BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.
RACHEL MARTIN, host:
Good morning, everyone. The U.N. secretary general is on his way to Kenya to try to help in that country's political crisis. Ban Ki-Moon will join his predecessor from the U.N., Kofi Annan, in Kenya to try to broker a peace deal between President Mwai Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
Meanwhile, violence in Kenya continues today. Another major opposition lawmaker has been killed. Reports say David Too of the Orange Democratic Movement, or ODM as it's known, was shot by police at a roadblock as he was traveling west out of Nairobi by car. Another opposition leader, Mugabe Were, was fatally shot Tuesday as he drove to his house in suburban Nairobi. The ODM Party has accused Kenya's President Kibaki of stealing the presidential vote in last December's election. More than 800 people have been killed since then, and thousands of Kenyans went out from their homes.
In Afghanistan, a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque today. That blast killed the deputy governor of Helmand province and five other people, wounding a dozen.
Meanwhile, a new report says American and NATO forces are not winning in Afghanistan, and the country is in danger of becoming a failed state.
Here is NPR's Tom Bowman.
TOM BOWMAN: Taliban forces can't win militarily says a report by the Private Atlantic Council. But NATO troops also can't defeat the Taliban, as long as Taliban fighters have safe havens in Pakistan.
The report was written by retired Marine Corps General James Jones and former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering. The two men make a series of recommendations: the appointment of a high commissioner to coordinate aid, talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan to deal with border issues and the safe havens for the Taliban, also, a larger counter-narcotics effort for Afghanistan's steadily-rising opium production.
The report says Washington is transfixed with Iraq, while NATO countries are indifferent to Afghanistan. State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said there are real challenges in Afghanistan, but denied the country was in danger of becoming a failed state.
MARTIN: NPR's Tom Bowman.
Getting an economic stimulus package passed may not happen as quickly as President Bush had hoped. Yesterday, the Senate Finance Committee approved a $157-billion economic stimulus plan that rivals the one agreed on by Bush and House congressional leaders. The president and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi had hoped the Senate would just rubberstamp the plan they came up with so rebate checks could be cut and mailed to taxpayers by May. But the Senate put up their own plan. It's more expensive - extending unemployment benefits, and it includes a tax rebate for retirees. The Senate is expected to vote on the competing plans tonight.
Finally, what do you get when you cross a straight-talking war hero and a hyper driving action hero? John McCain's campaign hopes it means a lot of votes. California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to officially throw his support behind the Arizona Senator today in his support of his bid for the White House. Here is NPR's Scott Horsley.
SCOTT HORSLEY: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will appear alongside John McCain at a campaign event devoted to the environment. Schwarzenegger stopped short of endorsing the Arizona senator yesterday, but hinted his endorsement would be coming, now that Rudy Giuliani, another Schwarzenegger friend, has dropped out of the race.
Giuliani offered his own endorsement of McCain yesterday, calling the senator an American hero.
Mr. RUDY GIULIANI (Former Republican Mayor, New York): I'm hopeful that we can secure his nomination very soon, so we can unite our party, and then, begin the process of uniting our nation.
HORSLEY: A field poll released last week showed a close race in California between McCain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
MARTIN: NPR's Scott Horsley reporting.
GOP candidates debated last night in California; the Democrats face-off tonight.
That is the news. It is always online at npr.org.
WOLFF: This is NPR.
MARTIN: I'm staying up late, by the way, tonight.
ALISON STEWART, host:
That's right. Oh, you like it. You got drummed into a debate party, didn't you?
MARTIN: Oh, I don't know how it just happened, but all of a sudden, because I have a new TV - if you haven't heard, I have a new TV - and I invited some people over. And I just kept growing and growing, and all of a sudden, I'm hosting a debate party. So when I can't speak tomorrow morning on the news, that's why.
WOLFF: Don't let them double dip those chips into the guacamole.
(Soundbite of laughter)
WOLFF: Rachel Martin, be very, very careful.
MARTIN: More on that later.
WOLFF: Thank you, Rachel.
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