NPR News

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

As China's neighbors battle the spread of the coronavirus, one nation in particular is arousing international concern: North Korea. While the country publicly insists it is completely free of the virus, and a World Health Organization official has said there are "no indications" so far of COVID-19 infection there, experts question how long that may be the case.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Korea has doubled in just 24 hours, to 104 from 51, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. Many of the new cases of coronavirus are linked to a Christian sect in Daegu, a city in southern South Korea.

Korea's CDC says a woman who became the country's 31st confirmed patient on Feb. 18 had attended services held by a religious group called the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, The Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony.

It has been just over 78 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the internment of Japanese Americans.

Now, in a unanimous vote, the California Assembly has apologized for the role the state played in rounding up about 120,000 people – mainly U.S. citizens – and moving them into 10 camps, including two in California.

The acorn must crack in order for the seedling to sprout. That's the energy I felt when I saw Rashad Becker, a German mastering engineer and artist, perform his own music live at London's multi-venue MODE Festival back in September. The setting was a gutted building in the middle of the city's shopping district, which added its own layer of dissonance.

President Trump has named Richard Grenell, the vocal and controversial U.S. ambassador to Germany, as the new acting director of national intelligence, replacing the current acting head of the nation's 17 spy agencies.

Grenell, who has been the U.S. envoy to Berlin since May 2018, is known to be fiercely loyal to Trump, but critics have noted that he has no background in intelligence and no top-level management experience.

As the case count of coronavirus infections continues to rise in China, the number of reported infections among children is remarkably low.

"We're seeing [about] 75,000 total cases at this point, but the literature is only reporting about 100 or so pediatric cases," says Terri Lynn Stillwell, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Mott Children's Hospital at the University of Michigan.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

At least 10 people were killed by a gunman in western Germany late Wednesday at several locations, including two hookah lounges frequented by ethnic Kurdish customers. The suspected shooter, who was later found dead, left a letter and video claiming responsibility, according to multiple German news agencies.

The suspect had reportedly posted materials online that were vehemently anti-immigrant, prompting federal prosecutors to take over the case.

Two mornings a week, Arthur Jackson clears space on half of his cream-colored sofa. He sets out a few rolls of tape and some gauze, then waits for a knock on his front door.

"This is Brenda's desk," Jackson says with a chuckle.

In Las Vegas — a city known for prize fights — the Democrats were gloves off.

And a new entrant in the ring took a lot of incoming: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spent more than $300 million of his own money on ads to raise his profile.

State and local governments spend billions of dollars hiring contractors for goods and services, but most of those contracts go to white-owned businesses, not minority contractors — despite decades of affirmative action and other policies meant to make up for disparities.

Editor's note: This report includes graphic and disturbing descriptions of assault.

In the summer of 2011, Lisa Ricchio received a call from a man she knew. He said he was in Massachusetts, in pain from a recent surgery, and needed help.

"I went down to meet him, and from there, that's where my nightmare kind of began," says Ricchio, who lived in Maine at the time.

Together, they checked into the Shangri-La Motel in Seekonk, Mass. Once they closed the door, he suddenly turned violent.

Updated Feb. 21, 11:46 a.m. ET

Last month, a British man went to a conference in Singapore, then on a ski trip to the French Alps.

What he didn't know when he arrived in the Alps was that he was infected with the virus behind the COVID-19 outbreak.

During his stay at a ski village, it appears he infected 11 other people, who subsequently traveled on to the U.K. and Spain, the World Health Organization says.

Bashar Jackson, better known as the Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles during what appeared to be a home invasion. He was 20 years old.

While the Los Angeles Police Department would not identify Jackson by name as the victim in Wednesday morning's shooting, NPR confirmed his death through his record label, Republic Records.

Chinese espionage is a real problem for this country. But is the FBI overreacting to Chinese theft of intellectual property, and creating a new red scare?

Guests

Peter Waldman, investigative reporter for Bloomberg News.

