The Biden administration will send $1.7 billion to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local and state governments and other research efforts early next month to find and track coronavirus variants lurking in the U.S. Already, the more contagious UK variant B.1.1.7 is now the dominant strain in this country, fueling surges in Michigan and the Northeast.

"This release includes bug fixes, increased stability and performance improvements."

The routine software update may be one of the most familiar and least understood parts of our digital lives. A pop-up window announces its arrival and all that is required of us is to plug everything in before bed. The next morning, rather like the shoemaker and the elves, our software is magically transformed.

CAPE TOWNIn South Africa, the government tried to control the COVID-19 outbreak by banning booze to keep people from gathering. Plus, sober South Africans were less likely to violently protest a complete lockdown.

You couldn't sit at a bar; you couldn't order a glass of wine; you couldn't even buy beer at the store.

There was an immediate public health benefit that had nothing to do with COVID-19. Suddenly, emergency rooms were empty, devoid of alcohol-related accidents.

This week marks what would have been the 50th birthday of Selena Quintanilla Perez, the popular musical superstar known by her legions of fans simply as Selena. Though she's been gone for over a quarter century, she seems more popular than ever. Why is it that 26 years after her death at age 23, Selena is experiencing such a remarkable revival? And has she ever really been that far from our thoughts or our playlists?

Talk about the cutest walk ever. Jesse Larios created a cute bear character dubbed "Bearsun" for his long walk. He's raising money to donate to a charity.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

For Tiny Desk Playlists, we ask musicians, creators and folks we admire to choose the Tiny Desk concerts they've come to love. For this edition, comedian and actor KevOnStage picks his five favorites.

Morning News Brief

4 hours ago

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

When Najat Hamza, 39, was in her early teens, she fled Oromia, a regional state in Ethiopia, with her father and two older siblings during a violent conflict in the region. They eventually settled in the United States.

After nearly 20 years of living in Minnesota, Hamza came to StoryCorps in 2017 with her cousin, Muntaha Shato, to reflect on the unshakable longing for the home Hamza left behind.

Hamza vividly remembered the night, in 1998, that she suddenly had to say goodbye to the rest of her close-knit family.


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