Today's Takeaway: US Troops to Stay in Mideast

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Monday, October 31, 2011

After Iraq Withdrawal, US Plans Troop Increase in Persian Gulf; The NBA Lockout's Affect on Workers; American Doctor in Libya Discusses Gadhafi; Judge Approves Settlement for Black Farmers; Mobile Phones Lead Innovation in Developing World; This Week's Agenda: Euro Zone, Jobs, 7 Billion; No Deal in Sight for 'Super Committee'; US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Student Debt.

Top of the Hour: Attacks in Afghanistan, Morning Headlines

Over the weekend two attacks in Afghanistan proved some of the deadliest in that country in over two months. In Kabul, a bombing left 17 people dead, and some officials pointing beyond the Taliban and towards a growing threat: the Haqqani network, which is based in neighboring Pakistan. That and this morning's other top headlines. 


After Iraq Withdrawal, US Plans Troop Increase in Persian Gulf

The White House is planning to boost its military presence in the Middle East when the final troops leave Iraq at December's end. The new plan comes in light of the Iraqi government's refusal to allow American forces to remain in the country after the previously agreed-upon deadline, which goes into effect at year's end. The additional combat units would be stationed in Kuwait, and the U.S. views them as a hedge for stability in the event of a collapse in security in Iraq or a move of aggression by Iran.

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The NBA Lockout's Impact on Workers

The NBA remains stuck in a lockout this morning as negotiations between players and owners have failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement. Tomorrow is scheduled be the first day of the 66th season, but instead the stadiums will remain closed and fans will stay at home. It’s a big disappointment for fans, but for many people, their livelihoods are on the line too.

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American Doctor Describes Libya's Medical Infrastructure Before and After Gadhafi

It's been a week and a half since rebels killed Muammar Gadhafi, after taking his hometown of Sirte. Libya is now a country in the midst of healing old wounds and trying to rebuild a nation. Dr. Catherine Mullaly, an anesthesiologist with Massachusetts General Hospital, was working in Qasr Ahmed Hospital in Misrata the day Gadhafi was captured and killed. She’s just returned from a six week assignment there with Médecins Sans Frontières, and shares what she saw in the days after Gadhafi's death.

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Judge Approves Settlement for Black Farmers

A federal judge signed off on the $1.25 billion settlementbetween U.S. Department of Agriculture and African American farmers who say the agency discriminated against them by denying them loans and other forms of assistance. The case dates back to 1997 and gives tens of thousands of plaintiffs a chance to have their day in court. The Takeaway is joined by Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association president Gary Grant, whose organization has been leading the fight for this compensation for more than a decade.

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Mobile Phones Lead Innovation in Developing World

As part of The Takeaway's innovation discussion the program looks at how new cell phone technology is having some big implications for the developing world. It’s a powerful tool because of its prevalence — cell phone use in the developing world has surged in recent years, meaning it could be the gateway to solving long standing challenges. Dr. Ashifi Gogo is CEO of Sproxil, a multi-national company that uses cell phones to help consumers spot counterfeit drugs in the developing world. Ramesh Raskar is an associate professor at MIT Media Lab.

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Top of the Hour: Winter Storm Batters Northeast, Morning Headlines

Over the weekend a bad winter storm surprised many with an early arrival, dumping inches upon inches of snow on the Northeast, causing power outages for millions, delaying flights and forcing some areas to cancel school and even declare a state of emergency. That and this morning's other top headlines. 


This Week's Agenda: Euro Zone, Jobs, 7 Billion People

The markets responded positively to the news last week of a euro zone deal to try and turn around their two-year financial crisis. Marcus Mabry, editor-at-large of the International Herald Tribune, which is the international edition of The New York Times, tells us how he expects the markets to continue to go this week and to be on the lookout at Italy, which could be the next euro zone country to be in financial trouble. Charlie Herman, business and economics editor for WNYC and The Takeaway, looks at the upcoming G20 Summit in France this week, and if they can come up with a framework to deal with Europe's economic troubles.

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7 Billionth Baby: Alice's First Few Hours

Today the world's population reached seven billion. Duncan Kennedy, reporting for the BBC, spent the first few hours with that seven billionth baby — or one of the newborns that could lay claim to the title — Alice, in Australia. He spoke with her new parents about the advent of a new life in their world, and about what it's like to be the parents of a child on a 7 billion person planet. 


No Deal in Sight for 'Super Committee'

The Democrats and Republicans on the deficit reduction 'Super Committee' remain hundreds of billions of dollars apart, just weeks shy of the Thanksgiving deadline. And that's not the only action on the economy this week. They'll also vote on an infrastructure plan, which would provide funds to repair roads and bridges, with money raised from higher taxes on millionaires. The Takeaway's Washington correspondent Todd Zwillich fills in the details. 

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Tebow Effect: A New Quarterback Adjusts to NFL

What is the Tim Tebow effect? The new Denver Broncos quarterback has garnered a lot of national attention, partly for his talent, partly for his prayerful play. But is the attention — or the critiques, which are growing after Tebow failed to lead Denver to a win over Detroit Sunday — fully warranted? We find out, and get a general NFL update from Takeaway sports contributor Ibrahim Abdul-Matin. 


US-Pakistan Relations Further Complicated After Afghanistan Attacks

Two attacks over the weekend in Afghanistan drew into even sharper relief the challenges of relations between Pakistan and the U.S. One reason: officials pointed to the first attack, in which a suicide bombing of an armored convoy killed 17 people, as a likely calling card not of the Taliban but the Haqqani terrorist network. The Haqqani network is based largely in Pakistan, and the U.S. has accused that country of supporting them. Now, American officials are in the difficult position of asking Pakistan for help in peace negotiations with the Haqqanis.   


MF Global Files for Chapter 11

MF Global filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday morning, making the security firm possibly the U.S. casualty of the European debt crisis. Earlier in the morning, the firm, headed by former New Jersey governor and Goldman Sachs executive John Corzine, was suspended from conducting new business with the New York Federal Reserve. Under Corzine's leadership, MF Global made risky bets on European sovereign debt.