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The U.S. is pressuring its ally Turkey to end its offensive in northern Iraq as soon as possible. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with his counterparts in Ankara today. Turkish officials will not set a time table for withdrawal until Kurdish rebel camps are completely destroyed. Here's NPR's Ivan Watson reporting from Iraqi Kurdistan.
IVAN WATSON: Turkish war planes roared high over the mountains of northern Iraq. The Turkish military continues to pound these hills with artillery and air strikes as Turkey soldiers struggle to capture the rugged no man's land along the Turkish border which Kurdish PKK rebels have long controlled.
The Turks say they lost at least eight more soldiers in the latest round of bloody crashes. They also claimed to have killed hundreds of PKK rebels. This rebel spokesman denied those claims in a defiant telephone interview.
Unidentified Man: Either we're going to get our freedom, or we're going to die.
WATSON: The U.S. is now publicly urging it's urging its NATO ally Turkey to wrap up the operation and withdraw back to Turkish territory as soon as possible.
MARTIN: NPR's Ivan Watson in Iraqi Kurdistan.
More grim news now from Ben Bernanke. The Fed chairman was on Capitol Hill yesterday for the first day of his semi-annual report on the economy to congress. The Fed chairman told the House Financial services committee that despite recent rate cuts, consumers are reluctant to spend and business are reluctant to invest, which isn't doing the economy any good.
Mr. BEN BERNANKE (Chairman, United States Federal Reserve): Strains in financial markets, which first became evident late last summer, have persisted, and pressures on bank capital and to continue with poor functioning of markets for securitized credit have led to tighter credit conditions for many households and businesses.
MARTIN: Despite signs of rising prices, Bernanke said, for now, the Fed is more concerned with economic growth than inflation. Bernanke left the door open for further rate cuts down the road. He talks to Senate lawmakers today.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar is holding today in European trading at record lows against the euro. This week, the green back hit $1.50 against the European currency.
And kids need their flu shots. That's what a federal advisory panel says. Federal health officials are now recommending that all children age six months to 18 years old receive a yearly flu shot. Right now, doctors recommend the vaccination only up to age five. But by expanding the age limit, they hope to reduce the need for antibiotics and the time children and parents lose by visiting pediatricians and missing school. A study from the CDC and eighth state health department found that immunization was 75 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations from flu complications.
Finally, the man credited with changing the face of American conservatism died yesterday - William F. Buckley, Jr. Here's NPR's Neda Ulaby with his story.
NEDA ULABY: The sulky manners and skewering intellect that personified William F. Buckley, Jr. ultimately defined his projects, which range for the influential conservative magazine the National Review, which he founded, the TV show, "Firing Line," which he hosted for more than 20 years, to his thousands of newspaper columns and dozens of books and novels. He also sailed and played the harpsichord. He performed with Marian McPartland 15 years ago, on her NPR show, PIANO JAZZ.
Mr. WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR. (Conservative Commentator, Author, TV Host): I'll play you a B-flat (unintelligible) I bought, but I warn you, I'll hit some notes wrong.
MARIAN McPARTLAND: No, you won't. It'll be fine.
ULABY: Buckley rarely missed a note on stage or the page. The son of a multimillionaire, Buckley was found dead at his desk by his cook at his home in Stanford, Connecticut. He was 82 years old.
MARTIN: That's NPR's Neda Ulaby reporting. And that is the news. You can find it always online at npr.org.