Scott Neuman

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

He brings to NPR years of experience as a journalist at a variety of news organizations based all over the world. He came to NPR from The Associated Press in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as an editor on the news agency's Asia Desk. Prior to that, Neuman worked in Hong Kong with The Wall Street Journal, where among other things he reported extensively from Pakistan in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He also spent time with the AP in New York, and in India as a bureau chief for United Press International.

A native Hoosier, Neuman's roots in public radio (and the Midwest) run deep. He started his career at member station WBNI in Fort Wayne, and worked later in Illinois for WNIU/WNIJ in DeKalb/Rockford and WILL in Champaign-Urbana.

Neuman is a graduate of Purdue University. He lives with his wife, Noi, on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping discussed the global response to the novel coronavirus in a phone call in which the two reportedly discussed easing tensions and pledged cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.

The leaders spoke after an extraordinary virtual G-20 meeting that was necessitated by social distancing protocols put in place to limit the spread of the potentially deadly virus.

South Africa started a three-week nationwide lockdown on Friday as the country reported its first deaths from COVID-19 and the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus there neared 1,000, the highest on the continent.

At midnight Thursday, police and the military began enforcing an order forbidding all but essential movement. Before the deadline, there were long lines at supermarkets as people stocked up on supplies, according to the BBC.

A federal judge has ordered the release of 10 people held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New Jersey county jails where COVID-19 has been confirmed, citing chronic medical conditions of the detainees that make them particularly vulnerable to the disease.

Those ordered freed range in age from 31 to 56 years of age and have medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and some with past histories that include pneumonia and smoking. Five were being held at Bergen County Jail, three at Hudson County Jail and the other two at Essex County Jail.

Nurses and midwives in Australia say they've had to take extraordinary measures to stop people from stealing personal protective equipment, such as sanitizer and masks, and that some of them have even become targets of violence.

In a statement on its website, the New South Wales Nurses & Midwives' Association issued a plea to the community as the number of novel coronavirus cases in the country exceeded 2,800, with eight deaths, as of Thursday morning.

Updated at 4:50 a.m. ET

Robert Levinson, a retired FBI agent who disappeared in 2007 while on an unauthorized mission in Iran for the CIA, is now presumed dead, White House officials and his family said Wednesday.

"We recently received information from U.S. officials that has led both them and us to conclude that our wonderful husband and father died while in Iranian custody," his family announced in a post on the group "Help Bob Levinson" on Facebook. "We don't know when or how he died, only that it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic."

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday 39 new coronavirus cases in the state, including one young adult who attended a "coronavirus party," apparently held to flout social distancing guidelines.

"This is one that makes me mad, and it should make you mad," Beshear said of the case that occurred after the person attended a party of people in their 20s, who health officials say are as a group less vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Updated at 2:20 a.m. ET

The Trump administration and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced early Wednesday that the White House and Senate had reached a deal for an unprecedented $2 trillion spending package aimed at propping up individuals, businesses and the nation's health care system amid the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic.

White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland made the announcement at about 1 a.m. ET.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are done. We have a deal," Ueland said.

Salt Lake City officials have announced tougher restrictions on families and friends meeting Mormon missionaries returning from abroad after many well wishers flouted official guidelines, thronging an airport parking lot over the weekend with welcome-home signs and balloons.

An Arizona man is dead and his wife was hospitalized after the couple ingested a form of chloroquine, a chemical that has been hailed recently by President Trump as a possible "game changer" in the fight against the novel coronavirus, according to the Phoenix hospital that treated the couple.

Banner Health hospital said in a statement that "the couple, both in their 60s, ingested chloroquine phosphate, an additive commonly used at aquariums to clean fish tanks." The aquarium additive the couple ingested is not the same as the medication that has been used to treat malaria.

Some two dozen residents and six staff members have tested positive for novel coronavirus at a nursing home north of Seattle, according to local reports.

As Senate Republicans try to push through a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief bill this week, they are doing so without a handful of votes in the closely divided chamber: Sens. Rand Paul, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee.

U.S. and Mexican officials say that the two countries are working on an agreement to halt nonessential travel across their shared border while keeping vital trade links open as part of an effort to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, in a tweet on Thursday referring to the disease caused by the virus, said he was working closely with his Mexican counterpart, Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard, "on travel restrictions that balance protecting our citizens from further transmission of #COVID19."

A cruise ship arriving from New Zealand that docked in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, where passengers were allowed to disembark, was later found to have had four people aboard who were infected with the novel coronavirus, according to local media reports.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has ordered California's 40 million residents to stay at home indefinitely in the widest-ranging directive so far of any state as it grapples with a growing novel coronavirus epidemic that has killed 150 people nationwide.

The order late Thursday called on people to remain in their homes with exceptions only for essential travel. The move follows similar restrictions issued earlier this week for the San Francisco Bay Area.

