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In central Damascus, it's perfectly clear that President Bashar Assad is firmly in control. In the souks of the Old City, his face looks out of almost every shop window, pinned up next to gold jewelry or intricate rugs. No one has a bad word to say about him, at least not to a Western journalist.

In rebel enclaves nearby, forces loyal to Assad are creeping back into control. After years of siege tactics, opposition forces in the suburbs of Damascus are increasingly making deals that see their fighters heading into rebel-held areas.

President-elect Donald Trump continued his "Thank You" victory tour on Tuesday, making a stop in North Carolina to tout his national security agenda and formally introduce his pick for Defense Secretary, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis.

Speaking in Fayetteville, N.C., Trump called Mattis the "living embodiment of the Marine Corps motto" — Semper Fidelis.

Alex Jones has a following. His radio show is carried on more than 160 stations, and he has more than 1.8 million subscribers on YouTube.

And he claims to have the ear of the next president of the United States.

Jones is also one of the nation's leading promoters of conspiracy theories — some of which take on lives of their own. He has been a chief propagator of untrue and wild claims about a satanic sex trafficking ring run by one of Hillary Clinton's top advisers out of a pizzeria in Washington, D.C.

We like to think our brains can make rational decisions — but maybe they can't.

The way risks are presented can change the way we respond, says best-selling author Michael Lewis. In his new book, The Undoing Project, Lewis tells the story of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two Israeli psychologists who made some surprising discoveries about the way people make decisions. Along the way, they also founded an entire branch of psychology called behavioral economics.

He was a flamboyant, alpha-male billionaire who said things no career politician ever would — someone who promised to use his business savvy to reform the system and bring back jobs. Voters believed that his great wealth insulated him from corruption, because he couldn't be bought.

But his administration was marked by criminal investigations and crony capitalism.

In the quest to help the poor, it's difficult to know whose needs are the greatest. Without clear data, it's tough to know who to help first.

The traditional way to look for the poorest of the poor is with household surveys. That's the primary source of data for policy decisions, but it has drawbacks.

A federal judge has overturned a military panel's decision to force a Marine out of service for using his Yahoo account to send an email that included classified information warning his fellow Marines about a corrupt Afghan official.

That warning was not taken seriously, as NPR's Quil Lawrence told our Newscast unit, and three Marines were killed shortly after. Later, "after some negative news coverage, the Marine Corps decided to force Jason Brezler out of the service for mishandling classified data."

Amazon says it is opening a new food and convenience store that doesn't have a checkout line.

Instead, the company envisions customers at the Amazon Go store picking up whatever they want off the shelves — then simply walking out with it. The items are automatically billed to their Amazon accounts.

Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube say they are creating a database to keep track of terrorist recruitment videos and other terror-related images that have been removed from their services.

In a joint statement posted by Facebook on Monday, the company said:

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The Department of Homeland Security issued a regulation Tuesday putting restrictions on the kinds of archaeological materials that can be imported from Egypt.

That may not sound like a big deal unless maybe you're a collector or a museum. There are lots of federal regulations taking effect every day, and in fact there's been an uptick as the Obama administration's time in office wanes.

Such an increase is troubling to Republicans, but gives hope to those who want new policies in place before a new administration moves into the White House.

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The U.S. stock market is up more than 3 percent since Election Day four weeks ago.

One person who hasn't benefited: President-elect Donald Trump.

In a call with reporters, transition spokesman Jason Miller says Trump sold all of his holdings in the stock market over the summer. The move could remove some, but not all, potential conflicts of interest as the billionaire businessman takes office as president.

Even before the sale, stocks accounted for a tiny fraction of Trump's personal fortune. Most of his money is in real estate.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a jury verdict finding that State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. defrauded the federal government after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005.

In the years before the hurricane, State Farm issued both federal government-backed flood insurance policies and general homeowners policies. After the hurricane, the company ordered its claims adjusters to misclassify wind damage as flood damage to shift liability to the government and spare the insurance company's coffers.

The Trump Organization has more interests in India — at least five — than anywhere else outside North America. With an ever-increasing taste for luxury, India offers the Trump brand a lucrative market, no matter who runs the company after President-elect Donald Trump separates from his global enterprises, as he's said he would do.

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We like to think our brains are able to make rational decisions, but maybe they can't. Take this example.

The Lord's Resistance Army committed horrifying crimes against civilians for almost three decades, killing thousands in northern Uganda and beyond its borders.

Now, the first-ever trial of an LRA commander has opened at the International Criminal Court. Dominic Ongwen, who was kidnapped when he was a boy and forced to become a child soldier, "pleaded not guilty to 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity — including murder and enslavement," as NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

It's 6 p.m. on a Wednesday night and there's a line out the door at EAT Café. Inside, executive chef and restaurant manager Donnell Jones-Craven is busy plating up salads and burgers, but he pauses to sprint out into the dining room. "I appreciate so much that you're all here for dinner tonight!" he calls out to those still waiting in line. "Just bear with us and we'll get you seated as soon as we can."

President-elect Donald Trump wants to clip the wings of a new Air Force One, saying the customized 747 is too expensive.

"The plane is totally out of control," Trump told reporters Tuesday morning. "I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money."

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted that the new aircraft would cost more than $4 billion and urged the government to cancel the contract. Neither Trump nor his spokespeople said where that cost estimate came from.

The Supreme Court has weighed in on a patent battle between Samsung and Apple, siding with Samsung by declaring that the patent infringement for an element of a design should be treated differently from the infringement of an entire design.

The dispute between the two tech giants isn't about whether Samsung violated Apple's patents, but rather about how much money it's reasonable for Samsung to pay for the infringement.

When new CBS Entertainment President Glenn Geller faced TV critics in August to talk about the network's new fall shows, the first question he got was straight to the point.

"Why is it so difficult to get more inclusion for people of color in the top level of casting at CBS?" asked Maureen Ryan, chief TV critic for the trade magazine Variety. "And what message does it send that the leads of your shows are all heterosexual white men?"

Frequent removal of pubic hair is associated with an increased risk for herpes, syphilis and human papillomavirus, doctors at the University of California, San Francisco, reported Monday in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The manager of the Oakland, Calif., warehouse that burned down, killing at least 36 people, apologized for the devastation while defending his vision for the "Ghost Ship" artists' collective during an agonized, frequently tense interview on the Today show.

After Matt Lauer welcomed him with "good morning," Derick Almena shook his head.

"It's not a good morning," he said. "What am I doing here? Can I just say I'm sorry?"

It's a policy battle that has been playing out over three decades.

In 1984, then-President Ronald Reagan imposed an anti-abortion rule — known as the "Mexico City policy" after the city where he announced it. The rule blocked federal funding for international family planning charities unless they agreed not to "promote" abortion by, among other actions, providing patients with information about the procedure or referrals to providers who perform it.

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