Wynne Davis

Omicron is hitting Europe like a tidal wave, moving west to east, and is likely to infect half of all Europeans by March, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Hans Kluge is the WHO regional director for Europe and said while omicron cases were expected to peak in mid-January, it would vary between countries, with the Balkans just now starting to feel the worst of it.

An Illinois judge has been removed from presiding over criminal cases following his decision to reverse a man's sexual assault conviction.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. is planning "things that we have not done in the past" if Russia invades Ukraine.

His comments follow days of diplomatic talks and a deadlock on resolving the crisis brewing along the Ukraine-Russia border.

Caroline Tung Richmond was on the phone one night recently talking about how virtual schooling had its challenges, but she thought it was going all right for her 7-year-old daughter.

Her school was open and back to in-person learning, but they had made the decision to keep her home for now to reduce the COVID-19 risk to their 4-year-old son, who isn't yet eligible for a vaccine.

"I said, let's focus on math and reading, just because she had fallen really behind on reading, and I actually thought she had done OK, all things considered," Richmond said.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

A second winter of COVID is descending upon the United States.

This time there is widespread access to vaccines, but there's also the new omicron variant, a much more infectious form of the coronavirus that's surging.

Health care workers in hospitals are seeing the worst of the pandemic every day. But is anything all that different with this latest variant? To find out, All Things Considered spoke with three nurses from around the country to talk about their experiences.

Between COVID cases climbing because of the omicron variant and behavioral issues in the classroom, some teachers are ready to quit while others are breaking down in school bathrooms amid overwhelming pressure.

Quidditch is getting ditched. The sport started growing beyond the Harry Potter books years ago, when college students first translated it into a real-world game. But now two large leagues plan to drop the famous name, citing author J.K. Rowling's "anti-trans positions."

Before Gloria Steinem became the nationally recognized activist for abortion rights and feminism, she was a 22-year-old living in England and pregnant when she didn't want to be.

Now, like many, Steinem is following the Supreme Court arguments about the Mississippi abortion case. At the center of the case, known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, is a challenge to the Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Vaccines for children under five are expected to be approved early next year, but officials and pediatricians say the slow uptake among hesitant parents for the 5-11 age group could extend to the youngest children too.

Dr. Francis Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health and spoke with NPR's All Things Considered about the timeline for emergency use authorization of the vaccine for kids under 5, and the ongoing efforts to immunize those aged 5 to 11.

Virgil Abloh, the artistic director for Louis Vuitton menswear and the founder of the label Off-White, has died after a private battle with cancer. He was 41.

Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH announced Abloh's death in a tweet on Sunday, along with a joint statement with Louis Vuitton and Off-White.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease doctor and the president's chief medical adviser, said on Sunday that it's inevitable that the omicron variant of the coronavirus will be detected in the U.S.

While no cases of the variant have been detected in the U.S. so far, there have been cases detected in Botswana, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong.

The Washington Spirit is bringing home its first national championship title to the nation's capital after defeating the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women's Soccer League final game on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

The Spirit secured their 2-1 win over Chicago with a goal from Kelley O'Hara during extra time at the 97-minute mark. O'Hara sent a header past Chicago's Cassie Miller after a cross from Washington's Trinity Rodman.

Not only was it O'Hara's first goal of the season, but at 33 years old, it made her the oldest NWSL player to score in a playoff game.

Updated November 20, 2021 at 3:36 PM ET

President Biden's spending bill, often called "Build Back Better," passed in the House on Friday largely on party lines. Now the bill heads to the Senate, where it is expected to be pared down further.

Sleepovers. Birthday parties. Long-awaited family reunions.

Those are among the activities and gatherings that parents told NPR they hope to make possible for their kids following a formal recommendation of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The moment that a lot of parents have been waiting for is almost here. Children ages 5 to 11 could be able to get vaccines as early as next week.

While some parents may be excited for this emergency use authorization to be issued, that's not true for everyone. And there are still parents whose children are younger than 5, who don't have an option to have their kids vaccinated just yet.

