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[00:00:00]

All Americans, Sir Peter Piper, picked a peck of pickled peppers. Hello, America. Stand by for news.

[00:00:11]

A woman of black and South Asian heritage will be on the 2020 ballot for Vice President.

[00:00:16]

Joe Biden chose Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate. How might she alter the race against Donald Trump and Mike Pence?

[00:00:23]

I'm Noel, working here with Steve Inskeep. And this is up first from NPR News.

[00:00:30]

Not all college sports will return this fall. The Big Ten in the PAC 12, two of the biggest football conferences, will stay off the field.

[00:00:38]

There are just too many uncertainties to feel comfortable from a medical standpoint to proceed forward. Where does that leave student athletes? Also, her husband's in jail.

[00:00:47]

She runs for president against a man known as Europe's last dictator. And when he declares himself the winner, she flees the country. Who is she? Stick with us.

[00:00:56]

We've got the news you need to start your day support for this podcast. And the following message come from Imperative Entertainment and Fox to posting's new podcast, The Syndicate. Follow the story of college friends who started the longest and most lucrative smuggling runs in U.S. history. Listen to the syndicate. Wherever podcasts are found, support also comes from better help online counseling by licensed professional counselors specializing in isolation, depression, stress and anxiety. Visit better help dotcoms. Up first to learn more and get 10 percent off your first month.

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When Barack Obama won the presidential nomination in 2008, his vice presidential pick was a rival who ran against him, Joe Biden, now 12 years later.

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Biden is taking the Democratic nomination and for a running mate, he's picked one of his former rivals, Kamala Harris hammered Biden in debates before she dropped out.

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She's a former California prosecutor who was elected to the Senate and she also represents how this country is changing. A major party has never chosen someone from her background. She is the first black woman, the first person from an Asian background and one of the few women on a major party ticket.

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NPR political correspondent Scott Detro will be in Wilmington, Delaware, today when Biden and Harris appeared together as running mates for the first time. Scott, good morning. Hey, good morning. What made Harris the choice?

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You know, earlier this year, a Harris ally told me that Harris was kind of the Joe Biden of the veep stakes, the clear front runner going in a front runner. That would lead to a lot of second guessing. But just like Biden in the primary, after close looks at lots of other contenders, you'd end up back at the exact same place. And that's essentially what happened. The idea of Harris eventually serving as Joe Biden's running mate has been such a consensus for so long that she had to try and deflected a lot with sarcasm at points last year when she was running for president herself.

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Sir, if people want to speculate about running mates, I encourage that because I think that Joe Biden would be a great running mate as vice president. He's proven that he knows how to do the job.

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And that's for a few reasons. First of all, the classic vice presidential pick balances the ticket. You have Biden, a 77 year old white man from Delaware, Harris, a 55 year old black woman from California. Biden regularly first refers to himself as a transitional candidate. It was clear he was looking for a younger, more energetic running mate. And there was really a lot of pressure on him this year to pick a woman of color. And then a couple other things.

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He was looking for someone he can trust. Both Biden and Harris have track records of pragmatic mainstream Democrats. And we know that relationships are really important to Joe Biden. He's known Kamala Harris for a long time. And importantly, she worked closely with his son, Beau Biden, when both were attorneys general.

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Well, you've just referred a couple of times to her track record. What is it? First and foremost prosecutor? She's a longtime prosecutor. And that's a fact that a lot of progressive voters held against her when she ran for president last year. She grew up in the Bay Area as a daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India. And after working as a prosecutor there, she eventually ran for San Francisco district attorney, then California attorney general. And she became just the second black woman elected to the U.S. Senate in U.S. history in 2016 and quickly developed a national reputation for the way that she grilled witnesses during Senate hearings like Attorney General Bill Bar.

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Attorney General Bar, has the president or anyone at the White House ever asked or suggested that you open an investigation of anyone?

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I wouldn't I wouldn't say a yes or no. Could you repeat that question? I will repeat it and then Harris, as I mentioned, ran for president last year.

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But it is worth noting that after entering the race as a top tier contender with a lot of buzz around her campaign, she kind of struggled to give voters a clear reason to back her in a crowded field, and she ended up dropping out of the race well before the Iowa caucuses.

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Now we have this senator who has been effective in hearings questioning Republicans, who was effective in debates, even if she didn't get very far in the presidential campaign. And people think about her book contending against Mike Pence here. How are Republicans responding? Well, the Trump campaign was ready for this.

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They posted a new ad minutes after the pick was announced saying that she had a radical left agenda that would include raising taxes. And these are attacks that the Trump campaign has had a hard time getting to stick on. Joe Biden. They're hoping voters are more persuaded when it's someone with less of a track record in a more liberal reputation. Worth noting something we'll hear a lot about. The Trump campaign also highlighting the fact that, as we mentioned, Harris really went after Biden pretty hard at times in debates.

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That's a clip that will resurface a lot.

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Well, Scott, thanks so much. Thank you. That's NPR's Scott Detro. Many college athletes say they want to play this fall, some coaches say the same, but two of the biggest football conferences, the Big Ten in the PAC 12, say it is not the right time. They're postponing fall sports because of the pandemic. Here's Kevin Warren. He's commissioner of the Big Ten.

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The uncertainty involving the medical situation and having our student athletes compete in fall sports, we just did not believe that it was prudent at this point in time.

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Let's talk this through with Nicole Auerbach, national college football writer for The Athletic. Good morning. Good morning. Weren't the Big Ten in the PAC 12 heading in a completely different direction just a couple of weeks ago?

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Yes, they both put out revised schedules for what it would look like to play a college football season in the fall. But everything has changed in about the last two months. There have been outbreaks throughout the country, particularly in a lot of college football hotbeds. Decisions started to get made at lower levels. The Ivy League divisions two, Division three. But those are leagues that don't have as much money at stake as the Power five, which is what the Big Ten, the PAC 12 are part of the five most influential leagues in college sports.

