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Iran has elected hard-line cleric Ebrahim Raisi as its next president. Raisi has the strong backing of Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini.

Updated June 19, 2021 at 1:05 PM ET

Champ Biden, one of two German shepherds belonging to President Biden and his family has died, the president and first lady Jill Biden announced late Saturday morning. He was 13 years old.

"Our hearts are heavy today," Biden and first lady Jill Biden wrote in a statement, adding that the dog had died at their home.

The Bidens were at their home in Delaware.

1971. What a year.

We at NPR have a special soft spot for it because it's the year we were founded. We've been celebrating our 50th anniversary, and you can come join the party here, here, and here.

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Meeting this week in Geneva between the leaders of two rival superpowers.

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During NPR's 50th anniversary year, we're doing some stories under the banner We Hold These Truths about American democracy. How have Americans learned about democracy? How do we learn about most anything? - at the movies.

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On a warm May night, the sound of footsteps and a stranger's voice in the darkness outside his home startled a man in Afghanistan. Alarmed, he went to investigate. He saw that someone had affixed something to his door.

He found a handwritten note: "You have been helping U.S. occupier forces and ... you are an ally and spy of infidels, we will never leave you alive."

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The United States is importing historic amounts of stuff from overseas, causing the U.S. trade deficit to hit record highs. Greg Rosalsky from our Planet Money podcast reports the shipping industry is having trouble handling all of it.

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After a contentious debate, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has voted to move forward with a process that could call into question the eligibility of politicians like President Joe Biden to receive Communion.

The bishops voted 168-55 in favor of drafting "a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church," officials announced on Friday afternoon, the final day of their three-day virtual meeting. Six bishops abstained.

In the last few weeks, the Biden administration began distributing an unprecedented amount of money to states: $195 billion dollars from the American Rescue Plan that congressional Democrats passed in March.

With the sheer scale of dollars at stake, a huge fight has already begun brewing between some GOP-led states and the administration over exactly how to use that money, part of a larger trend of partisan warfare between state capitols and Washington over the past decade.

Morning News Brief

Jun 18, 2021

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The federal government is closed today for the newest federal holiday - Juneteenth.

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An attempt by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to float a compromise proposal on Democratic-led efforts to enact sweeping voting and election reforms was swiftly criticized by the chamber's Republican leader on Thursday.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 4:28 PM ET

President Biden on Thursday signed a bill to recognize Juneteenth — the celebration to commemorate the end of chattel slavery in the United States — as a federal holiday.

Federal employees will observe the holiday for the first time on Friday.

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday to establish Juneteenth National Independence Day, a federal holiday to commemorate the end of chattel slavery in the United States.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 5:04 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday sided with Catholic Social Services in a battle that pitted religious freedom against anti-discrimination laws in Philadelphia and across the country. The court declared that the private Catholic agency was entitled to renewal of its contract with the city for screening foster parents, even though the agency violated city law by refusing to consider married LGBTQ couples.

Updated June 17, 2021 at 5:05 PM ET

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act for the third time on Thursday, leaving in place the broad provisions of the law enacted by Congress in 201o. The vote was 7 to 2.

The opinion, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

The past 4 1/2 years have been a fever dream in American politics.

Donald Trump's administration was marked by unprecedented chaos and drama, with major stories crowding one another out of the news on a daily basis.

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President Biden is back at the White House this morning after his high-profile summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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After a summit with Russia's leader yesterday, President Biden said the important thing here wasn't just what he said but who said it.

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