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China's stocks tumbled once again today, after bad news from the manufacturing sector. Is the world's second largest economy in a free fall? Can Beijing rebuild confidence while cracking down on dissent? Guest host Barbara Bogaev explores why China's economy is rattling the world.

Also, a Kentucky county clerk again defies the same-sex marriage law. On today's Talking Point, Pope Francis says priests can forgive women who've had abortions. Is this a temporary olive branch in a divided church or sign of a significant re-alignment of Vatican priorities? 

Photo: Rafael Matsunaga 

Kentucky County Clerk Defies Marriage Law 6 MIN, 9 SEC

A standoff over gay marriage in Kentucky has kicked up a notch. Today, the elected county clerk of Rowan County, Kim Davis, refused yet again to issue marriage licenses to several gay couples. She's citing "God's authority." This came just hours after the US Supreme Court declined to excuse her from her sworn duty. Now, lawyers for the couples are asking a federal judge to hold her in contempt of court. Allison Connelly has been watching this conflict. She's a professor of law at the University of Kentucky and director of its legal clinic.

Allison Connelly, University of Kentucky

Davis' original refusal to issue licenses to same-sex couples (TtP feature)
Liberty Counsel's call for an "accommodation" to resolve the dispute

Is China's Economic Instability a Political Crisis? 34 MIN, 3 SEC

Since the 2007 global recession, China has remained an economic powerhouse, the hallmark of reliable growth and stable investment. But this summer Chinese stocks have plunged almost 40 percent, rattling investor confidence in Beijing's ability to control the market and guide the world's second largest economy. Some China observers say "Black Monday" is just the beginning of the end of China's economic miracle. Will declining confidence in Beijing prompt reforms? Will the government continue cracking down on critics?

Clay Shirky, New York University
Damien Ma, Paulson Institute
Jacob Soll, University of Southern California (@jakesoll)
Mei Fong, New America Foundation (@meifongwriter)

The Economist on 'the great fall of China'
Ma on the politics of China's market decline as more worrying than the economics
Soll's 'The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations'
Soll on the Chinese crisis as echoes of the Soviet Union and 16th-century Europe
Mei Fong's 'One Child: The Past and Future of China's Most Radical Experiment'

Pope Francis Expands Forgiveness for the "Sin of Abortion" 9 MIN, 18 SEC

Pope Francis says priests can forgive women who've had abortions, considered a grave sin by the Catholic Church. Over the next Holy Year, women who repent and confess can be absolved by any ordained priest. Reformers within the church see this as an olive branch in the divisive debate over abortion. Conservatives are framing it as nothing more than a bolstering up of the power of priests. Frances Kissling is the president of the nonprofit Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy and a former president of Catholics for Choice.

Photo courtesy of the Catholic Church of England and Wales

Frances Kissling, Center for Health, Ethics and Social Policy (@FrancesKissling)

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