News From NPR

News From NPR

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.

China sent its only aircraft carrier into the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday morning, an unusual and provocative move that comes as tensions are high between the mainland and the self-governing island.

NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Beijing that China says the carrier was returning from weapons drills in the South China Sea, and that its passage through the strait complies with international law. Here's more from Rob:

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.

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 Trump's cabinet picks without Republican defections.

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

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.

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.

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."

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.

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.

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.

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