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!").

NASA has more work to do, after a rocket test Saturday for its shuttle replacement ended with a premature and unexpected shutdown.

The test, at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, was part of NASA's Artemis program, a plan to return to the moon in the coming years. NASA's test called for four engines to fire for eight minutes — roughly the time it will take for NASA's long-delayed Space Launch System (SLS) to generate the thrust needed to send the rocket to space.

The U.S. House of Representatives has opened an investigation into this month's attack on the U.S. Capitol. In a letter to the heads of America's leading intelligence and law enforcement agencies, House lawmakers asked for any information that could help them understand whether warning signs were missed.

Next week's swearing-in of President-elect Joe Biden will see the biggest security presence of any inauguration in U.S. history. For days, thousands of National Guard troops have been pouring into the capital, and by Wednesday's ceremony, up to 25,000 troops will be in place to guard against security threats.

Last summer, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Congress that if the U.S. didn't get the coronavirus outbreak under control, the country could see 100,000 new cases per day.

Six months later, the U.S. is adding, on average, more than 271,000 new cases per day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over the past 24 hours, 3,700 new deaths were recorded.

That brings the total number of reported cases in the U.S. to more than 22 million since the start of the outbreak — with a death toll of 373,000.

The violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was unprecedented in modern U.S. history — but some pro-Trump extremists are promising it was just a taste of things to come.

"Many of Us will return on January 19, 2021, carrying Our weapons, in support of Our nation's resolve, towhich [sic] the world will never forget!!!" one person wrote on Parler, a site friendly to right-wing extremists. "We will come in numbers that no standing army or police agency can match."

A battle is looming between congressional Republicans who plan to object to the certification of November's presidential election results, and others who believe Congress needs to accept the will of the voters.

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?"

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