China, the country on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic that has infected 81,000 people there, marked a milestone on Thursday: for the first time since December, it has no new domestic cases to report.

At the same time, China's National Health Commission announced 34 new cases contracted elsewhere and imported from abroad to the country's mainland, while Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous territory, reported 25 new imported cases.

Amazon says that a worker at its delivery station in Queens, New York, has tested positive for novel coronavirus and that the facility is being temporarily shut down so that it can be disinfected.

President Trump says the U.S. has reached an agreement with Canada to limit nonessential travel across their mutual border, as governments and people around the world grapple with the growing novel coronavirus pandemic that has upended daily life and sent shockwaves through the global economy.

Developments in the past 24 hours came as the worldwide total of confirmed infections from the virus was set to top 200,000, with some 8,000 dead from the resulting COVID-19 disease.

Here's a look at developments by region:

Europe

A months-long analysis of alleged pieces of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls that are on display at a privately funded museum in Washington, D.C., has revealed them to be clever forgeries, according to a team of researchers examining the fragments.

Updated at 5:52 p.m. ET

The European Union is locking down its borders, imposing a 30-day entry ban on nonessential travel for non-EU citizens to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the measure Tuesday night, saying people in the member nations can still move freely between those countries.

The ban went into effect immediately.

Updated at 9:11 p.m. ET

With the number of cases worldwide of the novel coronavirus surpassing 150,000, with some 6,000 deaths, governments across the globe continue their struggle to contain the pandemic. Their hope is to limit the number of new infections, while treating those individuals suffering from COVID-19 and isolating others whose symptoms are not as severe but who might spread the disease.

Here's a snapshot by region of what is happening as of midday Monday:

Europe

Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, the wife of Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, becoming the latest in a string of high-profile individuals to become infected with the potentially deadly pathogen.

In a statement on Thursday, the office of the prime minister said Grégoire Trudeau had begun experiencing a low-grade fever and other mild flu-like symptoms the previous day and was subsequently tested.

Carlos Cordeiro, the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, announced late Thursday that he was stepping down as head of the governing body after a controversial court filing in a lawsuit over equal pay for the women's national team that appeared to disparage the athletic abilities of female players.

The resignation of Cordeiro, who had served as USSF president since 2018, is effective immediately. He is replaced by U.S. Soccer's vice president, Cindy Parlow Cone, a former pro player who will be the first woman to head the governing body.

Actor Tom Hanks announced on social media Thursday that he and his wife, fellow actor Rita Wilson, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands worldwide since December.

On Instagram and in a tweet on Thursday local time, Hanks, who is in Australia for preproduction on an as-yet untitled film about Elvis Presley, said he and Wilson "felt a bit tired, like we had colds, and some body aches."

Updated at 6:20 a.m. ET

The United Kingdom's health minister has been diagnosed with novel coronavirus infection – one of nearly 400 confirmed cases in that country, as Turkey on Wednesday announced its first case of the disease, which has now spread to some 110 countries.

Updated at 8:57 a.m. ET

Afghan forces, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan and the Taliban militia will begin a seven-day "reduction in violence" across the country beginning Saturday midnight local time (2:30 p.m. ET Friday) — a possible prelude to a broader peace deal following two decades of war, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

The quasi cease-fire was hammered out during protracted negotiations in Qatar that began in 2018. It could ultimately lead to a significant reduction of the approximately 12,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

China reported 889 new cases of novel coronavirus infection on Friday, including more than 200 from a prison, and an additional 118 deaths – all but three in the province of Hubei, bringing the total deaths in the country to more than 2,200.

The latest count came as South Korea, with the highest number of cases outside China, reported another jump in infections to 204.

And residents clashed with police in a central Ukrainian town where evacuees from Wuhan, the Chinese province where the epidemic began, arrived for a two-week quarantine.

President Trump has named Richard Grenell, the vocal and controversial U.S. ambassador to Germany, as the new acting director of national intelligence, replacing the current acting head of the nation's 17 spy agencies.

Grenell, who has been the U.S. envoy to Berlin since May 2018, is known to be fiercely loyal to Trump, but critics have noted that he has no background in intelligence and no top-level management experience.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

At least 10 people were killed by a gunman in western Germany late Wednesday at several locations, including two hookah lounges frequented by ethnic Kurdish customers. The suspected shooter, who was later found dead, left a letter and video claiming responsibility, according to multiple German news agencies.

The suspect had reportedly posted materials online that were vehemently anti-immigrant, prompting federal prosecutors to take over the case.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

China's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it is canceling the visas of three journalists working for The Wall Street Journal after what it said was a racist headline that appeared on an opinion piece about the coronavirus epidemic earlier this month.

An indigenous-led anti-pipeline protest has shut down a vital cross-continent rail line in Canada, disrupting freight and passenger service and costing millions of dollars in lost revenue, officials say.

Pages