ALISON STEWART, host:
Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We're always available online to you and for you at npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Alison Stewart.
LUKE BURBANK, host:
And I'm Luke Burbank.
Coming up: some of the worst rock lyrics of all time.
First, though, let's get some of the best news copy ever written from our own Rachel Martin, who's got the top stories.
Unidentified Man: This is NPR.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Good morning, everyone.
Turkey's parliament was poised today to give the green light for military action in northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels. But at the last minute, Iraqi leaders stepped up diplomatic efforts to prevent such an attack. Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, telephoned Turkey's leader, Tayyip Erdogan, to reiterate Iraq's s commitment to stopping Kurdish rebels from using the north of Iraq to launch attacks on Turkey. The United States has also been urging Turkey to use restraint. Erdogan says the vote won't mean an imminent attack, but it would mean Turkey reserves the right to pursue military action in the future.
And some major American food companies are being investigated for possibly overcharging for food sold to the Army for troops in Iraq. That's according to a report in The Wall Street Journal today. Federal investigators are looking into deals made by big food names like Perdue Farms, Sara Lee and ConAgra. They're looking into whether or not these food companies set prices too high when they sold their products to the Army's primary food contractor for the war zone. Another issue is whether that contractor, a company based in Kuwait, was making an illegal profit off of the deals.
And Verizon Communications has released information about its participation with the federal government's anti-terrorism surveillance program. In a letter to members of Congress, Verizon says that since 2005, the company has provided federal, state and local law enforcement agencies with tens of thousands of customers' phone records and other data. The information was released without a court order or subpoena. Congress is investigating if and how telecommunications firms have been involved with the Bush administration's counterterrorism efforts. Verizon, AT&T and Qwest are all facing lawsuits about their possible participation.
And deadly staph infections have been spreading through schools nationwide in recent weeks, according to health and education officials. And just today, The Journal of the American Medical Association published a study that says staph infections are far more widespread than previously thought and might be killing as many as 19,000 people a year. Baltimore, Maryland, had the highest rate of the deadly infections. The study also shows that infection rates are highest among the people over 65 years old and among African-Americans.
Finally, the Dalai Lama is in Washington, D.C., today to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. Supporters of the Tibetan spiritual leader have been celebrating his visit all week.
Unidentified Group: (Singing in foreign language)
MARTIN: Yesterday, the Tibetan spiritual leader met privately with President Bush for about 30 minutes in the White House residence. No press was allowed, and there wasn't even a photo released. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the event was kept low-profile to assuage China's concerns about the Dalai Lama's VIP treatment.
Ms. DANA PERINO (White House Press Secretary): We understand that the Chinese have very strong feelings about this, and that's one of the reasons that the president brought up with President Hu almost two months ago that he would be attending this event.
MARTIN: China has labeled the Tibetan leader as a separatist and sees him as a threat to China's sovereignty over Tibet.
That's the news. It's always online at npr.org.
Unidentified Man: This is NPR.
MARTIN: Luke and Alison, your turn.
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