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Taro Kono, a candidate of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and currently the minister in charge of vaccinations, delivers a speech in Tokyo on Sept. 17. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AP hide caption

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Yoshikazu Tsuno/AP

Japan's Outspoken, U.S.-Educated Vaccine Minister Wants To Be The Next Prime Minister

Taro Kono is seen as a political maverick with liberal views on social policy. He is popular with the public, but his own party's power brokers may hesitate to make him the leader next week.

The Bitcoin logo appears on the display screen of a cryptocurrency ATM at the Smoker's Choice store in Salem, N.H. China's central bank on Friday declared all transactions involving Bitcoin and other virtual currencies illegal, stepping up a campaign to block use of unofficial digital money. Charles Krupa/AP hide caption

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Charles Krupa/AP

China Declares All Cryptocurrency Transactions Illegal

Friday's notice complained Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies disrupt the financial system and are used in money-laundering and other crimes.

CIA Director William Burns has ramped up efforts to determine the cause of Havana syndrome, a combination of ailments that have afflicted U.S. intelligence officers and diplomats in recent years. A growing number of cases have been reported in Vienna in recent months. Ian Morton/NPR hide caption

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Ian Morton/NPR

CIA Recalls Vienna Station Chief In Move Related To Handling Of 'Havana Syndrome'

A growing number of U.S. intelligence officers and diplomats in Vienna have reported symptoms in recent months consistent with Havana syndrome, which include dizziness, migraines and memory loss.

Fossilized human footprints shown at the White Sands National Park in New Mexico. According to a report published in the journal Science on Thursday, the impressions indicate that early humans were walking across North America around 23,000 years ago. National Park Service/AP hide caption

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National Park Service/AP

Ancient Footprints Show Humans Lived In The Americas Earlier Than Once Thought

A team of scientists dated the footprints along an extinct lake bed in New Mexico and found them to be between 21,000 and 23,000 — far older than reliable evidence has suggested to date.

In this Jan. 8, 2021, file photo, a pharmacist prepares a syringe of the Pfizer vaccine for COVID-19, at Queen Anne Healthcare in Seattle. On Thursday government advisers recommended booster doses of Pfizer's vaccine for millions of older or otherwise vulnerable Americans — despite doubts the extra shots will do much to slow the pandemic. Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

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Ted S. Warren/AP

The CDC Director Backs The COVID Booster Plan And Makes An Additional Recommendation

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on a series of recommendations from a panel of advisers late Thursday. In addition she also recommended boosters for high-risk workers.

Isabelita Vinuya, 88, reflected in mirror, bids farewell to Perla Bulaon Balingit in the village of Mapaniqui in Pampanga. They are two of the last living "comfort women" of the Philippines. On Nov. 23, 1944, Vinuya, Balingit and some 100 other girls and women were taken to the Red House and systematically raped by the Japanese Imperial Army. Cheryl Diaz Meyer for NPR hide caption

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Cheryl Diaz Meyer for NPR

Whatever Happened To ... The World War II Sex Slaves Fighting For Justice?

The Japanese Army systematically raped women in the Philippines. What's become of the aging survivors of this wartime atrocity in the midst of the pandemic?

Sen. Chuck Grassley during a news conference following a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 15. Grassley serves as the ranking member of the committee. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley, The Oldest Republican In The Senate, Will Run For Reelection

The Iowa Republican says that he will run for an eighth term, shooing away calls for his retirement. Grassley made the announcement early Friday morning, a week after his 88th birthday.

A picture that Hans-Joachim Bull has showing Merkel with his father in 1990. Rob Schmitz/NPR hide caption

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Rob Schmitz/NPR

As Germany's Merkel Steps Down, Those Who Guided Her Into Politics Recall Her Fondly

On Sunday, German voters will choose a successor to Angela Merkel, who is stepping down as chancellor after 16 years. Some of those who guided her into politics recall the day in 1990 when they first met her.

As Germany's Merkel Steps Down, Those Who Guided Her Into Politics Remember Her

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U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona accompanies North High School's marching band on the cowbell during a Monday pep rally in Eau Claire, Wis. Tim Gruber for NPR hide caption

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Tim Gruber for NPR

The Education Secretary Plays Hardball (And A Cowbell) To Push For Safe Schools

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has tried to balance optimism around safe, in-person learning with political pugilism aimed at officials who are making it hard for schools to require masks.

The Education Secretary Plays Hardball (And A Cowbell) To Push For Safe Schools

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Girls gather at a gender-segregated school in Kabul on Sept. 15. When older secondary students returned to classes, female students were told to wait. Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images

An Aid Official Warns Of A Bleak Situation In Afghanistan As Winter Approaches

The head of Save the Children in Afghanistan says that it has been difficult to operate under the Taliban and its restrictions on women. Without humanitarian aid, he predicts serious casualties ahead.

Steve Bannon is among four former Trump officials who have been issued subpoenas by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot. Stephanie Keith/Getty Images hide caption

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Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The House Panel Investigating The Jan. 6 Riot Subpoenaed Steve Bannon And 3 Other Ex-Trump Officials

The subpoenas compel four former officials to produce sought-after documents, relevant to the Jan. 6 attack, by Oct. 7 and then sit for a deposition the following week.

TK Artist conception of the James Webb Space Telescope NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez hide caption

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NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

NASA's Got A New, Big Telescope. It Could Find Hints Of Life On Far-Flung Planets

The James Webb Space Telescope will let scientists study small, rocky planets around distant stars in more detail than ever before. After decades of work, it could head into orbit later this year.

NASA's Got A New, Big Telescope. It Could Find Hints Of Life On Far-Flung Planets

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House Democrats on Tuesday passed a bill that would suspend the U.S. debt ceiling through December 2022 and temporarily fund the government to avert a shutdown. Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress Is Seeking (Its Own) Permission To Borrow Another Trillion Or Two

Increasing the debt ceiling used to be procedurally easy — and hardly newsworthy. That changed when control of Congress flipped to the GOP in 1994 and Newt Gingrich became House Speaker.

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