Start your day here: World leaders pledge to end deforestation; it's a big Election Day in Va., N.J and N.Y.; Pfizer shots for kids are around the corner

Published November 2, 2021 at 7:26 AM EDT
BRAZIL-ENVIRONMENT-DEFORESTATION-TIMBER Aerial view of a deforested area in the municipality of Melgaco, Para State, Brazil, in July 2020.
Tarso Sarraf/AFP via Getty Images
Aerial view of a deforested area in the municipality of Melgaco, Para State, Brazil, in July 2020.

Good morning,

Here's what we're following today:

COP26: Leaders of more than 100 countries have committed tohalting deforestation by 2030 and working to reverse its effects on the climate.

Election Day: Voters in Virginia and New Jersey are choosing their next governor, while New Yorkers will vote for the next mayor of NYC.

COVID-19: New cases are falling in the U.S. but the daily average is still 78,000 cases — 9% of whom are children ages 5-11. Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisers meet today to discuss recommendations for the Pfizer kids' vaccine.

🎧 Also, on Up First, our daily podcast, the Supreme Court heard two challenges to the Texas abortion law.

— The Morning Edition live blog team

(Carol Ritchie, Rachel Treisman, Nell Clark and Chris Hopkins)


All this Texas bar wants for Christmas is to not hear Mariah Carey's holiday hit just yet

Posted November 2, 2021 at 12:04 PM EDT

November is here, meaning the holiday season is basically upon us. That's especially true if you listen to certain commercial radio stations or seasonal playlists, where Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" is a regular fixture.

The everlasting earworm has apparently earned more than $60 million in royalties since its 1994 release, and is hard to miss this time of year.

But that's definitely not the case at Stoneleigh P, a Dallas dive bar that has drawn (as NPR's Steve Inskeep put it) a "tinsel line" at Dec. 1.

A sign on the bar's jukebox warns customers that if they try to play the song this month, it will be skipped. Starting Dec. 1, Mariah's big hit will only be allowed to play once a night.

The bar's general manager, Laura Garrison, essentially told CNN that she's no Grinch — she harbors no ill will towards the pop star or the holiday. But she said customers play the song too often and too early.

“Once we hear those twinkles, we run for the remote,” she said. “It’s really just a button that we press to skip.”

Still, not everyone on the internet is convinced. One Twitter user shared a picture of the jukebox sign, writing, "Is this the war on Christmas I've been hearing about?"

That got a response from the Queen of Christmas herself:

Twitter Spaces

Join NPR online today for a conversation about 'Dopesick' and the opioid crisis

Posted November 2, 2021 at 11:46 AM EDT

You may have heard of the new Hulu miniseries Dopesick, which unravels the story of America's opioid crisis through the eyes of doctors, patients, law enforcement, prosecutors and drugmaker Purdue Pharma itself.

The show is based off a nonfiction book by journalist Beth Macy and is getting a lot of positive attention — including from NPR's own TV critic, Eric Deggans.

Maybe you're all caught up with the eight-episode show. Or perhaps you've been meaning to check it out, or haven't heard of it at all. Regardless, you probably have some questions about how the series — and media organizations like NPR — go about covering the opioid crisis.

Who better to answer those questions than Macy, Deggans, Dopesick showrunner Danny Strong and NPR addiction correspondent Brian Mann?

They'll come together on Twitter at 3:30 p.m. ET today for a conversation about the show and its subject matter. You should save this link and join them there.

And while you wait:


Female handball players will no longer have to wear bikini bottoms

Posted November 2, 2021 at 11:33 AM EDT

Remember this summer when players on the Norwegian women's handball team were slapped with a fine for wearing shorts rather than the requisite bikini bottoms?

The battle between the team and handball's governing body sparked a global conversation about the sexualization of women in sports. And now, it's also sparked change.

