Updated at 7:30 p.m. ET

A NASA spacecraft successfully touched down on a skyscraper-sized asteroid 200 million miles away, in order to collect a small amount of rock and dust that can then be returned to Earth.

The probe, called OSIRIS-REx, is about as big as a 15-passenger van, and it was aiming for a specific spot inside a boulder-strewn crater. The maneuver was tricky and fraught with peril, as the spacecraft had to reach a safe area that's only the size of a few parking spaces.

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday told fellow Republicans that he has warned the White House not to divide Republicans by sealing a lopsided pre-election COVID-19 relief deal with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — even as he publicly said he'd slate any such agreement for a vote.

Associated Press

Updated 10/20/20, 4:24 p.m.

ERIE, Pa. — President Donald Trump pushed into arguably the most important state on the electoral map on Tuesday, opting for a rally in Pennsylvania instead of formal debate practice two days ahead of the final presidential debate that may be his last, best chance to alter the trajectory of the 2020 campaign.

Nhac Nguyen/Pool Photo via AP

While vacation travel remains slow to non-existent in many parts of the world, diplomatic visits are continuing. And that’s true this week in Asia — where Japan’s new prime minister is on his first overseas trip since taking office just about a month ago.

Caleb Jones/AP

A former high-ranking Honolulu prosecutor who is in jail while awaiting sentencing for a conspiracy conviction in Hawaii’s largest corruption case wants to participate in hearings for a lawsuit her uncle filed against her by telephone because of the pandemic.

AP Photo/Eugene Tanner

Updated: 10/20/2020, 12:10 p.m. 

The Hawaii Department of Health today reported 2 deaths and 91 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the case count up once again.

Oahu had 61 new cases followed by 24 on Hawaii Island, 2 in Maui County and none in Kauai County. Four more cases were diagnosed out of state. 

The latest count brings the total number of COVID cases during the pandemic to 14,156. The death toll rose to 189. 

Kurayba / Flickr

As the number of Hawaii residents behind on rent climbs, a much-touted state program to help out-of-work residents cover their rent appears to be failing.

Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic, often too small for the eye to see. They're created as plastic degrades.

And they're everywhere.

They're in oceans, thanks to plastic garbage. They're in fish. They find their way into the water we drink in various ways, from surface runoff and wastewater effluent to particles deposited from the atmosphere.

courtesy Shawn Laatsch

This week on Stargazer, HPR’s Dave Lawrence and Christopher Phillips discuss a groundbreaking map of the universe created by a team on Haleakala.

  

A federal judge has vacated the Trump administration's rule that would have forced hundreds of thousands of Americans off food stamps. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's rule change was capricious and arbitrary, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell said.

The USDA rule "radically and abruptly alters decades of regulatory practice," Howell said in her ruling, adding that it would have "exponentially" increased food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans and imposed significant costs on states.

Kevin McCoy/Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON — Congress is quickly moving past the point at which it can deliver more coronavirus relief before the election, with differences between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, her Senate Republican rivals and President Donald Trump proving durable despite the glaring needs of the country.

President Trump, who has for months been at loggerheads with public health experts on how best to contain the coronavirus pandemic, on Monday called Dr. Anthony Fauci a "disaster" and complained that Americans are tired of hearing from "these idiots," according to media reports of a call between Trump and campaign staff.

katyveldhorst from Pixabay

As Hawaii continues with its pre-travel testing program, some countries in the Asia Pacific are making plans to gradually ease travel restrictions. But the pace of change is cautious — and uneven.

UNICEF, the largest single buyer of vaccines in the world, wants to hit the ground running as soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is ready.

The United Nations agency said Monday it plans to stockpile 520 million syringes by the end of 2020. It also will map out global distribution and storage plans for a future COVID-19 vaccine.

Purchasing the syringes now will help reduce the pressure on the market, the organization said, and will ensure timely availability once a vaccine is rolled out.

Alan L/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

HILO — A Hawaii state program providing rental assistance to tenants struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily stopped accepting applications.

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

Updated: 10/19/2020, 12:09 p.m. The Hawaii Department of Health today reported no deaths and 39 new COVID-19 cases, among the best daily counts the state has recorded in recent weeks.

Oahu had 31 new cases followed by 7 on Hawaii Island, 1 on Kauai and none in Maui County. The latest count brings the total number of COVID cases during the pandemic to 14,068. The death toll stood at 187. 

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear cases that involve the U.S. "Remain in Mexico" policy and the border wall, two of President Trump's most controversial attempts to limit migration across the southern border with Mexico.

The court did not say when it will hear the cases, but arguments are likely to be heard well after the Nov. 3 election. The outcome of next month's presidential election could render both cases moot if Trump loses his reelection bid.

Casey Harlow / HPR

Voters will fill three of the nine Honolulu City Council seats in the November 3rd general election. Two candidates have already won in the primary. All of the new councilmembers will not only help guide the city's recovery from COVID-19, but tackle problems Oʻahu faced even before the pandemic.

Thomas Ulrich from Pixabay

NEW YORK — Twitter blocked a post Sunday from an adviser to President Donald Trump who suggested that masks do not work to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Hawaii Public Radio

Updated: 10/18/2020,12 p.m. There's a lot about 2020 that makes it a year to leave behind. But at least one important task remains: choosing the next president and filling a host of local offices, all with the power to impact our lives.

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

Over 7,000 trans-Pacific passengers arrived Friday, the second day of Hawaii's Safe Travels program that allows visitors and returning residents to skip the travel quarantine if they take a pre-test showing they are negative for COVID-19.

AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Public schools in Hawaii reported 10 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus among staff and students during the week that ended Friday.

Bob Goodwin / U.S. Navy

Hawaii allotted $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to help families struggling with their rent and mortgage payments, but so far only 2% of the money has been distributed, the state Housing Finance and Development Corporation said.

Each family had their reasons for ending up in harm's way.

For the Harts, it was the chance to have a large backyard in a quiet part of Ashland, Ore. The porch of the Baltimore house was perfect for Scott Harris' barbecue equipment. Kevin Boudreaux had grown up on the bayou and wanted to settle near his childhood home in Cameron, La.

eddie welker / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Prices have risen for most goods and services on Oahu since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a new federal report said.

Board Of Education Votes Against Problematic Online Learning Program

Oct 17, 2020
Cory Lum / Civil Beat

Hawaii's Board of Education has approved phasing out distance learning curriculum that parents and teachers complained contained racist and sexist content and will send parents a letter acknowledging the Acellus program was selected hastily during the pandemic without proper vetting.

redlegsfan21/Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons License 2.0

The first day of Hawaii's Safe Travels program allowing visitors and returning residents to skip the travel quarantine if they pre-tested negative for COVID-19 saw over 10,000 arrivals, up from the approximately 2,000 daily passengers in previous days.

AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma

WASHINGTON — A New York tabloid’s puzzling account about how it acquired emails purportedly from Joe Biden’s son has raised some red flags. One of the biggest involves the source of the emails: Rudy Giuliani.

Nobel Prize Winner Talks About TMT Challenges

Oct 16, 2020
AP Photo/Aron Ranen

Nobel Prize-winning astronomer Andrea Ghez says she hopes to work through issues surrounding the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

Ghez shared this year’s Nobel Prize in physics for her work identifying a supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

She did the research using the Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea, a facility she began working with more than 25 years ago.

Al Drago/Pool via AP

Updated 10/16/20, 9:51 a.m.

WASHINGTON — The federal budget deficit hit an all-time high of $3.1 trillion in the 2020 budget year, more than double the previous record, as the coronavirus pandemic shrank revenues and sent spending soaring.

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