News You Can Use

It is a universally acknowledged truth that a curious reader in want of a good book needs only direct their footsteps (and questions) to the nearest librarian. Librarians, after all, are always a font of good book suggestions.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET

Investigators are now poring over the scene where former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. It's not clear why the craft went down, although weather conditions at the time were difficult. The National Transportation Safety Board has sent a team to the site and is now leading the probe.

New imagery from commercial satellites that was shared with NPR suggests Iran is making repairs and preparing for a space launch, following a recent string of failed attempts.

The imagery, taken Sunday by the commercial firm Planet and shared via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, shows vehicles parked at a building used to assemble Iran's space rockets at the Imam Khomeini Space Center in northern Iran. A second group of vehicles is visible at a circular launch pad that was heavily damaged during failed launch preparations last year.

Lehrer, who died Jan. 23, was a nightly figure on PBS news for more than three decades, and moderated presidential debates in every election from 1988 through 2012. Originally broadcast in 1988.

In The Bomb, journalist Fred Kaplan reveals how U.S. presidents, their advisers and generals have thought about, planned for — and sometimes narrowly avoided — nuclear war.

Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET

A plane crashed Monday in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province, and within hours, a swarm of conflicting reports had coalesced around the wreckage.

According to a U.S. official, the plane — a U.S. Bombardier E-11A — had two people on board, both of whom died in the crash. The official told NPR that the plane went down because of mechanical problems.

But that's not the only account of the incident.

Income inequality in the U.S. is at an all-time high, according to the Census Bureau. And a recent poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health shows that regardless of their income, Americans generally view this as a serious problem.

A mortar attack landed a rare direct hit on the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad's Green Zone on Sunday night, damaging buildings and reportedly leaving at least one person with minor injuries. Iraq's prime minister condemned the strike, saying it could turn the country into a battlefield and complicate efforts to get the U.S. to withdraw troops from Iraq.

Top election officials from all 50 states are meeting in Washington this week to prepare for 2020 — a gathering amid widespread concern over whether the upcoming elections will be fair and accurate, as well as free of the kind of foreign interference that marred the 2016 campaign.

The majority of Americans have health insurance that includes coverage for prescription drugs. But unfortunately that doesn't ensure that they can afford the specific drugs their doctors prescribe for them.

In fact, many Americans report that their insurance plans sometimes don't cover a drug they need — and nearly half the people whom this happens to say they simply don't fill the prescription. That's according to a poll released this month on income inequality from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Alina Dabrowska was 20 years old when she first heard about Auschwitz. She was an inmate at a prison in Nazi-occupied Poland — incarcerated for helping Allied forces — and one day in 1943, while walking the grounds, a new arrival warned her about it.

"She said, 'You're all going to Auschwitz! Do you know what kind of camp that is?' " Dabrowska recalls. "She told us that if someone is out of strength, they were immediately killed. She told us many horrible things. None of us believed her."

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

President Trump's defense team continued Monday its second day of arguments in the president's impeachment trial in the Senate, against the backdrop of a news report that Trump directly told his former national security adviser, John Bolton, in August that he would hold up aid to Ukraine until the country launched investigations into his political rivals.

Watch the trial live here.

Hundreds of tech workers pack an auditorium for a recent networking event in Toronto. The evening's host glides around the room on a hoverboard, equal parts game show host and tech bro.

"Who here is new to Canada?" asks Jason Goldlist, the co-founder of TechToronto, an organization that helps newcomers navigate the city's fast-growing tech ecosystem.

As the second week of the Senate impeachment trial begins, President Trump is making sure not to fully cede the spotlight to Democrats' effort to oust him.

Trump is set to meet Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then Netanyahu's political rival, Benny Gantz, as the administration plans to release its plan for Middle East peace.

By the end of the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday evening, a major star had been crowned: 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish, who swept all four of the night's biggest prizes — Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year — along with honors for Best Pop Vocal Album.

