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Michele Kelemen

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With bipartisan support, the Senate confirmed Antony Blinken as the new secretary of state on Tuesday. The final vote was 78-22.

Blinken, 58, was earlier approved overwhelmingly by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As the top U.S. diplomat, Blinken will face a number of national security challenges, including how to deal with China, Russia and Iran. Blinken has vowed to restore American leadership to the global stage. One of the first acts of the Biden administration was to start the process to rejoin the Paris climate accord.

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Updated at 4:39 p.m. ET

Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, vowed to restore American leadership on the world stage and work for the "greater good" during his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday.

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Joe Biden's nominee for secretary of state, Tony Blinken, will answer questions from the Senate at a confirmation hearing today. If he's confirmed, what are his priorities? Here's NPR's Michele Kelemen.

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President-elect Joe Biden's promise of a firm response to the latest hacking attack attributed to Russia signals a much tougher assessment of Vladimir Putin than President Trump's deferential attitude.

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Yelena Leuchanka was lying on a cold, hard bed in a detention center in Minsk in late September when she heard other detainees singing.

"I just laid there because I was still in shock," she recalled. "And the next thing I hear are women singing Kupalinka. It's a Belarus song that women, when they go on their marches, they sing this song."

She joined in. "I have never experienced that type of energy or anything like that," she said, "this greatness, this unity."

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There is a new twist in the poisoning of Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. Navalny says he called up one of the Russian agents involved and got him to reveal stunning details of the plot. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched another broadside against China this week, warning of Chinese threats to U.S. research universities.

"Americans must know how the Chinese Communist Party is poisoning the well of our higher education institutions for its own ends, and how those actions degrade our freedoms and American national security," he said in a speech Wednesday at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

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The Trump administration is imposing sharply tighter restrictions on travel to the United States by Chinese Communist Party members and their families, a move Beijing describes as part of a "deep-rooted Cold War mentality."

The restrictions target holders of business (B-1) and tourist (B-2) visas, reducing the travel documents' maximum validity to one month, down from the current maximum of 10 years.

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Growing up in segregated Louisiana, Linda Thomas-Greenfield says she learned to face adversity. Now, the career diplomat has been tapped to represent the Biden administration at the United Nations in a moment of renewed racial tensions at home.

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