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Camila Domonoske

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The U.S. Supreme Court sided with Germany today. The case centered on a dispute over artworks obtained by the Nazis from German Jewish collectors in 1935. The court unanimously threw out a lower court ruling that had allowed the heirs of the one-time owners to proceed with their claim that the sale had been coerced. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.

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The Biden administration has some ideas to get gas-powered cars off the road. The government could pay people to scrap old vehicles, which happened during the Great Recession in a program called Cash for Clunkers. NPR's Camila Domonoske reports.

Updated Jan. 24 at 8:50 a.m. ET.

Senate confirmation hearings can get a little heated. But Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's high-profile nominee for secretary of transportation, got a reception that was downright warm.

"You know what the hell you're talking about, and that's pretty damn refreshing," said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., when he got a chance at the mic at Buttigieg's hearing on Thursday.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all hit new records as markets closed on Wednesday afternoon.

The achievement was notched right in the middle of Inauguration Day celebrations, as the Biden administration played a montage of dancing and singing across America. There just may have been some celebratory shimmies on Wall Street, too.

The Dow rose nearly 1% to 31,188. The tech-heavy NASDAQ closing nearly 2% higher at 13,457, while the broader S&P 500 rose 1.39% to end the day at about 3,852.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all hit new records as markets closed on Wednesday afternoon.

The achievement was notched right in the middle of Inauguration Day celebrations, as the Biden administration played a montage of dancing and singing across America. There just may have been some celebratory shimmies on Wall Street, too.

The Dow rose nearly 1% to 31,188. The tech-heavy NASDAQ closing nearly 2% higher at 13,457, while the broader S&P 500 rose 1.39% to end the day at about 3,852.

When Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old poet from Los Angeles, took to the stage on Wednesday, it was immediately clear why the new president had chosen her as his inaugural poet.

Gorman echoed, in dynamic and propulsive verse, the same themes that Biden has returned to again and again and that he wove throughout his inaugural address: unity, healing, grief and hope, the painful history of American experience and the redemptive power of American ideals.

Updated at 1:05 p.m. ET

Andrea Hall, a career firefighter and union leader from Fulton County, Ga., led the Pledge of Allegiance during the inauguration of President-elect Biden.

Hall recited the familiar words of the pledge out loud and in American Sign Language.

Automakers around the world, from Japan to Texas, are grappling with a global shortage of computer chips.

On Wednesday, Michelle Laughlin realized something: Joe Biden would be the next president.

She had traveled from Nevada for the "Stop the Steal" rally hoping that a second term for President Trump was still possible. She sang patriotic songs as Trump supporters forcibly invaded the Capitol building. But as night fell, and the occupiers were pushed out and Congress resumed its operations, Laughlin saw with clarity where things are headed.

"I think they're going to certify Biden," she said, "and I think that's a terrible, terrible thing."

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The hottest trend on Wall Street this year is a SPAC. That's spelled S-P-A-C.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: Constantly now - SPAC, SPAC, SPAC.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: SPAC frenzy.

Faster, stronger, just plain truckier.

Automakers from GM to startup Rivian are racing to bring their first electric pickups ever to market starting next year, and they aren't just arguing a battery-powered truck will be as good as any other pickup.

They are promising it'll be better. Much better.

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At the moment, it is impossible to buy an electric pickup. That's about to change, though. Automakers from Tesla and General Motors to Ford, Rivian and Lordstown, are all racing to bring them to market. NPR's Camila Domonoske reports.

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How long does it take to charge an electric vehicle? The question is more complicated than it seems, and that's a challenge for the auto industry.

Vehicles have different battery sizes, and charge at different speeds. The same vehicle at different chargers will experience wildly varying charge times.

And no matter what charger a driver uses, an electric vehicle requires a change in habits. That may be an obstacle for automakers who need to persuade sometimes skeptical car buyers to try their first electric vehicle.

Tesla's skyrocketing share prices have made Elon Musk the world's second-richest person, with a net worth of nearly $128 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Musk edged past Bill Gates on Tuesday. Only Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is worth more.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter he has tested both positive and negative for COVID-19 after taking four rapid antigen tests.

