U.S.

Where the first day of Jeff Sessions' attorney general confirmation hearing focused on what the Alabama senator's relationship would be with the president if confirmed, the second day focused on his own past.

Sessions, a former Alabama attorney general, has a reputation for being tough on crime, but civil rights advocates testified that his reputation was made on the backs of vulnerable groups. Lawmakers who have worked with him, on the other hand, said they knew a just and fair man.

"We must bend" the arc of the moral universe

When Donald Trump won the presidential election, he made a pledge to every citizen: that he would be president for all Americans. In the weeks before Trump's inauguration, we're going to hear about some of the communities that make up this nation, from the people who know them best, in our series Finding America.

Gabriel Otero's family has lived in Tucson, Ariz., for five generations. The region about 70 miles from Mexico has a complicated history. Lots of people have called it home.

Let's say you're a farmer in the Midwest, growing conventional corn and soybeans. Times are tough right now. Prices are in the toilet.

If only you were selling organic soybeans and corn. They're worth almost twice as much, per bushel, as your conventional crops.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated the rusty patched bumblebee an endangered species — the first such designation for a bumblebee and for a bee species in the continental U.S.

The protected status, which goes into effect on Feb. 10, includes requirements for federal protections and the development of a recovery plan. It also means that states with habitats for this species are eligible for federal funds.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A federal judge in South Carolina formally sentenced Dylann Roof to death on Wednesday, one day after a jury recommended that he be executed for murdering nine people in a Charleston church.

Under federal sentencing laws, the death penalty can be imposed only if all 12 jurors agree on it, and the judge cannot overrule the jury's decision.

In Weathersfield, Vt., a town once dotted with small milking farms, about 60 cows peacefully chew hay at their home on Fuller Farm. They are the last remaining dairy herd in Weathersfield, and they'll be auctioned off this week. This is a growing trend in the changing dairy industry — in the state and beyond.

Donald Trump's Press Conference, Annotated

11 hours ago

For the first time in 167 days, President-elect Donald Trump held a wide-ranging news conference.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors across the newsroom, live-annotated the speech. Portions of the transcript with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact checks below.

Note: The transcript was updated throughout the press conference. While we are working to correct errors, it may contain discrepancies and typographical errors.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It was billed as a "listening session," a chance for Latino leaders from across the country to sit down with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team and talk about the issues important to them and to their constituents.

On campuses today almost every educational interaction leaves digital traces. Assignments and feedback are given through online portals; debates and discussions happen via learning management systems as well as in classrooms, cafes and dorm rooms.

Those and other digital crumbs give technologists the opportunities to examine the processes, practices and goals of higher education in ways that were largely impossible a decade or so ago.

In late October, just weeks ahead of the election, President-elect Donald Trump made a quick detour to Washington for the official opening of his new five-star hotel, just a few blocks from the White House.

Fitness tracking is all the rage right now. If you want to, you can monitor your heart rate, count your footsteps and calories burned, and even monitor your sleep patterns, all by using devices that can fit around your wrist or in your pocket. But that's if you're human. Fresno Chaffee Zoo, in Fresno, Calif., is taking fitness tracking to a mammoth new level — part of a national project to guard the health and happiness of zoo elephants.

There's a small-scale charity movement starting to take hold in neighborhoods across the country. Think of those "little free library" boxes, but with a twist: These are small pantries stocked with free food and personal care items like toothbrushes and diapers for people in need.

They're found near churches, outside businesses and in front of homes. Maggie Ballard, who lives in Wichita, Kan., calls hers a "blessing box."

Donald Trump hasn't held a wide-ranging press conference in 167 days. That streak is expected to be broken Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET, when Trump holds his first news conference since being elected president.

He'd tweeted 1,601 times in that time, as of midnight Wednesday.

Democrats don't have too many opportunities to set the agenda in Congress right now. They don't decide what bills are called for a vote, and, due to changes in Senate procedures, won't be able to block any of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet picks without Republican defections.

One thing Democrats can affect are the headlines coming out of the first wave of confirmation hearings.

Updated at 9:24 a.m. ET on Wednesday

Top U.S. intelligence officials have briefed leaders in Washington about an explosive — but unverified — document that alleges collusion between Russia and President-elect Donald Trump, NPR has learned.

The brief, which NPR has seen but not independently verified, was given by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain to FBI Director James Comey on Dec. 9. Details from it have been part of presentations by Comey and other intelligence leaders to Trump, President Obama and key leaders in Congress.

President Obama gave his farewell address to the nation on Tuesday night from his hometown of Chicago.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors across the newsroom, live-annotated the speech. Portions of the transcript with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact checks below.

Note: The transcript was updated throughout the speech. While we are working to correct errors, it may contain discrepancies and typographical errors.

Tuesday was the opposite of a slow news day. It was a mad scramble of a news day, featuring major developments on President-elect Donald Trump's ties to Russia, a contentious confirmation hearing, a death sentence in a high-profile hate-crime case, and President Obama's farewell speech, among other things.

In case you couldn't keep up — and we can't blame you — here's a rundown of some of the biggest news of the day.


1. The Trump-Russia bombshell

President Obama reflected on the achievements of his eight years in the White House on Tuesday night, telling supporters in his hometown of Chicago that they were instrumental in helping him boost the nation's economy, create his signature health care reform law and extend equal rights to more Americans:

Eight of the ten most dangerous places in the U.S. to be a pedestrian are in Florida, according to a study released today.

Some of the most dangerous metro areas for walkers are Fort Myers, Orlando, and Jacksonville, Fla., as well as Jackson, Miss., and Memphis, Tenn.

Lee Baca, once the top elected law enforcement official in Los Angeles, will be re-tried on charges of obstructing a federal investigation into his county jail. The announcement by federal prosecutors follows a recent mistrial in which he was nearly acquitted by a jury deadlocked 11-1 in his favor.

After years of planning, negotiations and speculation, filmmaker George Lucas has chosen Los Angeles to be the home for his museum honoring visual storytelling. It will display his personal collection of fine and popular art, including Norman Rockwell paintings, Mad Magazine covers, photography, children's art, as well as Hollywood props and visual effects from his famous movie franchise Star Wars.

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