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Top of the News

Top of the News

Top of the News

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The latest headlines.

BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.

(Soundbite of music)

MATT MARTINEZ: Thank you very much, Mike. The president is in the Midwest today to survey damage from the floodwaters there. Mr. Bush is asking Congress for two billion dollars in aid for the area. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, residents in flooded neighborhoods are picking through their personal belongings, trying to find what might be salvageable. NPR's Martin Kaste reports from Cedar Rapids.

MARTIN KASTE: Despite the beautiful weather, the atmosphere along Cedar Rapids' F Avenue is funereal. The city will soon deliver dumpsters to neighborhoods like this, and residents have begun dragging out the contents of their homes. Outside one of the houses, insurance adjuster Steve Vanderthal (ph) says the water and mud didn't leave much to salvage.

Mr. STEVE VANDERTHAL (Resident, Cedar Rapids, Iowa): Without looking inside, I mean, just by the depth of the water, it looks like it's probably - well, for sure, it's a total loss.

KASTE: The city has already given these houses a cursory inspection, and some have been marked with an X, indicating they need to be demolished.

MARTINEZ: NPR's Martin Kaste reporting. A ceasefire is in effect between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Last night, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned that the truce was, quote, "fragile and likely to be short-lived." And the Hamas armed wing issued a statement today saying it was ready to attack and, quote, "shake the Zionist entity if they do not abide by all the items of the call."

A militant group in Nigeria launched an attack against an offshore oilrig today. The owner, Royal Dutch/Shell, shut down production. The militant group is called the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta. Its goal? To force the federal government to send more oil industry profit to their areas. Word of the attack caused oil prices to rise in Asia over concerns about possible supply outages.

The parliament in Sweden approved a law that allows authorities to eavesdrop on all cross-border email and telephone traffic. NPR's Rob Gifford has more.

ROB GIFFORD: The law, which comes into effect in January, will give the Swedish government the most sweeping eavesdropping paths of any country in Europe. It gives Swedish defense officials the right to scan international phone calls, emails and faxes for sensitive keywords, without a court order. The law was passed narrowly in parliament, despite strong opposition. Hundreds of protesters gathered, handing out copies of George Orwell's novel, "1984," about a fictional futuristic police state. The Swedish government rejects claims the law will give it unlimited powers to spy on its own citizens. Supporters argue the law will help prevent terrorist attacks.

MARTINEZ: NPR's Rob Gifford reporting from London. And a parking dispute outside of a Colorado restaurant ended in a tasing duel. The restaurant owner and a security-company supervisor shot each other with tasers after the security company clamped a metal boot on the wheel of a van owned by one of the restaurant's employees. The restaurant owner was arrested, but no charges were brought. Both men have declined to comment. By the way, the name of the restaurant? Mamasita's. I recommend tipping high. That's the news for now. The news is online all the time at npr.org.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

MIKE PESCA, host:

Thank you, Matt.

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