The International Handball Federation has revised its uniform rules, saying female players must wear "a body fit tank top, short tight pants and eventual accessories." The new regulations were published on Oct. 3 and will take effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Women were previously required to wear bikini bottoms "with a close fit and cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg," with a side width no longer than 4 inches. (Male players' shorts don't need to have a "close fit" as womens' do, but they must be no longer than 4 inches above the knee.)

The rule change is an apparent victory for Norway's women's beach handball team, after months of controversy.

The players told the European Handball Federation in July that they would wear shorts rather than bikini bottoms in a championship game against Spain — saying the bottoms were not practical in a sport that requires diving into sand, and calling the requirements degrading to women.

Each member of the 10-person team was fined 150 euros, or around $175. American singer P!nk offered to cover the cost at the time, though the federation said it had donated the money to a "major international sports foundation which supports equality for women and girls in sports."

It added that it would "do its utmost to influence a change in the beach handball uniform regulations," but any formal decision rested with the international governing body, or IHF.

The IHF said back in July that it appreciated the feedback it had heard as a result of the Norwegian team's protest, but couldn't change any uniform requirements without undergoing a thorough approval process.

It explained that the IHF Commissions and Working Groups are traditionally tasked with evaluating beach handball regulations ahead of each IHF Congress, and a working group was already looking into equipment and uniforms.

"While alternatives to the current uniform have been already studied and elaborated by the IHF Beach Handball Working Group, the IHF cannot take a decision without analysing the implementation procedure as well and several steps need to be taken to implement new rules," it said.

In September, the sports ministers of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland wrote an open letter to the IHF, urging it to review its uniform policies "in accordance with gender equality."

Officials will raise the new beach handball rules at the IHF Congress in Turkey next week, before they take effect in January.


A 14-year-old mathematician won a prestigious award for his discoveries on 'antiprime numbers'

Posted November 2, 2021 at 11:15 AM EDT
Five student winners of the Broadcom MASTERS competition smile in front of decorated backgrounds.
Society For Science
Student winners of the 2021 Broadcom MASTERS competition smile during a virtual ceremony. Akilan Sankaran took home the top award in the middle school science and engineering competition.

Akilan Sankaran, 14, is on his school's varsity track team, plays piano, the flute and drums and yet somehow still found time to discover a computer program that could speed up some of your favorite apps.

That discovery won the ninth-grader from Albuquerque, N.M., the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, the top award in the Broadcom MASTERS, a highly-competitive science and engineering competition for middle school students.

For his winning project, Akilan wrote a computer program that has the potential capacity to make everyday tasks online run smoother and more efficiently. The program he created can calculate antiprime numbers, which are highly-divisible numbers of more than 1,000 digits, and he discovered a new class of functions to analyze these numbers’ divisibility.

"We use these numbers all the time in our daily lives without even thinking about it," Akilan said in his projectpresentation. "Because we have a natural tendency to want to split things into smaller groups. For example, 60 is a highly divisible number, and we use it to divide time as there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour."

In a similar way, highly divisible numbers are useful in computing because they can be used to divide data among computer processors, Akilan explains.

The computer program he created could one day help speed up apps like Shazam and optimize other software as well. You can read more about his research here. Akilan
is the first student with a math project to take home the competition's top prize in its 11-year history. He reports his long-term goal is to become an astrophysicist.

Akilan was chosen as the top winner out of over 1,800 students. Finalists submitted projects and also competed in a virtual competition where they were tested on their critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration skills.

A big theme among this year's other winners: Studying the environment.

Camellia Sharma, 14, from Henrico, V.A., won an award for the project FishPopAI: Counting Fish Population using Artificial Intelligence. Camellia built a 3D-printed aerial drone/boat that can land on water and take underwater photos, which software she created then uses to measure fish populations. Prisha Shroff, 14, of Chandler, Ariz., also dealt with surveying the natural world: Prisha invented an AI-based wildfire prevention system that identifies fire-risk areas by using satellite and meteorological data.

