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Top of the News

Top of the News

Top of the News

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The latest headlines.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Our front yard is BRYANT PARK in midtown Manhattan. We are broadcasting from New York City.

This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.

We are on digital AM/FM satellite, iTunes, and online at npr.org/bryantpark.

I'm Alison Stewart.

TOURE, host:

And what a fine front yard it is. It's one of the best parks in New York.

STEWART: Beautiful.

TOURE: I'm the one who's not the certified genius. I'm not the A-student.

I'm Toure.

Coming up, the founder of the Church of the Jedi. That's going to be exciting.

But first, the news with Rachel Martin.

BILL WOLFF, (Announcer): This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Thanks, Toure. Good morning, everyone.

Developing story coming out of the Middle East today. After turning a blind eye to the mass of Palestinians flooding into Egypt, after militants blew up a wall separating Egypt from Gaza, today, Egyptian military officials tried to close off the border and stemmed the flood of people trying to get through.

In response, Hamas militants used a bulldozer to try to open a new passage through the wall. Thousands of Palestinian onlookers cheered on the militants as they rammed the chain link and barbwire fences at the crossing near Rafa in southern Gaza. At other checkpoints, Palestinians continue to pour into Egyptian territory, carrying canisters to fill with fuel sold in Rafa. Both Egypt and Israel restricted the movement of people and goods in an out of the Gaza Strip after Hamas won parliament elections there in 2006 and further tighten the closure after Hamas seized control of the area by force last June.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda are hoping they can change the world by helping farmers. The Gates Foundation announced today that it's going to give $306 million to spur agricultural development in some of the poorest countries. The grants will give farmers there better seeds, a healthier soil, and access to new markets for their crops.

Bill Gates made the announcement during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He was one of the many big names at Davos, talking about big problems and how to solve them. Al Gore was there, too, talking global warming. He shared the stage with Bono who talked about the real cause of global poverty.

(Soundbite of Bono in World Economic Forum)

BONO (Vocalist, U2): If you've said that as a result of the Earth's heating up, 10 million children are going to die next year, well, you'd read about (unintelligible) in the newspapers. Well, they are going to die next year on extreme poverty.

MARTIN: The U2 front man went onto criticize the member countries of the G8 for not holding up their promise to pledge $50 billion a year to fight poverty.

Over to American presidential politics, the official announcement is expected today. Democrat Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the race.

Here's NPR's Mara Liasson.

MARA LIASSON: Kucinich said today in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he was quitting the race. A formal announcement will come tomorrow. This was Kucinich's second White House bid. The Ohio congressman said he would continue to serve in the House of Representatives and will not endorse another Democrat in the primaries. Kucinich won no delegates but he was one of the more colorful candidates on the debate stage. The only one, for instance, who would claim to have seen what he thought might have been a UFO.

While the other candidates did not endorsed his ideas, like creating a department of peace, even the frontrunner Hillary Clinton ended up moving towards Kucinich's position on Iraq. Kucinich was the only Democratic member of Congress running for president who voted against the war.

MARTIN: Kucinich spoke to the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday. The official announcement is expected today.

That was NPR's Mara Liasson.

Finally, today, women in Mexico City are sick and tired of having to deal with wandering hands on public buses. Now, they don't have to. This week, the capital city of Mexico rolled out brand new women-only buses. The ladies-only coaches will render in rush hour. A police will stand on the bus platforms to make sure no men try to sneak on board.

That's the news. It's always online at npr.org.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.

STEWART: Alison and Toure.

TOURE: So will there be men's-only buses as well or will women have to fight as much…

STEWART: I think by default, men will be by themselves on the buses because none of the ladies want to ride with them apparently. An article went on to say that women were actually carrying weapons to protect themselves.

MARTIN: (Unintelligible).

STEWART: I mean, serious business.

TOURE: Wow.

STEWART: Anyway…

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