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(CNN) – Welcome to CNN Radio News Day.
In Washington Monday, President Obama announced nominations for two key posts – former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel as his choice for Secretary of Defense, and John Brennan to become the next director of the CIA. Hagel's a known name in Washington circles, but one drawing criticism for his previous stances on some international issues. Brennan might not be as well-known to many. But CNN senior national security producer Pam Benson says he's had the President's ear for the past four years:
"He's often the one who picks up the phone or walks into the Oval Office, any time day or night, to inform the President of a calamity. Whether it's a terrorist strike overseas...a mass shooting in the homeland. Whatever it is, he's usually the one that brings the news."
Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is showing no signs of giving up power. Sunday in front of a theatre packed with supporters, he reiterated his defiance to forces working against his regime. As the bloody civil war continues, there's growing concern among analysts about what would happen if Assad's regime is eventually forced-out. Anne-Marie Slaughter, professor of international affairs at Princeton University, shares that concern:
"I'm not convinced there will be a government to replace him."
- New York City officials are noting the Big Apple's historically low murder rate in 2012 – 414 killings. The number is the lowest since the city began keeping track in 1963. Mayor Michael Bloomberg cites good police work and prosecutions. But there's more to it than that. Derick Scott says it's also a nod to the work he and other 'violence interrupters' do in their communities. In Scott's case, confronting those who hold the guns in his Brooklyn neighborhood:
"We do that through a series of mediations, trying to stop a retaliation, stopping fights."
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