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MIKE PESCA, host:
Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're on digital, FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, online at npr.org/bryantpark. Also online at npr.org/bpp. But only if the bpp is lower case. That's so weird, but it's true. I'm Mike Pesca.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
And I'm Rachel Martin. Coming up, we'll crank up the BPP jukebox, hear a little music. Before we do that, let's get the latest news headlines from the BPP's Matt Martinez.
BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
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MATT MARTINEZ: Thank you very much, Rachel. Zimbabwe's opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has praised the United Nations for condemning the political violence against his supporters. But Zimbabwe has defied international condemnation of the crisis, and says Friday's scheduled presidential runoff vote will go ahead. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.
OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON: The U.N. Security Council condemned the attacks in Zimbabwe, saying a free and fair presidential election on Friday was not possible. The United Nation's chief advised Zimbabwe to postpone the runoff. But President Robert Mugabe's ambassador to the U.N., Boniface Chidyausiku, said Ban Ki-moon had no right to make such demands.
Ambassador BONIFACE CHIDYAUSIKU (Permanent Representative of Zimbabwe, United Nations): I don't know why he came to that conclusion. Really, him as the chief diplomat in the United Nations, he would be better of engaging the people, the government of Zimbabwe. But for him to grandstand in New York and suggest that notion to postpone election is out of order as far as we are concerned in Zimbabwe.
QUIST ARCTON: The Security Council's statement was agreed to unanimously by all members, including South Africa, Russia, and China, which of hitherto refused to criticize the Zimbabwean government.
MARTINEZ: NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reporting. Four Americans and six Iraqi civilians are dead after an explosion at a local council building in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City district. Iraq police officials say 10 others were wounded in today's blast. The military says two of the Americans were soldiers. The other two were governmental employees.
The Mississippi floodwaters may be receding in parts, but residents along the river are still reinforcing levees to prevent any more flooding. The river will hit its high-water mark downstream later this week. Volunteers in Lincoln County, Missouri, have filled 50,000 sandbags to fortify a 2.5-mile-long levee. Federal officials, though, say it probably won't hold.
Divers entered a capsized ferry in the Philippines and found only bodies. More than 800 people were on the ship when it overturned. Only 31 people are known to have survived. Douglas Bakshian reports from Manila.
DOUGLAS BAKSHIAN: Philippine officials say the ferry is lodged on a mound of coral near the central island of Sibuyan, and recovery teams must be careful not to disturb the vessel because it could fall over. The coast guard says divers entered through something called through accommodation doors and also broke through windows. They saw a number of bodies inside the vessel. Removing the bodies is difficult, because they must be weighted down and pulled out.
Divers want to cut in to the hull for better access, if weather allows. The ferry capsized Saturday when a typhoon ripped through the area. Survivors have been found on several islands. However, the coast guards say, other vessels including fishing boats went down during the typhoon, and authorities must determine which victims belong to which boats.
MARTINEZ: Douglas Bakshian reporting from Manila. The Senate will vote on a plan today meant to help hundreds of thousands of homeowners avoid foreclosure. Under the plan, the government would provide 300 billion dollars in new cheaper mortgages for homeowners, who normally wouldn't qualify for government-backed fixed-rate loans. That's the news for now. It's always online at npr.org.
WOLFF: This is NPR.