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DON GONYEA, HOST:

Finally, today, we want to introduce you to Charley Crockett.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HERE AM I")

CHARLEY CROCKETT: (Singing) Here am I, all alone again. Here am I, all alone again.

Heavy rain, long lines and broken voting machines in the capital plagued voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo who were casting their ballots in the long-awaited presidential election on Sunday.

This story is part of our ongoing "Missed Connections" series, and it begins at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Ore.

Greg McKelvey says the day he crossed paths with police officer Andrew Halbert eight years ago left him deeply affected him. This month, McKelvey reflected on the incident in a Twitter thread went viral.

In 2010, Greg McKelvey was a junior at the school. He remembers: "When I was in high school the police officer that was stationed in my school oftentimes called me and a lot of my friends out of class in his office."

In 2018, Afghanistan bled. Violence claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 civilians between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, the highest number in that same period since 2014. The death toll of Afghan security forces — which some estimates put at more than 9,000 this year, between 25 and 30 deaths a day — has been called "unsustainable" by the U.S. military.

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

For the first time in 20 years, on January 1, a flood of books, movies and music enter the public domain. They're all from 1923 - among the trove, iconic tunes like "The Charleston."

(SOUNDBITE OF BOB WILSON AND HIS VARSITY RHYTHM BOYS' "CHARLESTON")

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

For the first time in 20 years, on January 1, a flood of books, movies and music enter the public domain. They're all from 1923 - among the trove, iconic tunes like "The Charleston."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

For the first time in 20 years, on January 1, a flood of books, movies and music enter the public domain. They're all from 1923 - among the trove, iconic tunes like "The Charleston."

(SOUNDBITE OF BOB WILSON AND HIS VARSITY RHYTHM BOYS' "CHARLESTON")

Tucked in the corner of an old school gym, adults and children regularly line up in front of Dr. Bert Johansson. They are migrants, waiting for treatment at a pop-up clinic in El Paso, Texas.

The clinic doesn't look like much — it's no more than a circle of folding chairs around a table spread with medical supplies.

Yet, for migrants recently released from federal processing facilities, this clinic could mean the difference between life or death.

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

For the first time in 20 years, on January 1, a flood of books, movies and music enter the public domain. They're all from 1923 - among the trove, iconic tunes like "The Charleston."

When Nancy Grace Roman was a child, her favorite object to draw was the moon.

Her mother used to take her on walks under the nighttime sky and show her constellations, or point out the colorful swirls of the aurora. Roman loved to look up at the stars and imagine.

Eventually, her passion for stargazing blossomed into a career as a renowned astronomer. Roman was one of the first female executives at NASA, where she served as the agency's first chief of astronomy.

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LEILA FADEL, HOST:

For the first time in 20 years, on January 1, a flood of books, movies and music enter the public domain. They're all from 1923 - among the trove, iconic tunes like "The Charleston."

This year has been a dismal one for ethics in Washington. Even without a repeat of the 2017 tide of sexual harassment cases in Congress and not counting the results of the Mueller investigation, the D.C. "swamp" remains as stagnant as ever.

It was a year when President Trump pushed out three of his own Cabinet officers over ethics concerns: Secretary David Shulkin at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary Ryan Zinke at Interior and Administrator Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Updated Sunday at 12:53 p.m. ET

Jeff Light, editor and publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune, began Saturday morning by issuing an apology. "Most Union-Tribune subscribers were without a newspaper this morning as a computer virus infected the company's business systems and hobbled the ability to publish," Light wrote.

Music was an integral part of life in the home of country music stars Johnny Cash and June Carter — as was Southern cooking.

Barbershop: The Year In Sports

Dec 29, 2018

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DON GONYEA, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

DON GONYEA, HOST:

There is a happy corner of the Internet today, and it is celebrating the first North Atlantic right whale calf sighting of the season. The news is a big deal, considering the fact that the North Atlantic right whale is critically endangered, its total population is only about 450 and not a single right whale calf was spotted last season.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to Texas and Arizona on Friday and Saturday, citing an "unprecedented" increase in the apprehensions of families and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The system is clearly overwhelmed," Nielsen said in a statement. Nearly 50,000 family units were caught by the U.S. Border Patrol in October and November, according to Department of Homeland Security data, a fourfold increase over the same period last year.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke over the phone Saturday. Trump confirmed the conversation via Twitter, while Xi Jinping's presence on the line was confirmed by Chinese state media.

Friends remember Washington state social worker Alan Naiman as being frugal. He wore old shoes held together with duct tape, bought his apparel at the grocery store, drove jalopies and ate at cheap restaurants. But when he died of cancer in January 2018, at age 63, the people around him learned that he had quietly saved millions for a higher cause.

Naiman left most of his $11 million estate to organizations serving abandoned, impoverished, sick and disabled children.

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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

"Late Night" host Seth Meyers got his start doing improv in Chicago. So when he joined us recently on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City, it was like a reunion with someone we've never met in a place we don't usually go.

Not My Job: We Quiz Glenn Close On Rabbits

Dec 29, 2018

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(APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, HOST:

Before we close the door on 2018, we're bringing you some of our favorite moments from recent shows.

BILL KURTIS: Like the time we visited Milwaukee and talked to actor Glenn Close. Peter asked her about growing up in Africa.

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PETER SAGAL, HOST:

In June, we talked to an old friend, Louie Anderson. Now, these days, Louie is an award-winning actor playing the mother on the show "Baskets." But we started by asking him about growing up in Minnesota.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

New changes to tax law will make deducting charitable giving from next year's taxes more difficult for taxpayers. This has come as an unwelcome surprise to many who counted on end-of-the-year donations to lower their overall taxes and to charities that counted on those donations.

For the past 30 years, Pam Green of Elkhart, Ind., has kept meticulous records and receipts of her donations — from clothing to Goodwill to furniture for Habitat For Humanity to large December donations to her favorite churches.

How Germany's Green Party Keeps Winning

Dec 29, 2018

German politics is going through a major transformation. For most of the postwar period, two giants have dominated — the center-right Christian Democrats, CDU, and the center-left Social Democrats, SPD.

Now the two big parties, which form the current coalition government, are in trouble. Their support has sunk. Yet, while one upstart far-right party has taken much of the blame, another group from the left has been quietly charging up the polls: the Greens.

Like many kids, Lisa Sparrell's daughter never liked getting shots at the doctor's office. "At first she'd cry some, but was quickly placated with rewards like a lollipop or a sticker," says Sparrell, who lives in Honolulu.

But last year, Sparrell's 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a heart defect. In preparation for surgery, the little girl's trips to the doctor sharply increased –and so did her anxiety.

"The frequency of appointments — many of which included blood draws and IV placements — made her fears worse," Sparrell says.

The Christmas season is typically one of the busiest times of the year at Joshua Tree National Park in California, as rock climbers and car campers flock to the high desert getaway.

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