Josephine E. Schultz, 14, from San Antonio, studied how light pattern changes can affect the emergence of painted lady butterflies from chrysalises by up to two days. Ryka C. Chopra, 13, from Fremont, Calif., won by geocoding the locations of fast-food restaurants to analyze if they're built near populations of obese people, potentially contributing to obesity cycles.

The students don't just win acclaim and award money for themselves: The schools of each of the competition's 30 finalists will receive $1,000 to boost their STEM initiatives. A full list of the winners can be found here.

Last year's top award during the competition went to Ishana Kumar, a 12-year-old from Chappaqua, N.Y., who studied if a person's perception of imaginary colors can be altered, research that could lead to increased understanding of eye diseases.


‘All in the Family’ is 50 years old. A new book looks at how it changed TV

Posted November 2, 2021 at 10:55 AM EDT
A scene from All in the Family in which Archie Bunker (Carrol O'Connor) is lecturing his wife, Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton) about a piece of jewelry she's wearing.
Bettmann/Bettmann Archive
A scene from All in the Family in which Archie Bunker (Carrol O'Connor) is lecturing his wife, Edith Bunker (Jean Stapleton) about a piece of jewelry she's wearing.

It would seem unthinkable by today’s standards: the most popular character on television was a blue-collar bigot from Queens, New York — who, despite his prejudices, was often considered lovable at the same time.

But that was the case for much of the 1970s with the character Archie Bunker on All in the Family, which debuted in 1971. For five years, it was the most-watched show on television.

The show was groundbreaking for openly talking about serious issues of the day. While other shows featured surface-level plots, All in the Family’s storylines often involved deeper discussions of racism, women’s rights, the Vietnam War, homosexuality, rape and more.

“I had a father who was a bit of an Archie Bunker,” says Norman Lear, who created the show. Lear says his father would use racist terms for Chinese people and Black people. “He was, in my mind, a long way to what became Archie Bunker.”

Actor Carroll O’Connor played Bunker for 13 seasons, the first nine on All in the Family and then another four years in the spinoff, Archie Bunker's Place.

Lear tells Morning Edition that dozens of actors interviewed for the part. When O’Connor walked in, “we sit at this little table and he reads. You know I wish I could express -- my entire body felt, ‘Oh my god. This is Archie.’ ”

Writer Jim Colucci put together the new book All in the Family: The Show that Changed Television, which features interviews with cast and crew members, including Lear’s memories of certain episodes.

Colucci says that despite producers writing the main character the way they did, the actual atmosphere on set was that of respect, based on what guest stars on the show told him.

“Even people who just came in for an episode or two or three remarked about how collaborative the show was,” he says. “And it would often be actors who themselves were people of color or LGBT. And they said, ‘As an African American, I normally play these roles that are either really small or the dialogue is written in a way that white people think that Black people speak.’ Here they said, ‘We came in and we got to do something authentic and funny.’ And so I think that it was a combination of, back then, they knew how collaborative it was, and they knew how, even then, how groundbreaking it was.”

Read past the break for more, including the evolution of Edith Bunker.

Jean Stapleton played Archie’s wife, Edith Bunker. The character evolved from a meek housewife to a woman who became a symbol of the feminist movement at the time.

“She was developed to respond to any situation in life the way the most decent good person, the way the most Jesus-like, if you will, person would respond,” Lear says. “It was absolutely wonderful the talent Jean Stapleton brought to that character.”

Colucci thinks that taking on the role led Stapleton to changes in her own life.

“She was from the Christian Science background, so she had a religious background that was very specific. And I think that she herself had a very quiet life in Pennsylvania in the theater. And I think only through exposure to All in the Family and the wider world of Hollywood did she become awakened to some of the women's issues that were happening in her time and really grew as a person.”

In the 50 years since All in the Family’s debut, countless TV shows have pushed boundaries with their own delves into controversial and complex topics. Lear still thinks there’s more room to go deeper on religion.

“There is a lot that can be done with conversations that include belief and our lives from a spiritual standpoint,” he says.

