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For those of us who grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., there are few figures that loom larger than Zozobra. I mean that literally, as much as figuratively: The 50-foot-tall marionette is as familiar as Santa Claus — only, instead of stealing away with cookies and milk, Zozobra ends its holiday each year by being ritualistically burned to death before a crowd of tens of thousands of screaming people.

The Miami Marlins ace pitcher José Fernández died in a boating accident early Sunday morning. He was 24 years old.

"The Miami Marlins organization is devastated by the tragic loss of José Fernández," the team posted in a statement on Twitter. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this very difficult time. Today's game against the Atlanta Braves has been cancelled." Neither the team nor the league announced when the game would be rescheduled.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It's time for sports. And this morning, we have some sad news from the world of baseball. Jose Fernandez, the 24-year-old star pitcher for the Miami Marlins, died early this morning in a boat crash. At least two other people also died in that accident.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monday night's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be the first time the two square off directly during this general election campaign. At such moments, the stakes are invariably characterized as high for the candidates, their presidential prospects on the brink of success or ruin.

After a bitter primary battle that culminated with Ted Cruz being booed off the stage at the Republican National Convention, the Texas senator says he will vote for Donald Trump.

In a 741-word Facebook post Friday, Cruz wrote that he made the decision because he wants to "keep his word" to vote for the Republican nominee and because he finds Hillary Clinton "wholly unacceptable."

As officials in Charlotte, N.C., consider when, if, and how to release video of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott earlier this week, lawyers for the family have released what they say is eyewitness video taken by Scott's wife.

When Harry Selker was working as a cardiologist in the 1970s, clot-busting drugs were showing great promise against heart attacks. But their life-saving properties were very time sensitive. "If you give it within the first hour it has a 47 percent reduction of mortality; if you wait another hour, it has a 28 percent reduction; another hour, 23 percent. And people were taking about 90 minutes to make that decision," he recalls. "So they were losing the opportunity to save patients' lives."

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On Monday, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will face off in their first debate at Hofstra University in New York. In a race this close and with as many as 100 million people watching, the debates present both candidates with chances to seize momentum but potential pitfalls as well.

Here are four things to think about as Donald Trump prepares for the debates. We also looked at four things to watch for Clinton.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be together on stage for the first time on Monday. Both candidates have a lot at stake when they meet at Hofstra University in New York for the first of three presidential debates, this one with moderator Lester Holt of NBC News.

Each has different opportunities and challenges in the debates. Here are four things Clinton will have to think about. We also looked at four things to watch for Trump.

A Complete Guide To Early And Absentee Voting

Sep 23, 2016


What Does Early Voting Data Tell Us?

For those who can't wait to get this election over with, there's good news — early voting is starting.

The bad news: That only applies to you if you live in one of 37 states that offer some kind of early voting (in person, absentee or by mail) without an excuse needed.

More than 1 in 3 people is expected to cast a ballot early this year. On Friday, voters in Minnesota and South Dakota can start turning in absentee ballots. On Saturday, they can do so in Vermont, and ballots will go out in New Jersey.

American lives have been getting steadily longer, and since the 1960s that trend has been driven mostly by a remarkable reduction in heart disease. But those improvements have slowed dramatically. Scientists are now wondering whether we're approaching the end of the trend of longer, healthier lives.

That's because the steady decline in heart disease is fading.

Hip-hop artist Amisho Baraka, who performs as Sho Baraka, is one African-American man who feels left out by both major political parties — and he says this will affect his vote come November.

Keeping The Dead In Their Place

Sep 23, 2016

Runaway coffins. It's an issue floating to the surface with increasing frequency in Louisiana. It happened again last month when two feet of rain fell in less than 72 hours in some parts of the state. Towns were flooded — as were their cemeteries.

Nearly 9 million miles and counting.

That's how many miles Idella Hansen and Sandi Talbott have between them. The best friends and big-rig truckers have been at it for an awfully long time. But back when they started, they were a rarity on the road.

"There weren't that many women out here driving trucks," Talbott recalls with Hansen, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "And my husband's health was not good; he only had one leg, so consequently I did all the driving."

Protests in Charlotte, N.C., continued for a third night — without the violence of earlier demonstrations. Police officers and National Guard troops shared the streets with marchers protesting a fatal police shooting earlier this week.

Jay Price of member station WUNC describes the mood as "mellow," and says that police and protest leaders worked to keep the marchers moving, doing laps of uptown Charlotte.

The stakes were high Thursday night for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and for city residents as the mayor delivered a long promised "major" address detailing his plans to reduce the rising toll of gun violence in the city.

Harvard University reported that its endowment fund saw a loss of 2 percent, or $1.9 billion, on its investments for fiscal 2016. It's the single largest annual decline since the financial crisis.

The shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African-American man, by Charlotte, N.C., police is under investigation and the circumstances are very much in dispute, but when you listen to protesters, you hear that their frustration isn't about just this one case.

Yahoo has revealed that it suffered a massive cyber breach in late 2014, which the company believes resulted in theft of information about the accounts of at least 500 million users.

The Internet responded in stride — as it has to all recent Yahoo-related news — with the regular tide of jokes about Yahoo's dinosaur status.

Betty Shelby, the Tulsa Police Department officer who shot and killed Terence Crutcher, is being charged with first-degree manslaughter in the case, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says.

Kunzweiler announced the charge Thursday afternoon, six days after Crutcher died in a controversial encounter that was captured on video by a police helicopter camera and dashboard cameras.

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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

One of this year's recipients of a National Humanities Medal is a member of the extended NPR family. So it is with very unobjective pride that we welcome the host and producer of FRESH AIR, Terry Gross. Terry, welcome to the program.

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