National News

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'It's a Minefield': Biden's Pick For Health Secretary Faces Abortion Politics

As President Joe Biden works to overhaul U.S. health care policy, few challenges will loom larger for his health secretary than restoring access to family planning while parrying legal challenges to abortion proliferating across the country.

Physicians, clinics and women's health advocates are looking to Xavier Becerra, Biden's nominee to run the Department of Health and Human Services, to help swiftly unwind Trump-era funding cuts and rules that have decimated the nation's network of reproductive health providers over the past four years.


Diaa Hadid/NPR

Pakistan's Polio Playbook Has Lessons For Its COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

The pandemic and polio are colliding in Pakistan.

It's definitely harder for the country to keep up its efforts to wipe out this highly contagious disease. (Pakistan is one of the few pockets in the world where it's still circulating.) But the lessons learned from its polio effort are proving helpful for the coronavirus vaccination campaign.

The backstory

First, a bit of background is in order.


Courtesy of Gravitas Ventures

Tim O'Brien On Late-In-Life Fatherhood And The Things He Carried From Vietnam

National Book Award-winning author Tim O'Brien is best known for his stories about the Vietnam War, including the 1990 novel, The Things They Carried. But he says he'd give up every book he's written if it meant more time on earth with his two young sons.

Now 74, O'Brien didn't become a father until his late 50s. He says he was initially worried that having children would curtail his ability to write.


Andrea D'Aquino for NPR

Millions Of Kids Learn English At School. Teaching Them Remotely Hasn't Been Easy

A year ago, the kindergartners learning English in Tanya Gan Lim's class were thriving. Back then, she'd bring in props and pictures to help her students learn the language and sound out words. Then she'd lavish them with praise, even if they stumbled, to build their confidence.


AFP via Getty Images

Landmark Verdict In Germany Sentences Syrian For Aiding Crimes Against Humanity

A German court has rendered its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian military officials implicated in crimes against humanity after almost a decade of war in Syria.


AP

Chinese Pharmaceutical Makers Seek Approval For New Coronavirus Vaccines

Chinese pharmaceutical makers are seeking market approval from Beijing for two new coronavirus vaccines – one that has shown 72% efficacy and another 69% efficacy in human Phase III trials.


AP

China Wants Your Data — And May Already Have It

As COVID cases began to rise a year ago, a Chinese company contacted several U.S. states and offered to set up testing labs. As a byproduct, the Chinese firm, Beijing Genomics Institute, would likely gain access to the DNA of those tested.


HBO

'Black Art' Chronicles A Pivotal Exhibition And Its Lasting Impact On Black Artists

Central to the new documentary Black Art: In the Absence of Light is a pivotal art exhibition that debuted in 1976.

"Two Centuries of Black American Art" was the first major show by a Black curator to look at the history of art produced by African Americans. Covering the period between 1750 and 1950, it featured 200 works and 63 artists, with painting, sculpture, drawing, graphics, crafts and decorative arts.


Sian White, Joel Trotter, Richard Kwarteng

A Tale Of The Taps: Which Hand-Washing Station Is Best In Emergencies?

In times of health emergencies and humanitarian disasters where water is scarce, people worldwide have relied on the Tippy Tap. It's a DIY hand-washing station developed by aid workers that can be made fast with readily available materials: sticks, string and a water container.

But for heavy-duty use — washing up several times a day during a pandemic that has stretched beyond a year, for example — a makeshift Tippy Tap just won't cut it.


AFP via Getty Images

Ghana Becomes First Country To Get COVAX Vaccine Doses

The first wave of coronavirus vaccines from the COVAX initiative are now reaching their destinations. Ghana became the first country to receive the vaccine on Wednesday, marking an important step for the international effort to help low- and middle-income countries cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.


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