National News


2 people were killed by a lightning strike near the White House

Two people were killed and two others are in critical condition after lightning struck at the park next to the White House in Washington, D.C.

Emergency responders received a report about people found injured in Lafayette Park at 6:52 p.m. on Thursday evening. U.S. Park Police and members of the U.S. Secret Service who were in the area at the time also rushed to assist the four people hurt. No property or vehicles were damaged by the strike, said D.C. Fire and EMS official Vito Maggiolo.

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The job market got even better, in a surprisingly positive sign for the economy

The pace of hiring unexpectedly surged last month, as the U.S. job market showed surprising strength in the face of high inflation and softening economic activity.

Employers added 528,000 jobs in July according to the Labor Department — a significant acceleration from the previous month.

Job gains for May and June were also revised upwards by a total of 28,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, matching its lowest level in decades.

Anthony Kuhn/NPR

On Japan's Yonaguni island, fears of being on the front line of a Taiwan conflict

YONAGUNI ISLAND, Japan — For years it was known as the "Two Gun" island – one gun for each of the two policemen stationed here.

Yonaguni, Japan's most westerly island, can feel like a peaceful paradise — it is covered in tropical forests and hammerhead sharks glide through its azure waters.

But there is trouble on the horizon. Almost 70 miles away lies the island of Taiwan — the self-governing democracy which once again finds itself in the headlines.

Leslie Grace/Screenshot by NPR

New studio execs slay 'Batgirl,' but she's been through tougher fights

This week, superhero fans were shocked to learn Warner Bros. Discovery had shelved its $90 million production of Batgirl. The superhero film had already been shot and was in post-production, but the new executives at the studio decided to prevent it from being released theatrically or on HBO Max.


China halts climate and military dialogue with the U.S. over Pelosi's Taiwan visit

Updated August 5, 2022 at 10:22 AM ET

BEIJING — China declared Friday it was stopping all dialogue with the United States on major issues, from climate change to military relations, in a day of rapidly escalating tensions over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. The White House summoned China's ambassador to protest what it called China's "irresponsible" actions since the visit.

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Abortion rights supporters and opponents look for lessons from the Kansas vote

On Tuesday night as results rolled in for Kansas's consequential vote on abortion rights, advocates on both sides of the abortion debate were watching closely, looking for lessons as they prepare for similar votes on abortion rights measures this fall.

Austin American-Statesman via AP

A jury will decide if Alex Jones has to pay punitive damages to Sandy Hook parents

InfoWars host Alex Jones returns to court Friday for his defamation trial, where he is being sued for falsely saying the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting was a hoax.

The jury will decide if Jones has to pay punitive damages to Neil Heslin and Scarlett Lewis, the parents of Sandy Hook first-grader Jesse Lewis, who was gunned down along with 25 other children and school staffers at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Conn.

Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Amnesty International's report criticizing Ukraine is dividing the rights group

Updated August 5, 2022 at 10:21 AM ET

Amnesty International issued a report on Thursday accusing the Ukrainian military of stationing its troops and artillery near hospitals, schools and residential buildings in ways that may amount to war crimes. The international human rights organization says it spent two months in Ukraine interviewing locals and collecting physical evidence to compile the report.


A Banksy painting that was sprayed in the West Bank resurfaces in Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV, Israel — A long-lost painting by the British graffiti artist Banksy has resurfaced in a swank art gallery in downtown Tel Aviv, an hour's drive and a world away from the concrete wall in the occupied West Bank where it was initially sprayed.

National Park Service

Attendance at Yellowstone National Park plummets after road washouts in June

GARDINER, Mont. — Tourism at Yellowstone National Park is down about 40% this summer after devastating floods wiped out roads in and around the park in June. Towns at two of the park's five entrances were completely cut off from it.

The raging flood waters took out big sections of paved roads in and near the park, and now the North Entrance from the neighboring town of Gardiner, Mont., is closed. It's expected to stay that way for at least a couple of years.