Ari Shapiro

A sinking cargo ship off the coast of Sri Lanka is causing an environmental disaster for the country that looks set to have long-term effects.

The X-Press Pearl caught fire on May 20 and burned for two weeks, but the fire appears to have mostly burned out. The crew was evacuated. The ship is now partially sitting on the seabed with its front settling down slowly.

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An elephant's trunk is amazingly versatile, used for all types of things.

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You might not know it, but this...

(SOUNDBITE OF HAZARD LIGHTS BLINKING)

CHANG: ...Is the sound of a hotly debated issue in Florida.

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Updated May 26, 2021 at 6:14 PM ET

A growing number of European countries are blocking access to Belarusian airlines. The response comes after Belarus intercepted a commercial flight and removed and arrested Roman Protasevich, an opposition journalist who was on board.

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Simone Biles, already the most decorated gymnast in history, has surpassed expectations again. On Saturday, she performed a move considered so dangerous that no other woman has ever attempted it in competition.

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After a long, dark year, social muscles have atrophied. In-person gatherings now call for weighty questions about COVID-19 safety. And many people, who during the pandemic found relief in empty calendars, don't want to go back to the world as they knew it.

On the last episode of Play It Forward, our series in which artists tell us about their own music and the musicians who inspire them, All Things Considered spoke with Angel Bat Dawid, the improvisational musician from Chicago. She told us about her connection to the pioneer of funk: George Clinton.

The first time sociologist Mary de Young heard about QAnon, she thought: "Here we go again."

De Young spent her career studying moral panics — specifically, what became known as the "Satanic Panic" of the 1980s, when false accusations of the abuse of children in satanic rituals spread across the United States.

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Dawn Richard grew up in New Orleans. Her father sang in a funk band called Chocolate Milk. He still does.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRICTION")

CHOCOLATE MILK: (Singing) Friction, baby.

SHAPIRO: As a kid, she was kind of alternative.

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Look. I wouldn't know what to do if a duck started nesting in a planter on my ninth floor balcony, but Steve Stuttard, an avid bird lover and retired Royal Navy specialist, was just the man for the job.

President Biden is pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% from 2005 levels by 2030.

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Updated April 1, 2021 at 6:30 PM ET

Dozens of states are considering Republican-led bills that advocates say are harmful to transgender people. The recent spate of bills are "really challenging to see," says Dr. Rachel Levine, the nation's newly confirmed assistant secretary for health.

Updated March 31, 2021 at 9:09 AM ET

The U.K. aims to keep its relationship with the U.S. front and center in the coming years, according to the U.K. government's new foreign policy overview called "Global Britain in a competitive age."

Updated March 11, 2021 at 5:07 PM ET

In Birmingham, Ala., Alabama Regional Medical Services — a health clinic that primarily serves a lower-income, Black neighborhood — has not administered a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. That is scheduled to begin Saturday.

Meanwhile, the first doses in the state went to nearby Mountain Brook, an affluent white suburb of Birmingham, says Sheila Tyson, a commissioner for Jefferson County, where Birmingham is located.

Early predictions were wrong.

The continent of Africa has seen fewer deaths from COVID-19 in the last year than people initially projected, thanks to its early response to the pandemic.

The continent of 1.2 billion people has had roughly 4 million cases and 106,000 deaths, far below Europe, the Americas or Asia.

The number of refugees has soared over the past four years, with more than 26 million refugees worldwide as of mid-2020, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Two COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed in the U.S. right now, and this week an FDA advisory committee will vote on whether a third should join them.

If granted emergency use authorization, Johnson & Johnson's one-dose vaccine would become available in the U.S., along with those from Pfizer and Moderna.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit last year, big parts of the U.S. economy just turned off. Voluntary social distancing and lockdowns, like those during the first wave in March, were necessary to help "flatten the curve" of COVID-19's spread throughout the country, but these lockdowns had ripple effects on the economy.

Slightly more than 6% of American adults have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine — but a disproportionately small number of them are Black and Hispanic people.

The equation for COVID-19 hot spots has been clear since the earliest days of the pandemic: Take facilities where people live in close quarters, then add conditions that make it hard to take preventive measures such as wearing personal protective equipment or keeping socially distant.

Major outbreaks in nursing homes this spring shocked the nation. Now, residents of those facilities are among the first in line for the vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration looks set to allow emergency authorization of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine shortly. With that, vaccinations will likely begin soon for health care workers and people in nursing homes.

The pandemic has made 2020 a crazy year for the movie industry. And Warner Bros. made a recent announcement that guarantees next year will be just as upside-down.

For 78 years, the Advertising Council has been helping Americans face national challenges. From Smokey Bear's "remember, only you can prevent forest fires," to "loose lips sink ships" during World War II and the 1990s campaign friends don't let friends drive drunk.

More recently, during the coronavirus pandemic, the nonprofit advertising group launched a #MaskUpAmerica campaign.

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