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Retired Gen. James Mattis' nomination to be President-elect Donald Trump's secretary of defense may, well, march through the Senate, but there is one potential obstacle to maneuver around: the retired general part.

The National Security Act of 1947, which established the current national defense structure, had a key stipulation, requiring that the secretary of defense be a civilian well removed from military service. In fact, the law is quite clear:

Donald Trump kicked off his postelection "thank you tour" with a Thursday-night rally that sounded a lot like any of his campaign rallies. He said trade was dangerous, he warned about refugees, and his mention of his former opponent, Hillary Clinton, prompted supporters to chant "lock her up."

As was the case at many times on the campaign trail, Trump's presentation of facts requires some fact-checking and context. Here's a look at the president-elect's Thursday-night speech.

"I lost more than 80 percent of my university friends," recalls Jagannath Lamichhane.

After silently struggling with depression for two decades, Lamichhane published an essay in Nepal Times about his mental illness. "I could have hid my problem — like millions of people around the world," he says, but "if we hide our mental health, it may remain a problem forever."

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A sprawling health bill expected to pass the Senate, gain President Obama's signature and become law before the end of the year is a grab bag for industries, academic institutions and patient groups that spent oodles of time and money lobbying to advance their interests.

Who wins and who loses?

Here's the rundown of what's at stake in the 21st Century Cures Act:

Winners

Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Companies

In eastern Tennessee, officials say a wildfire that tore through resort towns in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains earlier this week killed at least 13 people and destroyed nearly 1,000 structures, according to local officials and the state emergency management agency.

The confirmed death toll in and around the tourist town of Gatlinburg in Sevier County has climbed steadily since the fire raced into town overnight on Monday.

In a shocking upset, election officials say an opposition candidate has defeated Gambia's longtime leader in the country's presidential vote. This sets the stage for what could be the small West African country's first-ever peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from the U.K. in 1965.

Unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage points, to 4.6 percent, last month — the lowest rate since 2007 — according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Americans continue to be divided along partisan lines over Obamacare, with an overwhelming percentage of Democrats favoring it and an equal share of Republicans having unfavorable views, according to a newly released Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

But when it comes to an actual gutting of Obamacare, there's doesn't appear to be a lot of support.

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Hot-Dog Tiaras And Other '70s Dinner Party' Delicacies

Dec 2, 2016

Last summer, Anna Pallai was leafing through her mom's cookbooks — sauce-splashed volumes of Robert Carrier recipes, issues of Supercook pinched together in a ringed binder — when she realized she'd stumbled across a gold mine. The books were full of meaty aspics and mousses coaxed into elaborate shapes: a crown made of blunted hot dogs, seafood mousse sculpted into the shape of a maniacally grinning fish.

There were moments when watching the Trump and Clinton campaigns discuss the election at the Campaign Managers Conference at the Harvard Institute of Politics was like watching The Jerry Springer Show without the chair-throwing (or paternity disputes).

The 2016 campaign was an ugly, knock-down, drag-out fight between two different visions of America. So it was fitting that the typically polite and clinical quadrennial gathering of campaign professionals would erupt into shouting matches and accusations raw with emotion.

Homeopathy has been around since the 1700s, but despite having devoted followers, there is no scientific evidence that it works. Soon, packages for homeopathic products might say just that.

On Donald Trump's visit to Carrier in Indiana on Thursday, he mentioned a phone call that he made to the CEO of United Technologies, the air conditioning company's parent. As Trump describes it, that call led to Carrier announcing it will not move as many jobs to Mexico as it had planned.

"We can't allow this to happen anymore with our country. So many jobs are leaving and going to other countries, not just Mexico," Trump said.

When you walk into the Smithsonian's "Art of the Qur'an" exhibition, you're met with a book that weighs 150 pounds. The tome, which dates back to the late-1500s, has giant pages that are covered in gold and black Arabic script.

It's been a year since Ray Britain lay on the floor of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif., feeling the vibrations of the gun shots.

He remembers that "constant tremble," he says, the ringing in his ears, the shell casings — "a rainbow of shell casings" — flying from the gun, and the looks of shock on his coworkers' faces.

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Donald Trump announced his choice to be defense secretary.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis...

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: ...As our secretary of defense.

A few weeks before the election, the Tri-Pro lumber mill in north Idaho shut down. It was the second mill to close in the area in six months, putting more than a hundred people out of work.

While that's big economic loss for any community, it was especially tough for the tight-knit town of Orofino and its 3,000 or so residents.

Christmas is coming, and soon TV screens everywhere will light up with that 1946 holiday classic, It's a Wonderful Life. But the same story is coming a little early to the stage of the Houston Grand Opera. That's right: An operatic version of George Bailey's struggle with life and death opens this Friday.

Librettist Gene Scheer admits that adapting such a beloved movie has sometimes felt like a fool's errand. "It's almost secular scripture, this piece," he says. "Everyone knows all the lines."

A single tornado can cause a lot of damage. But even worse are tornado outbreaks. Just this week, a cluster of at least 18 tornadoes struck the Southeast over two days.

Scientists are seeing bigger clusters in recent years, and they're struggling to figure out what's happening.

President-elect Donald Trump delivered a campaign-style speech at what was billed as the first stop in a thank-you tour in Cincinnati, Ohio, tonight, in which he pledged to unite America while at the same time recounting old grievances against the news media, and his political opponents.

Trump also used the occasion to announce he will nominate retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense, calling him "the closest thing we have to Gen. George Patton of our time."

President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in one of the many routine, get-acquainted chats he'll have before entering the White House.

These talks rarely if ever make news, but Wednesday's conversation raised eyebrows because Trump lavished praise on Sharif and Pakistan despite years of tension between the two countries.

Here's part of the read-out of their conversation, as released by Pakistan's Press Information Department:

Each year, the United States gives $5 billion to $6 billion to fight HIV/AIDS around the world, with particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa, which accounts for two-thirds of the nearly 2 million new infections each year.

For World AIDS Day, we sat down with the U.S. Global AIDS coordinator, Deborah Birx, to talk about the state of the epidemic and the work of PEPFAR, set up by President George W. Bush in 2003 with the intention of saving the lives of people suffering from AIDS around the world.

France's embattled president, Francois Hollande, has announced that he will not seek a second term.

The surprise announcement from the socialist leader marks the "first time in 60 years that a sitting French president has not run for re-election," as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris. "Terrorist attacks and a sagging economy beset Hollande and made him one of the most unpopular presidents ever."

Hollande made the announcement in a televised address, where he spoke for about 10 minutes and defended his record since taking office in 2012, Eleanor adds.

An unmanned cargo rocket bound for the International Space Station was destroyed after takeoff on Thursday.

The Russian rocket took off as planned from Baikonur, Kazahkstan, on Thursday morning but stopped transmitting data about six minutes into its flight, as NPR's Rae Ellen Bichell reported:

Donald Trump announced in a series of tweets Wednesday that he will be taking himself "completely out" of his business operations to avoid potential conflicts of interest as president. The president-elect did not offer details of the plan or say that he would divest financially from his businesses, but he did promise a news conference in the coming weeks that would address the issue.

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