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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Baghdad today. He is touring the Middle East to reassure allies amid shifting U.S. declarations of its plans for Syria. NPR's Jane Arraf joins us from Baghdad. Hi there, Jane.

JANE ARRAF, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

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President Trump tried to enlist the public last night in his drive to win funding for a border wall.

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Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise visit to the cities of Baghdad and Irbil on Wednesday, adding the stops in Iraq to his eight-day trip to the Middle East.

In meetings that were widely covered by Iraqi TV and other media, Pompeo met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and President Barham Salih, along with Iraq's foreign minister and parliamentary speaker, in Iraq's capital city.

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

The young Saudi woman who captivated the world with her harrowing tweets claiming abuse has been granted refugee status by the United Nations.

"The UNHCR has referred Ms Rahaf Mohammed Al-Qunun to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement," the Australia Department of Home Affairs told NPR in a statement, referring to the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Australia will "consider this referral in the usual way, as it does with all UNHCR referrals."

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President Trump made a case last night that he is not against immigrants. He says he is against those who break the law.

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Jacinda says she has "no idea" what her family will do if the government shutdown continues past January. Her husband's last paycheck was Dec. 28 and, like many federal workers, he's unlikely to get his next one at the end of this week. He may not get the one after that, due at the end of January, either.

"Our rent is due, the electric bill is due, our cellphones are now past due," she says.

Her husband is a TSA officer in Portland, Ore., but he's not speaking publicly because the Transportation Security Administration forbids personnel to do so.

After extending to an unexpected third day, trade talks between U.S. and Chinese officials have concluded, a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry announced Wednesday morning. Delegates to the talks have not yet revealed what specifically was discussed, or if anything was agreed to. In a Tweet Tuesday morning, President Trump said the talks were "going very well!"

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It's a stinky time for the American cheese industry.

While Americans consumed nearly 37 pounds per capita in 2017, it was not enough to reduce the country's 1.4 billion-pound cheese surplus, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The glut, which at 900,000 cubic yards is the largest in U.S. history, means that there is enough cheese sitting in cold storage to wrap around the U.S. Capitol.

On Tuesday, the woman believed to be the oldest person in the U.S. passed away at her home in Cleveland Heights, the Associated Press reported. According to the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks and verifies the age of people aged 110 and older, Lessie Brown lived for 114 years and 108 days.

In recent months, thousands of migrants have gathered in Tijuana, hoping for asylum in the United States. Some will be deported before ever stepping foot in the U.S. Others will be detained by U.S. immigration authorities as they wait for their hearings.

But some will be allowed to live in the U.S. while their cases wind through the system. Legal experts say if they stay in California, they'll be lucky to be there. The state has a cadre of pro bono attorneys eager to help them navigate the complicated asylum process.

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And next we have news about the rescue of a book shop. Drama Book Shop in New York sells books about theater and film. It sells theater scripts, and even has a small experimental theater.

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7 Takeaways From President Trump's Oval Office Address

Jan 9, 2019

President Trump delivered the first Oval Office address of his presidency Tuesday night — and it came in the midst of a protracted partial government shutdown.

There were a lot of questions going into the address, but there were at least as many afterward — especially, and most importantly: What now?

So what did we learn from the president's address and the rare Democratic response? Here are seven insights:

Davos is where world leaders preen and articulate grand visions in a glamorous setting that beckons with powdery snow and shiny klieg lights. The annual meeting, high in the Swiss Alps, is the ultimate gathering of the global elite.

Updated at Jan. 9 at 3:13 p.m. ET

Phoenix police are collecting DNA evidence from all male employees of Hacienda HealthCare, where a patient in a vegetative state gave birth to a child Dec. 29.

Joshua Tree National Park will be temporarily closed as of Thursday morning because of damage caused by visitors during the partial government shutdown. Park officials said few rangers are on hand to prevent off-road driving, which causes destruction of the park's namesake trees.

"While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree National Park do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure," the park said in a statement.

Prosecutors investigating Russian interference in the last U.S. presidential election suspect former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with a business associate who has links to the Russian intelligence service, according to a new court filing.

The disclosure emerged in a legal brief filed by Manafort's defense lawyers, who are resisting the idea he intentionally lied to special counsel Robert Mueller, lies that the investigators said should torpedo his plea deal.

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Updated at 6:29 p.m. ET

The new House Democratic majority is promising to do something the party avoided when it last controlled the levers of power in Washington: pass gun legislation enhancing background check requirements for all gun purchases.

The Democratic field for Kentucky governor is taking shape with former State Auditor Adam Edelen becoming the third high-profile candidate in the party to officially to enter the contest.

Carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. are on the rise again after several years of decline, and a booming economy is the cause.

That's according to a report out today from the Rhodium Group, an independent research firm that tracks CO2 emissions in the U.S.

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Every year in a different city, thousands of people in the world music community gather to celebrate and search for up-and-coming artists. That includes our music reviewer Banning Eyre.

The latest DNA technology combined with the study of family history has given law enforcement agencies across the country new ways to solve decades-old crimes.

Updated at 10:38 p.m. ET

Democrats again rejected President Trump's demand for a wall on the Southern border following an Oval Office address Tuesday night in which Trump insisted the wall is the only solution to an influx of migration from Mexico and Central America.

Updated 4:54pm E.T.

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