NPR News & Stories Via WUNC

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There is a funeral service for Ashley Theriot in Pensacola, Fla. today. She was just 32, and a gifted freelance writer.

The death of a vibrant young person is a tragedy in all ways. But the person who dies can leave a gift for someone else to go on. That can be a flesh and blood blessing.

Ashley Theriot returned from Colombia on Jan. 1 and began to have seizures. She turned out to have a rare tear in the artery of her brain stem.

Here's a quick roundup of some of the mini-moments you may have missed on this week's Morning Edition.

Eggcelent Island

Unlike some of the most well-known national parks, one of the newer additions won't have mountains with snow-capped peaks or desert canyons. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will offer something different: the story of how scientists created the world's first atomic bomb. But how the story will be told is surrounded by controversy.

In downtown Los Alamos, N.M., a group of tourists follow guide Jim Shipley through Fuller Lodge, which became a gathering place during the Manhattan Project.

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

Pennsylvania surprised a lot of people in November when voters abandoned a long history of electing Democrats for president and chose Republican Donald Trump.

Shelly Fields is a 46-year-old white woman living in Richton Park, a racially diverse Chicago suburb. She says she's raised her four daughters, who are biracial, to see people of all races as equal, just as her parents raised her. Fields doesn't think that racism will ever disappear completely, but she's hopeful that it lessens with each passing generation.

"The more biracial children there are, the more equality we see," Fields said. "The more people of color we see in positions of power – it will help to change the way people see race."

Charts can seem dull. But not to data scientist Tariq Khokhar at the World Bank. When he looked through a year's worth of charts, graphs, maps and more, he was excited by the numbers.

For example, although the world's population has increased by 2 billion people since 1990, there are 1.1 billion fewer people living in extreme poverty, under $1.90 a day (highlighted in blue in the chart below). "I'm amazed at the progress," Khokhar says.

Every child wants to grow up to be independent — to leave their parents' home, find work, build a life of their own.

But that seemingly simple step into adulthood can be a monumental challenge for children with developmental disabilities like autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, or any of a range of other such disabilities that affect about one in six American children, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

So now we know: This is how it's going to be after Inauguration Day, too.

When coverage falls afoul of Donald Trump, the soon-to-be-president will feed the media itself into the news grinder. As Matthew Continetti wrote in the Washington Free Beacon, the new administration is going on permanent offense; Trump will invert the usual equation to subject individual journalists and their employers to scrutiny and slashing attacks of the kind usually reserved for public officials.

President-elect Trump told a press conference Wednesday that he would step back from running his company to prevent possible conflicts of interest once he's in office. To help prove it, he said he had just rejected a $2 billion deal to develop a golf course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, adding that he wasn't required to do so because he isn't bound by any conflict-of-interest laws once he's president.

Small classes. High standards. More money. These popular remedies for school ills aren't as effective as they're sometimes thought to be. That's the somewhat controversial conclusion of education researcher John Hattie.

Over his career, Hattie has scrutinized more than 1,000 "meta-analyses," looking at all types of interventions to improve learning. The studies he's examined cover a combined 250 million students around the world.

As their first major act of the new Congress, Republicans rushed approval of a budget resolution this week that sets up a framework for repealing Obamacare, but what exactly to replace it with is still a puzzle Republicans are piecing together.

And it could take a while.

Gen. Michael Flynn, President-elect Trump's pick to be national security adviser, did speak to Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak by telephone on Dec. 29, the same day the Obama administration announced measures retaliating against Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign, two Trump transition officials confirm to NPR.

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence say they intend to investigate the allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.

In a joint statement, Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chairman of the committee and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the vice-chairman, said "we believe that it is critical to have a full understanding of the scope of Russian intelligence activities impacting the United States."

S
<a href="https://twitter.com/rpdsanescobar/status/819161154245316608" target="_blank">Twitter screenshot</a>

There is no country in the world called San Escobar.

But in the age of "fake news" let's just imagine for a moment a "fake country" called San Escobar.

Think of it as "a small country located between Mexico and Guatemala with 200,000 citizens, with several main cities, including Esperal Bay, Santo Subito, and with several major exports including tomatoes and wine," says Ewa Lalik, a technology blogger in Warsaw, Poland.

At noon on Inauguration Day, precisely the moment Donald Trump is scheduled to be sworn as president, there will be another changing of the guard in Washington.

The D.C. National Guard announced Friday that its commanding general, Army Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, will be stepping down as of 12 p.m. on Jan. 20.

A 1989 photograph of Donald Trump tossing a red apple was installed today at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The museum is known for having one of two complete collections of presidential portraits, the other belonging to the White House. This portrait of President-elect Donald Trump, however, isn't one of those official presidential portraits.

The website at the Office of Government Ethics went down Friday afternoon, apparently overwhelmed with traffic, as the agency and its director found themselves at the heart of a growing political fight.

This story is part of Kitchen Table Conversations, a series from NPR's National Desk that examines how Americans from all walks of life are moving forward from the presidential election.

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Pages