Julie McCarthy

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The strongest storm of the year has hit the Philippines, leaving at least 16 people dead and tens of thousands homeless. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports on the aftermath of Typhoon Goni.

Updated at 9:57 a.m. ET

New Zealanders have voted to allow assisted dying for the terminally ill, but voted down legalizing marijuana. The questions were put to the country in separate referendums held on October 17th in conjunction with the general election that elected Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for another term.

The preliminary results from the referendums on two major social questions reflect a potential significant shift in social attitudes in New Zealand.

If there is such a thing as a model citizen, Quimberly "Kym" Villamer might qualify.

She's a dynamo in a five-foot-one-inch frame.

"Excited," she says, to vote in her first U.S. presidential election, Villamer is part of the huge diaspora from the Philippines who have moved abroad for a chance at a more prosperous life.

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Why would the president of the Philippines pardon a U.S. Marine? President Rodrigo Duterte acted in the case of an American convicted of killing a transgender woman. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports that justice may have had little to do with it.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has granted "an absolute pardon" to U.S. Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton convicted of killing a transgender woman in 2014.

The surprise move to free the 25-year-old American Marine comes just days after the president's office said it would intervene to block his early release.

The pardon has angered Philippine nationalists who resent the U.S., and gay and transgender groups who fear the decision encourages hate crimes against them.

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JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: A stretcher rattles...

(SOUNDBITE OF STRETCHER UNFOLDING)

MCCARTHY: ...In New York City's Presbyterian Queens Hospital.

(SOUNDBITE OF NURSE'S STATION AMBIENCE)

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Updated at 5:12 p.m. ET

Petitions have piled up at the Philippines' Supreme Court to overturn a new anti-terrorism law championed by President Rodrigo Duterte, which could jail suspects without charge for weeks.

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In the Philippines, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte says a new law is needed to fight terrorists. His opponents say that law could be used to suppress activists and ordinary citizens. Here's NPR's Julie McCarthy.

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Weeks after declaring victory over the pandemic, China is fighting it again. The latest high-profile outbreak is in the capital, Beijing. NPR's Emily Feng reports.

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In Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, this weekend's Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan will involve mass travel, raising concerns about the effect it may have on the country's COVID-19 infection rates.

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