From NPR News in Washington, I'm Nora Raum.
A rally was held today on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the same steps where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech 47 years ago. Today's event attracted conservatives, who crowded half the National Mall, stretching from the Reflecting Pool, nearly all the way to the Washington Monument. NPR's Andrea Seabrook reports many people there saw it as a Christian event.
Fox News personality Glenn Beck calls his own ideals "Christian faith-based patriotism" and that sentiment united the crowd. People cheered whenever God or Jesus Christ was mentioned in a speech. Keith Thomas of Syracuse, New York said the rally wasn't about politics but about the deep beliefs conservatives have that then informed their politics. He said some politicians don't have those beliefs.
"They want to take God out of everything, out of schools, out of this and that. And people don't have as much personal responsibility any more. They want to put that back in the whole country and especially in our government."
The event was called the Restoring Honor Rally. And though there were Tea Party activists in the crowd, there was little outright mention of conservative politics. Andrea Seabrook, NPR News, Washington.
Elsewhere in Washington, a smaller rally was held to honor King. NPR's Neda Ulaby talked with participants who marched to the site where Memorial to King will be built.
The march proceeding to the National Mall right now is designed to celebrate the memory of Martin Luther King, and the people who are here are those who are very committed to keeping his memory alive. There are families; there are church creatives, (um,) whoever else shopping it just pulled a little bit behind me, and that the mood is very purposeful, and there's kind of flatterness to the people here. These are people who are feeling a real connection to the values Dr. King embodied.
NPR's Neda Ulaby reporting.
The European Union's top foreign policy official says she won't attend the US-hosted direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Teri Schultz reports from Brussels.
Ashton says she was already scheduled to be in China next week, and she plans to go despite French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner's insistence Ashton go to Washington. Kouchner notes the EU is the No.1 contributor of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians and therefore should be represented, but Ashton has refused to change her plans to attend the informal dinner the US has invited her to. An EU spokesman says she doesn't believe her presence there would have any substantial influence on the talks, and that the focus should be on a successful outcome between the parties. Ashton expects to be debriefed personally by US envoy George Mitchell after the talks, and then she'll pass along the news to EU governments. For NPR News, I'm Teri Schultz in Brussels.
Insurgents wearing US Army uniforms attacked two bases in eastern Afghanistan early this morning. NATO officials say at least 21 fighters were killed. They say five others were taken into custody. No coalition troops were harmed.
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Two Canadians from British Columbia are being linked to an international child pornography ring that originated in Australia. Dan Karpenchuk reports officials say the group operated through Facebook.
A former Vancouver private school teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia who had already been charged with four counts of possession and distribution of child pornography has now been linked to the international ring. Police say they believe 40-year-old Christopher Ingvaldson was accessing the Internet and Facebook where an account was started by suspects in Australia. The second suspect was also arrested in Kelowna but released without being charged. Police say there were 11 people from Australia, Canada, and Britain involved in the pornography ring. An international police investigation began in March that included the FBI. An Australian officer established an identity on Facebook and was approached by one of the suspects that led police to the ring. Analysts say international police cooperation which didn't exist for this type of crime six or seven years ago helped to break the pornography operation. For NPR News, I'm Dan Karpenchuk in Toronto.
Officials are trying to determine what prompted a riot last night at Folsom State Prison in Northern California. It began in the main exercise yard and involved 200 inmates. Guards fired guns to end the disturbance. Officials say at least seven inmates were hospitalized. It's not clear if they were shot by guards or injured some other way. No officers were hurt.
Police in Las Vegas arrested Paris Hilton last night and charged her with cocaine possession. Authorities say the celebrity was riding in a car when police noticed what appeared to be marijuana smoke wafting from the Cadillac Escalade. During the stop, they searched Hilton. Officials say a drug found in her purse tested positive for cocaine.
I'm Nora Raum, NPR News in Washington.