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Top of the News

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Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're on digital, FM, Sirius Satellite Radio and online at I'm Mike Pesca.


And I'm Rachel Martin. Coming up, Richard Florida says virtual space or not, you need to be in the physical space of people who do what you do. A little cryptic, a little provocative. Stay tuned for that. But first, let's get the latest news headlines from the BPP's Matthew Martinez.


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MATT MARTINEZ: Thank you very much, Rachel. Three U.S. soldiers and an interpreter were killed by a bomb last night in Iraq's Nineveh Province. That's in the country's north. The military has been battling Sunni insurgents in the area, which includes the city of Mosul.

Fighting between the Taliban and coalition forces in Afghanistan has been surging lately. A statement by the U.S.-led coalition says that 22 Taliban militants have been killed after airstrikes in the eastern section of Afghanistan. Afghan police called for help after government officers were attacked, and the militants were, quote, "positively identified and killed."

The prime minister of Kenya says that without world intervention, violence in Zimbabwe could escalate to levels not seen since the Rwandan genocide. Raila Odinga issued the warning today. He called for the postponement of Zimbabwe's presidential runoff election scheduled for this Friday. International pressure continues to mount on Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe. There have been calls for fresh sanctions against the government.

But one company is preparing to make a record foreign investment there. Larry Miller reports from London.

LARRY MILLER: The mining company, Anglo American, says it will invest 400 million dollars to build a platinum mine in central Zimbabwe. The London-based firm already employs nearly 650 people at the site, and hopes to be producing the precious and highly expensive metal within two years. A spokesman says the development is going ahead, because Anglo American has a responsibility to its employees and the local community, but added that the situation in Zimbabwe is being kept under close watch. Also keeping a close watch is the British foreign office. It says it's investigating whether this investment breaches sanctions against Zimbabwe and breaks the law. Some large shareholders expressed concern that the investment could fall outside pension-fund ethical guidelines.

MARTINEZ: That's Larry Miller reporting from London. The Fed is meeting. Don't expect any movement on interest rates, though. The Federal Reserve will likely keep it parked right where it is at two percent, and that's due to a weak economy. If the rate remains unchanged, it's likely banks' prime rate will remain unchanged, too, sticking at five percent. The prime rate applies to some credit cards, home-equity lines of credit and other loans.

Federal officials in Mexico say they will extradite the leader of Tijuana's Arellano Felix drug cartel. Here's more from Amy Isaacson at KPBS in San Diego.

AMY ISAACSON: Benjamin Arellano-Felix was, by all accounts, the CEO of Tijuana's Arellano-Felix drug cartel. During the 1980s, the cartel grew into a drug-trafficking powerhouse, just south of the border from San Diego. Under Benjamin's leadership, it's believed the cartel trafficked half of all the cocaine in the United States. Benjamin was arrested in Mexico in 2002, and has been in jail there since on drug trafficking charges.

The U.S. has long sought his extradition. For years, it's been rumored that he could arrive in San Diego at any moment. Mexico's federal government has finally said it will send Benjamin on charges, including drug-trafficking, money-laundering and participating in organized crime. The extradition overturned the Mexican judge's decision just last month to block the handover.

MARTINEZ: That's Amy Isaacson reporting from San Diego. That is the news for now. You can find the news online all the time at

WOLFF: This is NPR.

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