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As colleges prepare to reopen, many are leaving the decision to students - that is, whether they feel safe enough to return to campus despite the pandemic.

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White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said on Sunday that the U.S. is in a "new phase" of the pandemic, urging people to follow public health guidance as cases continue to climb in many parts of the United States.

"What we're seeing today is different from March and April," Birx said on CNN's State of the Union. "It is extraordinarily widespread — it's into the rural as equal urban areas."

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

Two NASA astronauts are back on Earth after their space capsule splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Pensacola, Fla.

The last time any NASA astronauts came home by splashing down was in 1975 — and back then, they were in an Apollo space vehicle. This time, the astronauts were in a white, bell-shaped capsule owned by SpaceX.

Multiple wildfires are spreading across California, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes in the midst of a global pandemic.

As of Sunday morning, there are 15 separate fires raging throughout the state, according to Cal Fire. The state's three largest fires have already burned through more than 50,000 acres of land.

Tropical Storm Isaias is continuing its push toward Florida's east coast on Sunday after battering the Bahamas with heavy rainfall and gusty winds.

Isaias, which was downgraded to a tropical storm after reaching hurricane status, is whipping up sustained winds of 65 miles per hour and could bring 1 to 7 inches of rainfall from Florida to New England in the coming week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Canadians are typically seen as pretty friendly people, and until the coronavirus pandemic, most were happy to welcome Americans.

But when the coronavirus began to quickly spread in March, the U.S. and Canada shut their shared border to all nonessential traffic.

Since then, Canada's border patrol has effectively prevented caravans of Americans — and their RVs and their campers — from surging across the border as they normally do each summer.

But Americans can be crafty.

It's strawberry season in northwest Washington's Skagit Valley.

For Ana, a farmworker, that means long days bent nearly doubled over to snap ripe strawberries from low bushes.

"You have to lean over a lot to pick strawberries, so of course everything hurts — your legs, your back — everything," she said in an interview in Spanish.

Ana moved to the U.S. from Mexico nearly 20 years ago. She asked that we not use her last name because she's undocumented.

A demonstrator holds a sign reading "Black Pete Is Racism" during a 2013 demonstration in Amsterdam.

There are many rose gardens, but in Washington, D.C., at least, there is only one capital-R capital-G Rose Garden.

"It's one of the few spaces at the White House that I think most Americans know, both by name and by sight," says Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association."You say 'the Rose Garden at the White House,' and it brings back presidential daughter's weddings and state dinners."

The Department of Homeland Security has reassigned its top intelligence official, according to media outlets, following news that his office compiled intelligence reports on journalists and protesters in Portland, Ore.

Amy Holditch isn't the kind of woman to let fear dictate her life.

"No, she's not," says her mom, 73-year-old Sandra Gillis. "She pretty much gets her mind on something, then it's probably going to happen."

So when the coronavirus cancelled her family trip to Hawaii, she didn't postpone the trip with her mom and 12-year-old son for another year.

"I just kind of jumped off the cliff and did it."

Wilford Brimley, the mustached actor known for Cocoon, The Natural and The Firm, has died. He was 85.

The actor died Saturday morning at a Utah hospital, according to his manager, Lynda Bensky. He was on dialysis and had several medical issues.

"Wilford Brimley was a man you could trust," Bensky said. "He said what he meant and he meant what he said. He had a gruff exterior and a tender heart. I'm sad that I will no longer get to hear my friend's wonderful stories. He was one of a kind."

The Washington State Department of Agriculture announced Friday that it trapped its first Asian giant hornet on July 14, a step forward in the race to remove the invasive species before it damages North American bee populations beyond repair.

"This is encouraging because it means we know that the traps work," Sven Spichiger, the managing entomologist for WSDA, said in a press release. "But it also means we have work to do."

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DAVID FOLKENFLIK, HOST:

Finally today, Beyonce's long-awaited visual album "Black Is King" dropped yesterday on the Disney Plus streaming service. It includes a song Beyonce released earlier as a music video called "Already."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALREADY")

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This past week, President Trump renewed his unsubstantiated claim that mail-in voting begets inaccurate or fraudulent results when he raised the prospect of delaying November's election.

"With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history," Trump tweeted Thursday.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, becoming at least the 12th member of Congress to contract the virus.

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

Isaias weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it headed toward Florida's southeast coast on Saturday evening, but it is expected to restrengthen to a hurricane overnight. The National Hurricane Center is warning that tropical storm conditions are expected to begin Saturday night in Florida and is urging residents to prepare "to protect life and property."

Cuba's communist leaders appear to be ready to make good on long promised reforms to the island's state-controlled economy, which has been in a tailspin since the coronavirus lockdown began in March.

Even before the pandemic, the economy was in recession, suffering from reduced Venezuelan subsidies and escalating Trump administration sanctions. Then in March, Cuba banned all air and sea travel to the island, cutting off tourism — a major source of hard currency for the government.

Cary Karacas (@CaryKaracas) is associate professor of geography at the City University of New York-College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center. David Fedman (@dfedman) is assistant professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. Together, they maintain JapanAirRaids.org, a bilingual digital archive.

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

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Scientists are in a sprint to find a vaccine that could stamp out the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, said on Friday he's "cautiously optimistic" that a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine will be ready for distribution in early 2021.

Sunday was supposed to be the first day in a wild week of contests, culminating in a stirring awards ceremony at the 2020 Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship.

But the pandemic has put this year's competition on hold.

Every year, people aged 13 to 22 show off their wizardry with Excel, PowerPoint, Word and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite. Last year, Ashlyn Dumaw, a rising senior at Green Hope High School in North Carolina, took bronze in the PowerPoint contest.

PHOTOS: Living Tree Bridges In A Land Of Clouds

Aug 1, 2020

It was a cloudy monsoon afternoon, and I had been trailing my guide Bah Drong for over an hour. Despite the slight but persistent drizzle, Bah Drong marched along unfazed, his seasoned calf muscles carrying him swiftly along the rough, mountainous trail. I had to hurry to avoid falling behind. Every now and then, he turned to offer encouragement with a few words of broken English and a mouth full of betel nut seeds: "Little more!"

Updated at 9 a.m. ET

This week, Joe Biden's campaign released its fourth and final plank in the former vice president's package of economic ideas: a plan for racial economic equity. It's a 26-page rundown of policies ranging from a plan to boost small businesses to a first-time homebuyer tax credit.

But contained in the plan was a less-flashy proposal: asking the Federal Reserve to explicitly take race into account when it sets policy.

For more than a half century, nuclear power has been focused on one kind of plant: a huge, complicated, expensive facility, with armed guards, located away from cities and next to a river.

Francisco Bonilla is a pastor in Carthage, Mo., catering to the spiritual needs of the town's growing Latinx community. But he's also a media personality, casting his voice far beyond the white-painted walls of Casa de Sanidad. Inside the church, Bonilla runs a low-power, Spanish-language radio station.

James Murdoch resigned Friday from the board of directors of News Corp., the publishing arm of his family's media empire, in a very public sign of dissent that typically plays out behind closed doors.

The rupture capped a period of intensifying criticism of the coverage and views offered by the news empire created by his father Rupert Murdoch. Those include News Corp.'s publications such as The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and a sister Murdoch company, the Fox News Channel.

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