Mary Louise Kelly

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The COVID-19 response plan that President Biden unveiled last week aims to dramatically increase the accessibility of rapid tests for the coronavirus.

The Biden administration announced it was spending $2 billion on 280 million quick-turnaround tests to be distributed to community health centers, food banks, testing sites, shelters, prisons and other congregate settings. It's also leaning on Walmart, Amazon and Kroger to sell rapid tests at wholesale cost for the next three months.

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It has been a horrific day in Afghanistan.

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ISIS suicide bombers and gunmen targeted crowds outside Kabul's Hamid Karzai Airport. At least 13 U.S. service members and dozens of Afghan civilians are dead.

How is Afghanistan's health system faring amid the Taliban takeover?

To get a perspective, NPR spoke on Thursday with Filipe Ribeiro, the country representative for Doctors Without Borders, to find out where things stand for patients and health workers in the organization's hospitals and clinics across Afghanistan.

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Updated August 16, 2021 at 7:30 PM ET

Kabul fell on Sunday, reestablishing Taliban rule over Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years. Leaders of the militant group who've spent years fighting are suddenly in control of the whole country, with their internal divisions and actions affecting the lives of millions of Afghans.

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At the height of his career, former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was one of the most influential leaders of the Catholic Church in the U.S., heading the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Last week, he became the first U.S. Cardinal to be criminally charged with a sexual crime against a minor, making the 91-year-old the highest-ranking Catholic Church official in the country to face criminal charges for clergy sexual abuse.

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Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is batting away criticism that her bipartisan approach to legislating is bad for her party.

To Sinema, a moderate, bipartisanship is the way Washington should work.

"We know that the American people are asking for us to take action," she told NPR's All Things Considered. "What they don't want to see is us sit on our hands, waiting until we get every single thing that we want. ... That all-or-nothing approach usually leaves you with nothing."

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The U.S. military is leaving Afghanistan. The withdrawal will finish next month. Not all Americans are leaving, though. Diplomats will stay, and so will American spies. The CIA is there trying to gather intelligence on a country where the security situation is getting worse.

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WILLIAM BURNS: The trend lines that all of us see today are certainly troubling. The Taliban are making significant military advances. They're probably in the strongest military position that they've been in since 2001.

CIA Director William Burns says he has redoubled the agency's efforts to uncover the cause of Havana syndrome — the mysterious set of ailments that has afflicted more than 200 U.S. officials and family members around the world.

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A new novel set in late summer on Cape Cod is all about desire. Even the writing seems to drip with secrets and longing. Here's the author, Miranda Cowley Heller, reading from the first few pages.

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Coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. are down dramatically from last winter's peaks, but the road ahead could still be a long one, with the rapid spread of the delta variant — now the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S. — and mounting questions over how effective current vaccines are against it.

Hundreds of rescue workers are still searching for survivors in the rubble of the collapsed Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. As of Tuesday, 32 people have been reported dead, and 113 are still missing.

Mental health counselors are also on the scene, helping families whose loved ones have been confirmed dead and those still waiting for news of missing loved ones.

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Geneva is crawling with spies right now, says a longtime CIA veteran.

Intelligence agents from the U.S. and Russia are out in force as President Biden prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, says Daniel Hoffman. Hoffman served as CIA station chief in Moscow for five years, and had assignments elsewhere in Europe, the Middle East and South Asia.

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