8:25am

Thu June 23, 2011
The Two-Way

'Hope And Despair' In Minot As Water Rises

Good morning.

The day-after stories, as we reported earlier, are coming in about President Obama's plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by about one-third before the fall of 2012. Among them: Word from NPR's Tom Bowman in Afghanistan that "almost everyone we've talked with, from sergeants to generals say 'you really should not take out combat troops' " this year. They hope the first phase of the withdrawal will focus on support troops, not "trigger-pullers."

We've also posted about two very different kind of stories: The arrest of notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger and the announcement from Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling that she's launching a new website where she'll reveal "information I've been hording for years" about her fictional wizard — and where the series will be available for purchase as e-books for the first time.

As for other news making headlines:

-- "Hope And Despair" In Minot, N.D., As Water Rises: More than 10,000 people have had to evacuate their homes in the city as the Souris River continues to rise, and it's not expected to crest until Sunday or Monday. "At a noon press briefing Wednesday, an emotional Mayor Curt Zimbelman stated, 'We don't know what kind of devastation we will have. It's hard to control your emotions because it affects a lot of people.' " (Minot Daily News)

-- Churchill Downs' Backside Hit Hard, Possibly By Tornado: The historic Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Ky., home to the Kentucky Derby, was in the path of severe weather Wednesday. "The National Weather Service has not confirmed any tornado touchdowns in Jefferson, Shelby, Meade and Oldham counties, but weather service officials would investigate areas early Thursday to determine whether there were touchdowns. One of the hardest hit areas was the Churchill Downs backside." At least one barn was damaged, but there are no reports of injured horses. (Louisville Courier-Journal)

-- Winklevoss Twins Drop Facebook Lawsuit: "The Harvard University classmates of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are ending the legal battle made famous by the Hollywood movie The Social Network. In a one-paragraph court filing Wednesday, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss said they would accept a settlement that was worth $65 million when agreed upon in 2008. The twins had sought to undo the settlement of $20 million cash and $45 million in stock." (The Associated Press)

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