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There's a lot of attention right now on improving attendance in schools — making sure kids don't miss too many days. But what about the littlest students — those 3 and 4 years old? New research shows that if kids miss a lot of preschool, they're way more likely to have problems in kindergarten or later on.

A swirling cronyism scandal continues to grip South Korea, where prosecutors announced Sunday that the president is a suspect in a criminal fraud investigation that's already ensnared her close friend and senior aides. President Park Geun-hye made history, becoming the first sitting South Korean president to be a suspect in a criminal investigation.

Loneliness can be a problem for older people, especially when they're in the hospital. Their children may have moved away. Spouses and friends may themselves be too frail to visit. So a California hospital is providing volunteer companions in the geriatric unit.

One of the volunteers at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica is 24-year-old Julia Torrano. She hopes to go to medical school. Meanwhile, her twice-weekly volunteer shifts give her a lot of practice working with patients.

Every year when Morton Pollner had his checkup, he worried that doctors would find something on his lung. For years, they didn't. Then his luck ran out.

"My reaction was, 'Well, you smoked for 30 years. You got away with it for another 30 years and this is it.' I thought it was a death sentence," he says.

President Obama said Sunday he doesn't intend to become his successor's constant critic — but reserved the right to speak out if President-elect Donald Trump or his policies breach certain "values or ideals."

Rarely has a single door attracted so much media attention.

All weekend, cameras have been trained on the wood-paneled door of the clubhouse at the Trump International Golf Club in Bedminster Township, N.J., as the journalists behind them sought to suss out clues to the next step in President-elect Donald Trump's transition efforts. And on Sunday, those clues trickled in with each new arrival.

Thanksgiving came early in Poolesville. Only, instead of dining on turkey, the hundreds who gathered in this Maryland town actually dined with a turkey.

His name is Perry.

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He wasn't sure he had the right name to run for student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

His first name was pretty ordinary — Bradley. But his last name is Opere — definitely not a familiar-sounding name in the U.S.

"You have to have a white-sounding name to run for office," says Opere, a business major who's from Nairobi, Kenya. The ambitious 24-year-old ran anyway.

And with his air of quiet confidence – and the skills he gained from two-years spent at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg — he won 53 percent of the vote.

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NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson arrived at the International Space Station this weekend, making her the oldest woman in space at age 56. On the mission, she's projected to once again become the U.S. astronaut with the most time spent in orbit.

This is Whitson's third mission on the space station; she'll soon become its commander for the second time. Collectively, she's spent more than a year of her life in space.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she'll seek another term in the office she's held since 2005, holding a news conference Sunday that ends speculation at a time of intense change in the European Union.

Merkel, 62, made it official in a news conference held by her party, the Christian Democratic Union.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

This story was updated with video at 8:08 p.m. ET

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For a month, Iraqi forces have been pressing an offensive against ISIS in the city of Mosul. As NPR's Alice Fordham reports, one elite group is bearing much of that burden.

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(SOUNDBITE OF MATTHEW WILDER SONG, "BREAK MY STRIDE")

SARAH OLIVER, BYLINE: Rachel, it's your soon-to-be ex-boss, Sarah Oliver, and it's your last day of hosting WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY. We are all really going to miss you.

President-elect Donald Trump asked him to serve as secretary of defense, retired four-star Army Gen. Jack Keane tells NPR's Rachel Martin — but Keane declined the offer, citing personal reasons. Keane says he recommended retired generals James Mattis and David Petraeus for the job.

"I was asked to serve, but I'm not able to," Keane told Rachel. "I have some personal issues surrounding the death of my wife recently, and I explained all that to Mr. Trump, and he was very gracious and understanding, and quite supportive."

Bowtie-bedecked auctioneer Samuel Freeman was faced with the unusual task of convincing a crowd to buy something he admits he knows nothing about: the Tartufo Bianco d'Alba, or Alba White Truffle.

"I've never auctioned food before," Freeman says, "and I'd never even eaten a truffle until two days ago." Apparently that first taste won him over. "It was unbelievable."

At $458 per ounce once the bidding got underway, those truffles better knock your socks off.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, a passenger train veered off track in northern India, killing at least 133 people, police say. More than 200 additional travelers are injured.

Fourteen coaches of the train, traveling from the northeastern city of Patna to the central city of Indore, derailed in the village of Pukhrayan, near the industrial city of Kanpur, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Several passengers were sleeping at the time of the crash, which occurred around 3:10 a.m.

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Singer Sharon Jones helped revive soul singing with her powerful, energetic performances. The 60 year old died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. NPR's Mandalit del Barco has this appreciation of her music and her life.

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