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Rauner Demands School Funding Bill Now

Lawmakers approved a state budget more than a week ago. But the education portion remains uncertain. For the money to flow, Democrats added a provision that requires enactment of a new school funding plan . Democrats have passed such a plan through both chambers, but Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, says he’ll veto parts of it.

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Statehouse

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded Democrats send him school funding legislation, threatening to call a special session if they don't. The governor has sought to pit Downstate school school districts — and local legislators — against Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, Rauner continued replacing top staff with people from a libertarian advocacy organization.

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Education Desk

This week, the First Global Challenge, a highly anticipated robotics competition for 15- to 18-year-olds from 157 countries, ended the way it began — with controversy.

On Wednesday, members of the team from the violence-torn east African country of Burundi went missing. And well before the competition even began, the teams from Gambia and Afghanistan made headlines after the U.S. State Department denied the members visas. Eventually, they were allowed to compete.

The drama marred an otherwise upbeat event focused on kids and robots.

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Health+Harvest Desk

The Un-Pretty History Of Georgia's Iconic Peach

Jul 21, 2017

During peach season, Georgia's roads are dotted with farm stands selling fresh peaches. Year-round, tourist traps sell mugs, hats, shirts and even snow globes with peaches on them. At the beginning of the Georgia peach boom, one of Atlanta's major roads was renamed Peachtree Street. But despite its associations with perfectly pink-orange peaches, "The Peach State" of Georgia is neither the biggest peach producing state (that honor goes to California) nor are peaches its biggest crop.

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Arts & Life

Bassem Youssef was a successful surgeon in Cairo when he was inspired — thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show — to start his own satirical show on YouTube. Al-Bernameg was a hit, and Youssef received the highest honor in comedy: being forced to flee his country by a military dictatorship. He's now the subject of the documentary Tickling Giants.

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Equity

In an attempt to reach a younger and more diverse audience, the largest and most well-known Latino advocacy group in the U.S., the National Council of La Raza, renamed itself this month. The new name, UnidosUS, was announced at the group's 2017 conference in Phoenix. This has caused a rift in the U.S. Latino community — some see it as shedding a dated name, but others see it as leaving a legacy behind.

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Illinois Economy

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Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

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Poland is poised to dissolve a key separation of government powers, as President Andrzej Duda is expected to sign a bill that puts the nation's Supreme Court under the control of the ruling party, despite citizens' protests and pleas from allies in the EU and U.S.

Poland's Senate approved the measure early Saturday, capping days of debate and demonstrations. The lower house of Parliament gave its approval earlier this week.

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Prediction

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Lightning Fill In The Blank

4 hours ago

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Limericks

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Bassem Youssef was a successful surgeon in Cairo when he was inspired — thanks to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show — to start his own satirical show on YouTube. Al-Bernameg was a hit, and Youssef received the highest honor in comedy: being forced to flee his country by a military dictatorship. He's now the subject of the documentary Tickling Giants.

Afghan officials say 16 members of the Afghan National Security Forces died in a U.S. airstrike Friday, during operations against Taliban fighters in southern Helmand province. The U.S. says it is investigating the circumstances that led to the mistake.

Afghan media report that 16 members of the security force died, citing local government officials. Although a U.S. statement acknowledging the strike did not specify the number of casualties, a Pentagon spokesman later put the figure at from 12-15 deaths.

Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET

Members of the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S., the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, are heading into their annual meeting with no speaker from the White House and a new interim president and CEO. The meeting started Saturday in Baltimore.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Any self-respecting comics fan cringes at the phrase "comics aren't just for kids anymore." But any self-respecting comics fan also has to admit there are some great kids' comics out there — especially right now.

Before I left for San Diego Comic-Con this week, I checked in with Lucy Strother, a fourth grade teacher in Philadelphia whose students just love comics. "We have like a comics and graphic novels bin in the library and it's perpetually empty because the kids are so obsessed with comics and graphic novels," she says.

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Illinois Issues Forums

Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget and the challenges ahead at the Peoria City Hall.
Sarah Scott / Peoria Public Radio

WATCH-LISTEN: Peoria State Budget Forum

NPR Illinois continued its listening tour on the state's fiscal health co-hosting an Illinois Issues Forum in Peoria on July 20. Community members attended to tell how they have been impacted by the state budget impasse.

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Illinois Issues

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Illinois Issues: The Battle Over Transparency And Privacy In The Digital Age

The issue pits business interests against privacy concerns. For Carolyn Parrish, a privacy professional based in Evanston, data privacy is just as important in her personal, everyday life, as it is to keeping her business running.

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Featured

'Dunkirk' Director Christopher Nolan: 'We Really Try To Put You On That Beach'

In England, there's something known as the "Dunkirk spirit," shorthand for coming together in times of adversity. It refers to the heroic evacuation of British troops by British civilians in small boats at the beginning of World War II — and it's a story director Christopher Nolan has wanted to tell for a long time. "You've got 400,000 men on this beach [in Dunkirk, France], pretty much within sight of England; the enemy closing in on all sides," Nolan says. "And they were faced with really...

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