Rachel Treisman

Updated December 2, 2021 at 9:47 PM ET

At least nine cases of the omicron variant have now been identified in five states across the U.S.

Readers, meet your new Miss USA.

Elle Smith traded in her Miss Kentucky sash after winning the pageant on Monday night and is set to head to Israel to compete for the title of Miss Universe in just a few weeks.

Updated November 22, 2021 at 3:20 PM ET

What was supposed to be a joyous occasion in Waukesha, Wis., turned to tragedy Sunday afternoon when the driver of an SUV plowed into a crowd of people at the city's annual Christmas parade.

Apple customers who want to fix their own devices will soon have access to the necessary parts and tools as part of a new self-service repair program.

New York City's Times Square rang in the year 2021 with a virtual ball-dropping celebration, as coronavirus cases climbed across the U.S.

Now the party's back on, thanks to COVID-19 vaccines. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that Times Square will be open for celebrations this New Year's Eve — but only to fully vaccinated revelers.

Big Bird ruffled some conservatives' feathers this weekend by announcing that he had been vaccinated against COVID-19.

At least eight people are dead and many more injured after a crowd rushed the stage at rapper Travis Scott's music festival Astroworld in Houston.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the "mass casualty event," which unfolded at an outdoor performance by Scott at the festival on Friday night.

Updated November 4, 2021 at 12:10 PM ET

We don't want to be Grinches, but we do want to give you a heads-up about some important holiday news: Christmas trees may be harder to find than usual.

Jami Warner, the executive director of the American Christmas Tree Association, tells NPR that both environmental and economic factors are to blame.

Updated October 26, 2021 at 11:48 AM ET

Happy National Pumpkin Day! There's no time like the present to stock up on decorative gourds, carve a spooky jack-o-lantern or sip on a PSL (... at least according to the pumpkin lobby, aka Big Pumpkin, not to be confused with the Charlie Brown special).

Updated October 26, 2021 at 9:59 AM ET

The World Series starts tonight with Game 1 in Houston, where the Astros will face off against the Atlanta Braves.

The stakes are high for fans of each team. The Braves haven't gotten this far since 1999, while the Astros have been in the series three of the past five years — including in 2017, when they cheated using an illegal, sign-stealing, trash can-banging system to call pitches.

The world's largest movie theater chain is adding onscreen captions at hundreds of U.S. locations in an effort to make moviegoing more accessible.

AMC Theatres announced last Friday that 240 of its locations — in more than 100 U.S. markets — are adding open captioning to certain showings. The change took effect last week and is aimed at improving the viewing experience for people who have hearing loss and for whom English is not their first language.

A mental health nonprofit says it no longer plans to accept donations from the proceeds of Jamie Lynn Spears' upcoming memoir, bowing to criticism from fans who see the actress as complicit in her sister Britney's conservatorship ordeal.

Jamie Lynn announced on Instagram last week that she had finished writing the book, called Things I Should Have Said, and said the process involved opening up about her mental health for the first time.

Two types of blood pressure medication made by the company Lupin Pharmaceuticals are being recalled because they may contain high levels of a substance that could cause cancer.

Turns out Xbox fans need to chill — literally.

Microsoft released its "Xbox Series X Fridge" for online preorder Tuesday after months of memes and anticipation. The mini fridges sold out almost immediately, with some gaming sites reporting they were gone in 15 minutes and others putting that time closer to 30 seconds.

Here's a story with some meat: The San Francisco Department of Public Health briefly shut down the city's only In-N-Out Burger location last week because it was not properly checking patrons' vaccination documentation.

The rapper formerly known as Kanye West is officially now "Ye."

A Los Angeles judge approved his petition for a name change on Monday, Deadline reported. He had filed the paperwork back in August, citing "personal reasons."

The Lego Group hopes its iconic blocks can help build not just trains and houses, but a more inclusive society.

The Danish toy company announced Monday that it will work to remove gender stereotypes from its products and marketing, citing the results of a worldwide survey that found general attitudes toward kids' play and creative careers remain "unequal and restrictive."

The Minneapolis-based footwear company Minnetonka is not actually run by Native Americans, its CEO acknowledged on Monday.

David Miller issued the statement on Indigenous People's Day apologizing for profiting off Native culture and pledging to do more to support Indigenous communities going forward. He noted that Minnetonka first publicly apologized for this appropriation in the summer of 2020, calling that step "long overdue."

Updated October 11, 2021 at 3:28 PM ET

Southwest Airlines travelers are facing another day of disruptions. The carrier suspended hundreds of additional flights on Monday, after canceling and delaying thousands over the weekend — reportedly due to air traffic control issues and weather.

Rising ocean temperatures killed about 14% of the world's coral reefs in just under a decade, according to a new analysis from the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.

Put another way: The amount of coral lost between 2008 and 2019 is equivalent to more than all of the living coral in Australia.

The report — the first of its kind since 2008 — found that warming caused by climate change, overfishing, coastal development and declining water quality has placed coral reefs around the world under "relentless stress."

Thursday is Canada's first-ever National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Updated September 29, 2021 at 6:30 PM ET

A judge in a Los Angeles court granted a request from Britney Spears' lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, to remove Jamie Spears, the pop star's father, as conservator of her estate on Wednesday. Here are the details.

Previous coverage:

It's not delivery, it's a recall. The frozen pizza brand known for its declarative slogan is recalling thousands of pounds of pies due to "misbranding and undeclared allergens," according to federal officials.

Nestlé USA Inc. is recalling some 27,872 pounds of frozen DiGiorno Crispy Pan Crust pepperoni pizza, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced on Sunday.

NPR will be covering and celebrating Latino culture and history throughout National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins today.

You can find continued coverage here (and be sure to check out the "El Tiny" takeover of the Tiny Desk (home) concert series, kicking off with a performance from J Balvin).

Iconic American actress Jamie Lee Curtis has won the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice International Film Festival.

Curtis accepted her award Wednesday just before the premiere of her new movie Halloween Kills, in which she reprises her longtime role as beloved protagonist Laurie Strode. The film, which comes out next month, is the sequel to 2018's Halloween and the 12th movie in the horror franchise.

Former Trump administration officials are pushing back after the Biden administration sought their removal from military academy boards.

Updated August 30, 2021 at 12:54 PM ET

Hundreds of thousands of people are without power in Louisiana and Mississippi, and outages could last for more than a month in parts of the region.

Louisiana was already battling its fourth coronavirus surge — and worst one yet — when Ida struck. Here's what that means for hospitals, patients and those seeking shelter (and coronavirus tests):

The Tokyo Paralympic Games are going to be more visible and have more participants than ever before, even in the face of the pandemic.

Here's a look at the records and other "firsts" happening in this year's Games, which officially opened on Tuesday and run through Sept. 5.

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