the country's sports federation announced on its official Facebook page that Zaki Anwari had died.

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You've probably heard of the five stages of grief. I mean, they're pretty firmly lodged into American pop culture. There's...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT")

As vaccinations are making it safer to leave the house, many people are considering re-entering the dating arena. Last week, the White House announced a partnership with dating apps to create a feature that allows users to sort matches by vaccination status as part of the Biden administration's July 4 vaccination goals.

Millions of people had to adjust to online dating and apps this past year.

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You might not know it, but this...

(SOUNDBITE OF HAZARD LIGHTS BLINKING)

CHANG: ...Is the sound of a hotly debated issue in Florida.

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Said Durrah's family in Gaza are so used to living with Israeli air strikes that his calls during the conflict could be surreal.

"The way that they talk about it is the way that you and I would talk about preparing for a vacation."

Durrah, a Palestinian-American who lives outside Washington, D.C., says they would talk about leaving bags packed with passports and valuables by the door in case of evacuation. And they would try not to dwell on their fears, so as not to contribute to their children's anxiety.

Updated May 26, 2021 at 6:14 PM ET

A growing number of European countries are blocking access to Belarusian airlines. The response comes after Belarus intercepted a commercial flight and removed and arrested Roman Protasevich, an opposition journalist who was on board.

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OK America, we see your sourdough starters, and your Duolingo sessions and your new cross-stitch hobby, and we raise you a Doorway to Imagination.

That's the backyard branch and wood art piece that David North built with all his social distancing-created free time.

His niece Kimberly Adams, a correspondent for the public radio show Marketplace, tweeted about it.

Since the pandemic started, 38.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment claims, according to new numbers announced Thursday.

That's more than one in five American workers using an unemployment insurance system first established decades ago to serve a very different population.

During the coronavirus pandemic, people have jettisoned all manner of routines, and grooming is no exception.

On social media, many men are leaning into self-isolation with the #QuarantineBeard. Comedian Jim Carrey, for one, is putting down the razor until "we all go back to work," encouraging his Twitter followers to join him in his "meaningless transformation," using the hashtag #letsgrowtogether.

With a societal shift away from buying albums, touring has been one of the main ways for musicians to support themselves. But now, as the coronavirus precautions shut down public spaces, clubs and concert halls are empty, the tour buses are parked and artists are trying to figure out how they'll get by in an era of social distancing.

There's an old writing exercise that involves describing a color without naming it; it challenges the writer to evoke the emotional primacy of a concept we often take for granted.

Inspiration can strike anywhere. For Sunny Jain, the inspiration for his new album Wild Wild East came while he was on stage at a concert at the Global Village in Dubai, which he describes as "kind of like the Epcot center of the Mideast."

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A lot of the songs by the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit are dark, like wince-when-you-listen-to-the-lyrics dark.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE TWIST")

Earl Sweatshirt has a lot to process. The Los Angeles rapper has just returned from a three-year break to release his third studio album, Some Rap Songs, last month and he's been taking it all in. All across downtown LA, promo posters of the album read: 'Thebe Kgositsile, professionally known as Earl Sweatshirt, presents the studio album Some Rap Songs.'

On a recent Friday afternoon, 30-year-old Sidumiso Nyoni took the train from her home in rural Nyamandhlovu, Zimbabwe, to the industrial city of Bulawayo to visit family. It's a distance of only 25 miles, but she says the roads are in such bad shape that the train is the only option. The ride isn't long, but the schedule is completely unpredictable.

"The train doesn't have a specific time at which it comes," she says. Sometimes she says she'll arrive at the station for a 7 a.m. train and "it ends up spoiling the rest of your day, because the train comes in the afternoon."

On April 21, 2008, Florence Machinga lost everything. A mob of hundreds of people showed up at her house, demanded to see her — and, when she didn't materialize, burned it down.

"They destroyed everything," she says. "Cattle were slaughtered, the chickens were slaughtered."

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