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Failed French Rescue Attempt Leaves Several Dead In Somalia

It's not clear whether a French intelligence agent is dead or alive after a botched rescue attempt in Somalia on Saturday morning. As the AP reports:

"France says the agent, code-name Denis Allex, was killed in the raid, along with a French commando and 17 Islamist militants. But the militant group al-Shabab, which held Allex for more than three years, says it still has Allex and claims to have captured a French soldier."

"The overnight operation was carried out by French special forces brought in by helicopter to a location in southern Somalia controled by the Islamist al-Shabab movement," BBC reporter Hugh Scofield told our Newscast unit. The firefight that followed was loud and left bodies in the streets, residents told BBC and AFP reporters.

Al-Shabab insists that Allex, kidnapped in July 2009, "remains safe and far from the location of the battle." However, it warned in a statement:

"As a response to this botched rescue operation by the French forces, Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen assures the French people that it will give its final verdict regarding the fate of Dennis Allex within two days."

The operation came while French airstrikes on the other side of Africa drove back Islamic rebels from a city in Mali overnight. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said there was no connection between two efforts, but the failed rescue attempt could have wider repercussions, particularly for the nine other French hostages being held across North Africa – at least seven of whom are in Mali.

Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Is It All Greek To You? Thank Medieval Monks, And The Bard, For The Phrase

Ben Zimmer, language columnist at The Wall Street Journal, explains the origin of the phrase "it's all Greek to me" — and shares a few variants from other languages.
NPR

Do Try This At Home: 3 Korean Banchan (Side Dishes) In One Pot

If you've ever eaten at a Korean restaurant, you're used to the endless side dishes that come out with the meal. They're called banchan, and they're remarkably simple to make for yourself.
WAMU 88.5

Cutting Local Taxes in The District

The D.C. Council has taken steps to accelerate tax cuts for all income earners. They're part of a broader overhaul of the city's tax levels, but some council members argued there wasn't enough time for a rigorous debate about the new schedule. We explore the debate over cutting taxes for D.C. residents and how it affects the city's ability to pay for critical local services.

NPR

Reddit CEO Says Miscommunication Led To Blackout Protest

A user revolt briefly shut down the social site last week after a key employee was dismissed. Interim CEO Ellen Pao says the company has "apologized for not communicating better" with site moderators.