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MARTIN: And I'm just Rachel Martin, just trying to keep a straight face. Coming up, an assisted listen of Girl Talk, but first let's get the latest news headlines from the BPP's Matt Martinez.
BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
MATT MARTINEZ: Thank you very much, Rachel. Comedian George Carlin is dead at 71. Carlin was one of the most influential and iconoclastic American humorists. The cause of death is heart failure. NPR's Nate DiMeo has more.
NATE DIMEO: George Carlin was one of the most successful American comics of the 1960s, appearing frequently in a suit and tie on the Ed Sullivan and Tonight shows. But by the early seventies, he had changed his look and changed his act.
He steered a sharp observational humor towards subjects that other comics of his stature didn't dare touch. Vietnam, the counterculture, drugs, and of course, obscenity.
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GEORGE CARLIN: There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven of them you can't say on television.
DIMEO: Carlin proceeded to say all seven. And in 1972, Michigan police proceeded to arrest him. In 1978, the routine was the focal point of a five-four Supreme Court decision that reaffirmed the government's right to ban the broadcast of what it called, "offensive material".
Just days ago, the Kennedy Center announced that Carlin was to receive the Mark Twain prize, the nation's highest honor for American humor.
MARTINEZ: NPR's Nate DiMeo reporting. Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, says he will not participate in June 27th's runoff presidential election. Tsvangirai says there is state-sponsored terror against his supporters by President Robert Mugabe. David Coulthard is a member of Tvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.
Mr. DAVID COULTHARD (Member, Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe): Given the brazen nature of the violence, it is clear that Robert Mugabe has thrown caution to the wind, and our assumption is that if he's brazen now, in the run up to the election, he's going to be equally brazen on Election Day and in the count.
MARTINEZ: Tsvangirai is calling on Africa to pressure Mugabe to solve the country's political crisis. Mugabe has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980.
MARTINEZ: Crude-oil prices have passed 136 dollars a barrel in today's trading. That's despite a pledge by Saudi Arabia that they would boost their oil production by 300,000 barrels a day. The announcement by the Saudis has been called mildly positive, but will likely not correct prices. The nationwide price of gas is at four dollars and 10 cents.
MARTINEZ: Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, says the government should give a 300-million-dollar prize to anyone who develops a high tech car battery. McCain says the prize would equate to one dollar for every person in the United States, and is quote, "a small price to pay for helping to break the back of our oil dependency."
He will propose the award at a speech in Fresno today, as well as stiff fines for companies that sidestep fuel-efficiency standards. He'll also call for incentives to increase the use of domestic and foreign ethanol.
MARTINEZ: Wimbledon begins today. For the first time in several years, Roger Federer is not the overwhelming favorite to win the men's competition. The five-time champion is the first cede at Wimbledon, but his closest challengers are playing very well. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
TOM GOLDMAN: Wimbledon is played on grass. A surface on which Switzerland's Roger Federer has been as precise as a Swiss clock. The 26-year-old has won 59 straight grass court matches, including five consecutive Wimbledon titles since 2003.
In the last 100 years, only one other man has won five Wimbledon's in a row, and now Bjorn Borg says he and Federer will remain tied at that number. Borg has joined the growing chorus of voices, saying Federer this year looks vulnerable, and that one of two dazzling, young players, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic, will dethrone Federer.
Nadal blasted Federer in this year's French Open final, giving up only four games in three sets. Djokovic beat Federer at this year's Australian Open. But for all the doubters, there are those who still believe Federer will shine on his favorite surface.
MARTINEZ: NPR's Tom Goldman reporting. That's the news for now. You can find it online all the time at npr.org.
BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
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