7:45am

Tue September 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Top Stories: Wildfires; Obama's Ratings; Postal Service's Losses

Good morning.

Wildfires continue to blaze in parts of central and northeast Texas, as we reported earlier. There are so many and they're moving so fast, in fact, that NPR's Wade Goodwyn says there just aren't enough firefighters and aircraft to battle them all effectively.

We'll keep an eye on developments there this week.

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7:30am

Tue September 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Texas Wildfires: 'Move So Fast, They Kill'

Raging wildfires continue to burn across central Texas and so far have destroyed about 500 homes, Austin's American-Statesman writes this morning.

The newspaper adds that "the scope of the disaster — perhaps the worst of its kind in the region's history — was not fully known by late Monday as officials struggled to provide a complete count of the number of lost structures."

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7:07am

Tue September 6, 2011
Middle East

Libyan Convoy Heads For Niger Capital

Originally published on Tue September 6, 2011 12:20 pm

Armed loyalists of Moammar Gadhafi, including his security chief, fled into neighboring Niger in multiple convoys across hundreds of miles of desert on Tuesday. Libya's former rebels — now the country's de facto rulers — claimed the convoys were a major flight by Gadhafi's most hardcore backers from his final strongholds.

The claims could not immediately be confirmed. Information on the size of the convoys and who was in them was scarce as they made their way across the vast swath of Sahara — over 1,000 miles — between any populated areas on the two sides of the border.

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7:00am

Tue September 6, 2011
Rick Perry

Rick Perry's Top Five Texas Debate Moments

The new Republican frontrunner, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, will take part in his first presidential debate Wednesday night. In advance of his debut, we looked back at key moments from the previous debate performances of the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

3:21am

Tue September 6, 2011
Politics

Perry Skips S.C. Tea Party Forum, 5 Others Appear

GOP presidential candidates meet at a forum in South Carolina Monday. From left to right, Rep. Michele Bachmann, businessman Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was not at the event.
Stephen Morton Getty Images

Five of the top six Republicans running for president spent Labor Day taking a grilling from the conservative wing of their party at a forum in Columbia, S.C.

Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina — who is a powerful voice in the early voting state and a Tea Party favorite — organized the forum, which started on a bit of a deflated note with news that Texas Gov. Rick Perry backed out at the last minute to deal with raging wildfires in his state.

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12:01am

Tue September 6, 2011
The Picture Show

A Beautiful View, But Still A Battle Zone

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:27 am

Pfc. Natan Martinez fires a machine gun at an enemy fighting position near the Pakistan border in Afghanistan.
David Gilkey NPR

Observation Post Mustang sits high in the mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. At an altitude of 5,600 feet, the soldiers stationed there from the Army's 2-27th Infantry Regiment have a stunning view of the Kunar River Valley far below.

But it's not all just beautiful vistas and clean mountain air. On Sunday, the forward operating base that sits in the valley below took enemy fire. NPR's David Gilkey, who is embedded with the 2-27th Infantry, photographed American soldiers as they engaged in a firefight with insurgents across the valley.

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12:01am

Tue September 6, 2011
Law

Proposition 8 Proponents Fight For Appeal Rights

The latest round in the legal battle over same sex marriage will be fought Tuesday in a hearing before the California State Supreme Court.

The arguments will focus not so much on same-sex marriage itself, but on Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative banning such marriages. A federal judge has ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional and the issue before the court on Tuesday is whether proponents of the initiative have the legal authority, or standing, to pursue an appeal.

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12:01am

Tue September 6, 2011
Science

A Final Smash For America's Giant Particle Collider

A view inside the Tevatron ring, currently in its final days as a particle superhighway.
Reider Hahn Fermilab

A physicist named Dmitri Denisov walks up wooden steps to the top of something that looks sort of like an abandoned railroad bed.

"Wow, look, it's beautiful," Denisov says, gazing out at a pond. "I didn't even know about these flowers."

The tall mound of dirt he's standing on stretches off into the distance, forming a huge circle nearly four miles around — and the inside of this ring is filled with acres of restored prairie.

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3:14pm

Mon September 5, 2011
Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001

Memories Of Sept. 11's First Casualty Burn Bright

Father Mychal Judge became a fire department chaplain in 1992 — and he liked to join company drills. One retired fireman recalls, "I could picture him, chopping down a door with an axe. He would love to do that, too."
Holy Name Province Franciscans

When planes hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Father Mychal Judge ran into the North Tower alongside the firemen he served. Not long after, he became the first recorded victim of the terrorist attacks.

But 10 years later, his friends and colleagues remember Judge as vividly in death as they knew him in life: a gregarious, irreverent man wholly devoted to God, whom many considered a saint, in large part because of his own personal struggles.

Priest On A Fire Ladder

From the first, Mychal Judge loved to be where the action is.

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3:00pm

Mon September 5, 2011
Around the Nation

'Mother Nature Has The Upperhand' In Wildfire Fight

A tinderbox landscape and unusually windy conditions have caused more than 60 wildfires to explode across Central and East Texas — creating a hellish Labor Day for thousands of Texans. Two people have been killed so far.

The worst fire is in Bastrop County, just southeast of Austin, where the blaze has been burning out of control for more than a day.

No one in Bastrop has ever seen anything like it. The tall, pine forests that were a favorite getaway for campers and city commuters have erupted into an inferno.

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