Rachel Treisman

A school district in northeast Texas has found a creative way to get around Gov. Greg Abbott's ban on mask mandates.

The Paris Independent School District will now require students to wear masks as part of its dress code.

Updated August 18, 2021 at 12:12 PM ET

Ousted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is now in the United Arab Emirates, the country confirmed in a brief statement on Wednesday.

"The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation can confirm that the UAE has welcomed President Ashraf Ghani and his family into the country on humanitarian grounds," it wrote.

Days after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, the death toll keep rising as do the numbers of the injured and displaced.

Destroyed buildings, blocked roads, the pandemic and now a tropical storm are making it even more difficult for humanitarian organizations to assess the damage and deliver much-needed aid.

With all the developments in Afghanistan and Haiti, you may have missed this historic announcement out of Washington: The Biden administration has approved updates to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), giving families who currently receive food stamps the largest single increase in benefits to date.

Celebrities including tennis superstar Naomi Osaka are expressing their support for the Haitian people and calling on their fans to contribute to relief efforts.

Haiti — which is being drenched by a tropical storm — is still awaiting widespread assistance in the wake of the earthquake that killed more than 1,400 people and injured nearly 7,000.

Updated August 13, 2021 at 9:36 AM ET

A gunman in southwest England killed five people, including a young girl, before turning his weapon on himself, police say. It's the deadliest mass shooting in Britain in more than 10 years.

The gunman shot and killed a woman at one address in Plymouth early Thursday evening before killing "a very young girl," Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer said in a news conference Friday.

Coronavirus news is coming fast and furious as the delta variant fuels another surge in cases across the United States.

Arkansas set a record for hospitalizations, while officials in one Florida county are urging residents to "consider other options" before calling 911. Health officials in Mississippi said the state's hospital system could collapse in five to 10 days if the current trajectory continues.

Two New York City comedy icons — and several of their famous friends — are holding a show to raise money for charities benefitting victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and their families.

Jon Stewart and Pete Davidson will host "NYC Still Rising After 20 Years: A Comedy Celebration" at Madison Square Garden on Sept. 12, a day after the attacks' 20th anniversary. The special aims to honor the city's resilience, the comedians said in a joint statement.

The United Nations just released its landmark climate report, urging countries to urgently cut their greenhouse gas emissions or else face catastrophic consequences.

So what exactly should the Biden administration do?

In Louisiana, which now has the country's highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita, Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered an indoor mask mandate and offered a stark warning:

"Nobody should be laboring under the misapprehension that this is just another surge," Edwards said Monday. "We've already had three of these. This is the worst one we've had thus far."

Controversial comedian Kathy Griffin revealed on Twitter on Monday that she will undergo surgery for stage one lung cancer.

Griffin said she has never smoked, and that doctors are optimistic because the cancer appears to be contained to her left lung — half of which she is getting removed.

"I should be up and running around as usual in a month or less," she added. "It's been a helluva 4 years, trying to get back to work, making you guys laugh and entertaining you, but I'm gonna be just fine."

As COVID-19 cases surge, the federal government and some private employers are requiring their workers to show proof of vaccination. Plus, certain cities and localities are once again requiring masks indoors.

Some states, however, are not just ordering more precautions, but already moving to stop vaccination mandates in the future.

Looking to spend money on a single piece of 40-year-old cake from someone else's wedding?

Well, what if that wedding was the royal nuptials of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer?

South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker stunned Olympic viewers with her historic win in the women's 200-meter breaststroke. But what happened next was equally sweet.

The 24-year-old claimed both a gold medal and a new world record Friday: 2:18.95. She's the first woman to swim the event in under 2 minutes, 19 seconds, a record set in 2013.

Heat waves. Floods. Wildfires. It's been a destructive summer so far, and forecasts for droughts, fires and hurricanes are looking downright bleak.

We know that climate change is to blame. But how exactly is global warming driving dangerous weather?

Lauren Sommer and Rebecca Hersher from NPR's climate team broke down the details in a conversation with Morning Edition's Noel King.

President Biden just signed a national security directive aimed at boosting defenses against ransomware attacks and the hacking of critical infrastructure like energy, food, water and power systems.

The directive sets performance standards for technology and systems used by private companies in those sectors — though it can't force those companies to comply.

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.

An investigation is underway after more than 100 night vision goggles disappeared from a maintenance facility at the Fort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas, officials confirmed to NPR.

"Fort Hood is investigating missing Monocular Night Vision Devices from a maintenance facility at Fort Hood, Texas reported on July 12," spokesperson Maj. Marion Nederhoed wrote in an email. "Currently, the missing equipment has no immediate impact on unit readiness."

Updated July 17, 2021 at 11:46 AM ET

One day after a federal district judge in Texas ruled against the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, President Biden said the Department of Justice intends to appeal the decision.

A commercial lobster diver says he escaped relatively unscathed after nearly being swallowed by a humpback whale, in a biblical-sounding encounter that whale experts describe as rare but plausible.

Michael Packard, 56, said in local interviews and on social media that he was diving off the coast of Provincetown, Mass., on Friday morning when the whale suddenly scooped him up.

President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin will not have a joint news conference after they meet in Geneva next week, according to a White House official.

Biden will instead hold a solo press conference after Wednesday's meeting, which will include a working session and a smaller session.

An East Texas bakery is being inundated with orders, supportive messages and donations after revealing it faced backlash over its colorful cookies celebrating Pride Month.

The owners of Lufkin-based Confections unknowingly set off the chain of bittersweet events last Wednesday, when they posted a Facebook photo advertising their heart-shaped, rainbow-iced cookies and calling for "More LOVE" and "Less hate."

The Colonial Pipeline shutdown sent motorists across the Southeast scrambling for gas, even as state and federal officials warn against panic-buying and price gouging.

Mackenzie Walton's first Father's Day without her dad was shaping up to be tough. Then the marketing emails hit.

"I saw some 'Don't forget Dad!' messaging and panicked because I hadn't bought him a present, which led to some ugly crying in the bathroom at work when I abruptly remembered why I hadn't been shopping yet," the Cincinnati-based freelance editor told NPR over email.

The Roman Colosseum is one step closer to having a floor, which will let visitors see the ancient amphitheater from a gladiator's vantage point for the first time in two centuries.

German officials say they have reached an agreement with Nigeria to return a share of plundered artifacts known as Benin Bronzes.

Thousands of plaques and sculptures were looted from the ancient Kingdom of Benin — now southern Nigeria, not the modern nation of Benin — by British soldiers in an 1897 raid, and were ultimately acquired by museums largely in Europe and the United States.

Great news for anyone looking for a change of scenery once it's safe to travel again: The world's longest pedestrian suspension bridge has been completed in Portugal, and it's opening to the public on Monday.

Five people have been arrested in connection with the violent kidnapping of Lady Gaga's dogs earlier this year, the Los Angeles Police Department announced on Thursday.

Germany's highest court has sided with young activists in a landmark climate case, ruling on Thursday that some aspects of the country's climate protection legislation are unconstitutional because they place too much of a burden for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on younger generations.

When a president addresses Congress flanked by the vice president and speaker of the House, it's tradition. But when both of those seats are filled by women, it's history in the making.

Such was the case on Wednesday night, when President Biden delivered his first joint address to a scaled-back crowd of mask-wearing lawmakers.

But the pandemic wasn't the only history-making factor. Behind him sat two women from California: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Harris, both the first women to hold their positions.

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