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Every weekday for over three decades, NPR's Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with multi-faceted stories and commentaries that inform challenge and occasionally amuse.  Morning Edition is the most listened-to news radio program in the country. Eric Hodge and the WUNC News team bring you regional updates through the morning.

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Up first, this day marks the anniversary of the start of Venezuela's struggle for independence in 1810. We normally wouldn't mention that here this morning but many Venezuelans plan to spend this day protesting their government.

Mattis Travels To Saudi Arabia

Apr 19, 2017

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No More Politics On Balconies

Apr 19, 2017

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Not sure if you knew this but today is National Garlic Day. Tomorrow is National High Five Day. Saturday is National Jelly Bean Day. The list goes on. Kenny Malone from our Planet Money podcast wanted to find out who is behind these weird holidays.

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British Prime Minister Theresa May made a surprise announcement this morning. She called a snap parliamentary election for June 8, saying she needs a strong mandate ahead of Brexit negotiations.

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A century ago, it was one of the biggest names in retail. Now, even Sears officials say its future could be in doubt — though they say they have plans to make sure the retail icon survives.

Nancy Koehn with the Harvard Business School says that in its early days, Sears Roebuck and Co. was like Amazon is today — a retailer of great disruption.

For Sears, it meant a path-breaking strategy of offering all sorts of merchandise in catalogs and building department stores in remote places with ample parking.

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As if this year's elections in France and Germany were not enough, Britain is voting, too. Prime Minister Theresa May has the power to call a snap election. And today she did.

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Kevin Butt's job is to find cleaner ways to power Toyota. One of the hardest places to do that is at the automaker's sprawling plant in central Kentucky, a state where nearly 90 percent of electricity still comes from coal.

Butt points out a new engine assembly line, where a conveyor belt moves in a slow circle. He says it was specially designed with a more efficient motor. There are also enormous fans overhead and LED lights, all changes that save millions.

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On Capitol Hill, Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows carries a reputation of a right-wing rebel — after he and his group of roughly three dozen hard-line House conservatives helped kill the Republican health care bill last month. But back home in his western North Carolina congressional district, Meadows is hailed a hero.

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