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Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

On Monday, Jupiter and Saturn will look as if they are merging in the night sky. This hasn't happened in nearly 400 years.

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NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with Thomas Rid of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies about Russia's alleged hack on the U.S. government and tech companies.

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President-elect Joe Biden carried Georgia with less than a 13,000-vote lead, a tiny margin made possible, in part, by historic turnout among Asian American and Pacific Islanders in the Peach State. It's the first time in nearly 30 years that Georgia voters chose a Democrat for president.

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Leaders in Congress seem to agree on one thing, at least - they need to pass a coronavirus aid package before the end of the year.

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The number of coronavirus cases in California has topped 1.2 million, leaving the state's hospitals near a breaking point. There are projections that the state could run out of intensive care beds before Christmas. And Gov. Gavin Newsom says he's considering another statewide stay-at-home order to stop the surge.

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The U.S. has seen more than 13 million documented cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., and we're now adding more than 150,000 new cases every day.

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Mary Anning was just 12 years old in 1811 when she unearthed the skeleton of an ichthyosaur, a marine reptile that lived some 200 million years ago – and yet, most people have never heard of this self-taught, British paleontologist. With her new film Ammonite, Kate Winslet hopes to change that.

Anning's hands were always raw from digging, Winslet says. "She made so little money, she was completely impoverished. And yet she was remarkably uncomplaining. This was a stoic, kind, compassionate person."

Months into the coronavirus pandemic, the initial novelty of whipping up more homemade meals is fading.

Earlier this year, people busied themselves with batches of sourdough and banana bread. Americans bought groceries like never before, and embraced the chance to dabble in elaborate cooking projects.

An American actor buys a 200-year-old Italian home for 1 euro. What could go wrong? Well, a lot, as it turns out.

Lorraine Bracco is best known for her roles in The Sopranos and Goodfellas. In her new HGTV show, My Big Italian Adventure, Bracco renovates — really renovates — the abandoned house she bought in Sicily.

National Book Award winner Phil Klay's new novel Missionaries takes readers around the world, from the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan to turmoil in rural Colombia.

"The more that I thought about the way that we wage war in the 21st century, the more it seemed to me insufficient to just talk about one theater of conflict," Klay explains. "I wanted to talk about the ways these wars bleed into each other."

Imagine being able to lay down your burdens and fly away from Earth — to a place of harmony, where discrimination is left behind. That dream is the basis of the song "Blackstronauts" by Britton & The Sting, a standout entry in this year's Tiny Desk Contest. Britton Smith, who wrote the song, tells Weekend Edition he wrote "Blackstronauts" while thinking about one particular burden: the need for affirmation.

In Baltimore, summer Sundays are the time to ride — on warm evenings, dirt bikes and four wheelers roar through the city's streets with young riders popping wheelies and pulling gravity defying tricks.

Filmmaker Angel Manuel Soto says Baltimore's bike culture is unlike any other: "It's one of the most exhilarating and emotional spectacles of talent that I have ever seen, streetwise ..." he says. "They were literally like dancing on top of their bikes while popping a wheelie. I've never seen anything like that."

Right now, young adult fiction is a genre that is really allowing compelling voices to tackle hard subjects in interesting ways.

In a new book, Hush, a cabal of magical men have literally stolen people's ability to distinguish fact from fantasy. The main character Shae is on a quest to find out who killed her mother and uncover what is really behind a plague that is destroying the land. Along the way, she learns that the most dangerous thing is to speak the truth.

This year, many people have been turning to music for catharsis, but Mama Haze, aka songwriter Meaghan Maples, has been tapping into music's healing powers for a long time. Before pursuing music full-time, the Oakland, Calif.-based artist was a doula and caregiver, often prescribing music as an antidote to patients' pain.

Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted "Theodore" Logan have been to heaven and hell, the past and the future. They've befriended Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc. They've bested the Grim Reaper in a game of Battleship.

Writer Nnedi Okorafor was born and raised in the U.S., but she says her immigrant parents were always talking about Nigeria. "We had the American experience, but they also didn't leave home behind ..." Okorafor says. Nigeria "didn't feel like a place of the past. It felt like a place of the now and the future."

Stephen Miller is the architect of Donald Trump's extreme policies on immigration.

And leaked emails have shown him pushing white-power ideology cloaked in pseudo-science.

So how did an affluent kid from the California suburbs — who liked mobster movies and wore gold chains — get on the path that led him to where he is now?

Humans have never been particularly good at eradicating entire viruses, and COVID-19 might not be any different.

Koko Kondo was 8 months old and with her mother when the first atomic bomb hit her home city of Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945. Her father, Methodist minister the Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, had left earlier that morning.

"Suddenly, the whole house crashed," Kondo recounts. She was trapped beneath the rubble with her mother.

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STACEY VANEK SMITH, HOST:

So many of us do it: You get into bed, turn off the lights, and look at your phone to check Twitter one more time.

You see that coronavirus infections are up. Maybe your kids can't go back to school. The economy is cratering.

Still, you incessantly scroll though bottomless doom-and-gloom news for hours as you sink into a pool of despair.

For the past month, as anti-racism protesters across America have revived the campaign for the removal of statues, many eyes have focused on Richmond, Va. — the former capital of the Confederacy.

Richmond is home to Monument Avenue, a long stretch with towering statues dedicated to Confederate figures like Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.

Some of those monuments have been toppled by protesters; others have been taken down by the city.

The settings: A lavish Capri wedding, Italian villas, mansions in the Hamptons and a mega-yacht.

The love interests: George Zao, a Chinese-Australian surfer, and Lucie Tang Churchill of, yes, those Churchills.

The book: Sex and Vanity. And it could only be written by Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, who says he felt like it was time to move on from the decadent, glamorous world of that series.

As the number of new coronavirus cases spikes in several states across the U.S., governors, county officials and business owners have been crafting laws and guidelines that mandate the use of face masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.

But even a simple cloth face covering has become political.

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