NPR News

With India under a nationwide lockdown and religious gatherings banned, Islamic clerics are urging Muslims to observe this weekend's Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan, at home with social distancing.

Houses of worship around the country on Friday got a presidential green light to open immediately.

"I call on governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now," President Trump said in remarks at the White House. "These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united," he said. "The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue and to their mosque."

Updated at 4:41 p.m. ET

He was his country's most powerful man. Time magazine crowned him "king of Israel." But he couldn't win over Israel's unforgiving free press. So he is accused of buying his way inside the newsroom of a leading news site, secretly dictating flattering coverage that helped him win reelection twice.

It's been months since most Americans have had a professional haircut. Salons have been shut down under stay-at-home orders to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In Los Angeles, the result has been a robust clandestine haircut scene.

Two new polls out this week indicate a majority of Americans fear a "second wave" of COVID-19 cases in the near future, which may be washing away the chances for traditional presidential nominating conventions this year.

The summer travel season is kicking off this year with more uncertainty than any time in recent memory. The coronavirus pandemic has led millions of people to cancel vacation and travel plans. Airlines have lost billions of dollars in revenue, flying nearly empty planes and canceling tens of thousands of flights.

Car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection Friday, citing an "abrupt decline in revenue" during the coronavirus pandemic.

Evictions are expected to skyrocket in Texas where the state Supreme Court has lifted a moratorium on evictions and unemployment has risen to historic levels amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some cities are taking additional steps to protect renters and delay evictions, but many Texans remain vulnerable.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Dr. Abraar Karan, an internal medicine physician and clinical fellow at Harvard Medical School, answers listener questions about the latest in the coronavirus testing.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday said President Trump had directly threatened the health and safety of her state's residents through his coronavirus response, including his recent refusals wear a mask in public and defense of those protesting stay-at-home orders.

Living with the pandemic has been difficult for everyone: the isolation, the need to wear protective gear like masks and gloves, the adjustment to working or learning from home.

For those living with or caring for someone with severe autism, those challenges can be exponentially more difficult.

"Wearing gloves or masks, you know, things like that? That's just not going to happen here," says Feda Almaliti.

The Inglewood Army recruiting station is tucked into a strip mall in a gritty part of Los Angeles. Its neighbors are a liquor store, fast food outlets and palm trees. Inside are the familiar posters: smiling soldiers with the slogans "Army Strong" and "Army Team."

Sergeant First Class Nathan Anslow runs this station. He points to something new just inside the door. A stack of questionnaires — coronavirus screening forms. It's the first stop for potential recruits.

In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, this weekend's Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan will involve mass travel, raising concerns about the effect it may have on the country's COVID-19 infection rates.

In an open letter to a top Trump Administration official, 77 Nobel prize-winning American scientists say they are "gravely concerned" about the recent abrupt cancellation of a federal grant to a U.S. non-profit that was researching coronaviruses in China.

New data released by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union shows that among the grocery store workers it represents, 10,000 have been infected by or are known to have been exposed to coronavirus and 68 have died from it. At least 3,257 have been infected with the virus, the union estimated on Friday.

South Korea limited the spread of the coronavirus through aggressive contact tracing that relies heavily on data collection. But following a recent outbreak, many in the country’s LGBTQ community feel they’re being singled out.

South Korean health officials gain access to the cellphone GPS records, credit card transactions and transportation history of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, and then they release much of that information to the public. Text message alerts urge everyone who might have crossed paths with the patient to immediately get tested.

The sons of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi say they have forgiven their father's killers, paving the way for a legal reprieve for five men sentenced to death for the murder.

"If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah," the writer's eldest son, Saleh, tweeted Thursday. "Therefore, we the sons of the martyr Jamal Khashoggi, announce that we pardon those who killed our father."

Former Vice President Joe Biden is backtracking on remarks he made on a popular black radio program on Friday that were criticized as questioning the cultural authenticity of black supporters of President Trump.

"If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black," the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said during an interview with Breakfast Club host Charlamagne Tha God.

Biden's campaign later said the remarks, called "racist" by the Trump campaign, were made "in jest."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is clarifying its guidance to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, hoping to clear up confusion over whether a person can contract the disease by touching surfaces that have the virus on them. The agency said "usability improvements," including a headline change on its webpage about preventing viral infection, seemed to trigger news stories saying its guidelines have changed.

"Our transmission language has not changed," CDC spokesman Benjamin Haynes told NPR.

FBI Director Christopher Wray has ordered an internal review of the bureau's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn to determine whether any misconduct occurred in the probe.

The bureau said in a statement Friday that the after-action review also will evaluate whether any changes need to be made to internal FBI procedures or policies.

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

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

On January 15, President Trump signed a preliminary trade deal with China. It was a momentary pause on a year-long economic battle between the two superpowers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

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

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Former Vice President Joe Biden is walking back some comments he made this morning about African Americans considering reelecting President Trump.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE BREAKFAST CLUB")

Ohio National Guard members have been performing a variety of duties during the COVID19 pandemic. But the roles of members are changing a bit as time progresses.

Ohio’s unemployment rate nearly tripled in just a month and set a record as COVID-19 closures and the state’s stay at home order fully hit economic activity.

Pages