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For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports. With nearly 13 million listeners, Morning Edition draws public radio's largest audience.

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The U.S. military is leaving Afghanistan. The withdrawal will finish next month. Not all Americans are leaving, though. Diplomats will stay, and so will American spies. The CIA is there trying to gather intelligence on a country where the security situation is getting worse.

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WILLIAM BURNS: The trend lines that all of us see today are certainly troubling. The Taliban are making significant military advances. They're probably in the strongest military position that they've been in since 2001.

Back around the start of the year, Michael Thurmond had a problem. He's the top elected official in DeKalb County, Ga. Congress had approved about $50 billion to help people catch up and pay rent to avoid eviction.

But Thurmond worried that his county wouldn't get enough money to help everybody.

"What do I say to the family who is the first in line after all the money has run out?" he asks.

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Editor's note: Diane Bezucha, who co-produced this interview, works for StoryCorps and is the daughter of Gary Bezucha.

Since the beginning, their friendship has grown out of simple gestures. The best friends met when Greg Klatkiewicz, now 71, started bumming cigarettes from Gary "Zooks" Bezucha, 70, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, where they were both physical therapy students in the 1970s.

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Jayla Jackson and Emani Stanton are high school students in Atlanta. On Wednesday, they became the first Black girl duo to win Harvard's international debate competition.

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Just as people need to find ways to cool off in the summer, so do livestock. And the past few years for farmers, it's been a struggle.

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They may be two of the most influential notes in funk-rock history: the soaring, plaintive start to guitarist Eddie Hazel's legendary solo in Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain."

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RUTH SHERLOCK, BYLINE: The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha is a time of prayer, gift-giving and feasting. But Lebanon is in the middle of a staggering economic crisis, and a lot of people there can't afford even simple food. Here's NPR's Ruth Sherlock in Beirut.

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After a quick trip to the edge of space, Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos is back on Earth.

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JEFF BEZOS: Control, Bezos - best day ever.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Yeah.

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Updated July 20, 2021 at 3:02 PM ET

With the highly contagious delta variant fueling a rise in COVID-19 cases, Dr. Jerome Adams — the surgeon general under former President Donald Trump who once advised against mask-wearing — now says even the vaccinated may need to mask up.

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Is a Jewish nationalist with a loyal following, a member of Israel's parliament, inciting violence between Jews and Arabs? Here's NPR's Deborah Amos from Jerusalem.

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Good morning. I'm A Martinez. Listen to the beginning of this Bruce Springsteen song.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THUNDER ROAD")

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) The screen door slams. Mary's dress sways.

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