KTEP - El Paso, Texas

Jaclyn Diaz

More than 275 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped last Friday have been returned safely, government officials say.

The Nigerian government has denied paying a ransom for the girls, and officials have not said who's responsible. It's unclear whether the captors were arrested.

The government initially said 317 girls were abducted, but today revised the number to 279 without explanation. They were taken from their beds at the Government Girls Science Secondary School in the town of Jangebe.

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama voting to unionize won the backing of an important executive.

Without naming the massive e-commerce company specifically, President Biden said in a video posted late Sunday that he supports the organizing drive in Bessemer, Ala.

The largest power cooperative in Texas filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, citing a massive bill from the state's electricity grid operator following last month's winter storm that left millions of residents without power for days.

Brazos Electric Power Cooperative filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, according to court documents reviewed by NPR.

North Korea is using forced labor from its network of prison camps to mine coal and other minerals to boost exports and earn foreign currency, using the cash to support its nuclear weapons programs, according to a South Korean human rights group.

A report by the Seoul-based Citizens' Alliance for North Korea Human Rights said an intricate network of government ministries and other entities relies on prison labor and other illicit operations to bring in money to the isolated Asian country.

2020 was a bad year for butterflies, too.

The population of monarch butterflies that migrated to Mexico to ride out the cold winter months in the north fell 26% from a year earlier, according to a new report from the Mexican government and the Word Wildlife Fund.

The Federal Aviation Administration must address "weaknesses" in its oversight of Boeing that led the agency to miss flaws that contributed to two deadly crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, a federal watchdog has found.

An inspector general's report from the Department of Transportation said U.S. aviation regulators do not understand the plane's flight control software that caused two devastating crashes in 2018 and 2019.

Five out-of-state board members of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas — the entity that maintains and operates much of the state's electricity grid — will resign Wednesday, according to a notice filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

Facebook will restore news pages in Australia after the government agreed to change a proposed law forcing tech companies to pay publishers for news content.

The new law would force Google and Facebook to pay Australian news publishers for stories with terms of a deal set by a third party, had they not been able to negotiate payout agreements with local publishers themselves.

Google agreed to follow the law after striking a deal with the nation's biggest publishers. Facebook protested and yanked news content from its site in Australia last Thursday.

The wife of one of the world's most notorious drug kingpins, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, was arrested Monday for allegedly helping her husband run his multi-billion dollar international drug cartel and for aiding in his 2015 escape from a Mexican prison.

United Airlines suspended the use of older model 777 jets after an engine failed shortly after takeoff in Colorado on Saturday, raining debris on suburban Broomfield, Colo.

The temporary suspension applies to 777 models that are powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 engines, United announced on Twitter.

A dramatic arrest earlier this week of Spanish rapper Pablo Hasél, who was convicted of criticizing the monarchy and supporting a Basque separatist group in social media posts, has sparked days of protests across Spain and renewed debate over free speech in the country.

Thousands of Hasél supporters have taken to the streets in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and Girona, since his arrest. But peaceful protests devolved into chaos as protesters clashed with police for a third night in a row Thursday. Dozens have been arrested across the country since the demonstrations began.

Texas officials are cracking down on businesses they say have hiked the prices of food, water, and hotel rooms while the state continues to deal with shortages caused by unprecedented winter weather.

Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee, the chief civil attorney for Texas' largest county, and Linda Hidalgo, the Harris County Judge, said Houston area residents have complained of hotel rooms and bottled water being sold at exorbitant prices.

Updated at 9:07 a.m. ET

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Amazon on Tuesday, claiming the massive e-commerce company's "flagrant disregard for health and safety requirements" during the coronavirus pandemic put the lives of workers and the general public at risk.

Updated at 6:15 a.m. ET

An early morning tornado ripped through coastal North Carolina Tuesday, killing three people, injuring 10 others, and causing damage to homes and leaving residents without power, according to emergency services personnel on scene.

The tornado touched down near Ocean Ridge Plantation, a beach community about 45 miles south of Wilmington, N.C., Edward Conrow, the emergency services director for Brunswick County, N.C. told NPR.

