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Evacuations of embattled eastern Aleppo, which began Thursday after days of efforts to negotiate a cease-fire, have come to a halt.

Thousands of civilians and fighters have already been evacuated from the rebel-held enclave: Some 3,000 civilians were evacuated in the first few convoys, along with more than 40 wounded people, the International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday.

The aid group anticipated it would take days to fully evacuate east Aleppo.

President-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday he will nominate bankruptcy attorney David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel. Friedman, who has no prior diplomatic experience, is an outspoken supporter of Jewish settlement on the Israeli-occupied West Bank and has questioned the need for a Palestinian state.

After years of devastating war, days of increasing desperation and the collapse of one cease-fire, evacuations are underway in besieged eastern Aleppo.

Live images on Syrian state TV showed ambulances entering the rebel-held enclave on Thursday morning to evacuate the wounded. Aid groups confirm that evacuations have begun — despite reports of a brief burst of gunfire targeting ambulances.

Updated at 8:00 p.m. ET

A cease-fire in besieged eastern Aleppo appears to be going forward, paving the way for people trapped there to evacuate.

It's difficult to confirm exactly how many civilians remain in the small slice of Aleppo still controlled by rebel groups, but estimates put the number in the tens of thousands.

NPR's Alison Meuse reports an opposition activist in the city says the bombing has stopped.

President-elect Donald Trump, in a statement early this morning, announced his intention to nominate ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson to lead the State Department and become the country's top diplomat.

The selection, which had been rumored for the past week, is unusual in a number of ways, and could face more scrutiny than usual when the Senate holds confirmation hearings.

Here are some key facts about the president-elect's nominee for the final major position to be filled in his Cabinet:

On Sunday, President-elect Donald Trump told Fox News that he wouldn't feel "bound by a 'One China' policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade."

The One China policy has guided U.S.-China discourse since 1979, when Washington established diplomatic relations with Beijing and downgraded its embassy in Taiwan.

President Obama has ordered the intelligence community to conduct a "full review" of "malicious cyber activity" timed to U.S. elections, the White House said Friday.

The review will go all the way back to the 2008 campaign when China was found to have hacked both the Obama and McCain campaigns, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said at a Friday press briefing.

In what could mark an escalation of tensions with the West, commercial satellite images suggest that Russia is moving a new generation of nuclear-capable missiles into Eastern Europe.

Edoardo Di Falchi / Flickr

Why is there something rather than nothing? This has been described as perhaps the most sublime philosophical question of all. Today, on The Colin McEnroe Show, we answer it. But as we do, we realize that it's not just a philosophical quandary; it's a scientific, cultural, and theological one as well.

Rifle fire crackled over a snowy field in central Estonia, interrupted by the rhythmic thumping of a heavy machine gun. From their position on a ridge, paratroopers from the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade opened up on the opposite tree line, as their comrades below inched toward an imaginary enemy bunker.

The foe in the exercise earlier this month was unnamed. But with the Russian border just 70 miles away, it was clear what kind of scenario was being played out.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has been selected as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in President-elect Donald Trump's administration, according to Trump's transition team.

Haley has accepted the position, which requires Senate confirmation.

NPR State Department correspondent Michele Kelemen reports the position was elevated to Cabinet rank by President George W. Bush and that President Barack Obama kept the designation. But Kelemen says the job of U.N. ambassador was not traditionally Cabinet-rank and it's unclear whether Trump will maintain that status.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani remains one of the leading contenders for secretary of state in the Trump administration. Foreign policy is not an official part of the mayor's job. But there were a few times when Mayor Giuliani clashed with visiting diplomats and foreign heads of state.

Before Rudy Giuliani was America's Mayor, he was the mayor of New York. Part of the job is to make sure parking tickets get paid, and some of the biggest parking scofflaws in town were the visiting diplomats at the United Nations — some of whom owed tens of thousands of dollars.

Ninian Reid / Creative Commons

From businessman to president-elect -- it was a victory that surprised many. This hour: the rise of Republican Donald Trump. We recap Tuesday’s election results and we also hear from you.

Did you vote? What does a Trump presidency mean to you, your friends, and your family? 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

American democracy is limping to the finish line this election week, dehydrated and injured from many stumbles during this race. Can it recover before Americans lose faith that America has the will or ability to help them? Can it recover before foreign friends and foes alike lose faith in America's sanity and stability? 

CFR

The CEO of Farmington-based United Technologies has delivered a rebuke to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his stance on trade. 

Foreign journalists' access to Syria is severely restricted, but this week, the regime of Bashar Assad extended an unusual invitation to a group of Western reporters to visit Damascus, the capital. NPR's Peter Kenyon and Alison Meuse are among the foreign journalists who've been granted visas to Damascus this week. For Kenyon, it's the first time back since 2008, before the 2011 uprising that led to Syria's war. He spoke with Morning Edition host Renee Montagne about the visit.

A Mediterranean-bound convoy of Russian warships will not be stopping for fuel at a Spanish port, Russia said Wednesday, after Spain's NATO allies objected to the refueling plan.

NATO members are worried the ships are intended to support increased Russian airstrikes in Syria. The convoy includes Russia's only aircraft carrier.

Some ships in the convoy had been planning to stop for fuel in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa directly across from Gibraltar. It's normal practice for Spain to allow Russian warships to stop at its ports, The Associated Press reports.

South Africa has decided to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, after previously ignoring an ICC arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

Reuters and The Associated Press both say they have seen a document, signed by South Africa's foreign minister, declaring the country's intent to withdraw. The AP reports that legislation to finalize the move has to pass South Africa's parliament, but notes that passage of such a bill is likely.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Running a small business will always be a challenging way of life. But if your home country is occupied by a foreign power and you are part of a diaspora of refugees spread across the world, your challenges rise to a new level. 

id Reneke / Flickr

If Anthony Bourdain and Wes Anderson were to ever collaborate, chances are they'd end up creating something like Atlas Obscura. The founders of the website -- dedicated to strange, forgotten and hidden wonders around the world -- are now out with a new book featuring 700 of their most spectacular examples.

Courtesy of Sen. Blumenthal's office

Congress voted to reject President Barack Obama's veto of a bill that would allow the families of September 11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. 

The last surviving leader of Israel's founding generation, Shimon Peres was a three-time prime minister, the architect of the country's secretive nuclear program and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to make peace with the Palestinians.

The Senate voted Wednesday to give families of 9/11 victims the right to sue the Saudi Arabian government, overriding President Obama's veto for the first time.

The vote was lopsided, with 97 Senators voting in favor of the override, well above the two-thirds majority needed to overcome the president's objection. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid cast the lone "no" vote. Senators Tim Kaine, D-Va. and Bernie Sanders, D-Vt. did not vote.

UConn

Big tax deals with First Five corporations or with aerospace giants have been grabbing headlines, as Connecticut tries to improve its economy. But the state is also making a much less publicized effort to recruit small companies from overseas. 

Kenneth Lu / Creative Commons

News of General Electric's departure rang loudly across Connecticut this year, causing some to point fingers at the state's so-called “anti-business climate.” Still, that hasn't stopped some international businesses from putting down roots here. 

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