Misrata Civilians Caught in Close Quarters Fighting

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tripoli Street in downtown Misrata is a scene of destruction April 18, 2011 in Misrata, Libya. Tripoli Street once was Misrata's posh main avenue for shops and expensive apartments. (Chris Hondros/Getty)

Misrata civilians are facing increasingly violent clashes between rebels and Gadhafi forces, and worse still, many cannot escape the city; China's growing appetite for American pecans; President Obama's tax filing; defending war criminals in court; a new book about our world of plastic; S&P downgrades America's long term credit outlook; another Gulf business owner's struggles a year after the spill; debating mandatory retirement; and the growing cannon of fake memoirs in the literary world.

Top of the Hour: Misrata Under Attack, Morning Headlines

The humanitarian situation in Libya is worsening as Col. Gadhafi's troops are firing on Misrata. NATO air strikes were meant to stop the shelling of Misrata, but the fighting continues and the wounded are trying to evacuate.

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Escaping Urban Warfare in Libya: A Personal Story

In recent days, harrowing reports out of Misrata, Libya's third largest city, have brought into sharp relief the dangers for civilians living there. Thousands of migrant workers are trapped as rebels spar with Moammar Gadhafi's forces, and scores of foreign medical workers have already departed or plan to soon. Some civilians have been evacuated during nightfall, but the situation there remains dire. Iman recently escaped Misrata by boat with her baby and husband and is now in Ireland; she shares her story.

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China Goes Nuts for Pecans, but Americans Pay a Price

If you love to eat nuts, you may have noticed that the cost of the great American pecan has gone through the roof over the past few years. You can thank the Chinese consumer for that. It turns out the rise in pecans at the grocery store is due to a slow and steady increase in demand from China.

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Who Defends Accused War Criminals?

Over the past few months, throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa, there have been countless testimonies about the human rights abuses committed by dictators clinging to power. Protesters in Egypt and Libya have struggled to draw international attention to abuses of power in their countries by leaders Hosni Mubarak and Moammar Gadhafi. In Ivory Coast, human rights observers warned of a possible genocide as hundreds were killed during Laurent Gbagbo's final weeks in power. But what happens to the leaders after they're ousted? And what's the role today of the International Criminal Court in pursuing these cases? 

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Inside the President's Tax Filing

Yesterday was the deadline to file taxes in the U.S. and in what has become a tradition, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden released their tax returns to the public. The Takeaway's Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich  shares his findings.

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New Guidelines Help Find Alzheimer's Earlier

Alzheimer's disease affects millions of people worldwide; it's often a disease that is undetectable until it's too late. However, a new set of national guidelines are being released that will help catch signs of the disease earlier. David Shenk, author of "The Forgetting: Alzheimer's, Portrait of an Epidemic," explains the latest guidelines.

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Top of the Hour: Washington's Credit Crisis, Morning Headlines

Standard & Poor's downgraded the United States' credit rating from "stable" to "negative" on Monday, sending the bond market on a bumpy ride. What does this mean for Washington?

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S&P Economist Explains Downgrade of US Rating

Standard & Poor's announced Monday that they have downgraded the United States' credit outlook from “stable” to “negative” for the first time since they began issuing those ratings in 1989. The new rating has been interpreted by many as a direct warning to the U.S. government to come up with an agreement on the debt ceiling and the federal budget — as quickly as possible. David Wyss, Chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, New York, and Louise Story, Wall Street and finance reporter for our partner The New York Times, explain what the rating really means, and what the U.S. can do about it.

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Voices from the Gulf: Dean Blanchard, Seafood Distributor

Wednesday is the one-year anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. All week long on The Takeaway, we'll be speaking to residents of the Gulf region whose lives, businesses and communities were profoundly impacted by the oil gusher that followed the explosion. Dean Blanchard owns a wholesale seafood wholesaling business in Grand Isle, Louisiana and was a frequent guest to the Takeaway in the days and weeks immediately following the Gulf Oil Spill. He endured a blow to his business, a layoff of 65 employees, and has endured a long wait to settle a claim with BP.

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Should We Bring Back Mandatory Retirement?

Well before the era of social security, most Americans could only dream of a life where retirement was possible. But by the early 1900s U.S. companies started mandating a retirement age. The practice of imposing a retirement age was outlawed by Congress in 1986. But some are suggesting that maybe it’s time to bring it back — all while many baby boomers are out of work and looking to get back into the labor force. Should we go back to mandatory retirement?

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Syrian Security Forces Fire on Protesters

There are reports that security forces opened fire on protesters in a main square in Holms, Syria's third-largest city. Thousands of people occupied the central square on Monday to demand political reform or the downfall of the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Witnesses said twenty-thousand demonstrators were occupying the main square in the city of Homs when security forces started firing and unverified video footage shows heavy gunfire in the main square on Monday night. The BBC's Owen Bennett Jones reports.

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'Three Cups of Tea' Author Under Fire

Following a CBS "60 Minutes" report that found factual errors in the best-selling book, "Three Cups of Tea," author Greg Mortenson and his charitable work in Afghanistan and Pakistan have come under fire. In the book, Mortenson writes about stumbling into a tiny village in northeastern Pakistan and coming across a group of schoolchildren doing their lessons with sticks and dirt. It was then, he writes, that he discovered his passion to build schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But "60 Minutes'" producers found factual errors in the book and suggest that Mortenson's charity may be spending money poorly and exaggerating their accomplishments. Mortenson is denying the allegations.

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Afghanistan Reacts to 'Three Cups' Author's Accounts of School Building

CBS "60 Minutes" is not widely broadcast inside Afghanistan or Pakistan, but you wouldn't know it from the reactions from a story over the weekend. In a take down of the  famous book, "Three Cups of Tea," CBS disputed the veracity of Greg Mortenson's his charity work. CBS also took issue with the finances of his work in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The BBC's Bilal Sawary reports from Kabul.

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New Guidelines on Alzheimer's Will Help Doctors and Patients

The National Institute on Aging is releasing new national guidelines to help catch signs of Alzheimer's. Dr. Creighton Phelps, director of the Alzheimer's Disese Centers Program at the National Institute of Aging explains what this means for patients and their doctors. There are changes that occur in the brain that can be seen with imaging and measuring spinal fluid that are like those in people with Alzheimer's and could potentially help the clinicians know the best way to proceed. This also raises the question: Would you want to know if you were likely to get Alzheimer's?

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