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Millions of Americans who are expected to receive the new COVID-19 vaccinations in coming months will need to take two doses of the drug – and the U.S. government says it will issue a vaccine card and use other tools to help people follow through with their immunizations.

In the Yazidi village of Tel Qasab, Iraq, delighted neighbors welcome Nofa Khudeda as she walks into the house she fled six years ago when ISIS invaded the region. Khudeda, wearing a beige print dress with a white scarf tied loosely around her dark hair, hands out colorfully wrapped chocolates in celebration.

"It's a beautiful feeling to be home," she says, surrounded by beaming neighbors and relatives who returned a few weeks ago from camps for displaced Yazidis in northern Iraq.

Maybe it was once rare to stumble upon a 10-foot-tall monolith plopped in the middle of nowhere, towering in silent, vaguely alien mystery over a scenic landscape — but the curious find certainly seems to be getting rather common lately.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

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.

President-elect Joe Biden has tapped former Obama aide Brian Deese as director of the National Economic Council, his top economic adviser at the White House.

Deese helped former President Barack Obama rescue the auto industry during the 2009 economic crisis and played a key role in negotiating the Paris climate accords.

But the pick raised the ire of some progressive groups even before it was made official Thursday because of Deese's work for BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager.

Ivanka Trump gave a deposition Tuesday as part of suit filed by the Washington, D.C., government over the costs of her father's 2017 inauguration.

The District is suing the Trump inaugural committee, charging it with "grossly overpaying" for event space at the Trump International Hotel as a way of funneling money to the Trump family.

More Americans stayed home for Thanksgiving this year compared with last year — but by relatively small margins.

An NPR analysis of mobile phone location data showed that 42% of Americans with smartphones remained home, up from 36% last year.

No U.S. city suffered more in the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic than New York City, where more than 24,000 people died, mainly in the spring. Medical workers in New York learned exactly how difficult and dangerous things can get when hospitals are overwhelmed, and now they are bracing themselves as infections begin to rise again.

After initially saying he didn't do anything wrong, Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, says he now realizes he "set a bad example" by traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for vacation last month.

Updated 5:09 p.m. ET

In a last-minute push, the Trump administration announced Thursday that it will auction off drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in just over a month, setting up a final showdown with opponents before President-elect Joe Biden takes office.

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Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly was sworn in yesterday, becoming the first of the newly elected senators to take the oath of office. Ben Giles of member station KJZZ in Phoenix tells us what to expect.

As hospitals across the country weather a surge of COVID-19 patients, nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians in Seattle — an early epicenter of the outbreak — are staring down a startling resurgence of the virus that's expected to test even one of the most well-prepared hospitals on the pandemic's frontlines.

After nine months, the staff at Harborview Medical Center, the large public hospital run by the University of Washington, have the benefit of experience.

Who better to promote a product than a former president? How about three?

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are willing to lend their star power for a good cause, saying this week that they would publicly take a coronavirus vaccine, once it's available in the U.S., to encourage skeptical Americans to do the same.

Obama said that if Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, thought the vaccine was safe and effective, then he would get his shot.

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Artists and activists achieved something rare in Cuba. They held a peaceful protest. At first, it seemed the communist government would consider their demands for greater freedom of expression. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports on what happened next.

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We are in the middle of a dark winter. Almost 3,000 people died from COVID-19 yesterday. That is a record. To put that another way, 125 people died every hour. And another first - more than 100,000 people are now hospitalized with the virus.

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Good morning. I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. A family in Australia decorated their Christmas tree with silver and blue decorations, but they recently noticed a strange new ornament, huh?

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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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High-profile supporters of President Trump took the stage in Georgia on Wednesday to spread conspiracy theories and tell the state's Republicans not to vote in the crucial U.S. Senate runoffs there next month. The outcome of those races will determine which party controls the Senate next year.

At the rally in Atlanta, pro-Trump attorney Lin Wood took the microphone to tell the crowd that last month's election, won by Joe Biden, had been manipulated.

Before President-elect Joe Biden had even formally introduced his intended nominee for budget director, the pushback started rolling in.

Neera Tanden would make history as the first woman of color to head the Office of Management and Budget, but she's also been an outspoken partisan warrior, and that could complicate her confirmation process, especially if Republicans maintain control of the Senate after Georgia's two runoff races in January.

Updated Thursday at 11:20 a.m. ET

More than 100,000 Americans are in the hospital with COVID-19, at the same time the nation recorded its worst daily death toll since the start of the pandemic.

Data from the COVID Tracking Project show 100,226 people were hospitalized on Wednesday with the disease caused by the coronavirus — a figure that has been steadily rising for weeks.

Documents obtained by the House Oversight and Reform Committee confirm the Census Bureau may not be able to release a key set of numbers from this year's national head count until after the end of President Trump's term.

James Ramos, the first member of a California Native American tribe to serve in the state legislature, authored a trio of new laws bolstering the rights of Native Americans in the state.

The measures, signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in September, will go into effect on Jan. 1. One such law will make it easier for tribes in the state to reclaim sacred artifacts and the remains of their ancestors that have been held by museums and other institutions for decades.

Even though it's been a difficult year with the coronavirus pandemic, a politically-divided country and social unrest, there is a bright spot in one Kentucky town.

Two young girls are encouraging people to come together — using two words "Be kind."

Climate change is making people sick and leading to premature death, according to a pair of influential reports on the connections between global warming and health.

Scientists from the World Meteorological Organization released a preliminary report on the global climate which shows that the last decade was the warmest on record and that millions of people were affected by wildfires, floods and extreme heat this year on top of the global pandemic.

The Department of Transportation said Wednesday it will no longer require airlines to make the same accommodations for emotional support animals as they do for trained service dogs. No more guaranteed free flights for comfort cats and dogs, therapy monkeys or miniature horse companions.

A service dog is trained to do work or perform a task to benefit an individual with a disability. Emotional support and psychiatric service animals function therapeutically. And starting in 2021, it will be up to individual airlines to decide whether or not treat the two the same.

On Monday, armed and masked gangsters attacked the Southern Brazilian city of Criciúma, in Santa Catarina state, just before midnight.

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