Lear is now 99 years old. All in the Family was just one of the scores of beloved TV shows he’s produced, written, developed or created. His advice, though, isn’t to spend a long time looking back on things in the past.

“Two little words we don't pay enough attention to: over and next,” he says. “When something is over, it is over and we are on to next. And I like to think about the hammock in the middle of those two words. That's living in the moment. That's the moment I believe I'm living as I complete this sentence. And it couldn’t be more important to me.”


Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene gets four more fines for refusing to wear a mask

Posted November 2, 2021 at 10:31 AM EDT
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., discusses the infrastructure bill during a news conference in August
Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/AP
FR171810 AP
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., discusses the infrastructure bill during a news conference in August

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was smacked Monday with four more fines for failing to wear a mask on the House floor and has amassed at least $15,500 in fines for breaking the House rule.

The House Ethics committee cited Greene for four separate incidents in late September. Greene, an outspoken opponent of the House pandemic rule and of masks in general, has not appealed the fines.

She has racked up three previous fines for failing to wear a mask on the House floor. The penalty for the first offense is $500 and jumps to $2,500 each for subsequent offenses.

It's unclear whether Greene has paid any of the fines or if they will be taken from her $174,000 House salary.

Greene has made headlines in the past for comparing rules on COVID-19 masking to the atrocities of the Holocaust, in which Nazis killed 6 million Jews.


Meet Judge Beth Robinson, the first out lesbian to serve on any federal circuit court

Posted November 2, 2021 at 10:26 AM EDT
A woman with bobbed gray hair, wearing glasses, a back and white jacket and a sparkly necklace, smiles with a hand raised while taking an oath.
Toby Talbot/AP
Vermont Justice Beth Robinson takes the oath of office on Monday, Nov. 28, 2011, in Montpelier, Vt.

The Senate met yesterday to vote on the nomination of Justice Beth Robinson to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lawmakers confirmed her by a 51-to-45 vote, with four abstaining and two Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voting in favor. She will soon be the first openly LGBT woman to serve on any federal circuit court, according to the White House.

Robinson, 56, was among President Biden's sixth round of judicial nominees in August. She has been an associate justice on the Vermont Supreme Court since 2011 and is well-known in the state for her advocacy to legalize same-sex marriage before it was legal nationwide.

Elected Vermont officials on both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly supported her nomination, Sen. Patrick Leahy said in a statement. He and Sen. Bernie Sanders both offered their praise and congratulations to Robinson after the vote.

"As an advocate, Beth Robinson has been rightfully hailed as a tireless champion for equal rights and equal justice," Leahy said. "But more importantly, her record as a Vermont Supreme Court Justice clearly demonstrates her fairness, impartiality, and loyalty to the rule of law, above all else."

Leahy went on to highlight some of Robinson's accomplishments prior to her time on the bench.

She worked pro bono as a co-counsel to the plaintiffs in Baker v. State, which successfully challenged Vermont's prohibition on same-sex marriage to make it the first state to enact civil unions in the country.

As a litigator, he said, Robinson's work "served as a blueprint for LGBTQ advocacy across the country." She represented an employee of the University of Vermont who sought recognition of his Canadian marriage to a same-sex partner for health insurance purposes and a couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage in the context of second-parent adoption, among other cases.

The civil rights organization Lambda Legal hailed Robinson's confirmation as a significant milestone, noting that the LGBTQ community is "woefully underrepresented" in the federal judiciary.

Only 14 out of 870 federal judgeships are held by openly gay or lesbian judges, it added, and there has never been an openly bisexual or transgender judicial nominee.

“Judge Robinson’s extraordinary professional expertise makes her well qualified for this important position and her confirmation as the first openly lesbian judge to a federal appeals court seat is cause for celebration for our community," said Sharon McGowan, the organization's chief strategy officer and legal director. "LGBT representation in the courts is critical because judges that more accurately reflect the diversity of our nation give legitimacy to these important institutions, which have such a profound impact on the lives of so many. Judge Robinson’s lived and professional experiences will be assets in her work to fulfill our nation’s promise of justice."

