KTEP - El Paso, Texas

U.S. News

President-elect Donald Trump has selected former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats to be director of national intelligence, according to a statement from President-elect Donald Trump's transition team.

In choosing Coats, he is getting a veteran Washington establishment figure — a senator, former lobbyist and ambassador to Germany — with a rare distinction: being banned from Russia.

Coats' views on Russia after its annexation of Crimea, and his calls for stronger sanctions as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, landed him and other senators on Russia's banned list.

Former MF Global Chief Executive Jon Corzine will pay a $5 million penalty for his role in the company's collapse, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

MF Global collapsed in 2011, and hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money disappeared, as we reported.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When people want to get in a jab at Wall Street, they sometimes call what bankers do casino capitalism. Today, Keith Romer from our Planet Money podcast has a story of what happened when one Wall Street firm actually tried to get into the casino business.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Something strange has been happening with polling. Ever since election night here, pollsters have been rethinking their work on the presidential race. As our colleague Robert Siegel reports, that season of self-scrutiny extends to other countries, too.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A comparison of kid brains and grownup brains may explain why our ability to recognize faces keeps getting better until about age 30.

Brain scans of 25 adults and 22 children showed that an area devoted to facial recognition keeps growing long after adolescence, researchers report in the journal Science.

"Free" is a word with a powerful appeal. And in the past year or so it has been tossed around a lot, followed by another word: "college."

Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton spent a lot of time talking about free tuition. And this week, the promise has been taken up by one of the largest public university systems in the country: New York state's.

Democratic leaders of the California Legislature signaled their intention Wednesday to fight any challenges to state policies by the incoming administration of Donald Trump by hiring as outside legal counsel former Attorney General Eric Holder.

The announcement came in a joint statement issued by California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

They call it "The Leaning Tower of San Francisco."

But it wasn't always that way. The luxury skyscraper was billed as "state of the art" when it opened a few years ago. People paid millions for condos there.

President Obama and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were both on Capitol Hill Wednesday, making competing cases for and against Obama's signature health care law. Republicans have promised to make repeal of the Affordable Care Act their first order of business, once they control both Congress and the White House.

When Donald Trump won the presidential election, he made a pledge to every citizen: that he would be president for all Americans. In the weeks before Trump's inauguration, we're going to hear about some of the communities that make up this nation, from the people who know them best, in our series Finding America.

In Roane County, Tenn., the legal and personal costs of the opioid epidemic collide at the county courthouse.

Last year, NPR's Ari Shapiro visited Toledo, Ohio, to talk to refugees settling there from Syria's civil war. Recently, he returned to Toledo to check in on the community.

When we first met Omar Al-Awad and his family in the fall of 2015, they were among the newest refugee families from Syria settling in to life in Toledo, Ohio.

Hurricane Matthew. The earthquake in Japan. Flooding in the Deep South, China and Europe. Wildfires in Canada.

Last year sometimes felt like one natural catastrophe after another. Now, new figures from reinsurer Munich Re suggest that it was indeed a particularly bad year.

With President-elect Donald Trump's tough talk on immigration, private prisons may be an early winner under his administration.

In the week after Election Day, stocks of GEO and CoreCivic, the two biggest for-profit detention companies, shot up more than 20 and 40 percent, respectively.

Last spring at a town hall meeting on MSNBC, Trump said this about the confinement industry: "By the way, with prisons I do think we can do a lot of privatizations and private prisons. It seems to work a lot better."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

You know you're really an adult when you sign a lease for your first place or buy the first piece of furniture to fill it. That rite of passage did not go so well for writer Scott Brody, at least at first. His story begins on move-in day.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's been more than 10 years since the U.S. was hit by a major hurricane. Scientists mark that up to chance. But as NPR's Christopher Joyce reports, new research suggests a reason for our good fortune.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At this time every year, northern elephant seals gather along the California coast. Will Huntsberry visited a colony of some 23,000 seals and sent this audio postcard.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Imagine being able to collect the DNA of a human ancestor who's been dead for tens of thousands of years from the dirt on the floor of a cave. Sounds fantastic, but scientists in Germany think they may be able to do just that. If they're successful, it could open a new door into understanding the extinct relatives of humans.

People think of black holes as nightmare vacuum cleaners, sucking in everything in reach, from light to stars to Matthew McConaughey in the movie Interstellar. But, in real life, black holes don't consume everything that they draw in.

Do Anti-Snoring Gadgets Really Work?

Jan 4, 2017

To what lengths would you go to stifle the thunderous snorts and buzz-saw growls of a spouse or roommate, just so you can get a good night's sleep? Dozens of anti-snoring devices crowd the market, ranging from slightly absurd to moderately torturous.

Louisiana is losing its coast at a rapid rate because of rising sea levels, development and sinking marshland. Officials are trying to rebuild those marshes and the wetlands, but much of the coast can't be saved. This makes Louisiana's history an unwitting victim. As land disappears and the water creeps inland, ancient archaeology sites are washing away, too.

Richie Blink was born and raised in Plaquemines Parish, La. — way down south of New Orleans along the Mississippi River. Now he works for the National Wildlife Federation.

There are more than 80,000 educational apps in Apple's app store. It seems like a great way to encourage brain development and make your little one the smartest baby genius. But just sticking a tablet in your kid's hands might not be as helpful.

Sure, use the app. But it's not a babysitter — you've got to help them use it, too.

There aren't many Shakers left.

Sister Frances Carr, one of three remaining members of the religious group commonly known as the Shakers, died Monday at the age of 89.

According to the group's website, Carr died due to cancer at the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, "surrounded by the community and her nieces."

It's been 150 years since Fisk University opened in Nashville to educate freed slaves after the Civil War. The school's later students would become prominent black leaders of the Harlem Renaissance and the civil rights movement.

But the small school is still grappling with a dilemma that's been there since the start: how to become financially sustainable.

Fisk is perhaps most widely known for its music, but that legacy is intertwined with money.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has unveiled a proposal to offer free tuition for lower-income New Yorkers attending state-run colleges, an idea embraced by last year's Democratic presidential contenders.

The plan announced Tuesday – called the Excelsior Scholarship – would grant full-rides to students from families earning less than $125,000 a year, as long as they attend one of the state's public two- or four-year colleges.

Every year in the U.S., more than 30,000 people die from things related to guns.

That puts guns ahead of HIV, Parkinson's disease, malnutrition, hypertension, intestinal infection, peptic ulcer, anemia, viral hepatitis, biliary tract disease, atherosclerosis and fires. Yet, the funding for research on gun violence lags far behind other leading causes of death, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Pages