Steve Inskeep

Author Robert Harris' new novel Munich takes us back to 1938, to the days before World War II. Of course, we say now that it was before the war — but back then, people weren't at all sure another war was coming.

In September of that year, German leader Adolf Hitler demanded parts of neighboring Czechoslovakia. He threatened to invade, but at a meeting in Munich, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain negotiated what he famously called "peace for our time."

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President Trump doesn't sound very optimistic about an immigration deal.

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The political strategist who once meant to do damage to the political establishment seems to have done damage to himself.

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Morning News Brief

Dec 27, 2017

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From his earliest days in office, President Trump has suggested a big infrastructure plan was coming.

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Let's begin with the experience of being on board a fast-moving train when it starts to leave the track.

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Whatever this Republican tax bill does - does it help the middle class? Does it focus more on helping the wealthy? - well, the party and the White House are about ready to own this.

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House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is moving close to victory. After a frustrating year in which Republicans who control Congress failed to repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act, Congress is moving closer to approving its first major legislation of 2017.

Tucked into a small side street in the Changping District just north of Beijing, a school stands out in bright, childlike colors — orange and green. Cheerful music plays between classes as students stream into the courtyard to play.

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Like when he campaigned, President Trump could hardly stop talking about unfair trade with China. So what did he gain from visiting China and several of its neighbors?

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There was a time in China when the solid steel-framed bicycle was the perfect representation of its pace of life. A man in a black cap pedaling down a market street, bearing fruits and vegetables in his front wire basket — that was the full expression of Chinese commerce.

But that has long since changed. Bicycles began disappearing from Beijing and other cities two decades ago, replaced by cars as China's fortunes rose. There are now 6 million cars on Beijing's streets alone; last year, some 28 million cars were sold across China.

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Our MORNING EDITION co-host Steve Inskeep has been reporting from China. And he encountered a business so old it's new.

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In China's coal country, Shanxi Province, the black stuff is a more than just a source of income — it is a source of identity. Lumps of it are for sale at the national coal museum, in elegant, satin-lined gift boxes. The rest of the coal museum is faded and out of date, much like the city of Taiyuan, where it is located, about 300 miles southwest of Beijing.

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