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Federal health officials say they have resolved a problem that has hindered wide testing for the new coronavirus in the United States, a crucial practice for fighting the spread of the dangerous new infection.

A problem with one ingredient in test kits that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention distributed to labs around the country had created a frustrating bottleneck in testing, requiring most testing to occur at the CDC in Atlanta.

Throughout the next few months, we'll be sharing some of the many 2020 Tiny Desk Contest entries that have caught our eyes and ears. You can enter the Contest until 11:59 p.m. ET on March 30. You can watch a playlist of all the entries we've featured on the blog on YouTube.

Some 60 million people rely on Southeast Asia's Mekong River for their sustenance. But the Mekong is under threat.

While China is building dams that sharply reduce the water flow and sediment downstream, other countries along the river share some of the blame.

On the weekends, Salinas food truck owner Orlando Osornio, 30, and his wife, Denise, sell mile-high tortas, filled with California fusion-inspired ingredients: hot Cheetos, bacon, mango-habañero sauce, or pineapple. Some come for the birria torta or the chicken-bacon-alfredo torta.

A line of customers winds its way around the side of his tent as meat sizzles on the grills. On the other side of the mesh, Osornio and his crew pack and stack toasted buns as fast as they can.

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President Trump, at a press conference last night, chose the person who will lead the government's response to the coronavirus.

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This story first ran in 2018 and was republished February 2020. 

San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood is bordered by some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the city, yet, it has a bad reputation. Tourists are told to avoid the area. You can often see drug dealing out in the open and garbage on the streets.

Bay Curious

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President Trump has a new point person to lead the U.S. response to the coronavirus.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Mike is going to be in charge, and Mike will report back to me. But he's got a certain talent for this.

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Much of the opera world has shunned Placido Domingo since last year, when allegations of sexual abuse became public. Now his home country of Spain has heard enough. From Barcelona, Lucia Benavides reports.

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We want to take you right now to a comedy club in South Korea.

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DANNY CHO: And I was like, you sure?

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CHO: (Speaking Korean).

Between 1871 and 1914, Paris enjoyed a long stretch without war. "It was a special moment — a particularly joyful and exuberant moment in Parisian history," says Emily Talbot. She's the curator of a new exhibition at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif., all about Paris' Belle Époque — or beautiful era.

Jet fuel-guzzling Delta Air Lines and fossil fuel-pumping BP are vowing to go carbon neutral.

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The message from the Trump administration on coronavirus is twofold - things will get worse here in the United States, but also it will be under control.

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Morning Edition's series One-Hit Wonders / Second-Best Songs focuses on musicians or bands whose careers in the United States are defined by a single monster hit, and explains why their catalogs have much more to offer.

In this edition, Guy Raz, host of NPR podcasts How I Built This and Wow in the World, makes a case for Talk Talk, a band that hit No. 1 on the U.S. dance charts with the song "It's My Life." Read Guy in his own words below, and hear the radio version at the audio link.

Nearly 250 years ago, a group of white men gathered in a house in Massachusetts to draft a document on independence aimed at the British crown. A woman who was enslaved in the house overheard the discussion and determined that the words applied to her, too.

Bett, who was later called Mumbet, was born enslaved south of Albany, N.Y., around 1742. In her teens, Bett was brought to the home of John and Hannah Ashley in Sheffield, Mass., where she cleaned, cooked and served the family.

Sarah King isn't afraid of having the flu — in fact, she considers herself an "excellent sick person."

"I have a pretty high pain tolerance," King says. "I'm not a person that whines a lot. I just kind of suck it up."

So when she heard about a medical study that pays volunteers about $3,000 to be infected with the live flu virus, King thought the offer sounded too good to pass up. Last fall, she checked in for a 10-day stay at Saint Louis University's "Hotel Influenza," a quarantine unit where researchers study how the human immune system fights the flu.

Halfway through her debut essay collection, Minor Feelings, author and artist Cathy Park Hong makes clear her mission: "I have some scores to settle ... with this country, with how we have been scripted."

The "we" here are Asian Americans and how we're seen in this country in a time when the us-versus-them dynamic can feel overpowering. In Minor Feelings, the author asks us to reconsider the effects of racism against Asian Americans and how it persists.

At first glance, the race for state Senate in the 15th District presents a familiar dynamic in California politics: a battle royale between business and labor interests in a district likely to send a Democrat to Sacramento.

But the field of candidates running to represent San Jose area in the state Legislature extends beyond that dichotomy.

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The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed a new infection of the novel coronavirus in Northern California, according to an agency spokesman.

Officials would not say where in Northern California the case is located, only that the patient is in a hospital. The case is still under investigation.

The patient “reportedly did not have a relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19,” the agency said in a press release Wednesday.

How the person was exposed to the virus is unknown.

The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed a new infection of the novel coronavirus in Northern California, according to an agency spokesman.

Officials would not say where in Northern California the case is located, only that the patient is in a hospital. The case is still under investigation.

The patient “reportedly did not have a relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19,” the agency said in a press release Wednesday.

How the person was exposed to the virus is unknown.

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Tonight, President Trump tried to quell rising fears about the effects of the growing coronavirus outbreak.

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