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If you sit too much during middle age — at work and at home — your ability to exercise or even walk in late decades is at risk, research hints. And, of course, your risk of heart disease climbs, too.

Betsy DeVos, school choice, civil rights, student loans and for-profit colleges: A look at the year in education and the big stories we're watching next year.

Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Vieques, an island 8 miles off the coast of Puerto Rico. Its bioluminescent bay, a lifeline for its vital tourism industry, is starting to show signs of recovery.

A drawing scheduled for Wednesday that could have decided which Virginia candidate would become a state delegate, and potentially determine whether the Republican Party will stay in control, has been postponed. NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with Rachel Bitecofer of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., about the development.

The Daily Beast is enjoying some success with an unusual pairing of reporters at the White House. Asawin Suebsaeng came from Mother Jones and Lachlan Markay wrote for a series of conservative publications before joining the publication. Editor-in-chief John Avlon says he thinks the pairing is helping their coverage stand out.

The United States and Turkey have long been allies, with Turkey being a critical U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS. But 2017 was one of the most turbulent years in memory for relations between the two countries.

NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks with James Alcorn, chairman of Virginia's board of elections about drawing a film canister from a crystal bowl tomorrow, which will have a slip of paper that will decide which candidate will become a state delegate. It will also determine whether the Republican Party will keep control of the State House, or if the delegates will be split with the Democrats.

NPR's Ari Shapiro checks back in with Ahmed Badr, an Iraqi refugee who started a website to help other young people tell their own stories. Badr just finished his sophomore year at Wesleyan University and has even more projects underway since he last talked to NPR.

In Pennsylvania, people in Erie received 56.5 inches of snow in the past two days. The National Weather Service says that's an all-time two-day record for Pennsylvania, breaking the previous record of 44 inches in 1958.

Americans spent freely over the holidays, making it the best Christmas shopping season in years. Sales picked up as the economy continues to recover, with unemployment down and consumer confidence up. Weather and a favorable shopping calendar also boosted the fortunes of retailers.




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