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Top of the News

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ALISON STEWART, host:

Thank you for listening to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. How are you listening? Maybe on digital, FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, or maybe online at npr.org/bryantpark. I don't care how you're listening. I'm just glad you are.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Yeah!

STEWART: I'm Alison Stewart.

MARTIN: And I'm Rachel Martin. Coming up, a performance and conversation with the band Rogue Wave.

STEWART: But first, let's get some news headlines.

BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.

MARTIN: More than 50 people are dead as car bombs tore through Iraq today. The attacks happened around noon in Baqubah and Ramadi. Dozens more people were wounded. An award-winning photographer of that war will soon be freed. The Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein has been held by the U.S. military for more than two years.

The U.S. Marines thought he was linked to insurgents. Now the military says Hussein is not a threat, and they will release him tomorrow. Hussein has said all along that he was innocent. The AP investigated and couldn't find any evidence of the claim against Hussein. Hussein was part of the AP team that won a Pulitzer Prize for photography in 2005.

Delta and Northwest Airlines are making a connection. The airlines' boards approved a merger deal late last night. NPR's Kathy Lohr is in Delta's home city of Atlanta.

KATHY LOHR: The new airline will still be called Delta, and will have a combined value of more than 17 billion dollars. Airline officials have been meeting for months to make the deal happen. The sticking point has been the pilots' unions that have not been able to agree on seniority issues. Delta says they are still working on the issue and hope to reach an agreement before the closing of the merger.

Delta's CEO Richard Anderson will continue as CEO of the new combined airline. He said the merger is about addition, not subtraction. The airlines have such little overlap in their routes with direct competition on just 12 of 1,000 nonstop routes. The combined airline will employ 75,000 people, operate 800 aircraft, and continue running all of both airlines' hubs including Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City.

MARTIN: NPR's Kathy Lohr reporting. And it's not just airlines teaming up. Chrysler and Nissan finalized a deal yesterday to build cars for each other. It's not really a merger, just an agreement where each company will manufacture one car for the other one.

And he's coming back, the conservative, colorful, and often controversial Italian politician Silvio Berlusconi. He's won big in national elections. The billionaire media mogul is set to serve his third term as Italy's prime minister, this after losing office two years ago. He's got a tough road ahead, though. Among other things Italy is in a bit of an economic slump.

"Harry Potter" series author J.K. Rowling was in federal court Monday trying to stop the publication of an encyclopedia called "The Harry Potter Lexicon." Here's NPR's Margot Adler.

MARGOT ADLER: There are scores of books about "Harry Potter," and even an assortment of books that alphabetize information, from "The Idiot's Guide to Harry Potter," to "Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World." Lawyers for Rowling attempted to show that there was a difference between those books, which offered extensive commentary and new material, and Stephen Vander Ark's Lexicon, which Rowling called "atrocious," "sloppy," and a "rip-off."

Lawyers for the book publisher describe the Lexicon as a reference work, and attempted to portray Rowling as wanting to squelch any competition to the encyclopedia she is writing. Rowling once gave an award to Vander Ark's website, but said a free fan site was one thing. A 24-dollar and 99-cent book mostly consisting of her words was another. She said 17 years of my work is being exploited.

MARTIN: NPR's Margot Adler. That's the news. It's always online at npr.org.

WOLFF: This is NPR.

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