Lebanese Troops Fire on Israeli Warplanes

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No hits were reported after Lebanese troops fired on Israeli warplanes flying reconnaissance missions over southern Lebanon.


Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We're always available online at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Mike Pesca, in for Luke Burbank.


And I'm Alison Stewart.

Coming up, we'll to talk to journalist Kevin Sites, who wrote this about his time in Sudan:

(Reading) "All across the south, you see remnants of the war - buildings bombed into standing jigsaw puzzles - and almost everyone here has a story of loss to tell."

Kevin has a story to tell as well. We'll talk to him in just a moment about his time in the world's hot zones.

But first, let's get today's headlines from Rachel Martin.

Unidentified Man: This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN: Hey, good morning, everyone.

Lebanese troops today opened fire on Israeli warplanes flying over southern Lebanon. No hits were reported. And Israeli warplanes frequently fly over Lebanese airspace on what Israel calls reconnaissance missions, but this was the first time the Lebanese Army has fired on the aircraft since a ceasefire last year that ended a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. Israeli over flights have been a constant source of tension between the two countries. The deployment of thousands of Lebanese troops and U.N. peacekeepers in the south of Lebanon have not stopped the flyovers, even though the U.N. calls them a violation of Lebanese sovereignty.

In California, firefighters are starting to get control over some of the fires raging in the southern part of the state, but the numbers measuring the effects of these fires keep rising. According to state officials, nearly one million people have fled their homes, and the property damage is estimated to exceed a billion dollars.

Offshore winds are pushing the fires into less-populated areas, and lower temperatures and higher humidity is helping reduce the threat.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders says, at least in his city, the situation is a bit more stable.

Mayor JERRY SANDERS (Republican, San Diego, California): The vast majority of the city is now open for people to return to their homes, and I think that's a major step forward in allowing our folks back into their homes and beginning our recovery efforts.

MARTIN: There are still about 15 fires burning in Southern California. They destroyed roughly 600 square miles.

President Bush is scheduled to visit the affected areas today.

And in other news, the housing industry just can't catch a break. A report from the National Association of Realtors says that sales of existing homes in September fell to their lowest level in nearly a decade. The drop was about double what analysts expected. The national median price for both existing single-family homes and condos dropped 4.2 percent from a year ago to $211,700. Analysts say rising foreclosures and tighter lending standards are to blame.

And finally today, Microsoft has won the right to be Facebook's friend, or at least its corporate investor. The two companies announced yesterday that Microsoft will pay $240 million for a 1.6 percent stake in Facebook. The deal values Facebook at $15 billion, and it ends two months of wrangling among Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google. All of them wanted a piece of the successful social networking site.

The deal makes Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, a very wealthy man. The 23-year-old owns a 20 percent share that may now be worth as much as $3 billion. I can hardly say it. It's so much money.

That's the news. It's always online at npr.org.

Unidentified Man: This is NPR.

STEWART: It goes to show everyone should go to Harvard and drop out, like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: The second part's easy.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: Yeah. Rachel Martin, thanks a lot.

MARTIN: You're welcome.

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