Matthew S. Schwartz | New Hampshire Public Radio

Matthew S. Schwartz

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

Twenty Saudi Arabians were put on trial Friday in Istanbul, accused of killing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. None of the accused were present in the courtroom because the Saudi government has refused to extradite them.

Updated at 8:49 a.m.

The world is about to hit a devastating milestone: half a million people dead, killed by the coronavirus pandemic that has swept the planet.

After nearly two decades, the federal government will once again begin executing criminals, the Justice Department announced Monday. Four inmates convicted of murdering children are set to be put to death by lethal injection.

As Americans observe a subdued Memorial Day, President Trump visited Fort McHenry in Baltimore to remember those soldiers who have fallen in service of the country.

"I stand before you at this noble fortress of American liberty to pay tribute to the immortal souls who fought and died to keep us free," Trump told the crowd, which included several members of his Cabinet. "We pledge in their cherished memories that this majestic flag will proudly fly forever."

Germany is backing away from a centralized digital contact tracing program it had been considering to combat the coronavirus, saying the effort will only work if people trust that their privacy is being respected.

They still threw their caps into the air as F-16s flew overhead.

They still responded with a resounding "hua!" whenever anyone mentioned the class of 2020.

As the death toll from COVID-19 continues to rise, governors around the U.S. are figuring out how to reopen their economies while still ensuring the safety of their citizens.

New York lost another 758 lives over a 24-hour-period, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his daily news conference on Sunday.

"Every one is a face and a name and a family that is suffering," Cuomo said. "This is truly tragic news."

It's the sixth straight day of losses of more than 700 per day.

"That's the one number that I look forward to seeing drop as soon as I open my eyes in the morning," Cuomo said. "It has been flattening, but flattening at a terrible high level."

By most accounts, Saturday in the southeastern United States was beautiful, filled with blue skies and sunshine. Sunday could be the polar opposite, as the region faces the prospect of heavy storms, hail, damaging winds and violent tornadoes.

During dangerous weather, communities often open storm shelters. But shelters can get crowded — a potentially dangerous situation of its own at a time of social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

So how are states balancing the possible spread of the coronavirus, versus the potential for severe storms?

New York is flattening the curve, but the state still lost 783 lives over the last 24 hours, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at his daily news briefing on Saturday. That marks the fifth straight day of more than 700 deaths per day.

"These are just incredible numbers, depicting incredible loss and pain," Cuomo said.

At first, the cancellations came in a trickle.

A performance of the Mozart Requiem in Washington, D.C., Bach's St. Matthew Passion in Seattle. Local jazz nights in New York City.

Then, almost at once, it seemed like the entire March calendars of musicians across the country were wiped clean. Within hours Wednesday, thousands of dollars in expected income vanished.

Televangelist Jim Bakker held up a blue and silver bottle, gazing intently at the label, as he questioned the woman sitting next to him.

"This influenza that is now circling the globe," Bakker said on the Feb. 12 broadcast of The Jim Bakker Show, "you're saying that Silver Solution would be effective."

Democratic presidential hopefuls have stepped up their criticism of President Trump's handling of the coronavirus, accusing his administration of "incompetence."

The president has noticed. Speaking to supporters Friday night in South Carolina, he accused his Democratic rivals of using the virus for political ends.

Updated at 8:05 p.m. ET

Iraqis turned out in droves Saturday to mourn Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, just a day and a half after both men were killed in a U.S. airstrike that has prompted vows of revenge from leaders in Tehran.

Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, killed in a drone strike early Friday, is getting the vast majority of the media attention. But several others were also killed in the attack, including militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. For years, Muhandis has been one of the most important military figures in Iraq, as the deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces.

One by one, amateur models came across the Craigslist ad that promised to help launch their careers. And one by one, those women learned they were expected to do more than just pose for pictures.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is expanding, and soon fans will see a transgender character.

At an event Saturday at the New York Film Academy, the president of Marvel Studios was asked whether there were plans to bring "more LGBT+ characters" into the Marvel universe --"specifically the T, trans characters?"

More than 100 Gold Star families are suing several major defense contractors, alleging they made illegal "protection payments" to the Taliban — thereby funding the Taliban's insurgency efforts that killed or wounded thousands of Americans in Afghanistan.

It's illegal under the federal Anti-Terrorism Act to provide material support to the Taliban. The U.S. has warned defense contractors that protection payments are against the law, but according to the lawsuit, the practice has proliferated because defense contractors feel it's a cost of doing business.

Updated 7:30 a.m. ET

A devastating series of storms late Wednesday spawned multiple tornadoes that caused extensive damage to several buildings and led to three deaths in Missouri.

"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Gov. Mike Parson told reporters at a morning press briefing. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state."

He added: "But three is too many."

President Hillary Clinton?

That might have been the result of the 2016 presidential election — if the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact were in effect.

With a state Senate vote Tuesday, Nevada is close to becoming the latest state to drop the traditional practice of awarding all its electors to the presidential candidate who won the state. Instead, Nevada would award its six electors to whomever receives the most votes across the entire country.

Updated Tuesday at 3 a.m. ET

Days after blacklisting Chinese technology company Huawei from buying American-made products, the Trump administration is now easing up.

From student loan debt to unaffordable housing to the opioid crisis, Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has developed a reputation for having a policy plan for everything.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it has uncovered new evidence that federal border agents are violating the Constitution when they search travelers' electronic devices.

For the first time in more than 200 years, a Japanese emperor has abdicated the Chrysanthemum Throne.

"Since ascending the throne 30 years ago, I have performed my duties as the emperor with a deep sense of trust in and respect for the people, and I consider myself most fortunate to have been able to do so," Emperor Akihito said in a ceremony Tuesday evening at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, according to Japan Times.

When Netflix's 13 Reasons Why was released two years ago, depicting the life of a teenager who decided to take her own life, educators and psychologists warned the program could lead to copycat suicides. Now, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health shows that those concerns may have been warranted.

Spain's center-left Socialist party, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, was victorious in Sunday's general election. The party took 29% of the vote, winning 123 seats in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies.

"We made it happen," Sánchez told supporters in Madrid, according to The Guardian. "We've sent out the message that we don't want to regress or reverse. We want a country that looks forward and advances."

Global military spending is continuing to increase, growing for the second year in a row and reaching the highest levels since reliable global figures became available in 1988. That's the finding of a new report out by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Total spending is up 76% from the post-Cold War low in 1998.

The United States, China, Saudi Arabia, India and France led the world in military spending, accounting for 60% of the total expenditure in 2018. And U.S. military spending is up for the first time in seven years, by 4.6%, reaching $649 billion.

Until the Trump administration changed its practice last year, the government had quietly separated thousands of children from parents trying to cross into the country at the southern border — in the process, sometimes losing track of where exactly those children went, and to whom they belong.

On Thursday a federal judge gave the administration six months to figure it out.

Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Hundreds of students and faculty at two universities in Los Angeles have been asked to stay home unless they can prove that they've been vaccinated against measles.

The LA campuses of the University of California and California State University imposed the quarantine after they became aware of people infected with measles who had potentially exposed hundreds. At UCLA, a student exposed at least 500 people earlier this month; at Cal State, someone with measles went to a library and encountered hundreds.

If North Korea is given security guarantees, Kim Jong Un would be willing to denuclearize, Russian President Vladimir Putin said after talks with Kim on Thursday. Their first face-to-face meeting took place on Russky Island in eastern Russia.

Pages