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The best players in major league baseball take the field tonight in New York. Fans voted for their favorites in the American and National Leagues. The All-Star game is an exhibition - or mostly an exhibition - and there is a real prize. The winner gets home-field advantage during the World Series. The game also offers a chance to check on how teams are doing midway through the season.

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Here to talk all things baseball is NPR's Mike Pesca. Good morning.

The Labor Department reported Friday that the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent in June, as employers added 195,000 jobs, and more people started to look for work.

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President Obama today is scheduled to announce a sweeping plan to address climate change. The president has framed the issue as a moral responsibility, to leave the Earth in good shape for generations. Certainly though, the nitty-gritty of any serious plan to address climate change is a huge challenge because it means gradually moving away from fossil fuels to renewable energy supplies. That will involve economic winners and losers.

Joining us to talk about the plan's specifics is NPR's Richard Harris. Good morning.

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Russia's decision to allow Edward Snowden into the country as part of his around the world search for asylum has sparked outrage in Washington, D.C. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, appearing yesterday on CNN's "State of the Union," accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of aiding and abetting Snowden's escape.

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Alarm bells went off in China's financial system yesterday. That's because interest rates for loans that banks make to each other - like the loans we've just been hearing about - shot up, drying up credit as China's banks searched for cash. The effects reached markets here, where the Dow dropped more than 2 percent yesterday.

All of this seems to be caused by the Chinese government trying to send its banks a message. To explain what happened and why, we turn to NPR's correspondent in Shanghai, Frank Langfitt. Good morning.

A federal judge on Thursday hears arguments over whether a lawsuit against the NCAA should be expanded. The case was brought by former UCLA basketball player Ed O'Bannon. He contends the NCAA unfairly benefits from student athletes by forcing them to sign away their licensing rights.

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In Syria's ally Iran, people are voting for president today. It is Iran's first presidential election since the stunning vote in 2009. Back then, a surprisingly early declaration of victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked a wave of protests, followed by years of government repression. This time around, six candidates are contending for power amid widespread skepticism about the election, and intensive security on the streets.

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The biggest players in the video gaming are gathered here in Los Angeles this week for E3, the industry's annual trade show. Gamers have been anticipating the unveiling of new products from Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo and other companies.

NPR's Laura Sydell has spent the past few days with zombies, assassins and one little plumber. Good morning.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Good morning.

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There are no big surprises in this morning's job report from the government. The unemployment rate increased slightly on moderate job growth. It met or slightly exceeded expectations. This is one of the most significant economic indicators we look at every month, and joining us to discuss the Labor Department's report is NPR's Yuki Noguchi. Good morning.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: What can you tell us about these numbers?

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All right, through much of this week, we've been hearing from young Afghans on the future of their country after NATO troops withdraw in 2014. Yesterday, our colleague Renee Montagne met with the American general who commands coalition forces in Afghanistan. They traveled to a special forces base where young Afghan men - and a few women - are being trained.

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This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep, in Washington, with David Greene.

Tuesday night, forward Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers became the latest star to go down with an injury. The Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Griffin's absence and beat the Clippers 103-93 to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.

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Lawmakers in Cyprus are trying to ease rage over a proposed tax on all bank deposits by exempting people who have relatively small accounts. It's part of a bailout plan for that Mediterranean country negotiated with the E.U. and IMF over the weekend, but the compromise on taxes may not be enough for Cyprus' parliament to pass the plan.

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Venezuela is in a state of mourning for its late president, Hugo Chavez. The outsized leader died yesterday in the capital, Caracas, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 58. Hugo Chavez was both a polarizing and charismatic figure, and during his long rule he became an icon, beloved by Venezuela's poor and others in the region who admired his defiant stance toward the U.S.

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Kenya votes for a new president today for the first time in five years. It's an important election, in part because the country is still haunted by the ethnic violence that bloodied the last presidential election in 2007. More than 1,200 people were killed and the violence only ended after the international community stepped in. NPR's Gregory Warner is out visiting polling stations and talking to people in Nairobi. He joins us to talk about the election. Good morning, Greg.

GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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We're hearing this morning that Pope Benedict has left the Vatican. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is covering the first papal retirement in 600 years, and she joins us now from Rome. And Sylvia, describe the scene for us there.

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Surprising news this morning from the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI has announced he is resigning at the end of this month. It is an unprecedented departure in modern times. The last time a pope stepped down, it was 1415, the Middle Ages. At 85 years old, Benedict said he was no longer up to the physical demands of the papacy. We've got NPR's Sylvia Poggioli on the line now live from Rome. Good morning.

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President Obama is taking his campaign against gun violence to the country, beginning today with a trip to Minneapolis and a visit to that city's police department. Many police organizations favor tougher gun laws. The president leaves behind a new Congress that's getting down to business. And consuming most of lawmakers' time: the budget and the deficit.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. More signs today of a slow, slow economic recovery. The Labor Department reports the economy added 157,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, to 7.9 percent. To tell us what's behind these numbers, we're joined by NPR business correspondent Yuki Noguchi, and also our White House correspondent, Scott Horsley. Good morning to both of you.

YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Good morning.

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That sharp drop in government spending that put the squeeze on the economy last quarter, as we just heard, is likely to be repeated. This spring, the government is set to make additional cuts to spending, including defense, unless lawmakers agree on a different plan. So far there's little agreement in Washington about the optimum size or shape of government spending.

NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now to talk about this in our Business Bottom Line. Good morning, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

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Snow, superstars, and cinema. That combination can mean only one thing at this time of year: The Sundance Film Festival. Our movie reviewer, Kenneth Turan, is on the scene in Park City, Utah, as he is every year, to tell us about some of the movies at Sundance. Good morning.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Good morning, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Let's start with dramas. What really stands out for you, Ken?

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And I'm Renee Montagne. One of the liveliest parts of today's events dates back to the very first Inauguration, and that would be the inaugural parade. After George Washington took his oath of office, he was joined by a procession made up of local militias as he made his way from Mount Vernon to New York City. Today, the parade is a colorful blend of marching bands, floats and different organizations led by ceremonial military regiments.

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President Obama wants a Republican to be his next secretary of Defense, and some Republicans really don't like the choice.

Alabama is trying to win its third title in four years Monday night. Notre Dame is trying to cap an undefeated season with a championship win.

President Obama returns to Washington Thursday as do members of the U.S. Senate. They're cutting holiday plans short in hopes of coming up with a deal to avoid the tax hikes and budget cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1.

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