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When Nancy Grace Roman was a child, her favorite object to draw was the moon.

Her mother used to take her on walks under the nighttime sky and show her constellations, or point out the colorful swirls of the aurora. Roman loved to look up at the stars and imagine.

Eventually, her passion for stargazing blossomed into a career as a renowned astronomer. Roman was one of the first female executives at NASA, where she served as the agency's first chief of astronomy.

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For the first time in 20 years, on January 1, a flood of books, movies and music enter the public domain. They're all from 1923 - among the trove, iconic tunes like "The Charleston."

This year has been a dismal one for ethics in Washington. Even without a repeat of the 2017 tide of sexual harassment cases in Congress and not counting the results of the Mueller investigation, the D.C. "swamp" remains as stagnant as ever.

It was a year when President Trump pushed out three of his own Cabinet officers over ethics concerns: Secretary David Shulkin at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary Ryan Zinke at Interior and Administrator Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Music was an integral part of life in the home of country music stars Johnny Cash and June Carter — as was Southern cooking.

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There is a happy corner of the Internet today, and it is celebrating the first North Atlantic right whale calf sighting of the season. The news is a big deal, considering the fact that the North Atlantic right whale is critically endangered, its total population is only about 450 and not a single right whale calf was spotted last season.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to Texas and Arizona on Friday and Saturday, citing an "unprecedented" increase in the apprehensions of families and unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

"The system is clearly overwhelmed," Nielsen said in a statement. Nearly 50,000 family units were caught by the U.S. Border Patrol in October and November, according to Department of Homeland Security data, a fourfold increase over the same period last year.

President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke over the phone Saturday. Trump confirmed the conversation via Twitter, while Xi Jinping's presence on the line was confirmed by Chinese state media.

Friends remember Washington state social worker Alan Naiman as being frugal. He wore old shoes held together with duct tape, bought his apparel at the grocery store, drove jalopies and ate at cheap restaurants. But when he died of cancer in January 2018, at age 63, the people around him learned that he had quietly saved millions for a higher cause.

Naiman left most of his $11 million estate to organizations serving abandoned, impoverished, sick and disabled children.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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New changes to tax law will make deducting charitable giving from next year's taxes more difficult for taxpayers. This has come as an unwelcome surprise to many who counted on end-of-the-year donations to lower their overall taxes and to charities that counted on those donations.

For the past 30 years, Pam Green of Elkhart, Ind., has kept meticulous records and receipts of her donations — from clothing to Goodwill to furniture for Habitat For Humanity to large December donations to her favorite churches.

How Germany's Green Party Keeps Winning

Dec 29, 2018

German politics is going through a major transformation. For most of the postwar period, two giants have dominated — the center-right Christian Democrats, CDU, and the center-left Social Democrats, SPD.

Now the two big parties, which form the current coalition government, are in trouble. Their support has sunk. Yet, while one upstart far-right party has taken much of the blame, another group from the left has been quietly charging up the polls: the Greens.

Like many kids, Lisa Sparrell's daughter never liked getting shots at the doctor's office. "At first she'd cry some, but was quickly placated with rewards like a lollipop or a sticker," says Sparrell, who lives in Honolulu.

But last year, Sparrell's 10-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a heart defect. In preparation for surgery, the little girl's trips to the doctor sharply increased –and so did her anxiety.

"The frequency of appointments — many of which included blood draws and IV placements — made her fears worse," Sparrell says.

The Christmas season is typically one of the busiest times of the year at Joshua Tree National Park in California, as rock climbers and car campers flock to the high desert getaway.

The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation into a phone and Internet outage that disrupted 911 services across the country starting Thursday.

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The secretary of homeland security is traveling to the Texas border town where an 8-year-old migrant from Guatemala was detained before dying in U.S. custody the day before Christmas.

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2018 has been a hard year for the community of Pittsburgh. This was the year that institutional racism, child sexual abuse, and anti-Semitism burst to the surface in the city.

But for Pittsburgh native Cheryl Moore, the bad year actually began with baseball. In January the Pirates traded away star outfielder Andrew McCutchen — known for his thousand-watt smile and deep love of Pittsburgh.

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To understand China's espionage goals, U.S. officials say, just look at the ambitious aims the country set out in the plan "Made in China 2025."

By that date, China wants to be a world leader in artificial intelligence, computing power, military technology, as well as energy and transportation systems. And that's just a partial list.

The Israeli literary giant Amos Oz has died of cancer at the age of 79. At the news of his death, Israel's president hailed Oz as the "glory" of the nation's writers.

Oz was the author of dozens of Hebrew-language novels, novellas, short stories and essays, including his bestselling autobiographical novel, A Tale of Love and Darkness. That work chronicles Oz's life in Israel, from his childhood in Jerusalem through the birth of the Jewish state and its transformation into a modern nation.

Many of the United States' national parks remain open to visitors during the partial government shutdown. But if you go, be prepared – you're probably on your own in there.

A notice on the website of Big Bend National Park in West Texas is representative:

"There has been a lapse in federal appropriations.

"During the government shutdown, Big Bend National Park will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as always.

In another proposed reversal of an Obama-era standard, the Environmental Protection Agency Friday said limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants is not cost-effective and should not be considered "appropriate and necessary."

The EPA says it is keeping the 2012 restrictions in place for now, in large part because utilities have already spent billions to comply with them. But environmental groups worry the move is a step toward repealing the limits and could make it harder to impose other regulations in the future.

The United States has lost its oldest World War II veteran. Richard Overton, who fought overseas in a segregated unit, died Thursday at age 112.

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