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Top of the News

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ALISON STEWART, host: Hey, let's get some more of today's new headlines from Rachel.

BILL WOLFF, announcer: This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Thanks, Alison. Pentagon officials estimate that when the troop surge in Iraq ends this July, there will be about 8000 more troops on the ground than when the surge began in January of 2007. Lieutenant General Carter Hamm told reporters that by July the troop total is likely to be about 140,000 strong. General Hamm said the projected number could change depending on the security conditions, but it was the first time the pentagon had publicly estimated the number of troops expected to remain in Iraq this summer.

The trial over the controversial 2006 death of a young man outside a strip club in Queens, New York, began yesterday. There were opening statements, first witnesses and protests outside. The three detectives are charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Here's NPR's Margot Adler.

MARGOT ADLER:

Sean Bell died in a hale of 50 bullets in November 2006 coming out of a bachelor party at the Kalua Cabaret. The three detectives waived their right to a jury trial. Many thought it impossible to find an untainted jury in the community. Assistant District Attorney Charles Testagrossa argued that the detectives were part of a unit to clean up strip clubs that was about to be dissolved, and the detectives were determined to make some arrests to make that night. He argued if they had paused while firing to reassess they would have seen that no one was armed.

But Antonio Ricco(ph), a lawyer for detective Gescard Isnora, said he would show that Sean Bell was angry, drunk and out of control when he left the bachelor party at the strip club. When there is a confluence of alcohol and ignorance, said Ricco, there is always a tragedy.

MARTIN: NPR's Margot Adler reporting. More than a quarter of American adults have left their religion that they were brought up with. That's according to a new study released study by the Pew Forum for Religious and Public Life. The survey of more than 35,000 Americans showed that every major religion is losing and gaining members as more Americans are moving among faiths. Researchers say the study does not mean Americans are becoming less religious; rather it represents a decrease in loyalty to specific religious traditions.

And it wasn't exactly a diplomatic breakthrough, but it was a symbolic and historic event. Thousands of people turned out to see the New York Philharmonic perform in North Korea today. It's the most significant visit by an American cultural institution to the country of North Korea. The orchestra's performance included George Gershwin's "An American in Paris," and both the U.S. and North Korean national anthems. That's the news and it's always online on npr.org.

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