NPR Staff

Without uttering former President Donald Trump's name, President Biden issued a scathing critique of his predecessor on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The spike of COVID-19 cases has disrupted travel, entertainment and sports even as thousands around the U.S. stood in line for tests and some hospitals and health care facilities started to face staffing crunches as the pandemic wears on.

President Biden leaves Washington on Thursday to attend two major summits with world leaders in Rome and Glasgow, the second foreign trip of his presidency.

Here's what's on the agenda:

Friday, Oct. 29: Vatican visit

Biden, who is the nation's second Catholic president, will meet with Pope Francis. The White House said Biden wants to discuss climate, migration and income inequality with the pope — three issues that figure prominently in Biden's policy agenda.

The U.S. has given 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to countries in need and has said it will give a total of 1.1 billion by 2022. Yet public health specialists say several more billion doses are needed around the world. Steve Inskeep of NPR's Morning Edition interviewed Gayle Smith, coordinator for global COVID response and health security at the U.S. State Department, to learn more about global vaccine distribution.

Trevor Bedford is a computational virologist and professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle who has devoted his professional life to the pandemic for nearly two years.

On February 29, 2020, he used Twitter to report that the genome of a COVID-19 case reported in Washington state showed the first known community transmission in the U.S. "There are some enormous implications here," he wrote. His prior work to track the evolution and spread of other viruses has been critical in understanding this global pandemic.

A powerful earthquake struck near the Pacific resort city of Acapulco on Tuesday night, killing at least one person and causing buildings to rock and sway in Mexico City nearly 200 miles away.

This video from Mexico City's Azcapotzalco neighborhood shows startled occupants of an apartment rush to steady themselves and pets run for cover as the earthquake shakes their building, causing overhead light fittings to swing wildly.

Charlie Watts, the unshakeable drummer for The Rolling Stones, died this morning. According to a publicist, he died in a hospital in London, surrounded by family. No cause of death was given. He was 80 years old.

Across the country people have been experiencing hazy skies from big wildfires in Western states. More than 3 million acres have already burned, and fire experts say this is just the beginning. A historic drought and heatwave have primed forests to burn big this year, just like they did last year.

Updated July 20, 2021 at 8:14 PM ET

Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of Donald Trump's who chaired the former president's inauguration committee, was arrested Tuesday on federal charges that he acted as an agent of a foreign government.

Prosecutors said Barrack, 74, parlayed his close ties to the Trump White House to advance the interests of the United Arab Emirates.

President Biden says there are several areas of humanitarian aid he would consider for the people of Cuba, which has seen recent protests against the authoritarian regime, if he had assurances that the government would not intercept the assistance.

Biden on Thursday cited the ability for people to send remittances back to those in Cuba, and doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Updated June 24, 2021 at 6:52 PM ET

Britney Spears is asking a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to end her 13-year conservatorship, saying she is being exploited, bullied and feeling "left out and alone."

Benjamin Netanyahu was Israel's longest-serving prime minister, in office uninterrupted for 12 years before parliament ousted him on Sunday.

NPR's Daniel Estrin has covered Netanyahu's prime ministership, traveled with him and chronicled how Israel changed under his leadership. From Jerusalem, he spoke with All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro ahead of the vote that removed Netanyahu from office. Here are excerpts from that conversation.

Updated May 20, 2021 at 4:29 PM ET

Tensions boil over in Jerusalem. Hamas fires rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel unleashes its heavy firepower, causing casualties and destruction. Then it all repeats again and again. It is a familiar, devastating cycle of violence that has prompted protests around the world.

On Thursday, Israel's government announced a cease-fire after 11 days of fighting with Hamas. If the agreement holds, it will end the heaviest round of fighting since 2014.

Updated June 9, 2021 at 2:48 PM ET

Rep. Val Demings, a rising Florida Democrat who was on President Biden's shortlist for a running mate in last year's presidential election, announced Wednesday that she's seeking to oust Republican Sen. Marco Rubio in 2022.

Updated May 15, 2021 at 6:44 PM ET

If you're fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (as in, you've gotten all your shots and waited two weeks), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday, you can mostly go ahead and stop wearing your mask and stop social distancing — inside and out.

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