Robinson received her B.A. from Dartmouth College and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. At the start of her career, she clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and as an associate at a D.C. firm focused on white-collar criminal defense.

From 1993 to 2010, she was a civil litigator in private practice at Langrock Sperry & Wool with a focus on employment law, workers' compensation, contract disputes and family law. She served as counsel to former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin before her appointment to the state supreme court.


Texas' governor takes aim at school library books with 'pornographic or obscene material'

Posted November 2, 2021 at 9:10 AM EDT
The side view of a man sitting in front of a podium, with one hand raised in front of a microphone and an American flag behind him.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Getty Images North America
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks during the Houston Region Business Coalition's monthly meeting on October 27, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is asking the state's association of school boards to "ensure no child is exposed to pornography or other inappropriate content in a Texas public school," in the latest GOP attempt to dictate what can and can't be taught in classrooms.

In a Monday letter to the executive director of the Texas Association of School Boards, Abbott said that parents have the right to shield their children from obscene content in schools, and asked the organization to determine the extent to which such material exists — and remove it.

“A growing number of parents of Texas students are becoming increasingly alarmed about some of the books and other content found in public school libraries that are extremely inappropriate in the public education system," he wrote. "The most flagrant examples include clearly pornographic images and substance that have no place in the Texas public education system."

The letter doesn't provide any specific examples of such content.

Texas school libraries are governed by their independent districts as well as standards established and approved by the state, as Abbott noted in the letter. While classroom textbooks are reviewed and adopted by the state's board of education, library books are reviewed at the district level.

"Collectively, your organization's members have an obligation to determine the extent to which such materials exist or are used in our schools and to remove any such content," Abbott wrote. "You must also ensure transparency about the materials being taught in the classroom and offered in school libraries."

The school boards association has not responded publicly to the letter.

But a spokesperson told NPR over email that the group was "confused" about why it had been the recipient, given that it "has no regulatory authority over school districts and does not set the standards for instructional materials, including library books."

"The role of a school board primarily includes establishing a strategic plan for the district, adopting policies in public meetings, approving the district’s budget, and selecting and evaluating a superintendent," the spokesperson added. "In most school districts, the review and selection of individual library materials traditionally has been an administrative responsibility managed by professional district staff."

The letter comes as several Republican state lawmakers have demanded inquiries into school library books that they deem inappropriate.

Texas Rep. Matt Krause, who chairs the House Committee on General Investigating — and is also a candidate for attorney general —
wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency's deputy commissioner of school programs and school superintendents, announcing an inquiry into the books districts offer.

Krause attached a 16-page list of roughly 850 book titles, most of which appear to be related to gender identity, sexuality, race and sexual health. They were published between the 1960s and this year, and several have won awards. An analysisfrom The Dallas Morning News found that "of the first 100 titles listed, 97 were written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors."

He asked district leaders to tell him how many copies of these books they have and in which campus locations, as well as how much the district spent on them.

Krause also asked school leaders to identify and provide the same information for other books they may have that address the following topics:

"Human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), sexually explicit images, graphic presentations of sexual behavior that is in violation of the law, or contain material that might make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex or convey that a student, by virtue of their race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously."

And late last week, State Rep. Jeff Cason called on Texas' attorney general to investigate "sexually explicit material in public school."

He singled out one particular book, Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe, a nonbinary, queer author and illustrator. (The book has been challenged or denounced in multiple states, an experience Kobabe described in a recent Washington Postop-ed.) One district has since removed it from a high school library.

Cason urged the attorney general to launch a statewide investigation into that and other books that may "violate the Penal Code in relation to pornography, child pornography and decency laws, as well as the legal ramifications to school districts that approved of these types of books."

Of course, there's a much larger battle brewing in and beyond Texas about how schools can treat sensitive but important subjects.

Texas lawmakers passed two laws this year restricting how teachers can talk about race in school.

