NPR Staff

The U.S. celebrates this Independence Day amid nationwide protests and calls for systemic reforms. In this short film, five young descendants of Frederick Douglass read and respond to excerpts of his famous speech, "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?" which asks all of us to consider America's long history of denying equal rights to Black Americans.

Our blog covers the globe. And as we in the U.S. mourn the citizens who died of novel coronavirus, we also wanted to pay tribute to lives lost around the world. Since the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of nearly 500,000 people worldwide.

It has been five months since the novel coronavirus started infecting Americans. Since then, the U.S. has lost more than 120,000 people to the sickness it causes — COVID-19.

So many have been touched by the deaths of family and friends. Here we remember just a few of those who continued working during the pandemic because their jobs called for it and who, ultimately, lost their lives.

Senate Republicans are unveiling their proposal on Wednesday to reform law enforcement in the United States in response to the national protest movement that followed the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Minneapolis man, was one of a number of black Americans who died at the hands of police in recent weeks and sparked a wave of demonstrations and debate about law enforcement and race.

President Trump unveiled an executive order on Tuesday as part of what he called an administration commitment to address the national protests over policing in black communities.

Trump and members of Congress have vowed to change federal practices — and, potentially, federal law — following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police.

Across the country, a national reckoning with race has sparked wide-ranging debates on defunding police, racial profiling, public monuments and systemic racism. This comes as protests continue nationwide, sparked by high-profile deaths of African Americans.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., is stepping aside temporarily as chairman of the Intelligence Committee amid a Justice Department investigation of his stock trades, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Thursday.

COVID-19 is keeping most of us inside, isolated from others, for days on end.

For kids (and parents!), school work can only extend so far into the day. Earlier, the NPR Arts team offered some of our favorite distractions when we are feeling worried. Now we have some heart-felt recommendations for how to enjoy the rest of the time you have in close-quarters with your family.

Adventure Time

President Trump said in a letter to U.S. governors on Thursday that his administration is working to publish new guidelines for state and local governments to use when making decisions about "maintaining, increasing or relaxing social distancing and other mitigation measures" for the coronavirus epidemic.

Trump said officials are gathering testing data that will suggest guidelines categorizing counties as "high risk, medium risk or low risk" for the virus. The data will drive "the next phase" of the response, he said.

What helps you feel better when life is stressful and scary?

We asked members of the NPR Arts Desk, and their answers include a Norwegian knitting marathon, America's Next Top Model, British crime dramas and peanut soup.

Find 17 tried-and-true ideas below and stay tuned to the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast for an episode about this very topic.

The challenges that COVID-19 poses for governments around the world are formidable. For Taiwan, there have been additional hurdles.

Experts say the island's response to the novel coronavirus has been remarkably effective so far, despite many serious challenges, starting with its close links to China, and may even hold lessons for others to follow.

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