Emma Bowman

The Biden administration is considering sending as many as 5,000 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe, a U.S. official confirmed to NPR, in what would be a step-up in American military involvement in the region amid growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. troops could be headed to Romania and Poland, or possibly Bulgaria or Hungary. No final decision has been made but the troops have been told to be ready to move, the official said.

When Nazis invaded the Polish town of Bielica, Philip Lazowski and his family were among the Jewish residents who were sent to the Zhetel ghetto during Word War II.

One April morning in 1942, the Lazowski family caught wind that the Nazis were killing Jews in the ghetto, in what is now Belarus, and decided to go into hiding. Philip, then just 11 years old, helped his parents and siblings take shelter in a hideout they'd built in their apartment. He closed off the hiding spot so it wouldn't be discovered, telling his family he would find another place to hide.

When Luis Paulino started eighth grade at a new school in a new country, he was made to feel like he didn't fit in.

Paulino, who arrived in New York from the Dominican Republic in 2006, remembered being bullied for his differences.

Unlike his new classmates, Paulino didn't speak English and he wore baggy, drab clothes. As a Spanish speaker placed in strictly English-speaking classes, he struggled in school.

Years before humorist David Sedaris became a celebrated writer, he worked as a Christmas elf at a Macy's department store in New York.

His time as Santa's helper was less than merry and bright.

Sedaris wrote about the dark side of holiday spirit in the Santaland Diaries, a sardonic collection of somewhat-exaggerated stories based on his travails as Crumpet the elf.

In 1992, Sedaris read from Santaland on Morning Edition. Thus, an NPR holiday tradition was born, and the struggling writer became an in-demand talent overnight.

After spending more than 12 years as director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins is retiring this weekend. But he's no less worried about the public health agency's latest pandemic curveball.

As the omicron variant threatens record-breaking rates of infections in the U.S., Collins departs with a warning. If Americans don't take COVID-19 seriously, the country could see 1 million daily infections, he said.

"We cannot afford to let down our guard," Collins told NPR's Scott Detrow in an interview with Weekend Edition.

When opioid addiction began to ravage Suzanne and Jesus Valle's Ohio community more than two decades ago, the husband and wife saw another crisis unfolding.

In Blue Creek, Ohio, one of the hardest-hit areas in the country's opioid epidemic, children whose parents had become addicted to pain pills, heroin and other opioids were becoming the invisible casualties of the crisis.

So, the Valles stepped in to help.

A "sour" tour indeed.

Almost as soon as concert tickets for Olivia Rodrigo's SOUR tour went on sale Friday morning, many cities sold out due to overwhelming demand.

Some fans flocked to the Ticketmaster site, only to find themselves on a waitlist behind thousands of people, while others were met with "technical difficulties," frustrating many who ended up empty-handed as dates quickly sold out.

In the fall of 1989, Mark Woodley saw an ad in a local New York newspaper: Macy's was looking for Santas to spread cheer in its department stores that holiday season.

Although he was trained as an architect, Woodley applied for the job. He thought lifting children's spirits might boost his own.

Woodley had been at an especially low moment. It was the height of the country's AIDS crisis, and he'd been grieving the loss of his best friend, who died of the disease. At the same time, he was coping with his own HIV diagnosis.

Updated December 4, 2021 at 8:34 PM ET

CNN has fired Chris Cuomo after new revelations detailed the journalist's role in advising his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the face of sexual harassment allegations.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is demanding that the FBI take full control over the investigation into the death of Jelani "J.J." Day.

The last time Carolyn DeFord, a member of the Puyallup tribe, saw her mother was in 1999.

That's when Leona Kinsey, who raised DeFord in La Grande, Ore., went missing. She was never seen again. Her disappearance is just one unsolved case in the nationwide crisis of missing or murdered Indigenous women.

Updated December 2, 2021 at 10:53 AM ET

Twitter will no longer let its users publish private videos or images of other people without their consent, in a new policy expansion meant to prevent harassment and abuse on its platform.

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.

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.

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