NPR Staff

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Former Exxon Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. The secretary of state nominee, who has never held a position in government, does have extensive experience dealing with foreign countries on behalf of Exxon, where he has worked since 1975.

Alex Brandon / AP

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's pick for attorney general, will face the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday for his confirmation hearing. Sessions, a Republican who has served in Congress for two decades, has had his nomination protested for his record on civil rights, voting rights and criminal justice. A key controversy: In 1986, the Judiciary Committee rejected Sessions' nomination to be a federal judge.

ATOMIC IMAGERY / GETTY IMAGES

Move over Mariah Carey. There's a new holiday star in town.

Behold, a new Christmas carol for the 2016 holiday season! Have a listen:

Neural Story Singing Christmas from Hang Chu on Vimeo.

 

Larry Jefferson has been putting on a big red suit and perfecting his best ho, ho, ho for nearly 20 years.

The retired Army captain plays Santa at shopping malls, holiday parties and charity benefits. He hit the big time this year when he was handpicked at a Santa convention to appear at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

And by all accounts, kids and parents at the mall loved him. But when the story spread online, the negative attacks starting pouring in — because Jefferson is black.

Seventy-five years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, some Americans have never stopped believing that President Franklin Roosevelt let it happen in order to draw the U.S. into World War II.

"It's ridiculous," says Rob Citino, a senior researcher at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. "But it's evergreen. It never stops. My students, over 30 years — there'd always be someone in class [who'd say], 'Roosevelt knew all about it.'"

The late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro loved baseball. And you may have heard that he was such a good player that years before the Cuban revolution, he tried out for the New York Yankees in Havana.

Or not. This myth has persisted for years, and though it might be fun to contemplate the historical consequences of this "What if?" scenario, Adrian Burgos Jr., University of Illinois history professor and author of Playing America's Game: Baseball, Latinos and the Color Line, says it simply didn't happen.

For the second year in a row, the annual All Things Considered Thanksgiving music chat is a multi-part conversation. Host Ari Shapiro welcomes four musicians, each of whom was named by one of his or her fellow guests as an artist to be thankful for.

In Bernie Sanders' new book, Our Revolution, the Vermont senator tells the story of his life, his career and his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

He also spells out the programs he believes the country should adopt to combat such ills as inequality, discrimination and lack of opportunity, not to mention the burdens of college and health care costs.

Sanders says he was not shocked by Donald Trump's victory. But he says the election results show it is time for the Democratic Party to undergo a fundamental reassessment.

Influential singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has died at the age of 82, according to a publicist for his U.S. record label.

Cohen died Monday, but news of his death came out late Thursday. His Facebook page had this announcement:

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.
We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries.

Updated at 7:58 p.m. ET

Newly discovered emails being examined by the FBI in relation to Hillary Clinton's email server came to light in the course of an unrelated criminal investigation of Anthony Weiner, a source familiar with the matter tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Weiner is the estranged husband of close Clinton aide Huma Abedin; he has been under scrutiny for sending illicit text messages to an underage girl. Sources said authorities seized electronic devices in their home, which led them to this new information.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head to head Monday night in the first presidential debate.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact check.

Cargo shorts are a staple of men's summer wardrobes.

But the actor Matthew McConaughey, always one for existential questions, had this to ask: "Are they long short pants or short long pants?"

Craig Ferguson, talking to McConaughey in a 2014 episode of The Late Late Show, piled on.

House Speaker Paul Ryan spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Donald Trump laid out his plan for the economy, criticizing globalization and policies that promote free trade, in a speech in Monessen, Pa., on Tuesday.

NPR's politics team has annotated Trump's speech. The portions we commented on are bolded, followed by analysis and fact check in italics. We will update further.

The speech follows:

Last week marked the end of an era for the historic Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Co. After a 71-year run as an outlet for the expression of both the highest aspirations and deepest frustrations of African-Americans, the family-owned business has sold its iconic lifestyle magazine — Ebony -- and the now digital-only Jet magazine.

This election has brought a bitter primary season: candidates at each other's throats; a Democratic Party in crisis. But it's nothing new.

Eight years ago, the Democratic Party was recovering after a brutal primary between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Now, the party has found itself in a similar place.

This week on For the Record: Lessons learned from the 2008 Democratic primary, with two political operatives who lived through it.

Immigration is back on the front burner in the Republican primary.

This past week, at a rally in Orange County, Calif., Donald Trump returned to talking about the wall he wants to build along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Meanwhile, outside, there were protesters speaking out against his immigration proposals and carrying Mexican flags.

The celebrations for the new year also marked a new open-carry gun law taking effect in Texas. Handgun license holders in Texas will now be allowed to carry their guns in visible holsters on their hip or shoulder.

Previously, Texans wanting to carry a handgun had to obtain a concealed handgun license and conceal their weapon. With the new law, the more than 826,000 state license holders will be allowed to openly display their handguns in most public places.

The resettling of Syrian refugees in the U.S. has become a political and religious flashpoint. On Friday, for instance, Texas dropped its request for a federal court to immediately block Syrian refugees from entering the state. A Syrian family, including two young children, is now expected to arrive in Dallas on Monday.

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