Steve Inskeep

You can re-enact that scene in the old movie Christmas Vacation.

A family goes into a forest and cuts down a ridiculously tall tree.

The U.S. Forest Service is selling Christmas tree removal permits for $5 in the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont.

You go into the forest. You cut down the tree yourself. There's only one catch: the tree you choose cannot be more than 20 feet tall.

When you walk into the Smithsonian's "Art of the Qur'an" exhibition, you're met with a book that weighs 150 pounds. The tome, which dates back to the late-1500s, has giant pages that are covered in gold and black Arabic script.

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We recently placed a call to a refugee who's stuck on the other side of the world.

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INSKEEP: Hi, it's Steve Inskeep. Can you hear me?

JAMES: Yeah.

President Obama says he agrees with Donald Trump on one thing: There are "parallels" between the U.S. election and the United Kingdom's dramatic vote to leave the European Union.

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam says he is deciding whether to sign legislation that would allow therapists to refuse service based on religious objections.

In an interview with NPR's Morning Edition, he said he is "talking to a lot of folks to get some input" on the bill and that he had boiled his thinking down to this central question: whether therapists could truly leave their values out of their work.

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Presidential candidate Donald Trump, after some delay, has named a few of his foreign policy advisers. One says he hopes that if Trump is elected, cooler heads will persuade him not to carry through on some of his promises.

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Another round of presidential primaries has intensified the pressure on Republicans hoping to defeat Donald Trump. He won three primaries last night, including the big state of Michigan.

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Just ahead of Valentine's Day, we visited the tomb of a poet who wrote often of love.

The 14th century Persian poet Hafez is buried in Shiraz, the city where he lived almost 700 years ago. He remains venerated in Iran, even though he wrote of romance and other topics that are not obviously embraced in the modern-day Islamic Republic.

One of his lines: "Oh Cup-bearer, set my glass afire with the light of wine!"

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A kosher restaurant in Tunisia is closing.

It's the last kosher restaurant in the country's capital. The Jewish-run restaurant is shutting down because of terrorist threats.

It's one of many aftershocks in the country where the Arab Spring began.

A few years ago, I visited that kosher restaurant — a vestige of Tunisia's ancient and once-thriving Jewish community. We were traveling across North Africa, and we took a table with the owner, Jacob LaLoush.

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Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says there isn't much time. Congress and the White House face two big deadlines to fund the government. It will be an intricate maneuver to meet both deadlines even as congressional leadership changes. And in an interview with NPR, Lew described behind-the-scenes negotiations meant to avert a last-minute crisis.

"There are conversations going on at a staff level," Lew told NPR's Steve Inskeep, "and I think the key is for Democrats and Republicans [in Congress] to talk to each other."

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Let's hear what it's like to live beneath Russian jets and bombs in Syria's war. We've seen Russia's intervention in terms of geopolitics and photos at the U.N. Vladimir Putin, Syria's ally, maneuvers against President Obama.

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Critics in the U.S. see Russia's incursion as a sign of American weakness. The U.S. didn't get fully involved in Syria, so the Russians did, yet there is a flipside to that story.

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