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National and international news from NPR

Sanctions on Russia were to be "ripped up" early in the Trump administration, then-national security adviser Mike Flynn said on Inauguration Day, according to new information released Wednesday.

The new details suggest that President Trump and his aides not only were amenable to new negotiations with Russia about its bilateral relationship with the U.S — despite its attack on the 2016 presidential election — but had concluded by the time they took office that they would definitely void existing sanctions.

It's word-of-the-year time again. Collins Dictionary chose "Fake news" and Dictionary.com went with "complicit." Others have proposed #metoo, "alternative facts," "take a knee," "resistance" and "snowflake."

Just past 10 p.m. on a summer night, attorney Cheryl Wattley is standing near a quiet street in West Dallas, reconstructing an old crime.

It's a moonless night. One street light and one porch light from a nearby house illumine the scene, nearly identical conditions to the night 30 years ago, when a young man was left to die on the street not too far from here.

Wattley points toward a man standing under the street light, a private investigator named Daryl Parker, as he positions himself in the alley 40 feet away.

"Can you identify him?" she asks.

Russia hosted the last Winter Olympics, in 2014. But the country is banned from being represented at the 2018 Games that start in February, after the International Olympic Committee said it found a widespread culture of Russian cheating through performance-enhancing drugs.

Of all types of skin cancer, melanoma causes the majority of deaths. When on the scalp it can be especially difficult to catch in a self-examination — when was the last time you examined the top of your head?

One person who might be able to help: your hairdresser. While cutting your hair, they've got a great view for a scalp inspection. And they can learn how to spot scary changes, researchers say.

Updated 2:51 p.m. ET

Texas Democrat Al Green forced a House vote on the impeachment of President Trump on Wednesday, but a broad bipartisan majority voted down the effort.

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

"I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," President Trump said in a controversial address from the White House on Wednesday afternoon. He also directed the State Department to "begin preparation to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem."

Scientists have just discovered a supermassive black hole that existed surprisingly early in the history of the universe, and the puzzling find is shedding new light on when the first stars blinked on.

Astronomers spotted the black hole, the most distant ever found, sitting inside a bright object so far away that the light had been traveling for 13 billion years before reaching Earth.

He Brought Refugees Together With A Soccer Ball

Dec 6, 2017

Robert Hakiza remembers running to his uncle's house, finding his sandal first and then his bloodstained body heaped on the ground.

Uncle Boniface had been an anthropology professor who lectured at universities in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo and across the border in Rwanda. He had taught Hakiza, then a teenager, to love school in their Congolese city of Bukavu. But political turmoil and ethnic tensions were on the rise. One day in 1996, rebels killed Boniface because, Hakiza says, he looked Rwandan. They thought he was a spy.

Updated at 7:51 p.m. ET

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., plans to announce his resignation on Thursday, a Democratic official tells Minnesota Public Radio. The official spoke to Franken and key aides, MPR News reports.

Franken's office, however, says that "no final decision has been made."

Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking a fourth term in office — which would keep him in the Kremlin through 2024, if he wins another six-year term as expected. Putin faces no serious threats in his re-election bid.

Jerusalem has been contested for millennia and its status remains unresolved to this day. The Israelis claim the entire city as their capital, while the Palestinians are seeking a capital in the eastern part of the city for a future state.

The U.S. position has long been that the city's status should be settled in negotiations between the two sides.

President Trump broke from that policy by announcing Wednesday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital and by planning to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

It may not be rocket science, but a group of surgeons at the University of Michigan has devised an approach to help curb the nation's opioid epidemic — starting at their own hospital.

The streets and alleys of Jiugong Township on Beijing's southern fringes are strewn with rubble from demolished buildings and piles of abandoned clothes and household items.

Authorities have given residents of this migrant laborer enclave just days to clear out before they shut off all electricity and water this week.

Are GOP Senators Wiping Out Tax Breaks For Corporations?

Dec 6, 2017

A massive corporate tax cut is at the center of the Republican tax overhaul, in both the House and the Senate bills.

But as lawmakers race to iron out the differences between the two bills, they will have to deal with a wrinkle that could greatly weaken many of the benefits for corporations: the corporate alternative minimum tax. The House bill would scrap it, and the Senate bill would keep it around.

