Steve Inskeep

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Suppose you're a Palestinian living in Gaza. You can't easily leave. Israel and Egypt control the borders. Your local government is dominated by Hamas. And for the past week, Hamas rockets have flown out of Gaza while Israeli bombs have been falling in.

That is the experience for Jamal al-Sharif and his family.

"For a full week now, we couldn't sleep for more than two or three hours in the 24 hours," says al-Sharif. "Children are screaming, shouting all the time. And the situation is terrifying."

This story is part of an NPR series, We Hold These Truths, on American democracy.

Stanley Martin was one of the Black Lives Matter activists who organized last year's protests in Rochester, N.Y. She pushed to change policing from outside the system.

This year, Martin is seeking change from the inside, running in the Rochester City Council primary on June 22. Her focus: "reimagining" public safety. To Martin, this means a radical new plan to abolish the police gradually.

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

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Updated April 23, 2021 at 10:27 AM ET

Retired Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster says he likes some of what he sees so far in President Biden's approach to China.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 9:10 AM ET

"Aghast, appalled and very angry."

Those are the first words that come to mind when Karen Gibson, newly appointed sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate, reaches to explain the feeling of watching a crowd of rioters storm the Capitol building.

One in 4 Americans would refuse a coronavirus vaccine if offered, a recent NPR/Marist poll found. Another 5% are "undecided" about whether they would get the shot. And some researchers are growing worried that this reluctance will be enough to prevent the nation from reaching what's known as herd immunity.

People who voted for Donald Trump were already some of the most likely to oppose getting vaccinated.

Now a poll shows the idea of a document, sometimes called a "passport," showing proof of vaccination is unpopular with that group as well. Forty-seven percent of Trump voters oppose this type of document, compared with 10% of Biden voters, the survey shows.

John Boehner says he couldn't win an election as a Republican these days.

"I think I'd have a pretty tough time," he says. "I'm a conservative Republican, but I'm not crazy. And, you know, these days crazy gets elected. On the left and the right."

Boehner has a new memoir, On the House, about his time in politics.

Later this month, Bahareh Shargi will mark an anniversary: It will be three years that her husband has been stuck in Iran.

Iranian authorities first imprisoned Emad Shargi, a U.S. citizen, on April 23, 2018. Though they eventually released him on bail, they did not allow him to leave the country and later returned him to Tehran's Evin prison. Now his family hopes that speaking out may help him.

The U.S. and Iran are holding indirect talks this week in Vienna over a return to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Diplomats from the two countries won't meet face to face — representatives from Europe, Russia and China will serve as a go-between. Both the U.S. and Iran insist the other needs to make a concession first — Iran says the U.S. should lift sanctions, while the U.S. says Iran should scale back its nuclear program.

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Updated March 22, 2021 at 11:48 AM ET

Georgia Republican lawmakers have backed off of a proposal that would have curtailed early voting on Sundays in the state.

Sunday voting is especially important for congregants in Black churches, which regularly hold "souls to the polls" events after Sunday services.

As hopes increase that life will soon get back to normal, there's one pandemic ritual that a lot of kids and parents are going to miss.

A year ago, as the coronavirus began to rage, fitness instructor Joe Wicks, known as The Body Coach, started a daily exercise class for kids on YouTube called "PE With Joe." The idea was to help children stay active during the lockdown.

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.

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."

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Republican-led legislatures in dozens of states are moving to change election laws in ways that could make it harder to vote.

Many proposals explicitly respond to the 2020 election: Lawmakers cite public concerns about election security — concerns generated by disinformation that then-President Donald Trump spread while trying to overturn the election.

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The Dallas-Fort Worth area has seen the coldest temperatures in a generation this week, with a record-setting 2 degrees below zero on Tuesday morning. Michael Evans is the newly elected mayor of Mansfield, Texas, a Dallas-Fort Worth suburb with a population of more than 70,000, which, like much of the rest of the state, has seen its share of power outages this week.

Evans says the severe cold isn't fully to blame for those outages.

After traveling to Wuhan, China, a team of researchers from the World Health Organization is readying a preliminary report on the origins of the coronavirus.

Wuhan is where the virus was first reported in December 2019.

The WHO team's main public conclusion so far is that it's "extremely unlikely" that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan. The scientists think the virus most likely started in bats, then jumped to other animals, then to humans.

A big part of President Biden's coronavirus relief package is focused on children. The president says he wants to expand the federal child tax credit, which gives families money for each child they have — or at least reduces their taxes.

This change could help lift nearly 10 million children above the poverty line or get them closer to it, according to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

President Biden is reviewing the U.S. government's response to domestic extremism, including threats that gained traction under President Donald Trump.

As slow as the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been in the United States, some estimates say billions of people around the world won't be vaccinated for COVID-19 until 2022 or 2023.

Bloomberg has been publishing a map that shows the level of vaccine distribution in different countries and virtually the entire continent of Africa — more than 50 nations — is blank.

The night before their inauguration, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris stood near the Lincoln Memorial and marked more than 400,000 people killed by the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the Biden administration takes responsibility for fighting the pandemic.

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When President Trump left the White House for the final time as president this morning, he stopped by to say a few words to reporters standing on the South Lawn. Those reporters included NPR's Franco Ordoñez, who's on the line. Franco, good morning.

Parler calls itself a "conservative microblogging alternative" to Twitter and "the world's premier free speech platform."

But it's been offline for five days, and possibly forever, after Amazon kicked Parler off of its Web hosting service.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska was in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday when rioters attacked. As Congress was preparing to reconvene, Sasse issued remarks saying that "lies have consequences" and that the attack on the Capitol was "the inevitable and ugly outcome of the President's addiction to constantly stoking division." And then Sasse voted to affirm the election results.

Jack Ma is one of the world's most successful business people. And, until recently, he was also quite talkative.

The founder of China's giant company Alibaba often turned up in interviews or at conferences. In 2017, he spoke at the World Economic Forum.

"Every day is uncertain. The only certain day was yesterday," he said.

The man who said every day is uncertain now faces an uncertain fate. And the man who so often spoke in public has not appeared in months. He recently missed scheduled TV appearances.

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