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This week, health care providers began administering the first doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. — the third vaccine authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to help stop the coronavirus pandemic.

That's welcome news in a country that still faces high levels of circulating virus in most regions, and a demand for vaccine that still far outstrips supply.

The Biden administration is aiming to process and release migrant families arriving at the border seeking asylum more quickly — within 72 hours — by converting some detention facilities, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

The objective is to turn them into processing centers where criminal background checks and full health screenings can be completed, before migrant parents and children are released with orders to appear in court.

The number of refugees has soared over the past four years, with more than 26 million refugees worldwide as of mid-2020, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

U.S. Capitol Police requested a 60-day extension for a portion of the National Guard troops currently in Washington, D.C., Thursday as the threat of a possible attack from militia groups looms over the city.

Last summer, an appointee of former President Donald Trump was irate because he could not simply fire top executives who had warned him that some of his plans might be illegal.

Michael Pack, who was CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media that oversees Voice of America, in August suspended those top executives. He also immediately ordered up an investigation to determine what wrongdoing the executives might have committed.

As the world approaches a year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the appeal of virtual happy hours and other ways of staying connected via screens has faded for many people.

Enter Canada Post, which is providing an alternate way for people to connect with those they're missing — one postcard at a time.

Robert Muggah is a principal of the SecDev Group and cofounder of the Igarape Institute. His latest book, Terra Incognita, co-authored with Ian Goldin, focuses on the systemic threats facing our world.

Senate Democrats are moving ahead with an updated version of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes several tweaks intended to satisfy some moderates ahead of an expected final vote in the coming days.

The Senate voted 51-50 along party lines to advance the bill on Thursday. Vice President Harris voted with all Democrats to break the tie and move ahead with the lengthy debate and amendment process.

In the middle of a pandemic, Mavis Owureku-Asare is optimistic.

The reason? On February 24, her homeland, Ghana, became the first low-resource country to receive free COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX.

"I feel very hopeful," says Owureku-Asare, a food scientist with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission and a 2020 Aspen New Voices fellow. "Ghana has become a role model for other countries."

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OPEC and its allies said Thursday they are keeping oil production largely steady, even as crude prices stage a remarkable recovery, betting that a restrained approach will lay the groundwork for prices to climb even more.

Russia and Kazakhstan will raise their output modestly, but all other members of the alliance will hold their production steady instead of returning more oil to the global market. Saudi Arabia also said it will extend its voluntary cut in oil production of 1 million barrels per day into April.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday made it more difficult for undocumented immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for a long time to fight deportation. The court's 5-to-3 ruling came in the case of a man who had lived in the U.S. for 25 years but who had used a fake Social Security card to get a job as a janitor.

Movie theaters in Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and Philadelphia have been open for months. But attendance remains low, not just because of public safety concerns—but because there isn't much to see. Major studios are delaying their blockbusters, or releasing them straight to streaming.

One big reason? The two biggest movie markets in the country, New York City and Los Angeles, remain closed.

A high-profile universal basic income experiment in Stockton, Calif., which gave randomly selected residents $500 per month for two years with no strings attached, measurably improved participants' job prospects, financial stability and overall well-being, according to a newly released study of the program's first year.

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Large numbers of police and National Guard were at the U.S. Capitol today to protect against a threat that never materialized. March 4 is a day that holds significance for some conspiracy theorists, and officials had been saying that they'd received reports of a plot by a militia group to attempt to breach the Capitol. Even though that hasn't happened, Capitol Police are asking the National Guard to remain on site for two more months. NPR's Sarah McCammon has been monitoring the situation and she's with us now.

Hi, Sarah.

There's a composition by pianist Helen Sung titled "Into the Unknown," from her 2018 album, Sung With Words. A bright, bustling tune with a melody full of rhythmic feints, it captures the radiant spirit that Sung brings to any bandstand. And the song's title says something about her unconventional path to a life in modern jazz.

LULIANG, China — The meteoric rise of aluminum executive Zhang Zhixiong transformed his rural Chinese hamlet into a lucrative mining community. But his fall from grace was even more dramatic.

In March 2018, he and 10 others were sentenced to harsh prison terms for supposedly forming a criminal organization and illegal mining, among other crimes. Zhang, chairman of Juxin Mining Co., was accused of being a crime boss and received a 25-year prison sentence. He denies the charges.

As President Biden pushes to get U.S. schools fully open soon, an art exhibit aims to help people visualize what it means that they're closed.

Thundercat is one of Los Angeles' most accomplished and in-demand musicians. A frequent collaborator with Flying Lotus, he's also contributed to albums by Erykah Badu, Kamasi Washington and Kendrick Lamar, the latter of whom won a Grammy with Thundercat in 2016 for the single "These Walls." Most recently Thundercat has come into his own as a solo artist. His fourth album, It Is What It Is, was released in April 2020 on Brainfeeder.

The reason it's so hard to kill a mosquito is that they move really well.

Scientists are trying to build a robot with that kind of agility. And these tiny but mighty flying robots could be used in life-and-death situations, such as finding people in a collapsed building.

Kevin Chen says he spends "a lot of time looking at the flapping-wing physics, that is understanding how an insect can flap their wings and generate lift and drag forces."

With smoke-and-mirrors panache, The Committed -- Viet Thanh Nguyen's sequel to The Sympathizer -- continues the travails of our Eurasian Ulysses, now relocated to France and self-identified as Vo Danh (which literally means "Nameless"). Having survived a communist reeducation camp, a perilous sea crossing, and a long sojourn in an Indonesian refugee center, he arrives in Paris on July 18, 1981 — the birthday of Nelson Mandela — to become, once again, a refugee.

President Biden's new Education Secretary, Miguel Cardona, hit the ground running Wednesday. Just one day after being sworn in, Cardona traveled to his hometown of Meriden, Conn. with first lady Dr. Jill Biden, on a tour of schools meant to push for the return of in-person learning and to send a clear message to the American people — that the Biden Administration is doing all it can to get children back in classrooms.

It turns out a COVID-19 vaccine that stirred controversy in India may be effective after all.

Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET

The Biden administration will suspend steep tariffs on Irish and Scotch whiskies, English cheeses and other products, after reaching an agreement with the U.K. Former President Trump had imposed the tariffs in late 2019 as part of a long-running dispute over the aviation industry.

Here's a few things you probably didn't know about malaria and the U.S.

At least eight U.S. presidents had it, including George Washington (infected in Virginia), Abraham Lincoln (infected in Illinois) and John F. Kennedy (infected in the Solomon Islands during World War II).

The current U.S. caseload is zero (with the exception of Americans who contract the disease abroad).

As the speed of COVID vaccinations picks up, so do the reports of doses going to waste. And it's more than just a handful at the end of the day because of a few appointment cancellations. Health officials are trying to address the problems that lead to waste, but without slowing down the roll out of the lifesaving vaccinations.

Home is Not a Country was absolutely a book I read for the title. It spoke to me as a third culture kid who has lived around the world, in constant search of what home could mean and how I could create it for myself. But it also felt like a love letter to anyone who has ever been an outsider, or searched to understand their history, no matter where they come from.

Updated at 12:22 p.m. ET

In her time as former President Donald Trump's transportation secretary, Elaine Chao repeatedly used her position and agency staff to help family members who run a shipping business with ties to China, in potential violation of federal ethics laws, according to an Office of Inspector General report.

Berta Romero, is a counselor at Mary Harris Mother Jones elementary school in Prince George's County, a suburb of Washington, D.C. It's a position that was created before the pandemic, to help undocumented children adjust to school.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

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