Explainers

Will an 18-year-old pop star convince young people that the COVID-19 vaccine is good 4 u?

Young Americans are trying to return to the normalcy they’ve long yearned for since the pandemic started. And, well? Things are shaping up to be a little brutal out here. Americans between 12 and 29 are contracting COVID-19 at the highest rates while being the least protected — only 38 percent are vaccinated against the virus as of May 22, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. The vaccine is now available in every state for people 12 and older, but Gen Z and younger m

Why can’t Olympians smoke weed?

Sha’Carri Richardson, once poised for Olympic gold, will not be running in Tokyo this summer. The news has drawn a sense from supporters that this young, Black track phenom has been wronged by sporting rules on pot that are overdue for a change. USA Track and Field announced that she had not been selected for the U.S. relay team on Tuesday, after she was disqualified earlier from the 100-meter race due to a positive test for THC. Her chances dashed at an Olympic debut, fellow elite athletes hav

What’s causing the drought in the West — and why it’s so bad

Several Western states, including Arizona, California, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and parts of Oregon and Colorado, are in the grips of a historic drought that has depleted key water sources to a frightening level as temperatures rise and wildfire risk increases. Many scientists are ringing alarm bells that it could mark a tipping point in the water crisis that threatens life in the West as we know it, particularly agriculture. “The word drought just doesn’t do it anymore,” said John Fleck, a pro

How to help Texas during winter storm blackouts

An unprecedented winter storm and unprepared electrical grid has left millions of Texans without reliable power and water and has killed at least 20 people since Monday. Rolling blackouts stretched into days, with more than 400,000 households still without power Feb. 18 as another storm looms Thursday. The incoming storm is expected to have devastating effects, particularly in counties southwest of San Antonio where COVID-19 cases are already spreading significantly. About seven million people

What is the 25th Amendment and what could it mean for Trump?

Following the siege of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday by a violent pro-Trump mob, a number of Democratic lawmakers, including soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and some Republicans have called for the president to be removed from office, either through impeachment or use of the 25th Amendment after they say he incited the violence perpetrated by his supporters on Jan. 6. The 25th Amendment has rarely been used since its ratification in 1967, following John F. Kennedy’s assa

Racial Equity Q&A

The Department of Housing and Urban Development and leading national experts have said that racial equity should be at the center of homeless responses during the COVID-19 pandemic — a recognition that people of color are disproportionately affected by both homelessness and COVID-19. Here’s a look at the issues. Racial equity is not the same as racial equality. HUD addressed this distinction in June when it issued guidance to nonprofits working with homeless populations during the pandemic. Equ
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