Matthew S. Schwartz

Matthew S. Schwartz is a reporter with NPR's news desk. Before coming to NPR, Schwartz worked as a reporter for Washington, DC, member station WAMU, where he won the national Edward R. Murrow award for feature reporting in large market radio. Previously, Schwartz worked as a technology reporter covering the intricacies of Internet regulation. In a past life, Schwartz was a Washington telecom lawyer. He got his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center, and his B.A. from the University of Michigan ("Go Blue!").

Updated at 12:45 a.m. ET Sunday

The U.S. has hit another devastating milestone: COVID-19 has killed more than 350,000 people in the country, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The grim number comes as a new variant of the coronavirus is spreading across dozens of countries.

Updated at 9:37 p.m. ET Saturday

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit that challenges President-elect Joe Biden's victory Friday, as Congress moves toward finalizing the results of the 2020 election.

And on Saturday, a panel of judges at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case for "essentially" the same reasons as the lower court: the plaintiffs don't have standing to sue.

National Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro — a longtime pitcher for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves who was known for his blistering knuckleball — died in his sleep after a long battle with cancer, the team announced Sunday. He was 81.

Updated at 2:25 a.m. ET on Monday

The violent explosion that rocked downtown Nashville, Tenn., on Christmas morning is believed to be a suicide bombing by Anthony Q. Warner, 63, U.S. Attorney Don Cochran said Sunday.

Authorities continue to ask those who knew or encountered the suspect to contact the FBI. The agency is still investigating, but there is no indication that anyone else was involved, Cochran said.

Updated at 6:43 p.m. ET

One day after a Christmas bombing in downtown Nashville, Tenn., damaged dozens of buildings over several blocks and injured at least three people, police are working with federal authorities to find the perpetrator.

In his Christmas Day address, Pope Francis appealed to the nations of the world to share the new coronavirus vaccines with the most needy.

"Today, in this time of darkness and uncertainty regarding the pandemic, various lights of hope appear, such as the discovery of vaccines," Francis said. "But for these lights to illuminate and bring hope to all, they need to be available to all."

More than 2 million people have passed through security checkpoints at U.S. airports over the last two days, according to statistics provided by the Transportation Security Administration. This is despite official guidance to stay home for the holidays as the coronavirus pandemic rages and the nation's death toll continues to rise.

The United Kingdom has entered a period of intense restrictions after a mutation of the coronavirus was discovered spreading rapidly through the population of London and the southeast and east of England. Most of the country faces a strict lockdown as Christmas approaches, and several countries throughout Europe have banned travel from the United Kingdom.

The British government put several parts of England into what's known as "Tier 4" restrictions after the spike in infections. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the new restrictions on Saturday.

Kids want to know: Is it safe for Santa to stop by this year?

"Will Santa still be able to visit me in coronavirus's season?" asked 6-year-old Paxton from Geneva, Ill., during a CNN-Sesame Street town hall Saturday. "What if he can't go to anyone's house, or near his reindeer?"

The Army has soldiers. The Navy has sailors. Now, one year after its creation, it's official: The Space Force has "guardians."

Vice President Mike Pence revealed the moniker during remarks celebrating the first anniversary of the military branch on Friday.

China is days away from becoming the third country to bring moon rocks back to Earth.

China's state news agency Xinhua announced Sunday that the country's lunar probe, Chang'e-5, had completed its second orbital maneuver, and entered the "moon-Earth transfer orbit." The craft is expect to land in China's Inner Mongolia region later this week.

With a hard end-of-year deadline looming, the U.K. and the European Union will continue negotiations to try to avoid a no-deal Brexit, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Sunday.

Taking the podium at EU headquarters in Brussels, Von der Leyen said that despite the lack of any breakthrough, talks to determine the two sides' future trading relationship would continue. Von der Leyen said she had a "constructive and useful phone call" with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in which they discussed "major unsolved topics."

Democracy activist Jimmy Lai, a prominent Hong Kong media mogul charged with violating a new and controversial national security law, was denied bail Saturday.

Lai, who publishes a tabloid newspaper that's critical of China, is one of the most high-profile people charged with colluding with a foreign country under a controversial new national security law. China's ruling Communist Party has been taking its most prominent critics into custody as it attempts to suppress the pro-democracy movement there.

The family of children's book author Roald Dahl has issued a belated apology for his history of anti-Semitism.

"The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl's statements," read the comment on the official Dahl website.

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the president. Trump made the announcement on Twitter on Sunday afternoon.

As U.S. health authorities continue examining the proposed COVID-19 vaccines, residents in the United Kingdom — the first Western country to issue approval for emergency use — are set to receive their first shots as early as this week.