The rage inspired by dots on plates requires us to warn readers of some rather salty language used in this story.

Dots of sauce. Scribbles of jus. Globs of honey. Plops of purée. Squiggles of sriracha. Should we go on? Schmears of chocolate. Squirts of squid ink. Trickles of coulis. You get the idea. It's Pollock on a plate. Plating at its finest — and most formulaic.

The Trump administration has been eliminating some protections that allow more than 300,000 people to live and work in the U.S. under what is known as temporary protected status. Many could face deportation when their status expires.

An estimated 50,000 of them work in the construction industry, concentrated in areas like Texas, Florida and California that are recovering from hurricanes and wildfires and where labor shortages in construction are especially acute.

It has created a wave of awareness and brave confrontations over sexual harassment and assault, taking down powerful men in the process. And now the #MeToo movement has been named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2017.

On its cover, Time called the people behind the movement "The Silence Breakers." Its story features women and men who have spoken out — including activist Tarana Burke, who started the hashtag 10 years ago.

Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET

Atlanta has voted for a new mayor, but Tuesday's election still leaves questions about who she will be.

In an exceedingly close race, Keisha Lance Bottoms came out just 759 votes ahead of her opponent, Mary Norwood. Bottoms claimed victory early Wednesday morning, but Norwood isn't conceding. The race looks headed for a recount.

Jessica Ladd was sexually assaulted while at Pomona College, just as one in five college women are. She says she found the reporting process, "more traumatic than the assault" itself. She felt "like I didn't have control. A lack of agency. I wasn't believed, and ended up regretting reporting."

Updated at 11 p.m. ET

Firefighters were struggling to contain four wildfires in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, after a blaze broke out Wednesday morning within the LA city limits. The wildfires have burned a total of more than 100,000 acres, threatened more than 12,000 homes and other buildings and shut down 265 schools.

Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI5 has foiled a terrorist plot to assassinate Prime Minister Theresa May, U.K. media report.

Two men have been charged with terrorism-related offenses in connection with the plot, which reportedly involved using improvised explosives to blow up the gate at No. 10 Downing St., the prime minister's residence, and to kill May in the ensuing chaos, various media say.

Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET

As President Trump announced his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, other countries wasted little time in condemning the move on Wednesday. Citing fears that it will inflame tensions and undermine the peace process with Palestinians, who also claim the city as their capital, many in the international community also warned the White House against its stated intention of eventually relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the hotly disputed city.

New results from an NPR survey show that large numbers of Asian-Americans experience and perceive discrimination in many areas of their daily lives. This happens despite their having average incomes that outpace other racial, ethnic and identity groups.

Homelessness in the United States went up slightly this year for the first time since 2010. During a one-night count in January, 553,742 people were found living outside or in shelters across the country, a 0.7 percent increase from the year before, according to new data released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday.

A federal grand jury has indicted the undocumented immigrant who was acquitted last week of murder and manslaughter charges in the case of Kate Steinle. The Mexican national, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, will face new immigration and gun charges.

That case drew national attention after then-candidate Donald Trump raised it as a justification for his proposed crackdown on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities.

A state judge in New York is weighing whether to dismiss a defamation lawsuit that could bring allegations of sexual misconduct against President Trump back into the spotlight amid a national reckoning over sexual harassment.

A military veteran who was homeless when he gave a stranded motorist in Philadelphia his last $20 for her to buy gas has been rewarded with money for a home, a truck and a retirement fund.

Johnny Bobbitt Jr., 34, a former Marine and paramedic, expressed his gratitude at receiving nearly $400,000 raised through a GoFundMe solicitation. He updated the page to say he has purchased a home.

Updated at 10:22 a.m. ET Wednesday

President Trump will announce tomorrow that the United States considers Jerusalem the capital of Israel, a reversal of longstanding policy that risks stoking anger and unrest across the Middle East.

Administration officials outlined the decision in a call with reporters Tuesday night. The announcement has been signaled for days with Arab and Muslim leaders increasing their pleas that Trump not take this step.

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