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BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
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MATT MARTINEZ: Thanks, Mike. The Mississippi River is expected to crest at near record levels north of St. Louis today. Officials in Missouri say levees protecting communities along the river will likely fail. Three levees broke yesterday in Lincoln County, Missouri, flooding the town of Foley.
The president was in the Midwest yesterday. He surveyed the damage on the ground in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and in the air by helicopter on Air Marine One. Republican presidential candidate John McCain also toured the - Iowa, taking with the residents in Columbus Junction.
Six people were killed by a suicide bomber in southern Afghanistan. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has the report from Kabul.
SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: Afghan police officials say the bomber jumped from a rooftop onto a NATO convoy that was passing through a busy marketplace in southern Helmand Province. Five Afghan civilians were killed in the blast, including three children. Officials say a member of the U.S.-led force also died. The morning blast comes a day after a shooting incident in Helmand that killed two soldiers from the U.S.-led coalition there. A third soldier was wounded. Helmand is a Taliban stronghold that borders Kandahar Province, where NATO and Afghan troops, backed by warplanes, killed scores of militants in recent days. The fighting prompted Taliban fighters to flee. They've been holding key villages outside Kandahar City.
MARTINEZ: That's NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reporting from Kabul. The House of Representatives is expected to pass a bill extending and revising the warrantless wiretapping program. The bill is a compromise. It gives retroactive immunity to telecom companies that provide warrantless surveillance for the government. The compromise adds that a federal judge would review cases by people who say they were illegally wiretapped, and if the telecom could prove that the surveillance was properly authorized, the suit would be dismissed. The ACLU calls the compromise "window dressing."
Summer is starting a little earlier this year in the northern hemisphere. And it's not because of global warming. John Ryan of member station KTOO reports.
JOHN RYAN: The summer solstice comes tonight at 7:59 p.m. eastern daylight time. That's 11:59 p.m. universal time. The U.S. Naval Observatory says it's the first time since 1896 that the summer solstice has landed on June 20th. Early solstices will occur more frequently thanks to the complexities of the Gregorian calendar's leap-year cycle, and a very gradual slowing of the Earth's daily rotation.
The Naval Observatory says the solstice will fall every June 20th every four years through the middle of the 21st century. The summer solstice is the moment in the Earth's trip around the sun when the North Pole points closest to the sun, giving most of the northern hemisphere the longest day of the year. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets on the solstice.
MARTINEZ: That's John Ryan reporting from Juneau, Alaska. The summer solstice explained in glorious detail later on this hour with John Liu of the Hayden Planetarium. That's the news for now. It's online all the time at npr.org.
WOLFF: This is NPR.
MARTINEZ: Mike, back to you.
MIKE PESCA, host:
Matt, you ever hear of universal time?
MARTINEZ: I have heard of universal time, universal standard time, yes.
PESCA: It just means Greenwich meantime?
MARTINEZ: It does.
PESCA: How does this relate to hammertime?
MARTINEZ: Hammertime is about two hours to the east of universal time.
PESCA: Time to put on blousy pants.
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PESCA: Thank you, Matt.
MARTINEZ: You're welcome.
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