NPR News

Updated July 27, 2021 at 7:42 AM ET

U.S. star Simone Biles, the greatest gymnast of all time, suddenly pulled out of competition after the first rotation of the four-event team final at the Tokyo Olympics.

It wasn't immediately clear why she left the competition. The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee confirmed her departure to NPR but did not state a reason.

It's a devastating blow for her three teammates, who are all first-time Olympians. Biles was expected to compete on all four apparatuses.

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North and South Korea reconnected hotlines across the demilitarized zone Tuesday, after a nearly 14-month long disconnect.

Both Py0ngyang and Seoul hailed the move as a step toward healing strained ties between the rival states, although neither side suggested the move could lead to another round of summitry, or progress in stalled nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.

A power struggle in Tunisia threatens the fragile democracy that was one of the few bright spots of the 2011 Arab Spring, the movement to oust dictators across the Middle East.

Over the weekend, President Kais Saied plunged the country into crisis after shutting down parliament for a period of 30 days and firing the prime minister as well as the country's defense and justice ministers. He was helped by the military, who have surrounded parliament. A night time curfew has been imposed and gatherings of more than three people are forbidden.

Years before the coronavirus pandemic delayed the Tokyo Games, caused an uproar over public safety and left arenas empty, researchers were sounding the alarm over another concern for the world's top athletes: extreme heat.

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Across the country people have been experiencing hazy skies from big wildfires in Western states. More than 3 million acres have already burned, and fire experts say this is just the beginning. A historic drought and heatwave have primed forests to burn big this year, just like they did last year.

Susan Curp was on a quick run to the store when her 13-year-old daughter spotted something she couldn't pass up: back-to-school sales. Notebooks covered with llamas and palm trees. Pens, pencils and even a case for the scented sanitizer — sparkly, of course.

"I think she's excited to ... get organized and just have a little more normalcy in her life," Curp says.

Curp's daughter has a twin brother who's far less into back-to-school shopping. But he, too, will have to do it — because a lot has changed during the year and a half of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coastal cities need billions of dollars to build defenses against sea level rise. Tensions are rising over where that funding will come from: taxpayers or private companies with waterfront property?

Explore the project: https://apps.npr.org/sea-level-rise-silicon-valley/

Four law enforcement officers who responded to the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will deliver testimony Tuesday to the House select committee investigating the melee.

Their remarks will be the first heard in front of the new, Democratic-led panel.

The four officers are:

  • Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police;

The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is holding its first meeting Tuesday. Scheduled to testify are four police officers, two from the U.S. Capitol Police and two from the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department.

The House select committee investigating the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 is holding its first hearing Tuesday. Police officers from the U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department will testify before a panel of nine lawmakers: seven Democrats and two Republicans all appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Japan's Naomi Osaka is out of the Tokyo Olympics after losing on Tuesday in straight sets to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round.

The loss is a major upset and a shock to the host country. Osaka is considered the face of these Games and lit the cauldron during the Olympic opening ceremony a few days ago.

Lawmakers in a Michigan county are vowing to return $65,000 in bonuses they gave themselves using federal coronavirus relief funds.

Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions." See an archive of our FAQs here.

The racers stood ready, primed to dive into Tokyo Bay to start the men's Olympic triathlon. A camera aboard a media boat captured the moment as the start time neared — and unfortunately, it kept capturing the moment after the official start signal blared. Roughly half of the 51 competitors sprang into the water, but the rest were blocked from diving in by the position of the boat, forcing an unusual false start.

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Britney Spears' recently named lawyer, Mathew Rosengart, promised when he came aboard on July 14 that he would act speedily towards setting a new course for the pop icon and her conservatorship. On Monday, he filed a petition on Spears' behalf with Los Angeles Superior Court asking for Jason Rubin to be named as the new conservator of her estate. If approved, Rubin would replace Spears' father, Jamie Spears, who has controlled her money and financial decisions since 2008. Rosengart has also filed a petition asking for Jamie Spears to be removed from his position.

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Elia Garrison was already considering holding her son Dominic back from starting kindergarten before the pandemic hit in 2020.

Coronavirus, she says, cemented that choice.

Dominic is the fifth of six children, and Garrison, a blogger in Perkasie, Pa., watched how tumultuous classes were for her older ones when the pandemic started. "I didn't want Dominic to have that experience with kindergarten, because kindergarten is such an important year for them," she says.

Surfing has deep roots, but for the first time, surfers are competing for medals at the Summer Olympics. At Tsurigasaki beach, 40 miles from Tokyo, they're also riding big waves ahead of a tropical storm.

"The incoming tide push over the afternoon does look to provide a lot of fun waves," reports Kurt Korte, the official surf forecaster for the Tokyo Olympics. He works for Surfline, a company based in Huntington Beach, Calif. He says while it might rain at Tsurigasaki beach, it should be a great day for the surfing finals at the Olympics.

A lawsuit against the men who spoke at a rally before the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 is putting the Justice Department in a tricky position.

The department is considering whether those federal officials acted within the scope of their jobs that day, which would trigger a form of legal immunity. Government watchdogs said the case has serious implications for who's held accountable for violence that delayed the election certification and contributed to the deaths of five people.

Two U.S. women's teams will compete for gold early Tuesday, as the gymnastics and softball squads try to put their mark on the Tokyo Olympics. They headline a busy day for Team USA.

Here's a quick guide to what could be a dramatic day in Tokyo:

Gymnastics women's team final, 6:30 a.m. ET

Simone Biles leads the U.S. team into a showdown with Russia, which finished first in qualifying on Sunday.

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