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Congress has so much unfinished business and time is growing so short that the federal government faces another shutdown at the end of this month. We hear how it may become hostage to a single, hot-button political issue: funding for Planned Parenthood.

Also, Russia's military quietly moves into Syria. On today's Talking Point, tiny spelunkers have unearthed the bones of an ancient, human species in a South African cave -- one of the richest such collections ever discovered. We hear how it happened and what lessons it may hold.

Photo: Speaker John Boehner speaks about the House's ongoing investigation into Planned Parenthood videos.

Russia's Military Quietly Moves into Syria 6 MIN, 30 SEC

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon says Russian forces are arriving in Syria — apparently to help President Bashar al-Assad reverse recent battlefield losses in a civil war that’s lasted for five years.  Aron Heller reports from Jerusalem for the Associated Press.

Aron Heller, Associated Press (@aronhellerap)

How Likely Is Another Government Shutdown? 34 MIN, 20 SEC

Congress has roughly 10 working days until the deadline to pass a budget — with time out for Jewish holidays and a speech by the Pope.  The Iran nuclear deal, the Export-Import bank, the Highway Trust Fund, the debt limit and military spending are all waiting for action. But a single issue may get in the way, with tea party Republicans defying their own leaders unless Planned Parenthood is de-funded.

If betting on politics was legal, the Washington Post says it would tell readers to, "Put some money on the government shutting down on October 1."

Paul Singer, USA Today (@singernews)
David Harsanyi, The Federalist (@davidharsanyi)
Paul Waldman, American Prospect / Washington Post / The Week (@paulwaldman1)
Ryan Lizza, New Yorker magazine / Georgetown University (@RyanLizza)

Singer on Congress returning to yet another spending crisis, fears of government shutdown
Ted Cruz calls for end to Planned Parenthood funding
Russell Berman on the plot against Planned Parenthood and John Boehner (Atlantic)
Ben Domenech on Mitch McConnell And The Planned Parenthood Atom Bomb (Federalist)
Waldman on how the upcoming government shutdown fight will help Donald Trump
Senate Majority Leader McConnell on why he hasn't done more about Planned Parenthood

A New Species of Ancient Humans 9 MIN, 2 SEC

Bones of a previously unknown species of humans have been discovered in South Africa. "Six tiny cavers, 15 odd skeletons and one amazing new species of ancient human."  London-based Ed Yong, who writes about science for the Atlantic , tells us how it all happened and what may be learned.

Ed Yong, Atlantic magazine (@edyong209)

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