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It has become the battle cry of public health officials around the world: "Wear a mask to slow the spread." Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new evidence supporting this advice.

Researchers analyzed coronavirus infection rates in Kansas following a statewide mask mandate. They found that counties that chose to enforce the mandate saw their cases decrease. Counties that chose to opt out saw their cases continue to rise.

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All right. Joe Biden is starting to put together his Cabinet.

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So what did history smell like? A new project called Odeuropa wants you to find out.

WILLIAM TULLETT: What we're aiming to do is to locate, trace, understand and preserve the smells of the past.

GREENE: That is history professor William Tullett at Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. He wants to bring historic aromas as ancient as the 16th century back to life.

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What makes those smells so important?

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So this next sound might bring back memories, maybe even a chilling sensation if you took part in the viral challenge of 2014.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OPRAH WINFREY: I am ready for the ice now. (Screaming).

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As President-elect Joe Biden continues to assemble his advisers and Cabinet, one name being floated could add another historic first to his administration.

Politico reported Thursday that dozens of House Democrats sent a letter to Biden's transition team endorsing New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland for interior secretary.

Haaland, 59, is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. In 2018, she and Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., became the first two Native American women elected to Congress.

U.S. oil and gas companies will soon be facing a climate-conscious president who has vowed to transition away from the oil industry.

So you might expect a sense of existential dread in the oil world about President-elect Joe Biden. Instead, there's a surprising amount of optimism.

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HBO is out with its adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates' best-selling book "Between The World And Me." NPR TV critic Eric Deggans says it's a story of Black survival within white supremacy.

One way to change your hometown? Run for office. That’s what Alex Lee, James Coleman, and Lucy Shen decided to do in the 2020 elections. All three are among a number of young, queer candidates of color who ran in local races this year.

They’re from different parts of the Bay Area – with unique relationships to their hometowns – but they all found themselves looking for change and diving into politics.

U.K.-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has developed a vaccine that initial results show to be "highly effective in preventing" COVID-19, the company announced Monday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is raising concerns with the leaders of the world's wealthiest countries that when a coronavirus vaccine becomes available, poorer countries could miss out.

Speaking on Sunday during a two-day virtual G20 global summit, Merkel said progress toward developing a system for distribution to less wealthy countries has been slow and that she would raise the issue with the global vaccine alliance, GAVI.

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

Most Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to suggest that President Trump concede the presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden. They argue that it's best to let Trump expend his legal options before they apply too much pressure.

That pressure has been building and it could be about to go bust this week, with key states certifying the vote totals and making their results official.

Registered nurse Pascaline Muhindura has spent the last eight months treating COVID-19 patients at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

But when she returns home to her small town of Spring Hill, Kansas, she's often stunned by what she sees, like on a recent stop for carryout.

Even as President Trump continues to undermine the election results that made Joe Biden the president-elect, states have begun certifying their votes.

Patrick Quinn, the co-creator of the viral Ice Bucket Challenge, has died at the age of 37 after a seven-year fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

The Ice Bucket Challenge, which took the Internet by storm in 2014, raised $115 million for the ALS Association and more than $220 million around the world for ALS research, according to the association.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Antony Blinken for the coveted secretary of state post.

Blinken, 58, has extensive foreign policy experience, serving as deputy secretary of state and deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama.

Few high-profile Republican members of Congress have publicly acknowledged Joe Biden's presidential win.

And many Republican politicians have refused to denounce President Trump's legal challenges and false allegations of widespread voter fraud.

China is planning to launch an uncrewed spacecraft to the moon on Tuesday, which will shovel up lunar rocks and soil and bring them back to Earth. If successful, it would be the first time any country has retrieved samples from the moon in more than 40 years.

The Qualla Boundary is not technically a reservation, but everyone around here calls it one. The ancestral home of the Cherokee people sprawls across western North Carolina, a mountainous region thick with yellow birch and red maple forests, Dollar Generals, and ancient ceremonial mounds dating back to at least 1000 BCE. It's also home to first-time author Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle.

"My Cherokee ancestors have been here, we would say, since the beginning of time," Clapsaddle says. "Other people would say over ten thousand years."

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This year, the holidays are going to be different. Lots of people won't be traveling home to spend it with their family or loved ones. That means many of us will be missing the home-cooked meals or the favorite traditional recipes that only a certain family member knows how to make. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to recreate the family recipe while you're apart. For NPR's Life Kit, reporter Noor Wazwaz set out to learn more about how to recreate these traditional family recipes.

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