Top of the News
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Well, hey there. Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We are on digital FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, and online at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Rachel Martin.
MIKE PESCA, host:
And I'm Mike Pesca. Coming up, we'll hear what new music is out today, but first let's get the latest news headlines with the BPP's Matt Martinez.
BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
(Soundbite of music)
MATT MARTINEZ: Thank you very much, Mike Pesca, and good morning, everyone. There is a key vote in the U.S. Senate today on a package of bills to deal with the nation's housing slump and help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT: The legislation includes a 300-billion-dollar expansion of the Federal Housing Administration and a host of housing-related tax breaks. First-time home buyers would be eligible for a onetime refundable tax credit of up to 8,000 dollars, and the FHA would be able to help financially-strapped homeowners who typically don't quality for government backed loans. Similar legislation passed the House in May. It has broad bipartisan support in Congress, but the White House has threatened a veto. The administration objects to a bill that would provide nearly four billion dollars in grants for states and local governments to buy and rehabilitate foreclosed properties.
MARTINEZ: That's NPR's Debbie Elliott reporting. Four Americans and six Iraqi civilians are dead after an explosion at a local council building in Baghdad's Shiite Sadr City District. Iraqi police officials say 10 others were wounded in today's blast. The military says two of the Americans were soldiers. The other two were civilian employees with the State Department and the Defense Department.
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 two-and-a-half mile long levee. Federal officials aren't sure they'll 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.
And a Japanese Destroyer docked at a Chinese port today carrying relief supplies for earthquake victims. It is the first port of call by a Japanese naval vessel in China since World War II. NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports from Beijing.
ANTHONY KUHN: State media showed pictures of Japanese sailors lined up on the deck of the destroyer Sazanami as it sailed into the naval base at Zhanjiang, in southern China's Guangdong Province. The ship carried medical supplies and blankets destined for survivors of the May 12th earthquake in Sichuan Province. Japan's invasion and occupation of China during World War II remain a source of tension. Some Chinese Internet users had voiced opposition to Japan's earlier offer to use military aircraft to deliver disaster relief supplies. The port of call is the latest effort to shore up relations. Last week, the two sides resolved the dispute by deciding to jointly develop contested natural gas fields in the East China Sea.
MARTINEZ: NPR's Anthony Kuhn reporting. That is the news for now. Remember, it's always online at npr.org.
WOLFF: This is NPR.
MARTINEZ: And Mike and Rachel, I am going to give it right back to you.
MARTIN: And we're going to take it.
PESCA: And we're going to take it from you.
MARTINEZ: I am so glad.
PESCA: Wait, we're giving it back to you. What do you with it now?
MARTINEZ: I'm done with it. I'm done with it. I'm done.
PESCA: Wait, now it's dying there in that booth over there.
MARTINEZ: Yes. It's done.
PESCA: Someone's got to come get it.
MARTIN: I want it.
PESCA: All right.
MARTIN: I'm taking it.
PESCA: I'll take it.
MARTIN: OK. You take it.