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Gale Sayers, Who Wowed NFL Fans And Inspired A Beloved TV Movie, Dies At 77

Gale Sayers, a graceful and quick Chicago Bears running back whose elusiveness bedeviled defenses and delighted fans, has died, the team and the NFL announced Wednesday. He was 77.

Sayers was a fearsome competitor, but he was also famous for his character and fortitude.


NPR

As Pandemic Deaths Add Up, Racial Disparities Persist — And In Some Cases Worsen

Data gathered early in the pandemic showed that communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 across the United States. But incomplete data left a muddy picture of these disparities.

Today, as the U.S. has surpassed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, and reached nearly 7 million confirmed cases, racial data is more complete, and the trend is crystal clear: People of color get sick and die of COVID-19 at rates higher than whites and higher than their share of the population.


NPR, Source: RAMMB/Colorado State University

1 in 7 Americans Have Experienced Dangerous Air Quality Due To Wildfires This Year

Wildfires near cities have become commonplace in the Western United States, but this year the reach and intensity of the dangerous air pollution they produce has been the worst on record.

Many Americans in populous, urban areas endured smoke for longer than previous years. Some places experienced very unhealthy or hazardous air from wildfires for the first time ever recorded.


Reuters

Kentucky Grand Jury Indicts 1 Of 3 Officers In Breonna Taylor Case

Updated at 3:45 p.m. ET

Following months of outrage, activism and anticipation, a Kentucky grand jury has decided to indict one of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in March.

Brett Hankison, who was terminated in June, has been charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into neighboring apartments. Bond was set at $15,000.


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Uncle Ben's Changing Name To Ben's Original After Criticism Of Racial Stereotyping

Uncle Ben's will now be known as Ben's Original.

Food giant Mars, Incorporated said Wednesday that it is changing the rice brand's name, which has faced criticism for racial stereotyping. It said the change signals "the brand's ambition to create a more inclusive future while maintaining its commitment to producing the world's best rice."

Mars also said it will remove the image of the elderly Black man in a bow tie from its packaging.


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Pandemic Fizzle: Sizzler Steakhouse Chain Files For Bankruptcy Protection

The venerable Sizzler USA family steakhouse chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing a business environment roiled by COVID-19 restrictions — and saying that not enough has been done to help restaurants survive.

"Our current financial state is a direct consequence of the pandemic's economic impact," Sizzler President Chris Perkins said, "due to long-term indoor dining closures and landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatements."


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As U.S. Views Of China Grow More Negative, Chinese Support For Their Government Rises

Polls show widespread distrust toward China is growing in the U.S. over how China initially handled its coronavirus outbreak and ongoing human rights abuses.

At the same time, Chinese attitudes toward the U.S. are souring — while popular satisfaction with the Chinese state has grown since the central government quickly brought the pandemic under control through sometimes brutal methods.


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Are You An Undecided Voter? Tell Us What You're Considering This Election

Americans will get their first chance to see Joe Biden and Donald Trump onstage together during next week's presidential debate.

If you're just starting to pay attention to the race, or if you've been feeling ambivalent about your choices this election, what questions or concerns do you have about the two major party candidates? What's keeping you from being enthusiastic about either one?

Fill out the form below and an NPR producer may reach out to include your perspective in an upcoming on-air segment.


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Belarus President Is Secretly Inaugurated Weeks After Disputed Election

In a secret ceremony, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was sworn in for a sixth term Wednesday in the capital amid nationwide protests and international outrage over his August reelection in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent.

State media announced that Lukashenko, who has held on to power for more than a quarter-century, took the oath of office during a ceremony at Independence Palace in Minsk that was attended by several hundred government officials.


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Public Health Leaders Vow Science, Not Politics, Will Guide COVID-19 Vaccine

Updated at 1:37 p.m. ET

Amid criticism from Democrats that politics may be guiding decisions at the nation's top health agencies, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration told Congress on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine would not be approved until it met "vigorous expectations" for safety and effectiveness.


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