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Floods Peak In Brisbane; Violence Flares in Tunisia; New England Digs Out

Jan 13, 2011

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Good morning.

News related to Saturday's shooting rampage in Arizona continues to dominate the headlines. As we've reported, the highlights include word that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) — the target of the gunman — briefly opened her eyes yesterday. And the morning-after anlayses of President Obama's call for greater civility continue, as do the debates over former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's charge that some pundits and reporters have committed "blood libel" by speculating that things she and others have said or done might have contributed to a tone that spurs such violence.

We'll be posting more about the tragedy in Arizona as the day continues.

There's also already been word this morning, as we've reported, that hundreds of people are dead and many more are missing after mudslides in south eastern Brazil.

Other stories making headlines include:

— Flooding in Australia: "Brisbane River To Peak Lower Than 1974 Flood," The Australian's headline reads. It says that "the heart of Brisbane won a reprieve this morning, with floodwaters peaking well below expected levels." Still, the Associated Press says, "officials told evacuated Brisbane residents it would be days before they could return to some of the 30,000 inundated homes and businesses." Flooding in Australia's Queensland State in recent days has swamped dozens of towns. NPR's Anthony Kuhn talked with Morning Edition's Steve Inskeep about the flooding earlier today.

— Violence in Tunisia: "Protesters in Tunisia's capital Tunis have fought street battles with the security forces overnight, defying a dusk-to-dawn curfew," the BBC reports. "Witnesses say one man was shot dead in the clashes in a western suburb." As Bloomberg News notes, unrest in Tunisia has "left at least 21 people dead since last month." Leaders of the protests say perhaps twice that many people have been killed. The New York Times reminds us that "Tunisia also has one of the most repressive governments in a region full of police states."

— The latest storm in New England: "After A Big Snow, A Big Headache," the Hartford Courant says this morning. In Connecticut, folks are digging out "from a record-breaking storm that dumped close to two feet of snow." Similar stories are coming from other New England states.

— The foreclosure wave: As CNNMoney writes, "foreclosures were at a record high in 2010, and more than 1 million people lost their homes, even as notices started leveling off during the end year."

— Lebanon's latest crisis: "Michel Sleiman, Lebanon's president, has asked Saad al-Hariri to remain as a caretaker prime minister until the country's political crisis is resolved, according to Lebanon's national news agency," Al Jazeera reports. "Sleiman's announcement on Thursday comes as Hariri prepares to return to Lebanon to confront a government that has effectively collapsed following the withdrawal of the Hezbollah-led opposition bloc from his cabinet."

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