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Emma Bowman

Updated November 29, 2021 at 5:41 PM ET

Opening statements began Monday in the federal sex-trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the once prominent socialite who stands accused of helping disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein exploit and abuse multiple girls, including one as young as 14, over nearly a decade.

Updated November 29, 2021 at 3:17 PM ET

When the omicron variant of COVID-19 was first identified in South Africa, the country's scientists were quick to inform global health leaders of the new mutations they had found.

Updated November 24, 2021 at 7:19 PM ET

Civil rights activists, lawyers and politicians joined Ahmaud Arbery's family in welcoming the guilty verdict in Georgia against three men charged in his murder.

Updated November 22, 2021 at 1:21 AM ET

A holiday parade in Waukesha, Wis., turned to horror after a driver in a red SUV tore through the crowd Sunday evening. The city stated that five people have been confirmed dead and more than 40 people were injured after the SUV collided with parade marchers.

Brazil's Amazon rainforest saw its highest annual rate of deforestation in over 15 years, the latest data shows, after a 22% climb from the previous year.

Petra Mayer, a beloved books editor on NPR's Culture desk, died on Saturday.

She died suddenly at Holy Cross Hospital in Maryland of what's believed to be a pulmonary embolism, said Nancy Barnes, NPR's senior vice president for news, in an email to staff.

"Petra was NPR through and through," Barnes wrote. "To say that Petra will be missed simply seems inadequate."

Mayer was a proud nerd with a penchant for science fiction, comics and cats, said fellow books editor Meghan Sullivan.

The Marine Corps, the smallest U.S. military force, has plans for a big overhaul designed to address its lack of diversity and problem with retaining troops.

The goal that's driving what amounts to a cultural shift within the service, is for the Marines "to reflect America, to reflect the society we come from," Gen. David Berger, commandant of the Marine Corps, said in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

It's not a matter of being politically correct or "woke," he said.

As the children of circus performers, Fritzi and Bobby Huber would spend nine months out of the year traveling the country with their parents.

While on the road, the family of four lived in a 26-foot-long trailer, stuffed with an array of costumes that parents Fritz and Betty wore in their act.

And even though costumes were a part of everyday life in the circus, Bobby and Fritzi had never heard of Halloween until they were six and seven, respectively.

Updated October 23, 2021 at 7:24 PM ET

At the height of her journalism career, Katie Couric's success at the Today show rested on balancing a girl-next-door likability with getting the story.

It was the cutthroat heyday of morning news shows, when ratings often trumped ethics.

In her new memoir, Going There, Couric dishes on what audiences couldn't always see during the years she worked for ABC, CBS, NBC and Yahoo. She also details what was happening in her personal life at the time.

Grete Bergman had long wanted to get traditional facial markings, a practice for Indigenous women in Alaska that European settlers tried to extinguish.

But in 2016, Bergman became one of the first among the Gwich'in Nation — First Nations peoples whose homelands stretch from northeast Alaska to northwest Canada — to get tattooed, in a return to a centuries-old tradition.

"My dad would have hated it," Bergman said. "He would have looked at me and he would have said, 'What the hell you do that for?' "

The diversity of the Indigenous community is underrepresented and misunderstood. Four young Black Indigenous activists working to change that spoke about their heritage, solidarity and how they view Indigenous Peoples Day. The hour-long virtual panel, coinciding with the national holiday on Monday, was hosted by Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

This year marks the first time a U.S. president has officially recognized Indigenous Peoples' Day.

Wilma Mankiller, the Cherokee Nation's first woman chief, led a life defying expectations.

Her last name, for one — adopted by her ancestor that refers to a traditional Cherokee military rank — has invited all sorts of misinterpretations.

"I'm fairly soft-spoken and people, sort of, have an image of what a woman named Mankiller would be like, and I don't think that I really fit their image," she told Fresh Air in 1993.

Matthew McConaughey is not not running for governor of Texas.

"I am not — until I am," the Oscar winner and best-selling author told NPR host Scott Simon in a live, open-ended forum broadcast on Twitter Spaces on Thursday. "It's got to be personal for me, but it's also got to be the most useful thing for the most amount of people."

Jeanine Menze fell in love with airplanes as a little girl in Jamaica, watching them take off and land at the local airport.

At 18, she set out to register for her first flight lesson at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla.

But she got discouraged when she saw that the people lining up for aeronautical science classes were mostly white and male.

"I panicked," she said in a StoryCorps conversation last month. "I don't see anyone that looks like me, and I felt like I didn't belong."

More than a month after Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm, battered Louisiana's coast, Roy and Annie Parfait still can't go home.

The Native couple, elders of the Houma tribe, are staying with family while they wait to see if federal money comes through to help them repair their roof in Dulac.

