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The 50 Best Albums Of 2020

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At certain moments, 2020 felt like a year that might not ever come to an end. Now that it's mostly in our rear view, can a retrospective give a shape to that swarm of weeks and months? Can we make sense of layer upon layer of fear, anger, frustration, confusion, exhilaration and exhaustion that piled up like soil falling over our heads? Sometimes art breaks through. Better to think of the best music of 2020 as an urgent cacophony of distinct voices rather than a chorus with a single melody. Many voices, with many stories to tell.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

President Trump is threatening to veto a critical defense spending bill unless Congress agrees to repeal a liability shield for social media companies.

The president tweeted late Tuesday that Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act is "a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity."

Section 230 provides legal protection for technology companies over content from third parties and users. Trump referred to the provision as a "liability shielding gift" to "Big Tech."

Nikita Chinchwade moved from India to the U.S. last fall to get a master's degree.

"It had been a dream of mine for a very long time because of the quality of education here," she says.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Early in the pandemic, Xiomy De la Cruz was working at a fast food restaurant, but her work hours were cut back. She is a Peruvian refugee single mother with two children and another on the way. Like many families, she found herself in various pantry lines to make ends meet.

"So I said to myself one day, 'why not fill up my car with food and take it to my house?' There are so many moms who don't have access to a car for transportation," De la Cruz said. "I filled up my van and put a 'free food' sign on my door."

In the days of counting that followed election night, there was plenty of stress in the Biden and Harris families. And the whole world could follow along.

The eldest granddaughter of President-elect Joe Biden, Naomi Biden, joked to her 188,000 Twitter followers that she couldn't stop watching cable news and that she'd "kill to be one of those people who 'can't eat when they're stressed' right about now."

In a contest with historic turnout, President-elect Joe Biden topped President Trump by nearly 7 million votes, and 74 votes in the Electoral College, but his victory really was stitched together with narrow margins in a handful of states.

A trio of young Hong Kong opposition activists have been sentenced after pleading guilty to organizing a demonstration last year as part of a larger protest against Hong Kong's receding autonomy.

Their sentencing on Wednesday is the latest blow to the region's opposition movement which seeks to preserve Hong Kong's limited autonomy from Beijing.

Updated at 4:30 a.m. ET

The U.K. has formally approved Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Western country to OK its use for the general public.

The British regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, or MHRA, announced early Wednesday the approval of the vaccine from Pfizer and the German company BioNTech for emergency use. The vaccine promises up to 95% protection against COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

The captain of a dive boat that caught fire last year off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., was indicted Tuesday on 34 counts of negligent manslaughter.

Thirty-three passengers and one crew member died during the early morning hours of Sept. 2, 2019, when a fast moving fire broke out on the 75-foot Conception. The boat was docked off Santa Cruz Island for a chartered three-day diving trip.

Updated at 10:55 p.m. ET

A top election official in Georgia had strong words for President Trump and other top Republican leaders who have attacked Georgia's election system in recent weeks after reports of harassment and death threats against officials overseeing the state's recount.

"Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed," Gabriel Sterling, with the secretary of state's office, said Tuesday afternoon in an emotional and forceful news conference. "It's not right."

The U.S. Soccer Federation has reached a proposed settlement with the Women's National Team in a legal battle over working conditions but a dispute over equal pay with that of their male counterparts continues.

The agreement, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Tuesday, is a partial victory for the World Cup champion U.S. women's soccer team, who will see an improvement in hotel accommodations, venues, travel and staffing that will put them on equal footing with players on the Men's National Team.

Updated at 10:53 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is investigating a possible secret scheme involving a bribe in exchange for a presidential pardon, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday.

The 18-page court opinion is heavily redacted, and the names of the individuals under investigation are blacked out as is the identity of the person to be pardoned under the alleged plan. Still, the filings provide a glimpse into what investigators are probing.

President Trump has less than two months in office and experts expect him to issue a number of pardons. There has also been speculation about whether he will pardon himself, even though there is a big legal debate about whether he has that authority.

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Dan Kobil, professor of law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio.

On Nov. 4th, 2020, Drakeo The Ruler was released from prison after a four-year saga beset by institutional corruption and by what Drakeo viewed as a personal vendetta from Los Angeles' District Attorney, Jackie Lacey.

After insisting for months that its oil and gas investments remain as valuable as ever, Exxon Mobil Corp. plans to write down $17 billion to $20 billion in natural gas assets in the largest such announcement the company has ever made.

For public health leaders, understanding different communication styles and preferences — and how people respond to them — is key to reducing the spread of the coronavirus.

Humans often don't behave logically. Their decisions don't always follow the evidence.

Those are among the ideas that Gaurav Suri considers in his work studying decision-making and motivation. He's an experimental psychologist and a computational neuroscientist at San Francisco State University.

Not surprisingly, choosing the right words matters a lot when it comes to public policy.

The EU's drug agency said Tuesday it may approve the Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine this month. The vaccine could be distributed before 2021.

Actor Elliot Page, who received an Oscar nomination for his performance in the 2007 film Juno, announced Tuesday that he is transgender.

He posted a public letter on Twitter and Instagram:

"Hi friends, I want to share with you that I am trans, my pronouns are he/they and my name is Elliot. I feel lucky to be writing this. To be here. To have arrived in this place in my life."

Amid the turmoil of President Trump's refusal to concede that he lost the election, Christmas has arrived at the White House. In an official statement, first lady Melania Trump announced this year's theme is "America the Beautiful" and unveiled the decorations that adorn the halls and rooms of the White House this season.

The transition from a Trump administration that dismantled regulations across the federal government to a Biden administration that has signaled a greater emphasis on occupational safety and the environment may finally mean new action on a toxic form of dust in coal mines.

The Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has collapsed, after weeks of concern from scientists over the fate of what was once the world's largest single-dish radio telescope. Arecibo's 900-ton equipment platform, suspended 500 feet above the dish, fell overnight after the last of its healthy support cables failed to keep it in place.

No injuries were reported, according to the National Science Foundation, which oversees the renowned research facility.

The Justice Department has found no evidence of widespread fraud in this year's election, Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday in remarks that directly contradict the President Trump's baseless claims that the vote was rigged.

Trump has refused to concede his election loss to Joe Biden and instead has pushed unfounded allegations of systemic fraud to claim the vote was stolen. His lawyers have failed to provide evidence in court to back up the claims and conspiracy theories the president has propagated on Twitter.

Attorney General William Barr has appointed John Durham as special counsel, granting the veteran federal prosecutor protection to pursue his investigation into the origins of the Russia probe into the incoming Biden administration.

Barr made the move in October, two weeks before the election, according to a letter he sent to Congress on Tuesday. The attorney general said he appointed Durham as a special counsel "to provide him and his team with the assurance that they could complete their work, without regard to the outcome of the election."

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