Let's follow up now on what appears to be a serious blow to the regime in Syria today. A blast repeatedly killed the country's defense chief, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad and wounded other top officials. This explosion, we're told, occurred inside the tightly guarded national security headquarters in Damascus. To sort out what we know, or don't know, about this incident so far, we've called Neil MacFarquar. He's a correspondent for the New York Times. He's in Beirut. Welcome back to the program.
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Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 10:49 am
The uprising in Syria against the regime of President Bashar Assad took a dramatic turn today when an explosion at a government building in Damascus killed the country's defense minister and a brother-in-law of the president.
Syrian state TV, which is reporting the deaths, has blamed a suicide bomber. There have been at least two claims of responsiblity from groups opposed to the Assad regime. There are also reports that the bomber was a member of the Assad inner circle's security team.
And the nation's homebuilders are feeling more optimistic than they have since March, 2007, just before the beginning of the Great Recession. What's more, the National Association of Home Builders' Housing Market Index has posted its largest one-month gain in roughly a decade.
NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports.
WENDY KAUFMAN, BYLINE: David Crowe, the chief economist at the Home Builders Association says things are definitely looking up. It's a trend that began last September.