Updated at 12:45 p.m. ET

A winter storm that brought bitter cold, snow and ice and left millions without power in Texas and northern Mexico will extend its grip through Tuesday.

The National Weather Service reports extremely cold temperatures ranging from minus 5 to 3 degrees are predicted through at least noon on Tuesday for all of North and Central Texas.

For the first time since November, average new daily coronavirus infections in the U.S. fell under 100,000 — well below the average infection rate in December and January, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The seven- day average of new infections dropped below 100,000 on Friday, continuing at that level through Sunday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. Researchers reported 83,321 new infections and 3,361 new deaths Sunday.

The U.S. Supreme Court blocked the planned execution of an Alabama death row inmate late Thursday night, after justices upheld a lower court's ruling requiring Willie B. Smith III's personal pastor to be in the chamber with him when he was given the lethal injection.

The decision came down the same night Smith was originally scheduled to be put to death inside of the William C. Holman Correctional Facility.

Officials in Australia's state of Victoria mandated a five-day stay-at-home order to prevent the spread of the area's growing number of coronavirus infections.

But the tennis must go on.

Tennis Australia, the organizers of the Australian Open, had allowed 30,000 fans to attend matches thus far. But under the new restrictions, the stands will sit empty.

A second person who had contracted the Ebola virus died this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo, marking another outbreak just three months after the nation outlasted the virus's second-worst outbreak in history.

The latest victim was from the North Kivu province, the World Health Organization and the DRC's health ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Michigan's highest ranking Republican leader was caught on video calling the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol a "hoax" and espousing other conspiracy theories related to the siege.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey, in a video posted on YouTube of a meeting with Hillsdale County Republican Party officials, said of the Capitol insurrection in which five people died: "It was all staged."

Quaker Oats cooked up a new image for an old, offensive brand Tuesday. PepsiCo Inc. the parent company for Quaker Oats, announced it's rebranding Aunt Jemima, the popular pancake and syrup brand, retiring the racist stereotype used for the product's image.

Fox News on Monday asked a judge to dismiss a $2.7 billon lawsuit against the network and some of its hosts filed by election technology company Smartmatic, claiming the suit is an attempt to "chill" First Amendment rights.

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

Mary Wilson, one of the co-founders of The Supremes, died Monday at the age of 76, her publicist announced.

Wilson "passed away suddenly" at her Henderson, Nev., home, the singer's longtime friend and publicist Jay Schwartz said in a statement. No cause of death was given.

Wilson was a "trendsetter who broke down social, racial and gender barriers," Schwartz said in his statement.

A judge has barred Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón from implementing a significant piece of his criminal justice reforms, ruling the progressive's policy to end sentencing enhancements in criminal cases is unlawful.

Two days after removing a terrorist designation for the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, the Biden administration criticized the militant group for its continued attacks in Saudi Arabia and in Yemen.

Updated at 2:31 p.m. ET

The House quickly approved a budget resolution intended to speed the drafting of President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The Senate approved the same budget resolution early Friday morning. With the Senate evenly divided, Vice President Harris cast the tiebreaking vote.

Federal agents on Wednesday arrested a prominent member of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys, a nationalist, chauvinist organization, for his role in storming the U.S. Capitol with other pro-Trump rioters on Jan. 6.

Ethan Nordean, a self-described "sergeant of arms" for the Seattle Proud Boys, faces charges of impeding an official government proceeding, aiding and abetting, knowingly entering restricted grounds, and violent entry.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Tuesday that repeals a state anti-loitering law, commonly called the "walking while trans" ban, that critics say police used to harass and arrest law-abiding trans people, in particular.

The new measure effectively takes off the books a 1976 law that sought to prohibit loitering for the purpose of prostitution. Politicians and LGBTQ advocates say the law resulted in decades of discrimination by law enforcement.

A fatal nitrogen gas leak at a poultry processing plant in Georgia last week occurred as unplanned maintenance was being done on a recently installed processing and freezing line, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Monday.

AstraZeneca will deliver nine million additional doses to the European Union in the first quarter of this year, bringing the total number of doses to 40 million, but falling well short of earlier supply promises.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in her announcement Sunday that the company would also deliver the vaccines one week earlier than originally scheduled, and that the company planned to expands its manufacturing capacity in Europe.

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