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Four days. 92 volunteers. And 150 pounds of gingerbread.

That's just part of what goes into decorating for the White House for Christmas.

Volunteers went to work the day after Thanksgiving, stringing thousands of bow ribbons and crystal ornaments throughout the mansion. Military families got a sneak peak at the decorations this week.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit


Let's pause now to remember a British actor best known for playing a Spanish waiter in a 1970s BBC series that lasted only 12 episodes - Andrew Sachs. He died at age 86. As NPR's Ted Robbins tells us, his relatively small role left a big impression.

Morning, noon and night.

It seems that President-elect Donald Trump is always on Twitter.

Always ready to give his opinion, or, his advice.

But it turns out that more than a few people have no idea what Trump's been saying on Twitter — because they've been blocked from even seeing his tweets.

People like 16-year-old Antonio Del Otero. He's a junior at Huron High School in Detroit, Michigan, and a couple months ago, he tweeted something kind of mean at Trump.

“Basically I called him a 'reject Cheeto,'” says Del Otero.

Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters

There’s been another upset at the polls. In terms of size and population, The Gambia doesn't come close to the United States. But like in the States, few thought there was any chance of an upset in presidential elections that were held Thursday across The Gambia.

So much for experts, again.

“I hereby declare Adama Barrow duly elected president of the Republic of Gambia for the next five years,'' Alieu Momarr Njai, the head of the election commission, announced Friday.

"Gabriel Garcia Marquez is our inspiration."

That's what Juancho Valencia of the Colombian band Puerto Candelaria says. And when you hear their music, I gotta say, their sound does appear to leap off the pages of Gabo's writing.

Jasmine Garsd/PRI

It’s nearly impossible to find Fred Bronson’s house at night. It’s right outside of Raleigh in a suburban neighborhood dotted with bodegas and small restaurants. The road is bumpy and it’s pitch dark.

After yelling a couple of hellos into the night, Fred steps out of the house. He’s a large man dressed in an old T-shirt, head wrapped in a Confederate flag bandana. He invites me in.

If you're curious about what people really think about some of the hottest of hot-button food controversies, the Pew Research Center has just the thing for you: a survey of attitudes toward genetic modification, organic food and the importance of eating healthfully.

The survey results are published in a 99-page report that can keep you occupied for days. But if you're pressed for time, here are some of the most interesting highlights that caught our eye.

In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, tens of thousands of people have fled a brutal, Russian-backed regime offensive against rebel-held parts of the city. Many have fled deeper into the tightening siege, which started over the summer. Others have sought safety on the government-held side.

My conversation with a woman who recently fled the siege begins with her asking how I am. She's safe now, but is still afraid to give her name. She fears for her son — still fighting with the rebels — and for other male relatives who've been detained by the regime for questioning.

El Tiempo/Reuters

There are a lot of great opening lines in literature. But this one by the late Gabriel Garcia-Marquez is among the best: "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

That's the way he starts the book "One Hundred Years of Solitude." The novel is a masterpiece of magical realism, a world where magical elements blend into reality.

It's what Garcia-Marquez is known for.