Elena Moore | KUNR

Elena Moore

A calico cat named Patches had belonged to Josie Gower, one of the 23 people killed in the mudslides that hit Santa Barbara, Calif., in January 2018. Patches was thought to have died too.

"We had kinda lost hope," Briana Haigh, Gower's daughter, told NPR. Her mom's several cats had slept in her garage, which was destroyed during the disaster.

Updated at 11:45 p.m. ET

Congress reconvened Wednesday night to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory, just hours after the U.S. Capitol was thrust into chaos by supporters of President Trump — an angry mob that breached the complex in an unprecedented violent act at the seat of America's federal government.

The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Qatar signed a new agreement Tuesday, signaling a possible end to longstanding tensions between the two countries since the summer of 2017.

The move may also mark a shift for President-elect Joe Biden's foreign policy agenda as both countries are U.S. allies in the Gulf region and the U.S. has a large military base located in Qatar.

Iran says it intends to start enriching uranium to 20% at its Fordow nuclear facility, exceeding regulations set by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran nuclear deal, as first reported by Reuters.

Updated at 8:47 p.m. ET

Much like the rest of 2020, New Year's celebrations look very different this year.

While large masses of people usually congregate in major cities around the world on New Year's Eve, many places are attempting to curb crowd sizes as the coronavirus continues to dominate public health concerns.

The clock has already struck midnight in a majority of the Eastern Hemisphere. Here's a look at how people are celebrating during the pandemic:

Sydney

Tokyo

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

Argentina's Senate voted early Wednesday to legalize elective abortion, marking a historic shift in the heavily Catholic country that is the homeland of Pope Francis.

Following a debate that went well past midnight, the Senate passed the bill 38-29 with one abstention just over two weeks after the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Argentina's Congress, narrowly approved the measure.

Two police officers who were part of the raid that ended with the shooting and death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, are reportedly being terminated by the Louisville Metro Police Department. The move comes nine months after Taylor was killed in her apartment when police attempted to carry out a search.

Attorneys for detectives Myles Cosgrove and Joshua Jaynes have confirmed to member station WFPL that both have been given pre-termination letters by Chief Yvette Gentry.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Colorado health officials say they may have found a second case of a coronavirus variant that was first identified in the United Kingdom. Officials are currently conducting more genetic testing to determine if the variant is present.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced one confirmed case on Tuesday, marking the first time the variant has been officially documented in the United States.

Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET

Michigan's 16 electoral college votes have successfully been cast for President-elect Joe Biden, overcoming safety concerns from individuals disputing the results of the 2020 election.

In the days of counting that followed election night, there was plenty of stress in the Biden and Harris families. And the whole world could follow along.

The eldest granddaughter of President-elect Joe Biden, Naomi Biden, joked to her 188,000 Twitter followers that she couldn't stop watching cable news and that she'd "kill to be one of those people who 'can't eat when they're stressed' right about now."

Updated March 29, 2021 at 5:03 PM ET

In the early weeks of President Biden's administration, his aides are beginning to put policy into action, while the U.S. Senate is taking up his nominees.

The top figures in an administration are made up of a combination of Cabinet and high-ranking nominees who require Senate confirmation, and key advisers tapped by the president, who don't require congressional approval.

Updated at 2:42 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden will take office in January with a lot of promises to keep. He has pledged to enact new policies swiftly that veer the U.S. off President Trump's current path.

President Barack Obama congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his win, urging unity and saying that Biden will "do the job with the best interests of every American at heart, whether or not he had their vote."

The Associated Press called the race for Biden on Saturday morning.

"I encourage every American to give [Biden] a chance and lend him your support," Obama said, adding, "the election results at every level show that the country remains deeply and bitterly divided."

Supporters of President-elect Joe Biden are flocking Saturday to the streets in Washington D.C., to celebrate the news of the Democrat surpassing 270 electoral votes, according to The Associated Press and other news organizations. A large crowd is gathering in Lafayette Square and Black Lives Matter Plaza, areas right next to the White House.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told reporters that the state will conduct a recount given the razor-thin margin between former Vice President Joe Biden and President Trump.

"The focus for our office and for the county elections officials for now remains on making sure that every legal vote is counted and recorded accurately," Raffensperger said.

"As we are closing in on a final count, we can begin to look toward our next steps. With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia," he predicted.

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden have very different views on how to tackle America's pressing issues.

That much is clear. But what specifically are they proposing?

NPR Politics has sifted through Trump's and Biden's plans, as released by their campaigns, and narrowed in on a few key issues to show what they're promising and how each man's priorities differ from his opponent's.

Read all of the plans here.

Key priorities

Joe Biden

  • Make public colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions tuition-free for families making less than $125,000.
  • Make two years of community college and training programs tuition-free.
  • Cancel $10,000 of every American's student debt and revise the current loan repayment system.
  • Establish universal prekindergarten.

Key priorities

Joe Biden

  • Do away with restrictions to immigration put in place during the Trump administration and stop construction of Trump's border wall.
  • Provide a "road map to citizenship" for people living in the United States illegally.
  • Expand resources to immigrants already residing in the United States.
  • Read more about Biden's plans below.

Key priorities

Joe Biden

  • Combat climate change by pushing the United States on a path toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with an intermediate goal of ridding the power sector of carbon pollution by 2035.
  • Invest $2 trillion over four years in green areas, including infrastructure, transportation and auto industries, housing and construction practices, nature conservation efforts and work in environmental justice.

Key Priorities: Economy

Joe Biden

  • Increase investments in American-made products and companies, pouring $400 billion into procurement and $300 billion into research and development, with the aim of creating 5 million new jobs.
  • Reverse Trump tax breaks to corporations and seek a higher minimum wage and expanded benefits for low- and middle-income workers.
  • Read details of Biden's plans below.

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