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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A judge sentenced former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II to 14 years in prison Wednesday for rapes and other sexual offenses against several women in Southern California.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman, who presided over Winslow's trial, called the former player "a sexual predator," according to news reports.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voiced concern on Wednesday about the recent climb in the number of new cases of the coronavirus, warning that pandemic fatigue and the loosening of restrictions may be setting the stage for yet another surge this spring.

How 2 Skiers Conquered Yosemite's Half Dome

12 hours ago

At the end of last month, two skiers achieved an unprecedented feat: descending the summit of Yosemite National Park's iconic Half Dome into the valley below.

In 1865, a report declared that the rock formation — at more than 8,800 feet above sea level — was a path that "never will be trodden by human foot."

Since then, Half Dome has become a popular, but challenging, hike.

But on Feb. 21, Jason Torlano and Zach Milligan made the nearly 5,000-foot trek down on skis.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Dr. Rochelle Walensky has been head of the CDC for just over a month. And for most of that time, she was looking at hopeful signs - a sharp drop in new coronavirus cases, more people getting vaccinated and a third vaccine coming on the market. Now, it's starting to look like a mixed picture. New cases and deaths are creeping up. Texas and Mississippi are dropping statewide mask requirements and fully reopening for business.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Dr. Rochelle Walensky has been head of the CDC for just over a month. And for most of that time, she was looking at hopeful signs - a sharp drop in new coronavirus cases, more people getting vaccinated and a third vaccine coming on the market. Now, it's starting to look like a mixed picture. New cases and deaths are creeping up. Texas and Mississippi are dropping statewide mask requirements and fully reopening for business.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Dr. Rochelle Walensky has been head of the CDC for just over a month. And for most of that time, she was looking at hopeful signs - a sharp drop in new coronavirus cases, more people getting vaccinated and a third vaccine coming on the market. Now, it's starting to look like a mixed picture. New cases and deaths are creeping up. Texas and Mississippi are dropping statewide mask requirements and fully reopening for business.

Colombian President Iván Duque has won praise from the Biden administration, the United Nations and Pope Francis for his decision last month to provide temporary legal status to undocumented migrants from neighboring Venezuela. But according to Duque, what's been lacking from the international community is money to pay for a crisis that's similar in scope to the outflow of Syrian refugees in the 2010s.

In his first press briefing since three women came forward with claims of sexual harassment, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized for acting "in a way that made people feel uncomfortable," but denied touching anyone inappropriately and said he would not resign.

Senate Democrats have reached an agreement with the White House to tighten the limits on who can receive the next round of stimulus checks as part of President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, according to several Democratic sources.

The change comes after demands from moderate Democrats to make sure the latest round of checks is targeted at lower-income families. The full amount of the checks remains unchanged at $1,400, but the amount would phase out quickly for higher earners.

Director Lee Isaac Chung's inspiration for Minari, his semi-autobiographical film about a Korean American father who moves his family to a farm in rural Arkansas, began with a list.

Chung had been struggling to settle on a new project. Inspired by Willa Cather's writing about her Nebraska roots, he decided to look into his own past. So he went to the local library and spent the afternoon writing a list of memories from his own rural upbringing.

The country's rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is picking up speed, with a third new vaccine ramping up production and an accelerated timeline promising enough supply for every American adult by the end of May.

This is unbearable.

I wrote that one-sentence review to myself about half-way through reading Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro's just published eighth novel.

Lest you think that doesn't sound like much of an enticement, know that I've probably written something like that sentence about every Ishiguro novel I've read. He is the master of slowly deepening our awareness of human failing, fragility and the inevitability of death — all that, even as he deepens our awareness of what temporary magic it is to be alive in the first place.

In a tale the stuff of yard-sale legend, a small porcelain bowl sold at its $35 asking price has turned out to be a rare, 15th-century Chinese artifact worth up to half a million dollars.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Rep. Ronny Jackson made sexual and denigrating statements about a female subordinate, smelled of alcohol while on duty and humiliated his staff during his long stint as a White House physician, according to a scathing new report from the Defense Department's inspector general.

Seven years ago this April 14, armed Boko Haram terrorists kidnapped 276 school girls in the remote Nigerian town of Chibok. Fifty-seven of them managed to escape by jumping onto the highway as the trucks into which they'd been forced were driving away. The Boko Haram convoy continued on, taking the remaining 219 hostages to a destination, and a fate, unknown.

Updated at 5:47 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives has canceled its Thursday session after the U.S. Capitol Police said it is aware of a threat by an identified militia group to breach the Capitol complex that day.

The Senate plans to remain in session on Thursday to debate amendments to the COVID-19 relief bill.

Dutch police in a town north of Amsterdam are investigating an explosion outside of a coronavirus test center early Wednesday.

Police say the explosion went off at about 6:55 a.m. outside of the center in Bovenkarspel, a town about 40 miles northeast of Amsterdam. There were no injuries from the blast. Investigators told local media that the explosion appeared intentional, as remnants of an exploded metal cylinder were found outside of the building.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency has put the country's largest opposition party under surveillance as a potential threat to the country's constitution, according to public broadcaster ARD and other media outlets. The move affects dozens of lawmakers who are in the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party.

Updated at 3:01 p.m. ET

It took more than three hours for former President Donald Trump's Defense Department to approve a request for the D.C. National Guard to intervene in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the commanding general of the outfit told senators on Wednesday.

Updated at 11:15 a.m. ET

In a day of protests that was among the deadliest in Myanmar since last month's coup, at least 18 people were reportedly killed on Wednesday, a day after Southeast Asian foreign ministers issued a tepid call to end to the violence.

Country music legend Dolly Parton got a taste of her own medicine on Tuesday when she received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine whose research she helped fund.

Parton, 75, documented the moment in a video posted to social media in which she encouraged eligible viewers to get the shot and broke into a modified rendition of "Jolene" to that effect.

Michelle Queen does not consider herself part of QAnon, but she does believe some of its most outlandish conspiracies – including that Satan-worshipping elites in a secret pedophile cabal are killing babies and drinking their blood.

"When you are evil, you're evil," says Queen, 46, from Texas. "It goes deep."

A number of states are breaking with federal guidelines and starting to vaccinate people by age group, drawing criticism from essential workers and people with underlying conditions who are getting bumped back in line.

In Connecticut, officials say they're trying to balance equity with speeding up the pace of vaccinations. Under a new vaccination plan that began on March 1, educators are still prioritized but essential workers like grocers, security officers and janitors, who would have been next in line, now have to wait until their age group comes up.

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NOEL KING, HOST:

President Biden said on Tuesday that a key milestone in the fight against COVID-19 could be reached two months faster than earlier projected. By the end of May, there should be enough vaccine doses for every adult in America, he said — a dramatic improvement to his initial timetable for late July.

A turning point in speeding up that pledge came a few weeks ago, on a Sunday afternoon in early February, during a phone call with Johnson & Johnson executives that had been planned for 15 minutes but stretched for longer than an hour, two senior administration officials told NPR.

A conspiracy theory sown by former President Donald Trump and his allies to cast doubt on his loss last year has trickled down to county-level politics, impeding one Ohio county's ability to purchase new voting equipment ahead of local elections this year.

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