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NPR News

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

At a recent campaign stop in Philadelphia, Senate Democratic candidate Katie McGinty faced a tough crowd: 4-year olds.

"Hi! How's everybody doin'?" McGinty said, as she entered the Western Learning Center, an early childhood program for local families.

McGinty stopped here Tuesday to tout her economic agenda with a small group of local parents, but first, it was story time.

The presidential candidates this week accused one another of racism and bigotry, with Hillary Clinton arguing that Donald Trump's rhetoric and policies are an invitation to the "alt-right" movement.

When 2 feet of rain fell, and the Vermillion River swelled its banks earlier this month, the mayor of Maurice, La., Wayne Theriot, got hit with a double whammy: He lost his home and his office. The two are just a couple hundred yards apart in this small town of about 1,000 people that straddles Vermillion and Lafayette parishes in a largely rural corner of the state.

"You're in City Hall — what's left of it," he says, pointing to the ruined furniture and computers in the tiny three-room building.

One of China's most valuable tech startups, Xiaomi, is trying to innovate itself out of a bind. With its core smartphone business struggling, the company is turning to networked appliances — sometimes referred to as the Internet of things — to revive its fortunes.

Frank Mutz's family has been keeping people cool for more than half a century.

It began with his grandfather, who started installing and repairing air conditioners in the 1950s. Now, Frank is the elder in the family trade, running the Atlanta business alongside his own children, including his son Phil.

In Japan, you sometimes hear the term "village on the edge." What it means is "village on the edge of extinction."

Japan's population is declining. And the signs of that are easiest to see in rural areas, like the mountainous interior of the southern island of Shikoku. For example, the village of Nagoro used to have around 300 residents. Now it has 30.

Second grader Caedmon Craig is attempting to write in cursive and he's being helped by his mom. But a lot of erasing is happening at this kitchen table in Prattville, Ala. This school year Caedmon will be writing in cursive for the first time. For now he's only required to write his cursive letters separately, but he's ready for more.

"I think joining them is easier than separate," he says. "Because you don't have to do that much."

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