Linda Wertheimer

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The Whitehouse has announced that President Obama's National Security Advisor is resigning and he will be replaced by Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. NPR's Ron Elving is here to tell us more. Ron, some months ago, Ms. Rice was rumored to be nominated Secretary of State - that, of course, did not happen. So why don't you give us a quick fill on the back story.

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Leader from around the world have arrived in Venezuela to pay their final respects to President Hugo Chavez, who used his country's oil wealth to put in place his vision of socialism during 14 years in power. And this larger-than-life leader presumably will continue to inspire his followers. The Venezuelan government plans to embalm his body and keep it on display in a glass coffin.

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Providing free preschool education to children across America is a priority for President Obama's second term in office.

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Chuck Hagel will have to wait at least another 10 days to find out if the Senate will confirm him as the next secretary of defense. That's because Senate Democrats failed to muster the 60 vote supermajority needed to break a GOP filibuster of the former Nebraska Republican senator's nomination.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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More now on this morning's merger announcement by American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The deal would create the biggest air carrier in the U.S., with an estimated value of $11 billion. The merger must still be approved by regulators. And since American Airlines is working its way out of bankruptcy, a federal bankruptcy judge will also have to OK the deal.

North Korea confirmed on Tuesday that it had successfully conducted a third nuclear test. It's an important step toward North Korea's goal of building a bomb small enough to be fitted on a missile that could reach United States.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

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And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Former CIA Director David Petraeus is testifying before two congressional committees today. He's been called to discuss the CIA's role in the attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, back in September; an attack that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. This also happens to be General Petraeus' first public appearance on Capitol Hill since he resigned over an extramarital affair.

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China announced today that it is prosecuting the wife of a disgraced party official for the murder of a British man. It's the latest sensational twist in the country's biggest political scandal in decades. NPR's Louisa Lim joins us now from Beijing. Louisa, could you bring us up to speed on this scandal and what the latest news is?

In Washington, D.C., the glittering marble of public buildings and monuments can conceal the darkest of deeds. And in the crime novels of Mike Lawson, they do.

"When I started writing, the very first decision I made was, I wanted the book set in D.C.," says Lawson, who recently published his seventh Washington-based thriller, House Blood. "That was before I had a character, or anything else."

And he had a reason.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

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The U.S. Olympic Track and Field trials soared to a start last month in Eugene, Oregon, with a world record in the decathlon. Yesterday, the trials limped to a controversial end. A planned 100 meter run-off was canceled between sprinters Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarmoh after Tarmoh decided not to race.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Members of Congress have left town for the Fourth of July recess, but Washington is still reacting to the Supreme Court decision upholding President Obama's health care law. Each party is looking for ways to use the decision to its advantage in the fall campaign. Going into the weekend, a Gallup poll showed voters evenly split; 46 percent said they approved of the ruling, 46 percent disapprove.

Over the past 24 hours, the Syrian regime has engaged in escalating fighting with rebel fighters, who took on an elite unit of the army and attacked a pro-Assad television station.

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