Fighting in Syria has intensified within a few miles of the capital city. Damascus has remained under firm government control, but in the suburbs, the army has sent in tanks to retake areas that had been under the affective control of rebels. Activists inside Syria say more than 60 people have been killed in the past day. NPR's Kelly McEvers is monitoring the situation from Beirut. She's on the line. Hi Kelly.
KELLY MCEVERS, BYLINE: Hello.
INSKEEP: How did this fighting develop in the suburbs?
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Let's talk, now, about the reported settlement in last year's deadly coal mine disaster in West Virginia. Details are expected later this morning, but NPR and other news organizations have confirmed some elements of a $200 million settlement that involves civil and criminal penalties levied against the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine.
Let's remember a bit of very recent history. Back in August, Congress came close to defaulting on U.S. government debts. Republicans wanted big cuts in spending. They finally got some, but a deal with President Obama pushed more deficit reductions off to the future, to a bipartisan committee which has been meeting this fall, and now has one week left until its deadline to reach a deal.