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It is two weeks until congressional elections, and President Trump has been leaning into some suggestive rhetoric.

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At the beginning of Esi Edugyan's new book Washington Black, it seems the narrator is not going anywhere.

It's the 1830s, and the narrator, a boy named George Washington Black, is enslaved on the British-controlled island of Barbados. He seems likely to be worked to death in sugar cane fields — until he's carried away.

He's made into an assistant of a visiting white man, and they become friends. Sort of.

"Any true friendship between them is impossible because of the power imbalance – it's just too great," Edugyan says in an interview.

China's ambassador to the United States says his country is "ready to make a deal" to end a trade war with the United States — if they could find a trustworthy partner in Washington.

Cui Tiankai accused the United States of shifting positions and passing up opportunities for agreement. The United States has been escalating tariffs on imports from China, and China he responded with taxes on U.S. goods.

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There was a time when President Trump boasted that he might be the first person ever to make a profit off running for president.

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President Trump is celebrating a new North American Free Trade Agreement. Canada last night joined the United States and Mexico in this new trade deal. And the president spoke about it in the White House Rose Garden today.

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Just how much further is the Federal Bureau of Investigation supposed to look into the life of Brett Kavanaugh?

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CHRISTINE BLASEY FORD: (Reading) I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school.

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Christine Blasey Ford has just begun to speak to the Senate Judiciary Committee, offering testimony today against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Let's just bring the sound of that as we hear a bit of her opening statement.

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BRETT KAVANAUGH: What I know is the truth. And the truth is I've never sexually assaulted anyone, in high school or otherwise.

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Writer Anand Giridharadas has a dark view of American philanthropy.

He has been writing about people who say they're changing the world for the better — except that despite their best efforts, it's not working.

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Tim Cook, who has led Apple since 2011, spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep in a wide-ranging interview on Monday as the company kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

The contradictions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are always on display, but rarely as starkly as this week, when the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem and the militant group Hamas and others planned a protest at the same time that turned deadly.

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As the U.S. Embassy to Israel officially moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem on Monday, "I think the move is going to permit the parties to focus on issues that are, first of all, important. And second of all, solvable," U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tells NPR's Morning Edition. "What the president did when he made this decision was to remove from the Palestinians the right to veto the recognition by the United States and other countries of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

The Trump administration is making plans to "prod" and "cajole" U.S. allies to stop doing business with Iran, a senior State Department official told NPR on Wednesday.

Andrew Peek, who oversees State Department affairs relating to Iran, spoke the morning after President Trump announced that he was withdrawing the United States from its 2015 agreement with Iran limiting its nuclear program and that he was reviving sanctions on Iran.

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Patrick Shanahan is sitting in his sparse Pentagon office. The only picture is a framed portrait of his father, a Vietnam War veteran who was awarded a Bronze Star. Now it's up to his son — the No. 2 defense official — to juggle both current and future wars.

And that means he works six or seven days a week. Both Shanahan and his boss, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, come from Washington state and have a good-natured rivalry about who gets to work the earliest, often before the sun rises.

When Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif walked into a roomful of reporters in New York on Saturday, he remarked on how his U.S. visit was going.

"Good," he said. "Not as good as the guy who spent $250 million on the trip."

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Charles Frazier used to think he'd said enough about the Civil War. In Cold Mountain, he'd written an acclaimed novel that became an Oscar-winning movie.

"After Cold Mountain, I never thought I wanted to write about the Civil War again," he says in an interview. "But as the past three or four years have shown, it's not done with us — as a country, as a culture."

We still have competing visions of America. And Charles Frazier's new novel Varina offers a fictional version of a real-life Confederate.

Facebook has been under fire in recent weeks after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica gained access to millions of users' data while working for President Trump's 2016 campaign. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify before Congress early next week.

In an interview Thursday, Sheryl Sandberg, the social network's chief operating officer tells NPR's Steve Inskeep about the company's missteps, and what it's doing to correct them, and the information being provided to affected users.

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