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Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

A new generation of faster, cheaper coronavirus tests is starting to hit the market. And some experts say these technologies could finally give the U.S. the ability to adopt a new, more effective testing strategy.

"On the horizon — the not too distant horizon — there are a whole series of testing modalities coming on line," says Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown School of Public Health. "And that gives us hope we can really expand our testing capacity in the nation."

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Smithsonian Magazine reported last month on the success of a robot named Curly and its exhibition match against South Korean curlers. Curly won three of four games against its human competition.

At the end of a dirt road in New York's Adirondack Mountains, endurance athlete Alyssa Godesky switches on her headlamp. It's 4 a.m. when Godesky begins what will be the first of three and a half days of scrambling up rocky trails and bushwhacking through thick forests.

Godesky is one of thousands of runners chasing down speed records in the mountains since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. With all the major races canceled this year, more athletes are measuring themselves against the clock, attempting to set what are known as Fastest Known Times.

When invitations went out to men's lacrosse teams to compete in the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Ala., there was a big omission. The third-best Iroquois Nationals, a team that represents the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, wasn't on the list.

Organizers said the Nationals could not compete because they are not a sovereign nation — even though they have their own passports.

"It was a disappointment and sort of boiled my blood," says Lyle Thompson, an Iroquois Nationals player.

Despite people's fears, sophisticated, deceptive videos known as "deepfakes" haven't arrived this political season. But it's not because they aren't a threat, sources tell NPR. It's because simple deceptions like selective editing or outright lies have worked just fine.

"You can think of the deepfake as the bazooka and the video splicing as a slingshot. And it turns out the slingshot works," said Hany Farid, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley specializing in visual misinformation.

The coronavirus pandemic is taking a heavy economic toll on Asian Americans.

From Vietnamese nail salons to Cambodian donut shops, Asian-owned businesses have struggled. And Asian American workers have gone from having the lowest unemployment rate in the country to one of the highest.

Jerry Raburn lost his job at a mortgage servicing company in Southern California in March, just six months after he started.

"The business decreased dramatically, and based on seniority, I was let go," said Raburn, who came to the U.S. from Thailand when he was 8 years old.

Latinx isn't a new term, and neither are the debates around its use.

According to a recent Pew Research Center national survey of Latinos, Latinx has not caught on. Only 3% say they use the term and it's mostly young people, ages 18 to 29, who have embraced it.

Just as the coronavirus pandemic began its rapid and deadly spread across the United States, a well-known doctor named Dominique Fradin-Read told thousands of viewers tuning into an Instagram Live video that she had an answer, "one of the best ways to prevent and fight COVID-19."

COVID-19 is still spreading across the U.S., but you would barely know it by how people are planning to vote this year.

As the pandemic took hold in the spring, voting experts predicted a national shift toward mail or absentee voting: some experts predicted as many as 70% of all votes cast could be by mail, as was the case in Wisconsin's April primary.

Some rural school districts in Oregon are starting online learning this week after it was postponed twice by the worst wildfires on record. But the road to recovery is only just beginning.

Many people with student loans aren't carrying the burden of their debt alone. The mountain of debt weighs down their families, too.

"Student loan repayment is really a family affair," says Fiona Greig, director of consumer research at the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

An heiress to the Seagram's liquor fortune has been sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for fraud and forced labor as a leading member of Nxivm, a cult-like self-help group accused of holding women captive and coercing them into having sex with the group's leader.

Clare Bronfman, 41, was a member of Nxivm — pronounced Nehk-see-um — for 15 years, eventually joining its executive board and bankrolling numerous lawsuits against critics of the secretive organization led by Keith Raniere.

Sarah Collins Rudolph was 12 years old when the explosion of a bomb, planted by the Ku Klux Klan, ripped through the basement of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963.

Her sister and three other young girls were killed by the dynamite blast, and although she survived, she lost an eye and was hospitalized for months. Since then, the medical bills and the trauma of that violent Sunday have haunted her.

The Glass Fire has prompted the evacuation of thousands of residents in California's Napa and Sonoma counties and caused the destruction of dozens of buildings.

Since igniting in the wine country on early Sunday, wind-fueled flames have engulfed 48,440 acres and consumed more than 50 homes and buildings, according to CalFire. As of late Wednesday morning, the fire was only 2% contained.

TONYA MOSLEY, HOST:

Fires continue to rage across Northern California this week, burning tens of thousands of acres. The Glass Fire in Sonoma and Napa counties has pushed people out of their homes, causing traffic jams in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County's most populous city. Police Chief Ray Navarro pleaded with people to keep the roads as clear as possible and only use them to leave.

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Updated 1 a.m. ET Thursday

President Trump signed a short-term spending bill into law early Thursday, about an hour after current funding levels expired and averting a federal government shutdown.

Hours earlier the Senate voted 84-10 to approve the bill, which extends current funding levels and keeps the federal government open through Dec. 11

In theory, parts of the government were unfunded for about an hour, but the White House did not address the discrepancy in a brief statement following the signing.

Yvette Gentry will become the third police chief in the city of Louisville, Ky., since the police killing of Breonna Taylor in March.

After serving in the department for two decades — including time as a deputy police chief — Gentry retired in 2014. She will be the first Black woman to lead the department and will serve on an interim basis.

President Trump has consistently told Americans "the complete opposite" of what his health experts have been telling him in private meetings about COVID-19, according to Olivia Troye, who until recently worked on the the White House coronavirus task force.

A man has been charged with attempted murder after he fired multiple shots into a Los Angeles County sheriff's patrol vehicle earlier this month.

Deonte Lee Murray, 36, allegedly fired a handgun into the squad car as it was parked near a train station in Compton on Sept. 12. The two deputies inside were critically wounded, but were able to radio for help.

President Trump attempted to clarify his position on white supremacists after a litany of members of his own party urged him to more clearly condemn the right wing group known as The Proud Boys, whom he told to "stand back and stand by" in Tuesday night's first presidential debate.

The president told reporters at the White House that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, but said they should "stand down" and let law enforcement do their work.

"I don't know who the Proud Boys are, you'll have to give me a definition," he said.

After the league's first coronavirus outbreak, the NFL is postponing Sunday's game between the Tennessee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers by at least a day.

The NFL says the game will be moved to either Monday or Tuesday. This is the first time a scheduled game has been delayed due to COVID-19.

In a statement, the league said the move was to protect players and other personnel and "allow additional time for further daily COVID-19 testing."

Winter is coming, and COVID-19 is still here. That means socializing is about to get harder as temperatures drop and activities move indoors.

One potential tactic is to form something called a “social bubble,” also known as a “pandemic pod” or a “quaranteam.” The gist is to join forces with another family, or small group of people, and socialize exclusively with them while maintaining a safe distance from others.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A federal appeals court has denied the Trump administration's request to temporarily block a lower court order that extends the 2020 census schedule.

The Census Bureau must continue counting as ordered by the lower court for now, according to the new ruling by 9th U.S. Circuit Judge Johnnie Rawlinson and Judge Morgan Christen, who were part of a three-judge panel. Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay dissented.

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