NPR News

Federal prosecutors have unsealed an indictment accusing former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh of using her series of self-published children's books to commit fraud, evade federal taxes and illegally boost her own political campaigns.

House committees are hearing from three witnesses Wednesday — following a busy Tuesday when four officials provided public testimony to impeachment investigators.

The 62nd Grammy Awards nominations are here, and it appears to be Lizzo's year to lose.

The singer, songwriter, flutist and rapper was nominated across five of the night's top categories, including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best R&B Performance.

Lil Nas X was nominated for Best New Artist, Album of the Year (for his debut record, 7), and Record of the Year, where his Gen Z opus "Old Town Road" is up against Post Malone, Bon Iver, Swae Lee, H.E.R., Ariana Grande, Lizzo and Billie Eilish.

A Hong Kong citizen who worked for the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong says secret police officers tortured him in mainland China, accusing him of being a spy and working to agitate pro-democracy protests.

In a lengthy Facebook post, Simon Cheng says he was beaten, put into stress positions and deprived of sleep for a roughly two-week period in August after Chinese police detained him at a train station at Hong Kong's border with the mainland.

Khazaal Salih sits in a tent next to a photo of his son, just back from the framing shop. In the gold-framed photo, Abbas wears a disposable blue surgical mask to protect him from tear gas. He's smiling and raising his fingers in a victory sign. At the top of the photo is the date — Nov. 6, 2019 — when the young man was killed by Iraqi security forces during an anti-government protest.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A parent wearing a headscarf on a school field trip has reignited debate. Some say the headscarf doesn't fit in France's secular society. Others say this conflates the veil with Islamist radicalism.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Right now, there are dozens of patients — U.S. citizens — in New Zealand hospitals who are fighting the clock. They have only a few weeks to recover and get home to the tiny island of American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific.

Atlanta's Tyler Perry Studios has been home to Wakanda, the White House and The Walking Dead, but on Wednesday night it will host its most topical production yet: the next Democratic presidential primary debate, hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post.

The shale oil boom that catapulted the U.S. into being the world's largest oil producer may be going bust. Oil prices are dropping amid weakening demand, bankruptcies and layoffs are up, and drilling is down — signs of a crisis that's quietly roiling the industry.

Some of the most successful companies in the oil business are household names — think Exxon Mobil or Chevron. But the boom in shale drilling has been driven by smaller, independent operators. These companies have pushed the limits of drilling technology and taken big risks on unproven oil fields.

Tensions are growing between homeless advocates and the Trump administration, which is in the process of crafting a new strategy to deal with rising homelessness in California and other states.

Advocacy groups are concerned that the plan will rely on more vigorous law enforcement and private market incentives rather than on efforts to house homeless individuals and provide supportive services — a policy known as Housing First that has been embraced across the country over the last decade.

Updated at 12:59 p.m. ET

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, tied President Trump directly to conditioning a meeting with the Ukrainian president with "a public statement from President Zelensky committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election."

Amid a slew of public impeachment hearings, Democratic presidential candidates are gathering in Atlanta to debate once again. This round also comes less than three months before the first primaries and caucuses.

Ten candidates made the cut, down from a record of 12 in October's debate.

As House Ukraine hearings opened their second week Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said there won't be enough votes to remove President Trump in the Senate if Democrats trigger an impeachment trial.

The Kentucky Republican told reporters he would convene a Senate trial as required by the Constitution if he receives articles of impeachment from the House — but he reiterated that he believes Trump would prevail.

"It's inconceivable to me that there would be 67 to remove the president from office," McConnell said.

When Gordon Sondland arrived at the Capitol last month to provide what would be pivotal testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry, a reporter asked the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, "Are you here to salvage your reputation?"

"I don't have a reputation to salvage," Sondland shot back.

Until recently, Sondland, 62, had a pretty low profile outside his hometown of Portland, Ore., where he and his wife, Katy Durant, are big Republican donors and contributors to numerous arts and civic organizations.

Step into one of the nation's top art museums, and most of the works you'll see were made by men.

The Baltimore Museum of Art has decided to make a bold step to correct that imbalance: next year, the museum will only purchase works made by female-identifying artists.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Southeast Asia's largest lake is under threat, and with it, an entire ecosystem. Dams, overfishing and this year, drought, have brought the Cambodian lake to what may be a breaking point. Michael Sullivan reports.

(CHEERING)

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ADAM SCHIFF: This committee will come to order.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Pages