Renee Montagne

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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The contentious fight over labor rights has been unfolding throughout the Midwest in the last couple of years. Michigan is only the latest example.

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Let's talk about that new offer now. The proposal from House Republicans includes a combination of revenue raising and spending cuts. What it doesn't include is any rise in tax rates.

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Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who took power last June, is facing a rebellion against his rule. It all started with a set of controversial decrees by the president that put him above the law until a constitution is in place. That move has polarized the country. Judges are on strike and critics say the president is pushing through an illegitimate constitution.

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Let's turn now to the urgent diplomatic efforts underway. Secretary of State Clinton is now in Cairo, meeting with Egyptian leaders in efforts to reach a ceasefire. NPR's Leila Fadel joins us from Cairo to discuss the latest.

Good morning.

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Opposition groups working to bring down the regime in Syria are meeting in Doha, Qatar in a furious bid to reorganize and reinvigorate themselves. The aim is to form a legitimate government in exile that would be recognized by the international community. This new effort to bring together the Syrian opposition is strongly backed by the U.S. NPR's Kelly McEvers is in Doha and joins us to talk about it.

And let's start by you telling us exactly who is there.

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The triumph in some parts of the country this morning is that people are able to vote at all. Just over a week after Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore, people are voting today in New Jersey.

And in New York City, NPR's Robert Smith is in the Borough of Queens, part of New York City. He's on the line. Robert, what have you seen today?

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The race for president has been at the heart of this election season. Let's turn now to the intense and expensive battle going on for control of the House and the Senate.

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The next Congress will be losing some famous names, like Barney Frank, Joe Lieberman and Ron Paul - all retiring. Today, one-third of the Senate and all 435 seats in the House are up for grabs.

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The presidential election is still a day away and already disputes have broken out in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (Chanting) Let us vote. Let us vote. Let us vote. Let us vote.

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Two Americans have been awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Economics for work that has to do with matching in business, medicine and marriage. The two, whose work turned out to be a good match, are Alvin Roth of Harvard and Lloyd Shapely of the University of California, Los Angeles. They will share the $1.2 million prize.

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And this morning brings news of a literary prize. The Nobel for Literature goes to Chinese writer Mo Yan. Making the announcement, the Swedish Academy's permanent secretary, Peter Englund:

For the first time since President Obama took office, the unemployment rate is back at 7.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. It's been above 8 percent for nearly four years. The number of new jobs added was in line with expectations — 114,000.

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A judge in Pennsylvania has blocked a key part of that state's new voter ID law, a law that's caused controversy. Now, come Election Day, voters showing up at the polls can still be asked to show a government-issued photo ID, but they will not be prevented from voting if they don't have one. NPR's Pam Fessler has been covering the story and she joins us now. Good morning.

PAM FESSLER, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So, remind us what this Pennsylvania law is - you know, why it's been making national news.

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At the heart of NATO's strategy to turn over security to Afghanistan, is the joint patrol: Afghan and international troops training and fighting shoulder-to-shoulder. Now faced with a rash of insider attacks - Afghans in uniform turning their guns on international troops - NATO is suspending most of those joint operations.

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And I'm Renee Montagne. We come to you this morning with grim news. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans have been killed when protesters stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The protests were sparked yesterday by an American-made video circulating on the Web that ridicules Islam and the prophet Muhammad.

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It was four years ago this week that the big Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. Its collapse sent shockwaves around the world and brought on the worst of the financial crisis. But the story didn't end there. Lehman Brothers is still in business - sort of.

Planet Money's Adam Davidson went to its offices in New York, and is here to tell us about it.

Good morning.

ADAM DAVIDSON, BYLINE: Good morning.

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It's shaping up to be an important day for the European Union and the future of its currency. In the Netherlands, there is a parliamentary election that's expected to be a barometer of Dutch support for staying in the eurozone. Also this morning, a plan was unveiled to give the European Central Bank the power to supervise the big financial institutions in Europe. And, Germany's high court ruled that the European bailout fund is legal.

NPR's Jim Zarroli joins us now from Berlin to talk about this.

Good morning.

In a five-set match Monday, Andy Murray fended off Novak Djokovic to win the U.S. Open, his first Grand Slam title.

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And in the tech world, dueling press conferences and competing corporate unveilings, this week and next, are putting the focus on new and improved gadgets.

NPR's Steve Henn joined us this morning from Silicon Valley to tell us about what's on the high tech horizon.

Good morning.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So there are a host of companies rolling out shiny new toys this week. What's catching your eye?

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For more on this big weekend in politics, we turn to Cokie Roberts for some analysis. Good morning.

COKIE ROBERTS, BYLINE: Hi, Renee.

MONTAGNE: So we just heard in Ari's piece the excitement Paul Ryan is generating among the Republican faithful. Is that partly why Mitt Romney chose him as his running mate, to generate some of the kind of enthusiasm that has been missing from his own campaign?

Honolulu, on the lush, green island of Oahu, is paradise for surfers and sunbathers — but author Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl sets her mysteries in a darker, more sinister version of the tourist mecca.

"I think that juxtaposition between things that are horrible and terrible happening in a beautiful setting adds a lot of tension and depth to things," she tells NPR's Renee Montagne.

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