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And, you know, they got to the point of saying this is not safe enough to play college football this fall. They've been relying on their medical advisory groups. They've been relying on information and alarming reports about the rare heart condition, myocarditis and its link to covid-19.

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And it just got to the point where they did not feel comfortable moving forward and letting their student athletes continue onward.

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They did use the word postpone instead of cancel and talked about maybe rescheduling some games in the spring. Is that real? It is real.

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It is a hope. It is a long shot potentially if there is no vaccine, but it is technically a postponement and not a cancellation.

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OK, so this has got to be really devastating news for a lot of athletes who maybe, maybe it's their senior year. Maybe they feel this was their chance.

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Absolutely. Athletes in all sports, not just college football, but everyone is crushed. It was it was a really tough day on Tuesday for fall athletes in all of these sports. They've devoted so much of their lives to these sports. A lot of these football players have aspirations of going to the pros and missing out on a fall season is going to impact them. But there's also going to be massive financial implications. A number of athletic directors have already estimated the potential lost revenue.

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Barry Alvarez, the Wisconsin athletic director, estimated about one hundred million dollars in lost revenue by not having a fall season.

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Wow. And I guess we should mention these are big, big football schools. And in many cases, the football revenue pays for other sports. There might be a spring sport that's badly affected by the year, could be long for some college. Absolutely, and this is Michigan, Ohio State, USC, UCLA, these are the types of schools we are talking about and the money that comes in for football does end up going to other athletic programs. It sponsors sports.

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It sponsors scholarships for athletes, including female athletes due to Title nine. So this is something to keep an eye on because these athletic departments are going to end up having to cut sports. We just don't know which ones and where.

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Very briefly, is it possible that other conferences could still go ahead with all sports? It is.

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As of right now, the Big 12, the ACC and the SEC are still moving forward. But, you know, the way that college sports operates is it's a lot of dominoes and decisions that impact others. So there is still an expectation across all levels of college sports, according to my sources, that eventually they will get to the same decision.

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Nicole Auerbach, who writes about football for the athletic and who joined us by Skype. Thanks so much.

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Anytime. For a third night, thousands of demonstrators were in the streets across the former Soviet Republic of Belarus. That's right.

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They're protesting election fraud. President Alexander Lukashenko claimed he'd won a sixth term in an election on Sunday. Meanwhile, his main rival in that election has fled the country. Wow.

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NPR's Lucien Kim is covering the story from Moscow. Hey there, Luciane. Good morning. I don't mean to sound cynical, but Lukashenko has been in power for 26 years, has probably done things like this before. So why are people protesting now?

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Well, protesters are angry for several reasons. For one, as you pointed out, Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus for longer than many of those demonstrators have been alive and often with a twinkle in his eye. Lukashenko refers to himself as a dictator. But in Sunday's election, he actually had a serious challenger. Her name is Svetlana Torkanowsky, who attracted huge crowds as she campaigned around the country. The protesters say Lukashenko has declared victory after mass vote rigging, achieved in part by early voting and barring European election observers.

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Why is his challenger out of the country now?

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Well, Svetlana held a press conference on Monday and she said she wasn't planning on going anywhere. But that night she went missing after visiting the Central Election Commission, where she filed an official complaint about the election. And then finally on Tuesday morning, the foreign minister of neighboring Lithuania tweeted that she was safe and sound in his country. It does appear that she left under duress. Her husband is in a Belarussian jail and she'd already sent her two kids out of the country for their own safety.

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OK, so I got to mention, Belarus is a former Soviet republic. As we said, it's one of the few countries that counts as an ally of Russia, a very close ally. How's the Kremlin viewing all of this?

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Well, yeah, it's hard to stress the strategic importance of Belarus for Russia, for the Kremlin.

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It's a buffer zone bordering three NATO states and it's been a gateway to invading armies for centuries.

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Now, Lukashenko often lashes out at Russia, but he's almost completely dependent on Russian energy deliveries.

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From the Kremlin's point of view, it's better to have an authoritarian regime in Belarus than a democratic government that might one day turn to the West. I talked to Artyom Schreibman. He's a political analyst in Minsk, and I asked him how Russian President Vladimir Putin might react if the unrest continues.

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I'm not sure Putin will necessarily intervene because it would probably add even more chaos to the situation and there is no evidence threat to the Russian interests.

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So what he's saying here is that the protesters demands right now are domestically oriented. They're angry about the election and about Lukashenko and not about Belarus's relationship with Russia.

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And as best you can determine, the protests are continuing even though the opposition candidate can't lead them in person anymore.

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She's gone. That's right. They keep on protesting even this morning.

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Lucien, thank you so much. Thanks. That's NPR's Lucene Kim in Moscow. And that's a first for this Wednesday, August 12th. I'm Steve Inskeep. And I'm Noel King. We'd love it if you start your day here with us again tomorrow. We are on Twitter.

[00:12:58]

Add up first. There's a simple way to explore the vast world. I just love saying that that way.

[00:13:03]

By the way, no vast world of public radio shows and podcasts, NPR one year news from the station in your community and stories from across the country, as well as podcast suggestions based on what you like. Download NPR one at the App Store. Back in the day, as Netflix began to gain popularity, its rival, Blockbuster, was looking for an edge. At one point, the investors were asking Blockbuster to sell jeans in the store.

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Yeah, you just met in these like older investors being like, you know what the kids want? They want jeans.

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You get a Tom Cruise movie and some stonewashed jeans.

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The downfall of Blockbuster and the rise of Netflix.

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Listen to it's been a minute from NPR.