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Updated September 23, 2021 at 5:14 PM ET

Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended a third dose of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and older as well as others at a high risk of severe illness.

A self-taught electrical engineer transformed the video game world in the 1970s.

Before Gerald "Jerry" Lawson helped invent the first video game console with interchangeable game cartridges, players were limited to a preset selection of games built into systems.

As such, Lawson has been called the "father of modern gaming." But to Karen and Anderson Lawson, he was first and foremost "Dad."

Jerry died in 2011 at age 70. At StoryCorps, Anderson, now 49, and Karen, 52, remembered how their father's pioneering spirit also influenced how he raised them.

The signs that it's officially Hispanic Heritage Month are all around us, be it a Google Doodle or an annual film festival.

But the national attention paid to Latinos and Hispanics this time of year belies a persistent reality, according to a new report: Latino and Hispanic Americans are still underrepresented and poorly represented in popular films.

Ajmal Achekzai was five years old when he first left his homeland. It was 1980, and his family was among the first Afghans to seek asylum in the United States after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

"All I remember is crying, hearing tank sounds," said Achekzai, now 46, recalling the Soviet-Afghan war during a StoryCorps interview in Los Angeles last month.

Achekzai's father, who was a university professor in Kabul, was tipped off by one of his students that the Russian regime suspected him of being a supporter of the anti-Soviet mujahedeen rebels.

The last conversation Keith Chapman had with his younger brother Nathan Chapman was on Christmas Day 2001. Nathan had called up his family from Afghanistan.

Although the 31-year-old, a sergeant first class with the U.S. Army's 1st Special Forces Group, couldn't disclose his location, his family put it together based on what time Nathan said it was where he was calling from.

"I don't remember that we said very much," Keith said during a StoryCorps interview in Frederick, Md., last week with their mother, Lynn Chapman.

Updated August 4, 2021 at 3:56 PM ET

The FBI says George Gonzalez, the Pentagon Force Protection Agency officer who was killed in Tuesday's violent incident at a Pentagon bus platform, was attacked without provocation.

Investigators report that Austin William Lanz, 27, most recently of Acworth, Ga., stepped off a bus and immediately lunged at Gonzalez. Lanz then got the officer's gun and shot himself, the investigators say.

What appeared to be a rookie mistake in the 4x400-meter mixed-gender relay jeopardized Team USA's shot at a gold medal.

Americans coasted to the win in the first qualifying heat of the event, but the four sprinters were disqualified when it was ruled that a baton handoff between Elija Godwin and Lynna Irby took place outside the exchange box before Irby ran the second leg.

Civil rights leader Robert "Bob" Moses, a soft-spoken and self-effacing grassroots organizer who championed Black voting rights, died on Sunday at age 86.

Born and raised in Harlem, N.Y., Moses went to the South to join the nascent fight for civil rights in the early 1960s, ultimately becoming a central figure in the movement.

Updated July 19, 2021 at 12:01 AM ET

Three people were wounded in a shooting outside of Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. during a home game against the San Diego Padres on Saturday night.

The shooting was an exchange of gunfire between people in two cars, said Metropolitan Police Department executive assistant police chief Ashan Benedict, according to The Associated Press.

More abortion restrictions have been enacted across the U.S. this year than in any previous year, according to an analysis by a group that supports abortion rights.

State legislatures have passed at least 90 laws restricting the procedure in 2021 so far, finds a report released this month from the Guttmacher Institute.

Updated July 9, 2021 at 9:36 AM ET

For the first time in the Scripps National Spelling Bee's 96-year history, an African American has taken home the top prize.

This July 4th, freedom rang a little louder than last Independence Day. Well, the fireworks did at least.

Blasts of flashy pyrotechnics across the country marked something of a return to normal, a year after the coronavirus pandemic dampened most Fourth festivities.

But on America's 245th birthday, there was perhaps even more reason to celebrate in the name of freedom. About half of Americans are fully vaccinated against the virus, lockdowns have been lifted and infections remain relatively low in the U.S.

Updated July 5, 2021 at 5:15 PM ET

For as long as she can remember, Danita Bilozaze knew that the name on her birth certificate, "Danita Loth," didn't reflect her Indigenous identity.

From the stories her mother recounted to her, she knew that Catholic missionaries had changed her family's name. Her great-grandfather, a man known as Lor Bilozaze, was written into priests' logs as "Loth Bilozaze." Government record books in Canada ultimately dropped the "Bilozaze," and Loth became their surname.

In the face of lawsuits alleging the condo board's negligence in the catastrophic collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., the condominium association has hired a crisis communications firm.

Levick, a PR firm based in Washington, D.C., that promises to "fix the impossible," confirmed to NPR that it has been retained by the condo group. Levick's director Maxwell Marcucci told NPR that his firm is assisting the board with a deluge of media inquiries.

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