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Kat Lonsdorf

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Back at the start of 2020, two years ago, Julie Hogan was on the list for a kidney transplant. And that February, she got the call. There was a donor.

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January 6, 2021, was a Wednesday. A joint session of Congress was set to convene in the U.S. Capitol to certify Joe Biden's electoral vote win. Meanwhile, thousands of Donald Trump supporters gathered near the White House to hear him speak at noon ET.

Tensions were high on Capitol Hill. Protesters swarmed lawmakers outside.

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., was exasperated as protesters surrounded him on the steps of the Russell Senate Office Building at around 11:30 a.m.

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At New York Fashion Week earlier this fall, model Gigi Hadid coolly strutted the runway in shimmery gold lounge pants tucked into blue satin heels with a knotted green sequin button-down on top. Silver and gold chains ringed her wrists, a diamond choker rested around her neck and a bedazzled purse hung at her side.

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Sequins, gemstones, glitter - 'tis the season for sparkle. And while glitz pops up for the holidays every year, this time around, it's a little different. NPR's resident sparkle expert Kat Lonsdorf explains.

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Like many of us, 10-year-old Eli McKivigan again has, as he puts it, a...

ELI MCKIVIGAN: Phobia of needles.

SHAPIRO: He really doesn't like them.

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Growing up in Miami, Amore Rodriguez got to know a certain radio jingle by heart.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing in Spanish).

A nearly perfectly intact room that served as a kind of dormitory for enslaved people has been unearthed by archaeologists at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. The room has three wooden beds, a chamber pot, a wooden chest and several tall Roman jars called amphorae. All of it was covered and preserved in cinerite, a sedimentary rock made mostly of volcanic ash, when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79.

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Our next story begins in a place many of us are familiar with - up awake, watching a YouTube video at 3 in the morning. That's where Princeton evolutionary biologist Shane Campbell-Staton found himself a few years ago.

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Chances are good, if you've been to the beach in the last five decades or so, this might ring a bell.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE BOOGIE SONG")

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While many DC reporters are focused on the White House or Capitol Hill, news of a different stripe has been grabbing attention.

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Five zebras are on the loose in the D.C. suburbs in Prince George's County, Md.

When schools reopened recently in Afghanistan, only boys in grades 7 through 12 went back to class.

Taliban leaders told girls that they must wait.

"The explanation that we got from the Taliban is that this is just a slight delay, as they are working on operating procedures for girls," said Christopher Nyamandi, director of Save the Children, an aid group, in Afghanistan.

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