But quickly vaccinating as many people as possible in the U.K. will pose enormous logistical challenges — from keeping the doses frozen to figuring out how to methodically and fairly distribute the vaccine across the nation of 68 million.

Friday was a disastrous day for the Trump campaign, which has repeatedly tried and failed to overturn the presidential election results in key states. Within a span of hours, the legal teams of Trump and allied Republicans lost challenges in courts in six states.

With each defeat, Trump's options for challenging last month's election results continued to dwindle. Sensing that the courts are a lost cause, Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani told Fox News that the campaign is now focused on sidestepping the courts and making its case directly to state lawmakers.

Ahead of an expected surge in U.S. demand for prescription drugs, the Canadian government has blocked the distribution of certain medications outside Canada in order to avoid a shortage within the country.

The number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus set yet another record on Saturday, as cases continue to surge and public health officials warn of a worsening outlook with the holiday season just weeks away.

More than 91,500 people were hospitalized with the virus on Saturday, with 18,000 in intensive care units. That's according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project, which collects and analyzes data from across the United States. Over 6,000 patients were on ventilators.

Kneeling before Pope Francis, 72-year-old Wilton Gregory received the red hat and ring Saturday, becoming the first Black American cardinal in the history of Catholicism.

Gregory, the archbishop of Washington since 2019, is one of 13 bishops and priests elevated to the College of Cardinals at the Vatican on Saturday. With the ceremony, Francis has appointed 73 of the 128 cardinals who can elect the next pope.

Tony Hsieh, who helped grow the online company Zappos into one of the largest retailers of shoes on the Internet, died Friday after being injured in a house fire. He was 46.

"The world has lost a tremendous visionary and an incredible human being," Zappos CEO Kedar Deshpande said in a statement. "We recognize that not only have we lost our inspiring former leader, but many of you have also lost a mentor and a friend."

The Trump legal team has suffered another loss in its continuing attempts to reverse the results of the 2020 presidential election.

In a scathing opinion, a federal appeals court said Friday that a lower court acted properly when it threw out the Trump campaign's challenge to the certification of the election results in Pennsylvania.

Updated at 6:54 a.m. ET Saturday

A top Iranian scientist believed to be responsible for developing the country's military nuclear program was killed Friday, causing outrage in Iran and raising U.S. concerns over potential retaliation.

The strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the northern Indian Ocean has made landfall in eastern Africa, where it is poised to drop two years' worth of rain in the next two days.

Tropical Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia on Sunday with sustained winds of around 105 mph. It's the first recorded instance of a hurricane-strength system hitting the country. At one point before landfall, Gati's winds were measured at 115 mph.

One of the experimental drugs that President Trump received while he was battling the coronavirus has been approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. The drug, made by the biotech company Regeneron, is the second antibody treatment to win emergency use approval from the FDA.

The treatment combines two antibodies — casirivimab and imdevimab — and administers them together by IV. In a clinical trial of about 800 people, the combination was shown to significantly reduce virus levels within days of treatment.

One of the most prolific spies in modern American history, who delivered hundreds of classified American documents to Israeli intelligence during the waning years of the Cold War, is now a free man.

The Justice Department announced Friday that former Navy intelligence analyst and convicted spy Jonathan Pollard has completed his parole. Pollard's attorneys say the 66-year-old plans move to Israel.

Donald Trump Jr. has become the latest member of the president's orbit to test positive for the coronavirus.

"Apparently I got the 'rona," the president's son told his Instagram followers late Friday.

"You wouldn't know it based on anything that I felt or have seen," he said. "I've been totally asymptomatic."

Updated 4:30 p.m. ET Monday

Less than one week after assuming the office of the presidency, Manuel Merino has stepped down as interim president of Peru.

Peru's Congress has elected legislator Francisco Sagasti as the country's interim president, Reuters reports. Sagasti, a member of the centrist Morado Party, will serve as Peru's president until the nation's elections in April 2021. He received 97 votes in favor and 26 against.

Sagasti will be the country's third president in a week.

The Trump administration has not cooperated with President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, and top Biden officials say the incoming president is limited in what he can do before his team takes the reins. Still, Biden's coronavirus advisory board co-chair Vivek Murthy says they're doing everything they can to ensure plans are ready to go on Inauguration Day — including stronger mask requirements.

Updated Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET

Hurricane Iota is expected to hit Central America on Monday, bringing potentially catastrophic winds and life-threatening storm surge.

Iota's arrival comes as the region is still recovering from Hurricane Eta, which made landfall earlier this month as a Category 4 storm.

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