Today's Takeaway: Washington Reacts to US Troops Leaving Iraq

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Monday, October 24, 2011

President Obama Says US Troops Will Leave Iraq by the End of the Year; US Troops to Leave by Year's End: A Soldier and a Mother React; This Week's Agenda; EU Leaders Grapple with Debt Crisis; The St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers Fight for a Championship; Star and Director Explain What It's Like "To Be Heard"; Tunisia Holds Its First Free Elections; ; Nobel Laureate Describes Fear of the Global Economy; Reaching Seven Billion: The History of Population Control.

Top of the Hour: Hundreds Dead After Earthquake in Turkey, Morning Headlines

At least 200 people are dead after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey on Sunday. Rescue workers are still working to free victims caught beneath the rubble. Tens of thousands have been left homeless.

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A Military Reaction to Leaving Iraq

On Friday, President Obama announced that all U.S. troops will withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year. The U.S. had a long-standing agreement to withdraw its combat troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, but officials from both countries had discussed the possibility of maintaining a residual force of tens of thousands of troops to train Iraqis and fulfill other duties. Those plans fell through when Iraq refused to grant American troops legal immunity in Iraqi courts.

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A Soldier and A Soldier's Mother on Leaving Iraq

President Obama's announcement that U.S. troops in Iraq will be home by the holidays hit home for thousands of soldiers and families across the country. After 8 years and 4,400 American deaths, the U.S. will completely pull out of Iraq by the end of the year, with the exception of a force remaining to guard some U.S. facilities in the country. The conflict in Iraq changed the definition of what it means to be a soldier in the U.S. military, and what it means to be a reservist. More reservists were used in combat and support roles in Iraq than ever before in history.

U.S. Troops to Leave by Year's End:  One Soldiers' Mother Reacts

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This Week's Agenda: Super Committee, Female Soldiers, Economy

The Congressional "super committee," put in charge of finding $1.2 trillion to cut from the deficit, have mostly been a top secret committee that have shared very little about their meetings. As the super committee continues to find cuts in the deficit, a number of economic indicators are set to be released this week, including new home sales and GDP figures. Also on the agenda for this week, the Pentagon is set to release a report on the role of women soldiers in the military and whether or not they should be allowed to serve in combat roles. And after President Obama's announcement that all U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year, there could be some fallout, especially among Republicans, on Capitol Hill.

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Texas Rangers Win Game Four Against Cardinals, Tie Series

the St. Louis Cardinals (lead the Texas Rangers three games to one in this year’s World Series/ OR / and the Texas Rangers are locked up at two games a piece in this year’s World Series) with Game 5 set to be played tonight in Texas. 
While the Cardinals are trying to cap off one of the most incredible late-season runs in baseball history, the Rangers are trying to make up for a disappointing four-games-to-one loss in last year’s World Series against the San Francisco Giants.     

The St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers are tied 2-2 in this year’s World Series, with Game 5 set to be played tonight in Texas. While the Cardinals are trying to cap off one of the most incredible late-season runs in baseball history, the Rangers are trying to make up for a disappointing four games to one loss in last year’s World Series against the San Francisco Giants.

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Star and Director Explain What It's Like 'To Be Heard'

The new documentary "To Be Heard" follows the journey of three young friends through the world of the South Bronx and their experience in a life-changing writing class that teaches its students to grapple with identity, family issues, and the daily hardships of growing up in an inner-city neighborhood. 

"To Be Heard."  It follows their journey through the world of the South Bronx ... but also their journey through a writing class which seems to have helped them not only grapple with identity, but grapple with family issues and other things going on in the neighborhood that can sometimes be overwhelming for young people.
It's a film about how language can empower us.  
"To be Heard" is currently being screened in a variety of venues all across the country from The Hamptons to St. Louis.  It's directed by a team of four people including Edwin Martinez, who joins us now in the studio today and Karina Sanchez who stars in the film.  
MUST READ: Karina we just heard your voice in the film there ... how do you feel when you hear yourself like that

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Top of the Hour: US Withdraws Ambassador to Syria, Morning Headlines

U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford has been "temporarily" called back to Washington from Syria for his personal safety. For months, Syria has seen massive anti-government protests. Last month, Ford was attacked with eggs and tomatoes when going to meet with opposition figures.

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Tunisia Holds Its First Free Elections

Many months after a man in Tunisia set himself on fire to protest his country's lack of a viable democratic government, some 90 percent of eligible voters in the country cast their votes on Sunday. Over 4.1 million people cast their ballots in the first democratic election from the nation that ignited the Arab Spring. Early signs show that the once banned Islamist Ennahda party is leading, possibly indicating a shift for the secular nation.

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European Union Leaders Grapple With Debt Crisis

European officials were meeting all weekend long to discuss bailout plans — not only for debt-ridden nations in the euro zone but also for specific banks affected by the debt crisis. The European taxpayers paying for these bailouts are concerned about how this money will be used. Perhaps American tax payers should be too.

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Nobel Laureate Michael Spence: Global Recession Has a 50/50 Chance

With unemployment holding steadily at 9 percent and little sign of an upturn, it is hardly surprising that most Americans have a negative outlook on the state of the economy. According to a recent Associated Press poll, more than 7 in 10 Americans believe the country is heading in the wrong direction. Less than 40 percent of respondents feel that President Obama's jobs proposals will significantly raise the unemployment level from its current level.

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Zambia's Population Boom

The United Nations says that by the end of October, the world's population will surpass seven billion. The world population is now growing by roughly 80 million people per year. The tiny African nation of Zambia is among many nations around the world experiencing a population boom. Thirteen million people now live in Zambia, compared to just 3 million in 1964 — and the U.N. expects that number to triple by 2050, with perhaps over 100 million people living there by the end of the century. Fergus Walsh, correspondent for the BBC, reports on Zambia's population boom.

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Reaching Seven Billion: The History of Population Control

The world's population is expected to reach seven billion on Monday, October 31, 2011. All this week The Takeaway looks at population growth and what it means for natural resources and the planet. High population growth has long concerned politicians and policymakers. The Earth's population first reached 1 billion in 1805, around the midpoint of the industrial revolution. From 1805 it took 123 years for the world's population to reach 2 billion. By contrast, it is estimated that it will only take 15 years until there are 8 million humans living on Earth.

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Hundreds Die in Earthquake at Time of Crisis for Turkey

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Sunday, killing at least 250 people and leaving thousands homeless. The quake decimated the city of Van, near Turkey's border with Iran. Rescue workers continue to search for survivors. Over a thousand people have been injured. This crisis comes coupled with a Turkish military operation in Iraq. Turkish troops have been pursuing Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq since militants of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, killed 24 Kurdish soldiers last week. The PKK is classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government.

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