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It took about two weeks, nearly 7,500 miles, nine countries and two continents. But before this freight train could roll to a well-deserved stop, it had to break through one final barrier, a banner proclaiming its historic achievement:

"First freight train from China to UK — Yiwu to London."

One of the big questions about extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis is whether this severe form of the disease is on the rise due to a failure of medications or if it's spreading through the air.

A new study of more than 400 patients in South Africa finds, unfortunately, that the answer appears to be the latter. Airborne transmission is the driving force behind a spike in extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) in South Africa, according to a report just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Unlike many other Trump nominees Wilbur Ross makes some Republicans nervous, and has common ground with some Democrats.

In fact, the Commerce Secretary nominee was once a Democrat himself. He's won the the support of labor unions, and saved tens of thousands jobs buying and basically rescuing bankrupt steel companies.

Democrats largely offered Ross a warm reception Wednesday at his confirmation hearing. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he was impressed by Ross' decision to sell off a huge portion of his assets to avoid conflicts of interest.

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

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All Things Considered co-host Ari Shapiro is on a road trip leading up to the inauguration of Donald Trump on Jan. 20. He is driving through North Carolina and Virginia, on the way to Washington, D.C. These are two swing states that went in opposite directions in November, each by a close margin: North Carolina for Trump, Virginia for Hillary Clinton. As the country faces dramatic changes, we're asking people what they want from that change — and what concerns them.

The movie Fences is in theaters across the U.S. right now and is a leading contender in the Academy Awards. It's based on a play by August Wilson — a play that got its start at the Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, Conn. This season, Yale Rep, as its known, marks its 50th anniversary as an incubator for not only Wilson, but also Athol Fugard, Christopher Durang, Sarah Ruhl and many of the leading playwrights working today.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Obama commuted an additional 209 sentences Tuesday just three days before the end of his presidency — and more are still expected. Doing so brought his total commutations to 1,385, the most of any president in history, edging out Woodrow Wilson's 1,366. 

But the big headline — record-breaking clemency — misses the nuance. Obama's record on clemency is different than his immediate predecessors, and it's also very much the same. 

Sotheby's says a 16th century Italian painting sold by the auction house for $842,500 in 2012 is actually a modern fake, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in New York on Tuesday.

In a few hours, longtime Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh's presidential term will expire. But he is clinging to power as troops from regional powers reportedly amass at the border.

International and regional powers are demanding that Jammeh step down and make way for his rival, businessman Adama Barrow, who won last month' s presidential election.

The African Union has stated that it will stop recognizing Jammeh as president after his term expires at midnight local time. (Gambia is five hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast.)

President-elect Donald Trump's choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services defended stock transactions he made as a member of Congress as "above board," while vowing he would not pull the rug from under any American with health care as result of replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Rep. Tom Price, a Republican from Georgia, faced the first of two hearings he'll have as the nominee for HHS secretary. Wednesday's was before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. It will not vote on Price's nomination; that's up to the Senate Finance Committee.

President Obama's final press conference was one of both reflection and subtle rebuke toward incoming President-elect Donald Trump, defending voting rights and a free press, all while reassuring the American people that "at my core, I think we're going to be OK."

The first results from a major project to measure the reliability of cancer research have highlighted a big problem: Labs trying to repeat published experiments often can't.

That's not to say that the original studies are wrong. But the results of a review published Thursday, in the open-access journal eLife, are a sobering reminder that science often fails at one of its most basic requirements — an experiment in one lab ought to be reproducible in another one.

Thomas Graham, managing director of the Kissinger Associates consulting firm, doesn't like to discuss speculation that he may become President-elect Donald Trump's next ambassador to Moscow.

But the former diplomat and adviser on Russia in the George W. Bush administration does like to talk about something else: how to salvage U.S.-Russian relations following accusations that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the November presidential election.

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My whole life, I've dreamed of having a home theater. But those are expensive, so instead I did it on the cheap. I got a projector off Craigslist, went to the hardware store and bought some wood to build a frame, then stretched a white canvas over it and stapled it tight.

I'm really proud of the final product — it's not perfect, but it's pretty good for an English teacher. Now my family and I all sit and watch it, this screen. Between movies, TV shows and games, we spent the whole winter break looking at my creation.

In one of its last acts, the Obama administration has contributed $500 million to a United Nations fund that will help developing countries deal with climate change. That brings the total contributed by the U.S. to $1 billion — which sounds like a lot. Is it?

Cold and flu season means plenty of parents are trying to figure out whether their kid is too sick to go to child care or school.

The Obama administration last week launched a new allegation with the World Trade Organization against Chinese aluminum subsidies.  It accused Beijing of using cheap state-directed loans and subsidized energy to artificially expand its global market share.

No matter how this complaint turns out, it provides the president-elect another ready sledgehammer with which to batter China.

It's become a common joke that the Germans have a word for everything (and that many of them are comically long and impossible to pronounce). But there's a grain of truth to it — take Sehnsucht, a German term that's hard to explain in English. It's sometimes translated as "longing," but it carries a series of specific connotations, among them, a yearning for a faraway land that may or may not actually exist.

President-elect Donald Trump's pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services is taking heat for his controversial stock holdings in companies affected by laws he has worked on and voted for. But federal records show several senators who will take part in confirmation hearings for Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, have substantial health-related holdings as well.

Chances are you or somebody you know has recently become the owner of an Instant Pot, the multifunction electric pressure cooker that can produce fork-tender pot roasts in less than an hour, as well as brown meat, cook beans without soaking, and even do the job of a rice cooker or crockpot.

From Mauritania: A song for breast cancer awareness

Jan 18, 2017

Women's health is an important issue for singer Noura Mint Seymali. Breast cancer awareness, specifically.

Noura Mint Seymali is from Mauritania, in West Africa. And she wants to make sure women, especially women in Africa, get their annual screenings.

I had the opportunity to meet Seymali last fall before a show. She told me "I've wanted to write about this subject for a long time." She wanted to raise awareness, in part, because her mother died of breast cancer.

Last month, as China encountered some of its worst pollution yet, artists in Chengdu did something bold: They put smog-filtering cotton masks over the faces of statues representing ordinary urbanites that dot a centrally located shopping street.

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Molly Wood

If you've ever traveled to Japan, you've probably been amazed by the fancy toilet seats. They are hyper-efficient and hyper-futuristic.

Toto is the best-known brand. But when tourists were surveyed in 2014, according to The Wall Street Journal, a quarter of foreign users said that they didn't understand the various buttons nor their respective functions on a typical Toto toilet.

For their debut album, the members of The Shelters got as good a helping hand as it gets: Tom Petty gave the band the keys to his recording studio and an invitation to open up for his band Mudcrutch on tour.

When I was a kid, Mom used to say, "You know you've become an infidel when you forget the Fatihah." The Fatihah is the preamble to the Quran, a prayer Muslims repeat five times a day.

Mom used to warn me to be grateful for the practice. That on the Day of Judgment, Allah would call upon me to recite the Fatihah and I would realize that I had forgotten the words and know what it means to be a lost soul.

The hunt for a man suspected of killing a pregnant woman and an Orlando police officer has ended more than a month after it began. Markeith Loyd was arrested Tuesday, placed in the very handcuffs once owned by Master Sgt. Debra Clayton, the officer he allegedly killed.

"I believe our entire community is going to breathe a sigh of relief at this point," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said at a news conference Tuesday night. "This maniac, if you will, is off the streets of our community."

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