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Start your Monday smart: A key African election, Paul Manafort's trial and ... NFL football returns

Now, you can hear the sun. Yes, you read that right. And its ...

Posted: Jul 30, 2018 11:21 AM
Updated: Jul 30, 2018 11:21 AM

Now, you can hear the sun. Yes, you read that right. And its vibes are surprisingly soothing.-Here's what else you need to know to-Start Your Week Smart. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

MONDAY

- Buongiorno! We begin the week with Italy's Prime Minister at the White House. In welcoming Giuseppe Conte, President Trump will find himself in the company of another world leader who campaigned on a populist anti-immigration platform. Conte also has criticized NATO, another frequent target of the US President. Sure to come up are the Afghanistan conflict-(Italy is a key US partner) and Trump's push to bust trade barriers with the European Union.

- Meantime, Zimbabwe holds its first national election since the army forced Robert Mugabe out of office last year in an apparent coup. It's the first time in a generation the strongman won't be on the ballot, though his influence still looms over a vote that could be among the closest in the nation's history. More than 20 candidates want to replace interim President Emmerson Mnangagwa. He's a frontrunner, along with opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. Seats in parliament-also are in play.

TUESDAY

- All eyes shift to Virginia, when jury selection is due to begin in the trial of ex-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. He has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of bank fraud and tax crimes. Prosecutors plan to call as many as 25 witnesses, and testimony could last two weeks. While the case has only a loose connection to the Trump campaign, the Manafort storyline definitely adds to White House drama. Manafort also faces federal charges, including money-laundering conspiracy, in a case due for trial in September.

- As his former go-to guy sits in court, the President hits the road for rallies ahead of the November midterms. He'll be in Tampa to tout the strong economy and GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who's vying to unseat Democratic US Sen. Bill Nelson, then head Thursday to Pennsylvania for his 22nd rally in the key swing state since 2015. Meantime, voters in Tennessee head to the polls Tuesday-for a match-up between GOP US Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen for an open US Senate seat.

WEDNESDAY

- It could prove to be a landmark day in the gun debate. That's when Americans can start legally downloading blueprints for 3D-printable guns. The implications of this could be historic.-Do-it-yourself firearms don't have serial numbers and are untraceable. Supporters say the ability to build unregulated and untraceable guns makes it much harder, if not impossible, for governments to ban them. Others fear the technology-will make it easier for terrorists and people who can't pass background checks to get guns.

- Still nursing a World Cup hangover? We have just the thing: The Major League Soccer All Star Game takes over Atlanta. The game broadcasts at 7:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN and its partner networks.

THURSDAY

- With-gun violence-front and center in some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, protesters plan to take their calls for peace -- and more economic investment in their communities -- to a more affluent part of town. They plan to shut down part of Lake Shore Drive, then march to Wrigley Field, where the Cubs play a night game. Demonstrators with similar demands shut down part of a-Chicago interstate earlier-this month.

- Pro football fans, your long offseason is over -- sort of. The NFL preseason kicks off with its annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, where the Chicago Bears will suit up against the Baltimore Ravens. Kickoff is 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

FRIDAY

- "Christopher Robin," Disney's live-action take on characters from Winnie the Pooh, hits theaters. Ewan McGregor plays the title role -- a grown-up businessman who needs Pooh, Tigger and other childhood playmates to help him rediscover his imagination.

SATURDAY

- The Gay Games, a celebration of inclusion in sport, begin, running through August 12.

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