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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.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations over its diesel emissions cheating scheme involving some 590,000 vehicles in the U.S.

The company has also agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts.

Out of nowhere, a shocking video appeared on a Russian TV news program late one evening in March 1999. A surveillance tape showed a naked, middle-aged man who resembled Russia's top prosecutor, Yuri Skuratov, cavorting with two unclothed young women. Neither was his wife.

This has been updated at 10:00 pm ET with Clapper statement

President-elect Donald Trump denounced as "fake news" Wednesday reports that Russia had compromising information about him before the election.

He also acknowledged for the first time that Russia was behind the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, although he seemed to couch it later in the news conference by saying it "could have been others."

It was on a routine patrol in 1986 that Steven McDonald's life took a dramatic turn. McDonald, who was just two years into his service with the New York Police Department, and his partner confronted a trio of boys in Central Park. Within seconds, one of those teens drew a handgun and shot McDonald three times.

That shooting left him paralyzed from the neck down. Yet his life was arguably shaped as much by those three bullets as by the three words he famously expressed afterward: "I forgive him."

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to nominate David Shulkin to be his secretary of veterans affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

Shulkin is currently the undersecretary for health at the VA, which means he runs the Veterans Health Administration. He was nominated for that position by President Obama in March 2015 and confirmed by the Senate that June.

The outcome of the repeal-and-replace Obamacare debate could affect more than you might think, depending on just how the GOP congressional majority pursues its goal.

Beyond the Affordable Care Act's marquee achievements like guaranteeing health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on parents' plans until age 26, the roughly 2,000-page law created a host of other provisions that affect the health of nearly every American.

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

Jan 11, 2017

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.

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson had a tense confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, clashing even with Republican members over his views on Russia, international human rights violations and the lobbying and deal-making of Exxon Mobil when he was CEO.

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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."

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

At more than eight hours long, the first day of Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing for attorney general was a marathon. The Senate Judiciary Committee questioned Sessions on a wide range of topics, including allegations of racism that have dogged the Alabama senator for years and his views on immigration as well as the government's use of torture.

President Obama's adopted hometown of Chicago is often the stage for pivotal moments in his career. He claimed victory in Chicago in 2008 and again in 2012. And it's where he will give his farewell address on Tuesday night.

Many Chicagoans use the word "pride" when talking about Barack Obama. You can hear it in their voices. In this city, where President-elect Donald Trump got only 12 percent of the vote, admiration for President Obama is strong.

Kim Chisholm stood with thousands of others in the bitter cold this weekend to get a ticket to Obama's speech.

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