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Australia has asked the European Commission to review Italy's decision to block a shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines to the Pacific Island nation this week.

One year after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered classrooms around the country and the world, U.S. parents are guardedly optimistic about the academic and social development of their children, an NPR/Ipsos poll finds.

But 62% of parents say their child's education has been disrupted. And, more than 4 out of 5 would like to see schools provide targeted extra services to help their kids catch up. This includes just over half of parents who support the idea of summer school.

Tens of millions of Americans experienced at least a day last year shrouded in wildfire smoke. Entire cities were blanketed, in some cases for weeks, as unprecedented wildfires tore across the Western U.S., causing increases in hospitalizations for respiratory emergencies and concerns about people's longer-term health.

A new study finds those concerns are well founded.

House Democrats are planning a strategic wave of party priority legislation on everything from guns to immigration, even as none — if any — of the bills is likely to pass a 50-50 Senate.

"We believe these bills enjoy overwhelming support among Democrats, Republicans and independents among the American people," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said this week. "Frankly, we don't know why that support, particularly in terms of Republican support, doesn't translate to the members of the House or the Senate."

The recently ousted CEO of the entity that maintains and operates much of Texas's electricity grid has told its board of directors he will not accept an $800,000 severance.

Bill Magness was fired, officially without cause, Wednesday. He had been president and CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, but was removed following last month's winter storm that resulted in days-long blackouts for more than 4 million Texas residents.

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."

Updated at 5:06 p.m. ET

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 Thursday 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.

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Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

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.

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.

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.

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."

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

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.

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.

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.

Twenty-eight-year old Alek Minassian was found guilty on 26 charges that include murder and attempted murder Wednesday for purposefully driving a van through a crowd in Toronto nearly three years ago.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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