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The venerable Sizzler USA family steakhouse chain has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing a business environment roiled by COVID-19 restrictions — and saying that not enough has been done to help restaurants survive.

"Our current financial state is a direct consequence of the pandemic's economic impact," Sizzler President Chris Perkins said, "due to long-term indoor dining closures and landlords' refusal to provide necessary rent abatements."

Polls show widespread distrust toward China is growing in the U.S. over how China initially handled its coronavirus outbreak and ongoing human rights abuses.

At the same time, Chinese attitudes toward the U.S. are souring — while popular satisfaction with the Chinese state has grown since the central government quickly brought the pandemic under control through sometimes brutal methods.

Americans will get their first chance to see Joe Biden and Donald Trump onstage together during next week's presidential debate.

If you're just starting to pay attention to the race, or if you've been feeling ambivalent about your choices this election, what questions or concerns do you have about the two major party candidates? What's keeping you from being enthusiastic about either one?

Fill out the form below and an NPR producer may reach out to include your perspective in an upcoming on-air segment.

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In a secret ceremony, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko was sworn in for a sixth term Wednesday in the capital amid nationwide protests and international outrage over his August reelection in a vote widely viewed as fraudulent.

State media announced that Lukashenko, who has held on to power for more than a quarter-century, took the oath of office during a ceremony at Independence Palace in Minsk that was attended by several hundred government officials.

Updated at 12:37 p.m. ET

Cindy McCain, the widow of Sen. John McCain, is the latest prominent conservative to urge Republicans to cross party lines and support Joe Biden for president.

"There's only one candidate in this race who stands up for our values as a nation, and that is Joe Biden," she tweeted Tuesday evening.

McCain said the president's numerous tweets about her late husband and family don't get under her skin.

Updated at 1:37 p.m. ET

Amid criticism from Democrats that politics may be guiding decisions at the nation's top health agencies, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration told Congress on Wednesday that a coronavirus vaccine would not be approved until it met "vigorous expectations" for safety and effectiveness.

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The pastel-painted taverns, cafes and hotels that line the small port in the remote Greek island of Kastellorizo are usually bustling this time of year with tourists, including hundreds of day-trippers from Turkey — which is just a 10-minute speedboat ride away.

This year, the port is quiet, and not just because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This stunning, craggy isle surrounded by the deep-blue Aegean Sea has become a pawn in a dispute between Greece and Turkey — NATO allies and longtime frenemies — over maritime borders and offshore gas and oil exploration rights.

Updated at 7:00 a.m. ET

More than 100,000 people are taking part in studies to see if one or more COVID-19 vaccine candidates actually work.

Updated at 1:25 p.m. ET

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been discharged from a Berlin hospital after spending more than a month there following his poisoning in Siberia.

A new national effort asks K-12 schools to voluntarily — and anonymously — report their confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases, along with the safety strategies they're using.

The United States is home to the world's best-known technology companies, but so far the use of smartphones to fight the coronavirus has been tepid at best.

Smartphones have the potential to be a powerful tool in tracking the spread of COVID-19. They can tell you exactly how close you've been to other people, for how long and keep a detailed log of everyone you've been around for the last 14 days. Linked to testing systems, they can rapidly alert you if someone you've been in contact with tests positive.

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Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Bruce Springsteen says his new album might not have existed except for a fan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LETTER TO YOU")

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) ...My letter to you.

Updated on Sept. 24 at 8:45 a.m. ET.

Aaron, a Beijing native, spent the last seven years in the United States, first as a high school student and now as a rising college senior in sociology — until he received an email from the U.S. State Department earlier this month.

Chris Anderson, supervisor of elections in Seminole County, Florida, had a stylus problem.

He says it would have cost more than a quarter of a million dollars to purchase enough pens and styluses needed for the county's 328,000 voters. So, his department got creative.

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Charles Henry Krebbs is one of more than 200,000 Americans who've died from COVID-19. He was a real estate broker and an appraiser in Maricopa County, Ariz. His daughter Tara Krebbs shared memories.

As of now, both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization say the primary way the coronavirus spreads is by hitching a ride on respiratory droplets when people are in close contact.

Respiratory droplets form when someone sneezes, coughs, talks or sings, for example. They don't travel far and fall to the ground quickly.

Critics of Facebook and Twitter — and even some people inside the companies — say dramatic action is needed to counter the way the platforms supercharge false, and sometimes dangerous, claims.

Facebook says it has taken down a network of China-based fake accounts whose posts included content about the U.S. presidential election.

Most of the activity by the more than 180 fake accounts, groups and pages was focused on Southeast Asia, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, said in a blog post Tuesday.

Police have charged a Massachusetts high school student and the youth's parents with allegedly hosting a house party with underage drinking, a gathering that led the town's high school to delay in-person classes by two weeks amid coronavirus concerns.

In the musical Hamilton, there's an entire song about the election of 1800 — the contest between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson that marked the first peaceful transfer of power between opposing political factions in U.S. history.

America now is on the cusp of the election of 2020 — and cast members of the hit Broadway show have repurposed some of the show's soundtrack with new lyrics to promote voting.

"There is insufficient evidence to prove negligent or reckless homicide" in the death of Carlos Ingram-Lopez in April, prosecutors in Pima County, Ariz., say, opting against criminal charges despite finding that Tucson police officers who placed him in custody failed to follow protocol and created an "unjustifiable risk."

Ingram-Lopez, 27, died after being handcuffed and held face-down in a garage for some 12 minutes. For much of that time, police kept two plastic emergency blankets and a "spit sock hood" over his head.

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Greg Fischer, the mayor of Louisville, Ky., said Tuesday he has declared a state of emergency for the city "due to the potential for civil unrest."

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is poised to announce whether his office will bring charges against the police officers who fatally shot 26-year-old Breonna Taylor during a botched narcotics raid at her home on March 13.

The mayor reiterated he has no insight about when Cameron's decision will be announced, but he said the city must be prepared.

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