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Top of the News

Top of the News

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The latest headlines.


Hey there. Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We are on digital FM Sirius satellite radio and online at I'm Rachel Martin.


And I'm Mike Pesca. Coming up, snail mail that's even slower than stuff you think of a snail mail. But first, let's get the latest news headlines with the BPP's Matt Martinez.


MATT MARTINEZ: Thank you guys. 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 in Tonight Shows. But by the early 70s he had changed his look and changes his act. He steered his sharp observational humor towards subjects that other comics of his stature didn't dare touch. Vietnam, the counter-culture, drugs, and of course obscenity.

Mr. GEORGE CARLIN (Humorist): There are 400,000 words in 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 a 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. Armed police have raided the headquarters of Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Officials with the Movement for Democratic Change say police detained victims of political violence who were seeking shelter in the building. Tsvangirai has said he will not participate in June 27th's runoff presidential election, fearing state's sponsored terror against his supporters by President Robert Mugabe. But today, Tsvangirai told NPR that the southern African development community should work to ensure the election is postponed and conducted under SADC standards or to pressurize Mugabe to concede that in the first round, he has lost the election, and that he must give up power.

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 barrels a day. The announcement by the Saudis has been called mildly positive, but would likely not correct prices. The nationwide price of gas is at $4.10. The U.S. gymnastics trials wrapped up in Philadelphia last night. Here's more from Shai Ben-Yaacov at member station WHYY in Philadelphia.

ShAI BEN-YAACOV: The crowd favorites Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin earned automatic spots on the six-person team by finishing first and second respectively at the trials. After a shaky routine in the finals, Liukin seemed relieved to have held on and earned a trip to Beijing.

Ms. NASTIA LIUKIN (Gymnast): I'm really ecstatic to be named to the Olympic team, and I cannot believe it's finally here.

BEN-YAACOV: Johnson was likewise thrilled, and said despite their competitive rivalry she and Liukin are good friends.

Ms. SHAWN JOHNSON (Gymnast): To finally know that as team mates, we're going to Beijing together and we're on the same path. It's just a great feeling.

YAKAV: The remaining 14 members will be decided at a training camp in July. The men's team has already been chosen with reigning Olympic gold medalist Paul Hamm returning to the Olympics for a third time.

MARTINEZ: Reporter Shai Ben-Yaacov reporting from Philadelphia. That's the news for now. You can find it online all the time at

WOLFF: This is NPR.

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