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Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Arne Duncan will step down as President Obama's education secretary in December, a White House official confirms to NPR.

Obama has selected Deputy Education Secretary John B. King Jr. to replace Duncan. King is a former New York State education commissioner. (President Obama is making a personnel announcement at 3:30 p.m. ET.)

President Obama is set to have a one-on-one meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

It's not clear exactly when the two leaders would meet, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the encounter would happen Monday when Putin is scheduled to deliver remarks at the U.N.

The White House confirmed the meeting would take place, but did not specify when.

According to a senior administration official:

The White House

Pope Francis is visiting Washington, D.C. this week. His first visit to the U.S. began formally on Wednesday with an arrival ceremony at the White House and a personal meeting with President Barack Obama. 

Just over a week ago, the Obama administration was considering sanctioning China in response to suspected hacking attacks, especially one on the Office of Personnel Management that compromised the data of millions of federal employees.

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ended his campaign for president Monday, capping off a rapid rise and equally rapid fall in the GOP race.

At a brief 6 p.m. ET press conference in Madison, Wis., Walker said he was suspending his White House bid, in part, to stop the current GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

"Today I feel I am being called to lead by helping to clear the field so that a positive, conservative message can rise to the top of the field," Walker said.

Mazur/Catholic Church England and Wales / Creative Commons

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy will be among the dignitaries welcoming Pope Francis to the U.S. during a ceremony at the White House. 

Secretary of State John Kerry is pledging that the United States will significantly increase the number of migrants it accepts over the next two years, ratcheting up to 100,000 annually by 2017.

Expect Wednesday night's second GOP presidential debate to be open season on front-runner Donald Trump. The 11 top Republican contenders will take the stage at 8 p.m. ET at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and their unified goal appears to be to get something to stick to the billionaire real-estate mogul. Trump has so far proved to be made of something akin to Teflon.

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The University of Connecticut women's basketball team is not quite finished celebrating their third straight national title.

A conservative Latino group is voicing its frustration with Republican immigration rhetoric on the campaign trail.

In a letter obtained by NPR, the Libre Initiative, which is funded by the Koch brothers, made a clear, bold statement aimed at fellow conservatives. It criticized what it sees as policies that "are not in line with our principles and are not in the best interest of the country." (The full letter is at the bottom of the post.)

Senate Democrats are on the verge of delivering a big win to President Obama on the nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran and five other world powers.

With three more Democrats announcing Tuesday they were backing the accord, it gave supporters enough votes to prevent the passage of a disapproval resolution. Any such resolution would sink the White House-backed nuclear deal that lifts sanctions on Tehran in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.

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Since 1986, the United States has been granting visa waivers to citizens of countries it sees as trusted allies. Someone from France or Spain can, relatively easily, use a passport and visit for up to 90 days. There are 38 countries whose citizens do not require visas to enter the United States. 

But one key ally has been wait listed: Poland. And the Polish community is asking, “Why not us?” 

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President Obama announced an executive order requiring paid sick leave for more than 300,000 employees of federal contractors Monday morning.

With thousands of Syrian refugees and other migrants finally reaching havens in Germany and other European countries — and thousands more arriving daily — the Obama administration says it's "actively considering" ways to help, including allowing more refugees into the U.S.

The migrant crisis has placed stress on infrastructure in Greece, Macedonia and Hungary. It has also highlighted divisions between European Union countries.

The only American military installation abroad that's unwelcome to its host government is the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A treaty signed in 1934 leases Guantanamo to the United States in perpetuity, for about $4,000 a year. And the U.S. has no plans to leave, despite the two countries having just restored diplomatic ties.

The current front-runner in the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump, is sparking a debate about immigration that's beginning to alienate some conservative Latinos.

"He drowns out a lot of the conservative field, and it's very bad for the Republican Party," said Ricky Salabarria, a 22-year-old consultant with a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses tucked into his pink dress shirt.

