Vanessa Romo Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk.
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Vanessa Romo

Some countries have already rung in the new year, but across the U.S., cities are getting ready to say hello to 2020 in myriad strange ways. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images hide caption

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Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, pictured in July, said all 31 graduating correctional cadets would be fired. An investigation found the salute started in the second or third week of training "as a sign of respect" for an instructor. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption

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Andrew Harnik/AP

A federal judge said a lawsuit filed by former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman is moot. The decision on Monday comes as the House of Representatives had said it will not hold Kupperman in contempt. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Japan's Justice Minister Masako Mori, pictured in 2014, called it an "extremely cruel and brutal case." She signed Wei Wei's execution order on Monday. Noriyuki Aida/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Noriyuki Aida/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny gestures while speaking to the media as a security officer guards an entrance of the Anti-Corruption Foundation office in Moscow, Russia, Thursday. The federal court bailiffs' service that conducted the Thursday raid later said he had not been detained. Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP hide caption

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Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP

Republican state Rep. Matt Shea, pictured at a gun rights rally in January, has been suspended from the House Republican Caucus and removed from several committees. Ted S. Warren/AP hide caption

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Ted S. Warren/AP

Gov. Phil Murphy, pictured in March, signed two bills on Wednesday ensuring that former felons can "once again walk into a voting booth and have a say in our democracy." Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images hide caption

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Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

San Francisco police officers wait while homeless people collect their belongings. Nearly a quarter of the country's homeless population lives in California. Ben Margot/AP hide caption

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Ben Margot/AP