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Top of the News

Top of the News

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey there, Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We are on digital, FM, Sirius Satellite Radio, online at npr.org/bryantpark, and we can frequently be heard emanating from Mike Pesca's Scooby Doo lunchbox. I'm Rachel Martin.

MIKE PESCA, host:

What are you doing there? Wow.

MARTIN: Taking your joke line.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: I'm Mike Pesca, said lunch-box owner. Coming up, figuring out whether to take the kids to "WALL-E" or "Trumbo," the documentary about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Tough choice.

MARTIN: Mm...

PESCA: We're here for you. But first, let's get the latest news headlines from the BPP's Mark Garrison.

BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.

(Soundbite of music)

MARK GARRISON: Thank you, Mike. Today, the people of Zimbabwe vote in a presidential election where longtime leader Robert Mugabe is the only candidate. The opposition leader pulled out of the runoff amidst widespread violence and intimidation. He's urging supporters not to vote unless their lives are threatened. BBC's John Simpson has more from Zimbabwe.

JOHN SIMPSON: There's a very real sense of fear in this country as the election day opens. In the first round, Robert Mugabe was humiliatingly beaten into second place by the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Ever since, Mr. Mugabe's supporters have unleashed an extraordinary campaign of violence against the opposition MDC, to the point where Mr. Tsvangirai's pulled out of the race. But his name will still be on the ballot paper, and the bravest of his followers will, presumably, vote for him. Mr. Mugabe's followers are campaigning for a 100-percent victory, ludicrous though that may seem.

GARRISON: The BBC's John Simpson reporting from Zimbabwe. North Korea has destroyed a giant tower, the most visible symbol of their controversial nuclear program. North Korea staged the demolition as a symbol of their stated commitment to stop making plutonium for atomic bombs. This comes after Korea delivered a long-awaited accounting of its nuclear activities. The U.S. wants to verify the North's claims.

Hundreds of firefighters are working to save California's scenic Big Sur. Flames are threatening historic structures there. Bob Hensley of member station KXJZ has the story.

BOB HENSLEY: The fire has already burned 16 homes and threatens another 500. Many residents have been evacuated. The blaze in the Las Padres National Forest is less than 10 percent contained, and has burned nearly 40 square miles near the coastal town, which is a popular tourist destination. All together, some 1,000 wildfires have scorched 200 square miles throughout northern California. The forecast is bleak. The National Weather Service predicts the return of hotter weather this weekend, and there's a chance of more lightning storms.

GARRISON: Bob Hensley of member station KXJZ with that story. More rain in the Midwest means people forced from their homes by flooding can't go back just yet. Sandbagging goes on in towns across the region. In Winfield, Missouri, a newly-broken levee means floodwaters are moving in.

California now has its first hydrogen filling station. There aren't many hydrogen fuel-cell-powered cars on the road so far. Fuel-cell fans hope as more stations pump hydrogen, hydro-powered car sales will grow. That is your news. It's always online at npr.org

WOLFF: This is NPR.

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