Salabarria was among a half-dozen young conservatives at a networking event in Northern Virginia. He's from Florida, and his family is originally from Cuba and Spain.

The dynamics of the Democratic presidential primary campaign could change dramatically if Vice President Joe Biden enters the raceBut Bernie Sanders' campaign says it has no plans to change its basic strategy if Biden decides to run.

The decision clock is ticking for Vice President Biden to decide about a presidential run — and history hasn't been kind to past candidates who waited until the last minute.

Recent campaigns are littered with would-be front-runners who tried to wait it out and seize late momentum. Instead, they ended up as has-beens.

In the 2004 election cycle, Gen. Wesley Clark didn't enter the contest until September. He was leading the Democratic polls then, but rapidly fell once he became an official candidate.

Former President Jimmy Carter said he and his wife, Rosalynn, are going to "cut back dramatically" on their public schedule as he begins radiation therapy later today.

During a press conference in Atlanta, Carter said doctors found melanoma that had spread to his liver and his brain. Ninety-eight percent of that kind of cancer first shows up on the skin, he said. Two percent develops first inside the body.

Republican Carly Fiorina failed to qualify for the main stage at the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 6 in Cleveland. But recent polls suggest she got a boost from her standout performance in a smaller forum for candidates who were polling at the bottom of the field.

In her bid for the presidency, Fiorina is positioning herself as a conservative alternative to Democrat Hillary Clinton. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is the only woman in the GOP race, and she has repeatedly criticized Clinton on the campaign trail.

President Obama's perhaps most notable statement on race came recently in Charleston, S.C. That's where he gave the eulogy for nine African-Americans killed by a white man in a church.

The president has also continued to address the killings of black men at the hands of the police, and he's pushing to reduce the number of prison inmates, who are disproportionately black.

Where Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change

Aug 11, 2015

Last week, President Obama released a plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Climate change has also been cropping up on the presidential campaign trail — both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have released their own proposals.

A year after Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., sparking weeks of often violent protests in the city, the country is still struggling to deal with the issues the shooting, and others like it, have brought to the fore.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who is in line to be Democratic leader when Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada steps down next year, says he will vote against the president's nuclear control deal with Iran.

In a post on Medium, Schumer says after "considerable soul-searching," he has decided he can't support the agreement.

Schumer says among his reservations about the deal is that it does not allow for inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities at any time. He adds:

Updated at 11:36 p.m.

All eyes were on billionaire businessman Donald Trump on Thursday night — and he didn't disappoint.

On the very first question, Trump refused to promise to back the eventual GOP nominee — unless it's him — and wouldn't rule out launching a third-party bid. He jabbed at moderator Megyn Kelly when asked about his comments on women, called reporters "a very dishonest lot," declared that "our leaders are stupid, our politicians are stupid," and was unapologetic about his wealth and businesses.

Updated at 7:40 p.m.

The biggest punches thrown at the first GOP presidential debate of the evening were at candidates not on the consolation debate stage.

Donald Trump and rivals Jeb Bush and Scott Walker will face off in a televised debate tonight, taking the stage in Cleveland along with seven other Republican hopefuls who were selected by debate organizer Fox News.

This post was updated at 7:15 p.m.

The final polls are in and the stage is set for Thursday night's first Republican presidential debate.

Those who made the cut, according to Fox News: businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The room at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester had 400 seats set out for Bernie Sanders’ town hall meeting on Saturday; all of them were full and people were standing in the aisles. They’ve come for the message Sanders has been delivering with the consistency of a jackhammer for his whole political career.

The inaugural 2016 debate for the White House on Thursday will be the first time many voters will be tuning into the volatile GOP campaign, and candidates are praying they'll get a boost and not a bust from the face-off.

"The level of engagement has been very low," said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based national GOP strategist. "This will be a week where we will probably have record viewership on Fox News for a primary debate, and it's going to get a lot of attention and a lot of focus."