Experts have long cautioned that such rapid tests are not as reliable as others at diagnosing the coronavirus. There are other tests, including one called PCR, widely seen as the "gold standard." Musk has gotten one of those, too.

It's the question that millions of Americans have spent five long, anxious days waiting and wondering about: Will there be any dogs in the White House come January?

OK, in what was likely the most consequential election of a lifetime, this is probably the least consequential implication. But it's true. After four years of a president who couldn't abide pets, dogs will once again cavort on the White House lawn.

Updated at 12:43 p.m. ET

The Associated Press has called Nevada for President-elect Joe Biden, bringing his electoral vote total to 290.

As of early Saturday afternoon, President Trump has 214 electoral votes, according to the AP.

Earlier on Saturday, the AP called Pennsylvania for Biden, securing the 270 votes necessary for victory in the presidential election.

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OK. All morning, we're keeping you up to date on the election news, but we want to bring you a business story. General Motors reported a massive surge in earnings this week, and the company is not alone. After tough times earlier this year, the auto sector is coming back with a bang. Here's NPR's Camila Domonoske.

In 2008, Daimon Rhea moved to Utah to find work in the oil fields. He didn't have any experience — and he didn't need any.

"I was out there for two days and I had a job making about $30 an hour," he says. He started as a roughneck, doing hard physical labor on drilling sites, and easily pulled in double what he could have earned back home in California.

"I was able to turn my life around," Rhea says.

It wasn't easy — the hours were rough as a single dad — but Rhea was making great money.

Nikola founder Trevor Milton has stepped away from his startup, which is working on making tractor trailers powered by hydrogen fuel cells, after he was accused of fraudulently exaggerating the viability of some of his company's technology.

Milton, who denies the allegations, says he resigned his position as executive chairman of Nikola's Board of Directors because "the focus should be on the Company ... not me." He said he intends to defend himself against "false accusations."

Marcie was at work at a Ford plant when she got a text warning her she might have been exposed to the coronavirus. It wasn't a sure thing — she was a few steps removed from the confirmed positive case. But it was worrying.

"So am I supposed to leave work? Technically I could be positive and not know it," said Marcie, who didn't want her last name used because she's worried about retribution for talking about the plant. "But, you know, a lot of people just can't do that. Can't just get up and go. We depend on the forty hours."

2020 is shaping up to be an extraordinarily bad year for oil.

In the spring, pandemic lockdowns sent oil demand plummeting and markets into a tailspin. At one point, U.S. oil prices even turned negative for the first time in history.

But summer brought new optimism to the industry, with hopes rising for a controlled pandemic, a recovering economy and resurgent oil demand.

Orbital Insight CEO Jimmy Crawford has, quite literally, a bird's-eye view of the U.S. auto industry

Using satellite images as well as anonymous cellphone location data, Orbital Insight tracks a wide range of human behavior — including key economic indicators such as how many people report to work at auto plants.

"We can just look at the number of cars in the parking lot," he said.

This spring, when the industry entered an unprecedented shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, "there was just nobody there," Crawford said. "Just really skeleton crews."

United Airlines will be putting 16,370 workers on involuntary, indefinite furlough at the start of October unless more aid materializes from the federal government, the company announced Wednesday.

Together with some 7,400 voluntary departures, the airline is cutting its workforce by more than 25%. It's hardly alone. American Airlines recently announced 19,000 furloughs and layoffs, while Delta cut its workforce by 20% through buyouts.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is the classic blue-chip stock index. Exxon Mobil is an iconic blue-chip stock.

But starting next week, the oil giant — currently the Dow's longest-tenured member — will be dropped from the influential index, which for many people is shorthand for the stock market.

Across America, buildings are opening back up — offices, schools, theaters, stores, restaurants — even as evidence mounts that the coronavirus can circulate through the air in a closed indoor space.

That means a lot of business owners and facility managers are calling up people like Dennis Knight, the founder of Whole Buildings Systems in Charleston, S.C., asking what they can do to make sure their building doesn't spread the virus.

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