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Top of the News

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The latest headlines.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN: Thanks, Alison. Good morning, everyone.

The chaos in Kenya is going from bad to worse. The president of Kenya has appealed for calm today after more than a month of post-election violence. Meanwhile, the main opposition leader has warned that the troubled East African nation is heading towards anarchy.

The two statements came hours after an opposition lawmaker was shot dead, provoking more unrest. From the Capital, Nairobi, NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton has more.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON: President Mwai Kibaki has not spoken publicly since he shook hands with his opposition rival Raila Odinga last week. In a statement, the president appealed to all Kenyans to maintain the peace just ahead of the formal opening of negotiations to try to end the crisis mediated by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan. Odinga warned that Kenya was drifting into a state of anarchy. His warning came as more people were killed here in Nairobi with machetes and arrows during renewed ethnic fighting in Kibera slum.

Fifty miles away in the Rift Valley town of Naivasha, Reuters reported military helicopters firing above a mob, which was terrorizing displaced people seeking refuge in the lakeside resort.

MARTIN: NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reporting there.

About 500 Afghan women gathered today in a rare mass protest against the kidnapping of an American aide worker. The women, many wearing burkas, called on officials to find the captive American and urged the kidnappers to release her.

Officials said they still don't know who kidnapped Cyd Mizell and her Afghan driver. Gunmen abducted the two Saturday in a residential neighborhood in the southern city of Kandahar. Local women's leaders set a gathering in Kandahar spoke about Mizell had helped advance Afghan women's business projects in Kandahar and they urged the kidnappers to release her. A Taliban spokesman said he could neither confirm nor deny the group's involvement.

Over to news now closer to home. And today, the headlines are all about President Bush's last State of the Union address. Bush talked about his signature issue, the war in Iraq, urging Americans to be patient, but insisting that his surge strategy has helped curb sectarian violence. He also talked about his plans to bail out the U.S. economy, and he urged lawmakers to pass the stimulus package that he and House leaders have agreed upon and to pass it as is.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: The temptation will be to load up the bill. That would delay it or derail it, and neither option is acceptable.

(Soundbite of applause)

MARTIN: But Senate leaders may defy the president. They're considering a plan to add rebates for low-income seniors who live on Social Security and a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits.

If you have questions about the president's speech, go to npr.org. That's where you'll find the Web feature dedicated to information NPR's political gurus have dug up doing a bit of truth squatting, and they'll flesh out details of Bush's last State of the Union address.

That is the news. It is always online at npr.org.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

MARTIN: Rico and Alison, back to you.

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