More broadly, the highly-politicized debate over critical race theory is now playing out in many states — including in Virginia, where Toni Morrison's Beloved recently came to embody the education issues at stake in today's gubernatorial election.


It's Election Day. Here's what you need to know

Posted November 2, 2021 at 8:49 AM EDT

It's voting day in the U.S.

First things first

If you haven't voted already, you can use this site to find your polling placeand remind yourself who's on the ballot. And here's how to look into the COVID precautions your state has in place for this election day. The ACLU has resources available to help you know your rights when you go vote, like what to do if you have difficulty reading or writing in English or if you're disabled and need an accommodation to vote.

And if you run into problems voting, folks at the Election Protection Hotlines can help and they're available in English along with many other languages. You can call or text 866-687-8683 to reach them.

Here are the state races that could have big national implications:

The disclaimer is, of course, there are plenty of races to watch nationwide and the power of local races shouldn't be understated. Here are some things to know about two state races that'll make waves nationally.

In Virginia, eyes are on the tight gubernatorial election, where school issues have been a hot topic. Schools, school masks, school board meetings and school curriculums are all over television ads and candidate speeches this campaign cycle. A team from NPR spoke with voters in Virginia about what matters to them going into the voting booth today.

More than a million Virginians have already cast early ballots. The candidates are Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin. Up First described the candidates this way: McAuliffe, who has already been governor, mostly campaigned on his past performance; Youngkin is a former private equity CEO who gave air to many Republican criticisms of what schools do and do not teach about race and history in the U.S. For more on the race, Ben Paviour at Member station VPM in Richmond has coverage.

Even after the concession speech is over and all the confetti swept up, the race probably won't be gone from the news. The results will be dissected by pollsters and pundits looking for clues on how opinions on key issues like vaccines and schools might influence the 2022 midterms.

New Jersey is also seeing an odd-year gubernatorial election today. Of the five candidates, WNYC's Nancy Solomon reports the two main party candidates are expected to earn the most votes and polls have shown that Democratic Gov. Phil Murphyhas a comfortable lead. But here's why it isn't a sure thing: If he's reelected today, Murphy would be the first Democratic governor to be reelected in New Jersey in over 40 years.

Read more about what the candidates promise and what will be drawing New Jersey voters to the election box.

And New York City is also seeing a pivotal election, this one for the city's mayor. WNYC's Gothamist has guidesto the candidates and proposals today. They report the mayoral race will come down to two main choices: Eric Adams (Democratic Party),a former cop who, if elected, would be only the second Black mayor of the ethnically diverse city, and Curtis Sliwa (Republican Party and Independent), best known for starting the volunteer anti-crime group Guardian Angels, whom some New Yorkers appreciated and others called vigilantes.

Also, here's the story for you to read while in line at your polling place if you've ever wondered where the term "gubernatorial" comes from.

Some states have less voting access than last year

The pandemic's fingerprints were all over the 2020 general election. Social distancing needs caused many states to increase voting access, and as a result, more people than ever were able to use absentee ballots last year. Jump ahead to this year, those expanded measures have been put into law by some states, but Texas, Florida and other states are rolling back voting access in a charge led by Republicans.

NPR's Miles Parks explains it all below, including how this new trend of election distrust has deep roots in former president Trump's lies about the election.

Most Americans trust our elections, but many Republicans still don't

Here's what the data says about how bad election mistrust really is in the U.S.: Most Americans believe that elections are fair and say they'll trust the outcomes of the 2022 and 2024 elections regardless of if their preferred candidate wins, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

But, those majorities largely consist of voters who consider themselves Democrats or Independents. Among Republicans, the survey found much more distrust and false beliefs of election fraud. NPR's Domenico Montanaro has the breakdown here, including the big education gap that emerged between some responses.


Nations sign a landmark deal at Glasgow climate summit to tackle deforestation

Posted November 2, 2021 at 7:56 AM EDT
General aerial view of coca field at the Natural National Park in the Amazonian region of Colombia in September 2020.
Raul Arboleda/AFP via Getty Images
General aerial view of coca field at the Natural National Park in the Amazonian region of Colombia in September 2020.

