Kat Lonsdorf

As winter turned to spring in the town of Miharu, Japan, a small group of workers pounded posts into the ground to lay a grand pathway at the base of a giant cherry tree. It was the same path they've laid every year, wide enough to give thousands of tourists a chance to walk up and marvel at the ancient tree, as its cascading branches fill with delicate pink flowers dipping toward the ground.

But with the coronavirus pandemic taking hold, it was starting to feel as if that pathway might be laid for no one.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Sunday that for the first time in days, the state has seen the daily number of deaths, hospitalizations and intubations as a result of COVID-19 decrease. More patients are also being discharged from hospitals.

"There's something a little bit different in the data today," Cuomo said, as state officials reported 594 new deaths on Sunday, down from 630 on Saturday.

The United States remains the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with confirmed cases now at more than 300,000 and deaths climbing toward 9,000.

In Europe, another global hot spot, Spain has surpassed Italy for the leading number of cases, with Germany and France not too far behind. Worldwide, there are over 1.2 million cases and nearly 66,000 deaths.

Takayuki Ueno looks out over an empty field along the coast in Fukushima, Japan, and points toward the ocean.

"There used to be houses here, and trees," he says, and then points in another direction. "And over there, too."

The wind whips across the open space. A small, new graveyard sits in an adjacent plot. Those houses were where his neighbors once lived.

Iraqi security forces launched a major crackdown on anti-government protesters Saturday from Baghdad to cities across the south after an influential Shiite cleric instrumental in the demonstrations withdrew his support.

Adrian Bartos and Bobbito Garcia are a world-famous radio and club DJ duo. They hosted a podcast from NPR called What's Good with Stretch and Bobbito. Today, their debut album, No Requests, is out — and there's something undeniably cheeky about that title if you're a couple of DJs.

New Zealand's months-long gun amnesty and buyback program ended Friday, with questionable success. The amnesty gave gun owners a chance to surrender certain firearms before facing legal recourse for having them after the country outlawed most semi-automatic and military-style firearms earlier this year.

A large portion of Australia is on fire after weeks of extreme heat, strong winds and drought that have created ideal conditions for hundreds of bushfires to thrive across the country. Several fires have been burning since November, particularly in the eastern state of New South Wales.

Violence erupted this weekend around a besieged Hong Kong university, as protesters threw petrol bombs and fired arrows at police in an attempt to keep control of the campus.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a former defense secretary and intelligence officer accused of committing human rights violations, has won Sri Lanka's closely fought presidential elections. His main opponent, Sajith Premadasa of the ruling United National Party (UNP), conceded defeat on Sunday, saying he will "honor the decision of the people."

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