National

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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Sabrina Rubich shopped for milk, bananas and other basics this week at an Albertson's grocery store in Missoula, Mont., with her nine-month-old son, Kenny. When she got to the checkstand she paid for some of her groceries with money from the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP—which is issuing its February payments early.

Rubich is one of about 39 million people who are now spending their SNAP payments not knowing when the next one will come due to the federal government shutdown.

A major winter storm is disrupting transportation routes in parts of New England and the Midwest, after bringing snow and freezing rain to the areas.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

A crowd of students surrounds the Native American man, laughing and filming on cell phones. One boy, wearing a red Make America Great Again hat, stands just inches away from the man's drum, staring at him with a wide smile.

Nathan Phillips, an Omaha elder participating in the Indigenous Peoples March, keeps drumming and singing.

Several parts of the federal government have been shut down for about a month now, and cybersecurity professionals say government websites are becoming more vulnerable to security breaches each day the shutdown lasts.

Visitors to manufacturing.gov, for instance, are finding that the site has become unusable — its information about the manufacturing sector is no longer accessible. Instead, it features this message at the top of the homepage:

The family of an American citizen believed to have been jailed in Syria two years ago is making his story public for the first time, spurred by President Trump's announcement last month that he will withdraw U.S. troops from the country.

Majd Kamalmaz, a 61-year-old psychotherapist from Arlington, Va., arrived in Damascus on Feb. 15, 2017. He traveled to the Syrian capital for a condolence visit following the death of his father-in-law and to check on elderly relatives, according to his family. They say he was arrested at a checkpoint a day after he arrived.

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When Sarah Spiegel was in her first year at New York Medical College in 2016, she sat in a lecture hall watching a BuzzFeed video about what it's like to be an intersex or a transgender person.

"It was a good video, but it felt inadequate for the education of a class of medical students, soon to be doctors," says Spiegel, now in her third year of medical school.

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Isolation is an issue for many seniors, especially in rural places. It can lead to loneliness, which many experts consider a serious public health issue.

That's where Kitty Gee comes in.

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Let's go now to NPR's national political correspondent, Mara Liasson. Hey, Mara.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: Hi there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So the stalemate continues. What are you hearing behind closed doors?

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For more reaction, we are joined now by Greisa Martinez Rosas. She's with United We Dream, a DACA advocacy organization. And she's a DACA recipient herself.

Good morning.

GREISA MARTINEZ ROSAS: Buenas Dias. Good morning.

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Editor's note: This report includes images that some readers may find offensive.

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And let's hear some reaction now from a Democratic congressman to what the president proposed today. Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland joins me here in the studio.

Welcome.

JAMIE RASKIN: Thanks for having me, Melissa.

BLOCK: Did you hear anything from the president today that moves this anywhere closer to an agreement that would end the shutdown?

RASKIN: Well, I like the fact that he's sort of given up the language of a 2,000-mile steel barrier wall...

BLOCK: Concrete wall, yeah.

RASKIN: Concrete wall...

After blanketing much of the Midwest in snow, a winter storm is now moving towards New England, with more than 100 million Americans in its path. The storm is expected to drop snow, ice and freezing rain in many places, and forecasters say temperatures will fall quickly afterwards, as arctic air envelops much of the East Coast.

Updated at 5:38 p.m. ET

For the third year in a row, demonstrators gathered in the nation's capital and cities around the world for Women's March events.

In Washington, D.C., crowds of people wearing pink hats marched from Freedom Plaza down Pennsylvania Avenue, advocating for women, immigrants, people of color and LGBTQ rights. They took to the streets just weeks after women were sworn into Congress in record numbers.

Receiving a $0 pay stub is not easy on any worker. But some of the thousands of federal employees and contract workers who live paycheck to paycheck say the lingering partial government shutdown feels devastating. They started the shutdown with little or no savings and no safety net to weather this kind of financial emergency.

Now, nearly one month into the shutdown, even those who had a cushion are finding their bank accounts empty or negative and bills and loan payments piling up.

Government employees are often the targets of jokes and wisecracks. But a lot of Americans have now stepped up to help furloughed government workers get through these weeks of enforced idleness or compulsory work for no pay.

Chef Jose Andres, who has provided so much food aid to victims of hurricanes and wildfires, opened a kitchen right on Pennsylvania Avenue — yes, not far from the Trump Hotel — to give free meals to furloughed federal workers, and food to bring home for their families.

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