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El Salvador and China have now been declared malaria-free.

That's one of the encouraging takeaways from the new annual report on malaria issued on Monday by the World Health Organization. But the sobering news is that despite progress in some countries, this debilitating and lethal disease took a greater toll in 2020 than in the recent past.

Succession co-star Kieran Culkin has grown up on screen. His first gig (when he was 6) was in a commercial, followed by a small part in the 1990 film Home Alone, which his brother, Macaulay, starred in. But it was only recently, nearly 30 years into his acting career, that something clicked.

Texas already has the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. — and they got tougher on Dec. 1. That's when a new law went into effect that adds penalties of jail time and a fine up to $10,000 for anyone who prescribes pills for medication abortions via telehealth and the mail.

With the holiday shopping season here and a new COVID-19 variant threatening to further slow the global supply chain, the Biden administration has tried to strike a hopeful tone. But as China remains conservative with the virus, some of its ports are overloaded and understaffed.

Paul Bingham, a transportation economist with IHS Markit, joins us.

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In what the city says is "a first in the nation measure," New York City is now mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for all private sector employers, effective Dec. 27.

But elsewhere, federal vaccine rules aimed at some 100 million private sector and health care workers are tied up in a legal morass, with multiple courts now blocking the rules even as the first deadlines have arrived.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a pro-gun Republican lawmaker from Kentucky, is being criticized for posting a photo to social media that shows his family holding powerful guns, just four days after a teenager killed four students at Oxford High School in Michigan. In that attack, the shooter used a gun his father had bought as an early Christmas gift for his son.

"Merry Christmas!" Massie wrote as he posted his photo, adding, "ps. Santa, please bring ammo."

Updated December 6, 2021 at 8:11 PM ET

City officials in San Francisco want to delay the imposition of a tax on lawful recreational cannabis businesses to help them compete with illegal marijuana dealers.

At least 17 people have tested positive for COVID-19 — including one probable case of the omicron variant — on a cruise ship that disembarked in New Orleans over the weekend.

A subsidiary of Perdue Premium Meat Company is asking customers to avoid eating certain batches of its fully cooked pork products because of possible listeria contamination.

Michigan-based Alexander & Hornung is recalling 234,391 pounds of fully cooked ham and pepperoni products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on Sunday.

New York City will implement new measures meant to head off the worsening coronavirus surge, including what its mayor says will be a "first-in-the-nation" vaccine mandate for all private-sector workers to take effect Dec. 27.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the new requirements Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit


Let's turn once again to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president's chief medical adviser. Dr. Fauci, good morning.

ANTHONY FAUCI: Good morning.

Criminal groups have been sending threatening messages in the past couple of months to companies that manage broadband phone services all over the world, promising they'll flood the digital phone lines with traffic and take them offline unless the targets pay a ransom.

What those extortionists have discovered is that the number of phone calls that take place at least partially over the internet has quietly and dramatically increased in recent years — and there's a lot at stake when major providers go down.

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Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit


Kris Brown joins us next. She's the president of the advocacy group, Brady United Against Gun Violence.

Good morning.

KRIS BROWN: Good morning, Steve.