National & World News from NPR

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Much of the world is getting to know the work of Kathleen Collins - all the more to regret that she's not around to hear the praise. Kathleen Collins was a writer and filmmaker who died in 1988 of breast cancer. She was 46 years old.

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Silicon Valley has reportedly done some soul-searching after last month's presidential election. Many in high-tech supported Hillary Clinton and have criticized Facebook and Google for being vehicles to spread fake news stories, many of which vilified Clinton.

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We're reporting this week on the most common reading disability. Ask just about anyone what dyslexia is, you'll almost certainly hear something like this.

Protesters have been camped for months at the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota. Now, winter has arrived, dumping almost 2 feet of snow on the encampment in the last week of November. The winter storm hit just before news that President-elect Donald Trump indicated he supports completion of the pipeline.

How A Psychedelic Drug Helps Cancer Patients Overcome Anxiety

Dec 3, 2016

The brilliantly-colored shapes reminded Carol Vincent of fluorescent deep-sea creatures, and they floated past her languidly. She was overwhelmed by their beauty — and then suddenly, as if in a dream, she was out somewhere in deep space instead. "Oh, wow," she thought, overwhelmed all over again. She had been an amateur skydiver in her youth, but this sensation didn't come with any sense of speeding or falling or even having a body at all. She was just hovering there, gazing at the universe.

On Nov. 23, a morning talk show on Morocco's state television aired a segment on using makeup to conceal bruises from domestic violence. It was part of a promotional effort for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, coming up two days later.

The reaction was swift and negative. The TV station apologized.

So you're trying to find some information about the schools in your community. Did students perform well on tests? How many students in a school are from low-income families? What's the demographic breakdown? Most folks would start to look for this by searching the web. But, depending on the state you live in, finding that information can be a real challenge.

Four days. 92 volunteers. And 150 pounds of gingerbread.

That's just part of what goes into decorating for the White House for Christmas.

Volunteers went to work the day after Thanksgiving, stringing thousands of bow ribbons and crystal ornaments throughout the mansion. Military families got a sneak peak at the decorations this week.

Episode 739: Finding The Fake-News King

Dec 2, 2016

A few days before the election, an extraordinary story popped up in hundreds of thousands of people's Facebook feeds. This story was salacious. It was vivid, filled with intriguing details. There was a photo of a burning house, firemen rushing in. The headline read, "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide."

President-elect Donald Trump has been speaking on the phone with numerous world leaders since his election, but a call Friday has the potential to cause diplomatic waves. The Trump transition office confirms Trump spoke with the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen.

The call has raised eyebrows because the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, when it recognized mainland China. And it's believed to be the first time a U.S. president or president-elect has spoken with a Taiwanese leader since then.

In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, tens of thousands of people have fled a brutal, Russian-backed regime offensive against rebel-held parts of the city. Many have fled deeper into the tightening siege, which started over the summer. Others have sought safety on the government-held side.

My conversation with a woman who recently fled the siege begins with her asking how I am. She's safe now, but is still afraid to give her name. She fears for her son — still fighting with the rebels — and for other male relatives who've been detained by the regime for questioning.

This week in race: Sports (dog) whistles, protection for Dreamers, a special book—and some hunky calendar men. Really.

Now that the turkey endorphins have worn off, the leftovers are a distant memory, and the Obamas prepare for their last Christmas in the White House, we thought we'd put some of the things that happened over the holiday weekend (and this week) on a platter and offer them to you. No thank you notes required.

Race and Immigration:

For six years, Haitian activists have demanded that the United Nations accept responsibility for cholera in Haiti.

Yet many seemed almost shocked on Thursday by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's apology for the U.N.'s role in the outbreak. Shocked — and pleased.

The Dallas County District Attorney has reached an agreement to drop assault charges against former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, as long he as meets conditions such as attending an anger management course and a substance abuse program.

Each year, a glowing mass of clouds forms over the South Pole, high in the atmosphere, trapped between Earth and space.

From the ground they look wispy and shimmery, like a blue-white aurora borealis. From space, they look like an electric-blue gossamer haze.

If you're curious about what people really think about some of the hottest of hot-button food controversies, the Pew Research Center has just the thing for you: a survey of attitudes toward genetic modification, organic food and the importance of eating healthfully.

The survey results are published in a 99-page report that can keep you occupied for days. But if you're pressed for time, here are some of the most interesting highlights that caught our eye.

The post-election uproar over fake news and far-right websites is taking its toll on the advertising industry. Kellogg's announced it is pulling ads from the site Breitbart — which publishes right-wing content. Other brands are planning similar moves. But there's one big reason to believe this is just a short-term reaction in the heat of the moment, not a long-term trend.

Bonnie Mackay has written an unusual sort of memoir: Tree of Treasures is the story of her life, told through Christmas tree ornaments.

Mackay is something of an ornament aficionado — starting with the first tree she decorated with a friend from college.

"We called it the tree of disarray ... " she tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. They adorned it with unconventional objects, including jewelry, scarves and kitchen items.

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Let's pause now to remember a British actor best known for playing a Spanish waiter in a 1970s BBC series that lasted only 12 episodes - Andrew Sachs. He died at age 86. As NPR's Ted Robbins tells us, his relatively small role left a big impression.

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For more on this and the rest of the week in politics, we turn to David Brooks of The New York Times.

Welcome back, David.

DAVID BROOKS, BYLINE: Good to be here.

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Friday afternoon, four candidates for Democratic National Committee chair will gather in Denver to debate the future of the embattled party.

For Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the forum will be a chance to respond to a growing backlash against his bid to run the DNC.

Ellison appeared to be the early favorite when he entered the race. He earned endorsements from two powerful voices – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Retired Gen. James Mattis' nomination to be President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of defense may, well, march through the Senate, but there is one potential obstacle to maneuver around: the retired general part.

The National Security Act of 1947, which established the current national defense structure, had a key stipulation, requiring that the secretary of defense be a civilian well removed from military service. In fact, the law is quite clear:

Updated at 6:40 p.m. ET

The jury in the murder trial of former North Charleston, S.C., police Officer Michael Slager told the judge on Friday afternoon that it's having trouble coming to a unanimous verdict.

They will resume deliberating Monday.

Slager is accused of murder for shooting Walter Scott multiple times as he ran away from the officer in 2015, after a routine traffic stop.

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