Larry Diamond, senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and ch-chair of a 2019 study on Chinese influence campaigns and espionage on American college campuses. (@LarryDiamond)

Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy after years of declining enrollment and mounting allegations of widespread sexual abuse. Is this the death knell for the organization?

Guests

Cara Kelly, reporter on USA Today’s investigations team. She’s been covering the Boy Scouts and allegations of child sexual abuse in the organization. (@CaraReports)

Updated at 4 p.m. ET

Roughly 600 passengers left the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Wednesday, as a controversial shipwide coronavirus quarantine finally began to wind down.

All of those passengers had been tested for the COVID-19 disease by the Japanese health ministry, according to cruise operator Princess Cruises. As they left, they were met in the terminal by the cruise line's president, Jan Swartz.

Viral infections can be very hard to treat. Just ask anyone who has a bad case of the flu.

But that's not deterring research groups around the world from looking for an effective therapy against the new coronavirus, although they know it won't be easy.

In the 1990s, long before he became president, Donald Trump was known as a cash-strapped New York City businessman with shaky credit.

"His record of defaulting on loans and stiffing his business partners was very long and very well-documented," New York Times finance editor David Enrich says. "Any mainstream financial institution that had competent risk management systems in place — there is no way they were going to do business with Donald Trump."

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Nevada Democrats, hoping to avoid a repeat of the fiasco of the Iowa caucuses, hosted an hourlong briefing with reporters Tuesday night in which they walked through a mock caucus.

Attorney General William Barr has told people close to him that he has considered resigning over his growing frustration with President Trump and the president's public statements about the Justice Department and its ongoing cases, an administration official tells NPR.

It is unclear whether the attorney general ever informed the president he was considering quitting, and for now, Barr remains at the department's helm. A spokeswoman says he has "no plans to resign."

More than a month and a half into the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, the country's economy is still largely in lockdown mode, stalling a global manufacturing powerhouse at the heart of nearly every industrial supply chain. As the crisis continues, businesses big and small are struggling with the disruption the pneumonia-like illness has caused, with effects reaching across the globe.

Of all the chicken joints in all the towns in all the world, he walked into theirs. Two married police officers were eating at their favorite fried chicken spot in Louisville, Ky., over the weekend when a masked man walked up to the counter, showed a gun and demanded money.

In a confrontation caught on video, the couple quickly decided to end their date night and take on the robber. They then chased him out of the restaurant.

Just five books remain in the running for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, an award with one major goal in mind: to reward and recognize writers who have brought the powers of fiction to bear on the major social issues of our time — such as economic inequality, ecological crisis, immigration and other subjects thick with thorns.

Here are the books that have made this year's shortlist:

  • Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn
  • Lost Children Archive, by Valeria Luiselli
  • Lot, by Bryan Washington

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

China's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it is canceling the visas of three journalists working for The Wall Street Journal after what it said was a racist headline that appeared on an opinion piece about the coronavirus epidemic earlier this month.

Two pending rule changes meant to reduce what the Trump administration calls abuse of federal benefit programs could also mean hundreds of thousands of children lose access to free school meals.

He isn't on the ballot in Nevada's caucuses, but billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be on the national debate stage for the first time, joining five other Democratic candidates Wednesday night during the debate in Las Vegas. He qualified after surging in the polls.

Cross the treeless, frozen tundra of southwest Alaska, over ice-covered lakes and ponds near the Bering Sea, and you'll find the first community in the U.S. counted for the 2020 census.

When the icy wind blows off the Spokane River, the temperature can routinely plunge below zero on this city's worn streets near downtown and the I-90 freeway. Trying to survive without shelter out here is almost impossible.

Just ask Mariah Hodges.

"The first night I came here I was almost frozen to the sidewalk," Hodges says.

Nashville General Hospital is a safety net facility funded by the city. For a patient without insurance, this is supposed to be the best place to go in a city with many hospitals. But for those who are uninsured, it may have been the worst choice in 2019.

Its emergency room was taking more patients to court for unpaid medical bills than any other hospital or practice in town. A WPLN investigation finds the physician-staffing firm that runs the ER sued 700 patients in Davidson County during 2019.

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