If you're looking for a good Halloween lights display this weekend, you may only need to look up at the sky.

The northern lights, or aurora borealis, could be visible across a large portion of the northern U.S. this weekend, including the far Northeast, Upper Midwest and the state of Washington, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The lights might even be seen as far as Pennsylvania, Iowa and Oregon.

As world leaders and activists get ready to kick off the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday, it's clear that governmental and institutional change is essential to changing the trajectory and averting the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Many of us are anxious about climate change, and that's understandable. While no one person can solve this global issue, there are some things that we, as individuals, can play a role in.

Tom Morey, the inventor of the Boogie Board and a renowned figure in the surfing world, died Thursday at age 86.

Morey grew up in Laguna Beach, Calif., where he started surfing and became one of the area's most notable surfers of the '50s and '60s. Morey attended the University of Southern California, where he studied music before switching to mathematics and graduating in 1957, according to The Washington Post.

Ah, yes, baseball in October. Does it get any better?

Sunday was the final day of the regular season in Major League Baseball. When play began, at 3 p.m. ET, there was the possibility of a several scenarios that might beget a series of tie-breaker games, with four teams vying for two wild card spots in the American League and seeding in the National League still not fully set.

Spain's prime minister vowed to rebuild the country's Canary Island of La Palma, following a volcanic eruption that began two weeks ago and continues to spew ash and lava.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced an aid package of 206 million euros, approximately $238 million, on Sunday during his third visit to the island since the eruptions started on Sept. 19, according to the Associated Press.

Updated October 25, 2021 at 9:03 PM ET

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 American service members killed in a bomb attack in Kabul this summer.

The August attack was one of the deadliest days for American forces in the past decade of the 20-year war in Afghanistan — and took place just days ahead of the U.S.'s planned full withdrawal from the country that had been overtaken days earlier by the Taliban.

Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., and other cities across the country on Saturday to protest a recent slew of legislation that critics say suppresses voter rights, particularly for voters of color and young voters, in many Republican-led states.

Back to school season is here, and with it comes a lot of changes. Whether your child is just starting school or going back after summer vacation, it can be both exciting and stressful. At Life Kit, we're rooting for you and want to help keep that stress to a minimum. We've gathered some episodes that we think will help, from what to do about anxiety to how to have tough conversations that might come up because of school.

Mississippi health officials are pleading with residents not to take a medicine meant for cows and horses as an alternative to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a state with the nation's second lowest rate of vaccination against the coronavirus, a jump in the number of calls to poison control prompted an alert Friday from the Mississippi State Department of Health about ingesting the drug ivermectin.

Liz Shuler will serve as president of the AFL-CIO, following the death of longtime president Richard Trumka earlier this month.

The AFL-CIO executive council elected her to the position on Friday. Shuler is the federation's first woman president. Following Trumka's death, Shuler was serving as acting president, and had served as secretary-treasurer, the No. 2 office, since 2009.

Simone Biles' decision to withdraw from the team competition and the individual all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics came as a surprise to many.

Britney Spears says that as long as her father is in charge of conservatorship, she will not be performing "anytime soon."

Britney Spears made the declaration in the caption of a photo posted to her Instagram account. The artist also addressed people commenting on her videos that frequently feature Britney dancing to music in her home.

"For those of you who choose to criticize my dancing videos ... look I'm not gonna be performing on any stages anytime soon with my dad handling what I wear, say, do, or think!!!!" she said in her post.

With less than a week before the opening ceremonies begin at this year's Tokyo games, at least two players on the South African soccer team have tested positive for COVID-19 inside the Olympic Village.

The two players, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, are the first athletes to test positive for the coronavirus at the site of the Olympic Village in the Japanese capital. A video analyst for the team, Mario Masha, also tested positive.

All three have been isolated, along with those who were in close contact with them.

Vietnam has detected a new coronavirus variant that is highly transmissible and has features of two other strains.

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