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When Noel Anaya was just a year old, he and his five brothers and sisters were placed in the California foster care system. He has spent nearly all of his life in that system and has just turned 21. In California, that's the age when people in foster care "age out" of the system and lose the benefits the system provides. That process becomes official at a final court hearing. Anaya, along with Youth Radio, got rare permission to record the proceeding, where he read a letter he wrote about his experience in the foster care system.

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Today, a judge in South Carolina formally sentenced Dylann Roof to death for the Charleston church shootings. In 2015, Roof went into a predominantly black church and murdered nine black worshipers as they prayed with their eyes closed.

A federal judge in South Carolina formally sentenced Dylann Roof to death on Wednesday, one day after a jury recommended that he be executed for murdering nine people in a Charleston church.

Under federal sentencing laws, the death penalty can be imposed only if all 12 jurors agree on it, and the judge cannot overrule the jury's decision.

A Pew survey of police officers across the U.S. found that most officers believe their jobs have grown more difficult and more dangerous following a series of high-profile deaths of black citizens during encounters with police.

The survey also uncovered sharp disparities between the perceptions of black and white officers — and between officers and the general public — over the state of race relations in America.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations over its diesel emissions cheating scheme involving some 590,000 vehicles in the U.S.

The company has also agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts.

Senate committees heard testimony Wednesday from three of President-elect Donald Trump’s picks for his cabinet. Rex Tillerson, chief executive of Exxon Mobil, for secretary of state; Elaine Chao, former labor secretary, for secretary of transportation; and, for the second day, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, for attorney general.

BuzzFeed on Tuesday published a 35-page document that contained explosive and unsubstantiated allegations about ties between President-elect Donald Trump and Russia.

BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief defended the decision as “the job of reporters in 2017.”

This has been updated at 10:00 pm ET with Clapper statement

President-elect Donald Trump denounced as "fake news" Wednesday reports that Russia had compromising information about him before the election.

He also acknowledged for the first time that Russia was behind the hacking of emails from the Democratic National Committee, although he seemed to couch it later in the news conference by saying it "could have been others."

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. Most of us have jobs where we have to behave ourselves. In Joe Buck's job, he gets to yell.

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It was on a routine patrol in 1986 that Steven McDonald's life took a dramatic turn. McDonald, who was just two years into his service with the New York Police Department, and his partner confronted a trio of boys in Central Park. Within seconds, one of those teens drew a handgun and shot McDonald three times.

That shooting left him paralyzed from the neck down. Yet his life was arguably shaped as much by those three bullets as by the three words he famously expressed afterward: "I forgive him."

President-elect Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to nominate David Shulkin to be his secretary of veterans affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation.

Shulkin is currently the undersecretary for health at the VA, which means he runs the Veterans Health Administration. He was nominated for that position by President Obama in March 2015 and confirmed by the Senate that June.

The outcome of the repeal-and-replace Obamacare debate could affect more than you might think, depending on just how the GOP congressional majority pursues its goal.

Beyond the Affordable Care Act's marquee achievements like guaranteeing health coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on parents' plans until age 26, the roughly 2,000-page law created a host of other provisions that affect the health of nearly every American.

In Weathersfield, Vt., a town once dotted with small milking farms, about 60 cows peacefully chew hay at their home on Fuller Farm. They are the last remaining dairy herd in Weathersfield, and they'll be auctioned off this week. This is a growing trend in the changing dairy industry — in the state and beyond.

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Best known for his 1971 acoustic pop hit "Sunshine," Jonathan Edwards also has a solid background in country, folk, and bluegrass music. Here he performs the traditional song "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground," from this week's encore broadcast of Mountain Stage.

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China sent its only aircraft carrier into the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday morning, an unusual and provocative move that comes as tensions are high between the mainland and the self-governing island.

NPR's Rob Schmitz reports from Beijing that China says the carrier was returning from weapons drills in the South China Sea, and that its passage through the strait complies with international law. Here's more from Rob:

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When we see actors like Helen Mirren, Will Smith, Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley starring in the same movie — and with a theme centered in how to re-find yourself after a terrible personal tragedy — the expectations are understandably high.

Democrats don't have too many opportunities to set the agenda in Congress right now. They don't decide what bills are called for a vote, and, due to changes in Senate procedures, won't be able to block any of President-elect Donald Trump's Cabinet picks without Republican defections.

One thing Democrats can affect are the headlines coming out of the first wave of confirmation hearings.

There's a small-scale charity movement starting to take hold in neighborhoods across the country. Think of those "little free library" boxes, but with a twist: These are small pantries stocked with free food and personal care items like toothbrushes and diapers for people in need.

They're found near churches, outside businesses and in front of homes. Maggie Ballard, who lives in Wichita, Kan., calls hers a "blessing box."

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