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Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We are on digital FM, satellite and online at I'm John Fugelsang.

STEWART: John Fugelsang, thanks for being with us for the next couple of days.

FUGELSANG: Pleasure to be here.


I'm Alison Stewart. Coming up, the best books of 2007 that you may not have read a whole lot about. You might get some ideas for these Barnes & Noble gift cards you got, or I got from my niece Caitlyn(ph). Thanks, Caitlyn.

First, here's Rachel Martin with the news.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.


Hey, good morning, everyone. There is political violence in Pakistan unfolding at this hour. A blast was heard outside a rally for opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a town of Rawalpindi. Reporters at the scene say at least 15 people were killed. A spokesman for Bhutto said the former prime minister is safe.

In October, about a hundred and fifty people were killed when two bombs went off near Bhutto's convoy the day she returned to Pakistan after years in exile.

Meanwhile, supporters of another former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fought today with supporters of President Pervez Musharraf. Officials say at least three people were killed in the confrontation. Authorities are trying to determine who initiated the attack. All the violence comes ahead of parliamentary elections in Pakistan scheduled for January 8th.

Over to Chad now where six French aid workers have been found guilty of attempted kidnapping by a Chadian court. They were convicted of trying to fly a hundred children out of Chad and were sentenced yesterday to eight years of hard labor.

Here's the BBC's Alex Last.

Mr. ALEX LAST (Reporter, BBC News): The group said they believe the children were orphans from Darfur and wanted to find them foster families in Europe, but in fact, they were Chadian and most have parents. The group's actions were criticized by other aid agencies and the United Nations. It's likely the six will be transferred back to France. The French government says it's made a request for their return and Chad is likely to comply. After all, France provides key military aid to the Chadian government, which have been battling rebels in the east of the country.

MARTIN: That was the BBC's Alex Last. Now, news of a grisly crime in Washington State - six people were found shot to death at a home in a rural area outside Seattle. The victims are thought to be three generations of the same family, they include a boy about 3 years old and a girl about 6, a man and woman in their 30's, and another couple in their 50's were also killed. Police have arrested the older couple's daughter and boyfriend. A friend of one of the victims discovered the bodies early Wednesday and called 911. The investigation is ongoing.

Across the country, in New York City, things seemed to be getting safer, at least when it comes to homicide rates. Yesterday, city officials announced that New York is on track to mark its lowest annual murder rate in recorded history. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Raymond Kelly made the announcement yesterday. So far, there have been 484 homicides in New York in 2007 compared to 596 in 2006. The city's homicide rate peaked in 1990 at more than 2,200. Police started keeping track of homicide rates in 1963. Before then, they only tracked the number of murders that were solved.

That's the news. You can always find it online at

WOLFF: This is NPR.

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