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The pandemic rages on. More than 180,000 people were diagnosed yesterday. States and cities are closing businesses. Nearly 800,000 people are applying for unemployment every week.

Despite all this, Congress has not passed an economic relief package since late April — and a set of vital relief measures helping millions of Americans avoid financial ruin and eviction are all set to expire this month.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

President Trump is threatening to veto a critical defense spending bill unless Congress agrees to repeal a liability shield for social media companies.

The president tweeted late Tuesday that Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act is "a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity."

Section 230 provides legal protection for technology companies over content from third parties and users. Trump referred to the provision as a "liability shielding gift" to "Big Tech."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Nikita Chinchwade moved from India to the U.S. last fall to get a master's degree.

"It had been a dream of mine for a very long time because of the quality of education here," she says.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Early in the pandemic, Xiomy De la Cruz was working at a fast food restaurant, but her work hours were cut back. She is a Peruvian refugee single mother with two children and another on the way. Like many families, she found herself in various pantry lines to make ends meet.

"So I said to myself one day, 'why not fill up my car with food and take it to my house?' There are so many moms who don't have access to a car for transportation," De la Cruz said. "I filled up my van and put a 'free food' sign on my door."

In the days of counting that followed election night, there was plenty of stress in the Biden and Harris families. And the whole world could follow along.

The eldest granddaughter of President-elect Joe Biden, Naomi Biden, joked to her 188,000 Twitter followers that she couldn't stop watching cable news and that she'd "kill to be one of those people who 'can't eat when they're stressed' right about now."

In a contest with historic turnout, President-elect Joe Biden topped President Trump by nearly 7 million votes, and 74 votes in the Electoral College, but his victory really was stitched together with narrow margins in a handful of states.

A trio of young Hong Kong opposition activists have been sentenced after pleading guilty to organizing a demonstration last year as part of a larger protest against Hong Kong's receding autonomy.

Their sentencing on Wednesday is the latest blow to the region's opposition movement which seeks to preserve Hong Kong's limited autonomy from Beijing.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET

The U.K. has formally approved Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Western country to OK its use for the general public.

The British regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, or MHRA, announced early Wednesday the approval of the vaccine from Pfizer and the German company BioNTech for emergency use. The vaccine promises up to 95% protection against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The captain of a dive boat that caught fire last year off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., was indicted Tuesday on 34 counts of negligent manslaughter.

Thirty-three passengers and one crew member died during the early morning hours of Sept. 2, 2019, when a fast moving fire broke out on the 75-foot Conception. The boat was docked off Santa Cruz Island for a chartered three-day diving trip.

Actor Elliot Page, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the 2007 film Juno, announced Tuesday that he is transgender.

He posted a public letter on Twitter and Instagram:

"Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived in this place in my life."

The EU's drug agency said Tuesday it may approve the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine this month. The vaccine could be distributed before 2021.

The transition from a Trump administration that dismantled regulations across the federal government to a Biden administration that has signaled a greater emphasis on occupational safety and the environment may finally mean new action on a toxic form of dust in coal mines.

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has collapsed, after weeks of concern from scientists over the fate of what was once the world's largest single-dish radio telescope. Arecibo's 900-ton equipment platform, suspended 500 feet above the dish, fell overnight after the last of its healthy support cables failed to keep it in place.

No injuries were reported, according to the National Science Foundation, which oversees the renowned research facility.

Hospitals across the U.S. are struggling as workers contract the coronavirus. It's especially tough for rural hospitals, where even one doctor out sick can upend the hospital's patient capacity.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

It's been almost a month since Election Day. And today Attorney General William Barr weighed in on the integrity of the vote. Barr said in an interview with the Associated Press that the Justice Department has found no evidence of fraud that would change the outcome of the election. That is a message that directly contradicts President Trump's baseless claims of election fraud. NPR justice correspondent Ryan Lucas is here.

Hey, Ryan.

RYAN LUCAS, BYLINE: Hello there.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Zhang was the picture of despair the first time I met him.

He had accidentally delivered a package to a neighbor of mine who took it and would not give it back. Now, trembling, he wanted to personally reimburse me for the lost item.

I refused to take his money, but for two days, he called me nonstop to apologize. At the time, I did not understand why he was so repentant. Then I found out how closely monitored — and severely punished — delivery workers like him are.

Kurt Papenfus, a doctor in the small town of Cheyenne Wells, Colo., started to feel sick around Halloween. He developed a scary cough, intestinal symptoms and a headache. In the midst of a pandemic, the news that he had COVID-19 wasn't surprising, but Papenfus' illness would have repercussions far beyond his own health.

Papenfus is the lone full-time emergency room doctor in the town of 900, not far from the Kansas line.

In civil court in The Netherlands, hearings began Tuesday in a case against energy company Shell that could have implications for future cases and the role of companies in meeting climate targets.

The case was brought by a group of seven environmental organizations and more than 17,000 Dutch citizens who are co-plaintiffs. The plaintiffs are demanding that Shell be forced to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 45% by 2030 compared with 2019 levels.

Updated 5:48 p.m. ET

A federal advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted Tuesday to recommend who should get COVID-19 vaccines first once one is authorized for use.

After spending much of his career playing the male lead in romantic comedies, actor Hugh Grant is shifting into darker roles.

"It's alarming how many pretty unpleasant narcissists I've played or been offered in the last six or seven years," Grant says. "It's certainly been a blessed relief after having to be Mr. Nice Guy for so many years — which is a thankless task for any actor."

Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

Just hours after a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers revealed a $908 billion legislative framework to try to break a months-long impasse on a new round of pandemic-related relief measures, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters he's talking to administration officials about a separate coronavirus bill that President Trump will sign.

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