Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images
With the winds dying down, fire crews gained ground as they battled the deadly wildfires that have devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week, and thousands of people got the all-clear to return home.
While the danger from the deadliest, most destructive cluster of blazes in California history was far from over, the smoky skies started to clear in some places. People were being allowed to go back home in areas no longer in harm's way, and the number of those under evacuation orders was down from nearly 100,000 on Saturday to 40,000 Monday.
Many began to take the first steps toward rebuilding their lives.
"This is my home I'm going to come back without question," said Howard Lasker, 56, who returned Sunday with his daughter to view their torched house in Santa Rosa. "I have to rebuild. I want to rebuild."
When U.S. Sen. John McCain was a younger man, once or twice he was tasked with carrying Joe Biden's luggage.
On Monday, after Biden, the former U.S. vice president, awarded McCain with the National Constitution Center's Liberty Medal, McCain was sure to let everyone know he hadn't forgotten.
"I've resented it ever since," McCain said on the lawn of the Philadelphia museum as he accepted the award for his lifetime of sacrifice and service to the country.
Biden, along with a host of academics, politicians and business people, recalled McCain's more than two decades of military service, his time in a prisoner of war camp in Hanoi, Vietnam, and his long career as a statesman.
Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images, File
The #MeToo social media campaign has exploded across social media, empowering women to come together in solidarity and to share their stories of sexual abuse and harassment without shame.
Actress Alyssa Milano posted a tweet on Oct. 15 and ignited the social media movement. Milano's "Charmed" co-star Rose McGowan is one of more than 40 women who have accused movie executive Harvey Weinstein of sexual harrasment, abuse or rape.
Weinstein has denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.
According to Facebook, "4.7 million people around the world have engaged in the 'Me Too' conversation on Facebook in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment."
Pete Souza/White House via Getty Images, File
President Donald Trump insisted without evidence on Monday that Barack Obama didn't call the families of fallen soldiers when he was president, then promptly walked the claim back when fact-checked by a reporter.
Some of Obama's former aides reacted angrily on Twitter, calling Trump's statement a lie. Obama has in the past also talked about spending "countless hours" grieving with Gold Star families.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo, File
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, owners of each team, representatives of the players' union and players themselves will meet Tuesday to discuss ways to "move from protest to progress."
Among the topics will be enhancing their platforms for speaking out on social issues, and the league's policy that suggests but does not mandate players standing for the national anthem.
There is a quiet mandate, though, for those discussions: figuring out how to get the attention back on those social issues, not how they are being publicized.
Two men who hiked for miles through Northern California wildfire territory in Santa Rosa expecting a grim discovery were met with a joyful one instead.
Raw sewage is pouring into the rivers and reservoirs of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. People without running water bathe and wash their clothes in contaminated streams, and some islanders have been drinking water from condemned wells.
Nearly a month after the hurricane made landfall, Puerto Rico is only beginning to come to grips with a massive environmental emergency that has no clear end in sight.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
Reporters were seated in the White House briefing room awaiting an appearance by press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Monday when a call went out over a loudspeaker to head to the Rose Garden. There was no time to lose: President Donald Trump wanted to talk. Again.
Chaos briefly ensued as the press corps quickly repositioned itself along a ropeline among the famous garden's fall mums and foliage in front of a podium marked by the presidential seal.
While Trump rarely holds formal, stand-alone news conferences, his freewheeling, last-minute Rose Garden scrum was the latest example of his penchant for talking to journalists on the fly. For nearly 40 minutes, the president held forth on everything from tax policy to the Russia investigations to Hillary Clinton. Trump reveled in the wild rumpus, gesturing to specific journalists with a "hello" or a wink as they screamed and jumped to get his attention.
California became the first state to allow a non-binary gender marker on birth certificates Sunday when Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation backed by San Diego Sen. Toni Atkins.
California also allowed residents to be identified by a gender marker other than "F" or "M" on their driver license, becoming the second state in the nation to do so after Oregon. Washington, D.C., also voted to allow gender-neutral licenses.
Atkins (D - 39th District) introduced the bill, SB 179, also known as the Gender Recognition Act, earlier this year. The legislation will take effect in 2018.
U.S. Army via Getty Images, File
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, five years a Taliban captive after abandoning his post in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty Monday to desertion and misbehavior-before-the-enemy charges that could put him in prison for life.
"I understand that leaving was against the law," said Bergdahl, who admitted guilt without striking a deal with prosecutors, leaving his punishment up to a military judge.
The guilty pleas bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl vanished. President Barack Obama brought him home in 2014 in a swap for five Taliban prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, saying the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield. Republicans roundly criticized Obama and Donald Trump went farther while campaigning for president, repeatedly calling Bergdahl a "dirty, rotten traitor."
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Top Republicans coping with a razor-thin majority as they try pushing a partisan agenda through the Senate are running smack into another complication — the sheer age and health issues of some senators.
When the office of the ailing Sen. Thad Cochran announced Monday that it was the Mississippi Republican's "intention to return to the Senate when his health permits," it underscored the challenges of navigating a chamber that's the second oldest ever. Cochran's absence narrows the GOP's margin for error on a pivotal budget vote this week, and the Appropriations Committee that he chairs hasn't churned out any spending bills for next year since he was last in Washington in mid-September.
Cochran isn't the only GOP senator with health issues that have caused them to miss time this year in Washington. In July, the Senate delayed votes for a week on repealing President Barack Obama's health care law after Sen. John McCain of Arizona, now 81, was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Furat FM, via AP
The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led forces battling ISIS in Syria say they have captured the city hospital in Raqqa, which served as an ISIS headquarters.
The facility was one of the militants' last holdouts in Raqqa and had doubled as a hospital and an ISIS command center.
The capture of the hospital on Tuesday leaves ISIS militants cornered in and around the notorious municipal stadium in Raqqa, once the group's de facto capital.
Musafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, says 22 ISIS militants were killed in the advance on the hospital. He says fighting is still underway with militants who had refused to surrender.
Out among the barbecue smokers behind a shelter in Santa Rosa for fire-displaced residents, television chef Guy Fieri has been helping to serve up chicken, pulled pork and sides to evacuees and firefighters battling the blazes in California's North Bay.
"With these fires, and the evacuations and with all the people that have lost their homes, we're feeding over 5,000 people a day," Fieri said between lunch and dinner in the parking lot of the Veterans Memorial Auditorium on Sunday. "Anybody who needs food at this time in this area."
He and other local chefs are working with Operation BBQ Relief, a non-profit that was formed in 2011 after the tornado in Joplin, Missouri. By the end of Sunday, they will have served 23,000 meals, some being sent directly to firefighters on the front lines.
A Maltese investigative journalist who exposed the island nation's links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers was killed Monday when a bomb exploded in her car, the prime minister said.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a large town on Malta's main island, when the bomb went off, sending the vehicle's wreckage spiraling over a wall and into a field, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.
Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images, File
The school board in Biloxi, Mississippi, has pulled "To Kill a Mockingbird" from an eighth-grade reading list after receiving complaints about wording in the book, NBC News reported.
Last week, Kenny Holloway, the board's vice president, said there was language in the book that "makes people uncomfortable."
"We can teach the same lesson with other books," Holloway said, according to the The Sun Herald newspaper. "It's still in our library. But they're going to use another book in the eighth-grade course."
Get More at NBC News