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We would like to welcome you back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're available on digital, FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, online at, and spouting forth from water fountains, or as they call them in Rhode Island, bubblers. I'm Mike Pesca. Coming up, G. Love will be in studio, without Special Sauce. But first, a very special man, the latest headlines from the BPP's Matt Martinez.


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MATT MARTINEZ: Thank you very much, Mike. The governor of the southern Afghan city of Kandahar has declared victory over Taliban rebels who occupied several strategic villages on the northern outskirts of the city. NPR's Ivan Watson reports from Kandahar.

IVAN WATSON: Standing on a hilltop overlooking the Arghandab Valley, Governor Asadullah Khalid claimed Afghan and NATO soldiers had cleared Taliban fighters from all of the remaining villages in the district. The announcement came 24 hours after NATO and the Afghan army launched a joint operation to dislodge hundreds of Taliban fighters who infiltrated at least a half dozen villages in Arghandab on Monday.

Overnight, NATO says it carried out airstrikes against suspected Taliban targets in Arghandab, which is just 10 minutes' drive north of Afghanistan's second largest city. Governor Khalid claims hundreds of Taliban fighters were killed in the battle, among them, many volunteers from neighboring Pakistan. At least two Afghan soldiers were also killed, and several more wounded in the operation.

MARTINEZ: NPR's Ivan Watson reporting. Mississippi floodwaters continue to threaten towns along its banks. Forecasters are protecting near-record crests from Quincy, Illinois, to Winfield, Missouri. The president is in the Midwest today. He'll offer comfort to flood victims, as well as promises that federal aid is on the way.

Mexican President Felipe de Calderon has announced a six-month price freeze on more than 150 food and household products. James Blears reports.

JAMES BLEARS: The voluntary agreement with the food industry freezes many household-commodity price tags until the end of this year. It's designed to cushion Mexicans from the steep price increases triggered by massive oil hikes. More than 60 percent of Mexico's 100 million population live in poverty, according to international standards, while ten million more Mexicans live and work in the United States, annually sending home billions of dollars to prop up a precariously fragile economy

MARTINEZ: That's James Bear - Blears reporting from Mexico City. A ceasefire is in effect between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The agreement was brokered by Egypt, but there are already doubts being raised over how long it will hold. The BBC's Tim Franks is in Jerusalem.

TIM FRANKS: This ceasefire is not just about an end to violence. Within a few days, the Israelis should begin to lift their blockade of many supplies into Gaza. There may also be progress on a prisoner exchange. Inside Israel, not everyone is optimistic. Some politicians and soldiers have warned that the truce will only provide an opportunity for Hamas to regroup and rearm. So why have the two sides agreed through Egyptian mediation to a ceasefire? Hamas and other militant groups have sustained losses, and while people in Gaza say Israel is the main reason why life is so tough, some do blame their new Islamist rulers as well.

MARTINEZ: The BBC's Tim Franks in Jerusalem reporting there. And a German woman is claiming she has a phobia of official letters, but a court is not buying it. The court ruled against the woman after her appeal of a decision to cut off child-support benefits came months after the deadline. Authorities say they sent her at least two notices, which she says she has a phobia to, requesting evidence to support continued payments for her daughter. That's the news for now. It's always online at

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