Sierra Ferrell is a what you might call a free spirit — someone who follows her dreams wherever they take her; like when she joined a troupe of wandering musicians in her 20s. On the other hand, Ferrell seems to have always known where she was going.

Badal Roy, a tabla player who worked with both Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman as they explored trailblazing electric sounds, died on January 18. He was 82. His death was confirmed to NPR by his niece, Piali Roy.

In 1968 Roy moved from East Pakistan to New York City, initially to attend a PhD program in statistics. But life had other plans — while playing tabla at an Indian restaurant in Manhattan, he was spotted by guitarist John McLaughlin. McLaughlin's celebrated 1971 album My Goal's Beyond marked Roy's first time on record.

Jury selection is set to begin Thursday in the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers who were on the scene when fellow officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes and ultimately killed him.

This week's trial is one of a series of legal consequences for the four ex-officers charged by federal and state authorities in Floyd's killing, which set off a wave of global protests over racial justice and police accountability after it occurred in May 2020.

In just 37 seconds, Democrat Gary Chambers lit up Louisiana's race for the U.S. Senate.

On Tuesday, Chambers released a now-viral campaign video. In it, the candidate lights a blunt — while advocating for the legalization of marijuana.

The longtime community activist from Baton Rouge is running to replace U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, the Republican incumbent, as the junior senator from Louisiana.

A German law firm investigating the Catholic Church's handling of child sexual abuse cases says former Pope Benedict XVI failed to take action in four instances — including two that resulted in legal charges — while he was the archbishop of Munich and Freising.

A CIA investigation has not found evidence that a foreign country was responsible for mysterious ailments suffered by hundreds of U.S. diplomats and intelligence officials in multiple countries in recent years.

Most of the illnesses appear related to previously undiagnosed medical conditions or stress, according to an interim report by the spy agency.

However, the CIA emphasized that it is still investigating around two dozen cases that cannot be explained, and which were first reported by officials at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba, in 2016.

As the United States' strategic rivalry with China intensifies, one part of the world, Southeast Asia — where the U.S. has ceded much influence over the past two decades to China — is witnessing renewed U.S. interest under President Biden.

Biden administration officials have made repeated trips to the region in the past year and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN, is looking with both hope and trepidation as Washington deepens competition with China over technology, investment, infrastructure and security.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit

Updated January 20, 2022 at 9:47 AM ET

"I had a parent tell me to f*** off last week," Cori Berg said. She directs the Hope Day School, a church-affiliated early childhood program in Dallas.

The unhappy mother took her two children out of Berg's center after each of their classrooms were closed for quarantines, saying she'd hire a nanny. Wanting to return, she emailed, called and finally showed up in the middle of the day. Just as Berg had warned her, her spots were taken.


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