Brazil, home to the Amazon rainforest, is among 105 countries pledging to reverse deforestation as part of an agreement signed at a major climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forest and Land Use, signed late Monday, also includes Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of Congo and its signatories account for about 85% of the world’s forests. They have agreed to conserve and accelerate restoration of forests and significantly increase finance and investment to promote sustainable forest management, conservation and support for Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

President Biden, who is attending the summit, known as COP26, said the plan will "help the world deliver on our shared goal of halting natural forest loss."

He said it would restore 200 million hectares (nearly 500 million acres) of forest and other ecosystems by 2030. "We're going to work to ensure markets recognize the true economic value of natural carbon sinks and motivate governments, landowners and stakeholders to prioritize conservation," Biden said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in a tweet, called it “landmark action.”

"We will have a chance to end humanity's long history as nature's conqueror, and instead become its custodian."

The deal expands a similar 2014 commitment made by 40 countries that experts have said did little to address the problem.

However, the latest pledge adds about $19 billion in public and private funds. Some $1.7 billion of that has been pledged by the U.S., United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and 17 other private funders, such as The Ford Foundation and foundations run by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg, to fund “activities to secure, strengthen and protect Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ land and resource rights,” according to The Associated Press.

A spokesperson for The Ford Foundation told the AP that the governments are providing approximately $1 billion, with the rest coming from the private funders.

The forests absorb roughly a third of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the nonprofit World Resources Institute, which says that in 2020, the world lost 100,000 square miles of forest — an area larger than the United Kingdom.


Pfizer jabs for kids are on the horizon. Also, take NPR's booster quiz

Posted November 2, 2021 at 7:24 AM EDT
A wooden table holds two bandaids, a pile of alcohol pads, a pile of bandages and a covered syringe.
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images
A syringe containing the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Jewish Federation/JARC's offices in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on May 13, 2021.

Let's start the morning off with some numbers:

  • Global deaths from COVID-19 just surpassed 5 million.
  • The U.S. is reporting an average of 72,000 new cases a day, a number that's fallen in the last few weeks (more data here).
  • Some 58% of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated, while 66.7% has had at least one dose (see how your state is doing).
  • Children ages 5 to 11 have accounted for approximately 9% of reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. overall and, as of late last week, account for approximately 40% of pediatric COVID-19 cases.

The focus this week is on how soon Americans ages 5-11 will be able to roll up their sleeves. An answer — and a kids' vaccine rollout — could be coming soon.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention advisers are meeting today to make their recommendations, days after the Food and Drug Administration authorized a lower-dose version of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for that age group.

The CDC panel will deliberate whether 5- to 11-year-olds should get the Pfizer vaccine, and depending on their recommendation, head Dr. Rochelle Walensky will have the final say on whether the vaccine should be used and under which circumstances.

The next step is getting shots into arms — which involves a lot of logistics, as NPR's Allison Aubrey explained on Morning Edition.

"The Pfizer vaccine authorized for 5- to 11-year-olds is a different formulation, a lower dose, and this means distributing and shipping a new product to thousands of pediatricians, as well as pharmacies," she said.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients told reporters yesterday that if the CDC issues recommendations for use of the Pfizer vaccine in young children this week, kids could start receiving shots within hours and days of Walensky's sign-off.

He said 15 million doses of the childrens' vaccine formulation started being shipped last Friday — as soon it was authorized by the FDA — and that the federal program for vaccine distribution "will be fully operational" by next Monday. Some doses may be available by the end of this week.

Here are more details on the Pfizer kids' vaccine.

PLUS: Many adults are now also thinking about rolling up their sleeves — this time, to get a booster dose.

Wondering whether you should get one, or how to go about it?

Take this handy NPR quiz to see what's advised in your situation, and click here to read everything you need to know about boosters.

Or glance through this helpful timeline: