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MIKE PESCA, host:
Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We are on digital, FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, online at npr.org/bryantpark, and we're in the dictionary under awesome, also under self-reverential. I'm Mike Pesca. Coming up, BPP editor Trish McKinney and I will compete in a vocabulary tournament. It promises to be magnificent in every way. I wish I could come up with a better word than that, but I can't. But first, let's get the latest news headlines with the BPP's Mark - let's call him Matt Martinez.
BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
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MATT MARTINEZ: Thanks, Mike. Two former Bear Stearns managers surrendered today to face criminal charges. They are the first two Wall Street executives to be indicted on charges related to the subprime mortgage crisis. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston has more.
DINA TEMPLE-RASTON: The grand-jury indictments against two former high-profile bond-fund traders, Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, are expected to be unsealed as early as this morning. The two men stand accused of misleading the people who invested in their two bond funds. Prosecutors say in the spring of 2007, the two assured investors that all was well with their investments, while privately they told colleagues they were concerned about the hedge fund's exposure to bonds backed by subprime mortgages. By June, both their funds imploded, costing investors 1.6 billion dollars.
MARTINEZ: That's NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reporting. 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 predicting near-record crests from Quincy, Illinois, to Winfield, Missouri. The president is in the Midwest today. He will offer comfort to flood victims, as well as promises that federal aid is on the way.
A ceasefire agreement 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. And a thief made off with 1,000 pounds of coffee beans on Hawaii's big island. The coffee was from the famous Kona region. Police are asking the public to report anyone trying to sell green coffee beans. Kona is some of the most expensive coffee in the world, some blends going for 35 bucks a pound. Aloha, it means hello and good-bye. That's the news for now. The news is online all the time at npr.org.
WOLFF: This is NPR.
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