But that rush of awards came only at the tail end of a long, strange and emotionally ambivalent ceremony held Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Updated at 1:20 a.m. ET

Democrats are pressing the Senate to call former national security adviser John Bolton to testify in President Trump's impeachment trial following a new report that House impeachment managers describe as "explosive."

A fifth U.S. case of coronavirus has been confirmed, this one in Arizona's Maricopa County. A statement released on Sunday from the Arizona Department of Health Services described the patient as "a member of the Arizona State University community who does not live in university housing."

A week after the killing of a young female artist and activist, protesters in the Mexican border city of Juárez took to the streets with a message to authorities: Don't let this crime go unpunished like all the rest.

The slaying of 26-year-old Isabel Cabanillas de la Torre on Jan. 18 has reopened old wounds in a city with a gruesome history of violence against women.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, Calif., the city's mayor has confirmed. Bryant was 41.

A flurry of qualifying polls released Sunday has put tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang back on the Democratic debate stage.

Yang is the seventh candidate to qualify for the Feb. 7 debate in Manchester, N.H., which is just four days ahead of the primary there.

A man in Arizona was pulled over last week for attempting to disguise a fake skeleton as a passenger in his car so he could stealthily drive in the HOV lane.

The 62-year-old received a penalty ticket on Thursday when a trooper noticed the skeleton wearing a camouflage bucket hat and tied upright in the passenger seat with a yellow rope, the Arizona Department of Public Safety told the AP.

Updated at 3:32 p.m. ET

Health officials in two California counties have reported over the weekend two new cases of Wuhan coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number of cases in the U.S. to four.

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported Saturday that a man in his 50s tested positive for the infectious disease and is currently being treated in isolation at a local hospital.

There's probably more written on how to kill a bigleaf maple tree than how to grow one, according to Neil McLeod of Neil's Bigleaf Maple Syrup, a farm in the tiny northwestern Washington burg of Acme.

"It's hard to kill," McLeod says with a wry smile. "A great tree. Perfect weed. It makes good syrup."

One day after a contentious interview that was followed by an expletive-filled verbal lashing of NPR host Mary Louise Kelly, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is publicly accusing her of lying to him — "twice."

In a statement released by the State Department on Saturday, Pompeo says Kelly first lied "in setting up our interview."

Iraqi security forces launched a major crackdown on anti-government protesters Saturday from Baghdad to cities across the south after an influential Shiite cleric instrumental in the demonstrations withdrew his support.

Updated at 12:26 p.m. ET

Saturday's Lunar New Year celebrations were dampened in China by fears over the coronavirus outbreak and travel restrictions affecting 46 million people.

On the first day of the Lunar New Year, China's President Xi Jinping stressed the urgency of controlling the outbreak — which has seen hundreds more confirmed cases since Friday — and urged state authorities to prioritize containment efforts.

Updated at 3:24 p.m. ET

Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station conducted their fourth and final spacewalk Saturday to finish a series of repairs aimed at extending the functioning of a cosmic ray detector attached to the spacecraft.

The six-hour, 16-minute foray outside the space capsule began shortly after 7:00 a.m. ET and ended at 1:20 p.m.

Updated at 1:32 p.m. ET

President Trump "did absolutely nothing wrong," White House counsel Pat Cipollone said Saturday, as lawyers representing the president got their first shot to poke holes in the impeachment case made this week by Democrats.

Saturday's proceedings, which lasted a little more than two hours, set up the White House arguments in the impeachment trial. The proceedings resume Monday at 1 p.m.

When Aysha Renna decided last month to demonstrate against India's new citizenship law on her college campus in New Delhi, it never occurred to her that doing so might be dangerous.

European Union officials will be closely monitoring results of local elections in Italy Sunday that are seen as a bellwether for the fate of the national government.

Polls suggest that the far-right populist League Party could win control of a region that has been a leftist bastion for 75 years.

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