A break-in at an Australian thrift store had police stumped. There was a hole in the ceiling and smashed merchandise. Nothing was missing. Not a burglar, possibly a prankster on a rampage. The next day, staff spotted the intruder still in the store. It was a giant python, 19 feet long, 37 pounds, the head the size of a small dog. The local newspaper reported police chose not to handcuff the culprit, quote, "for logistical reasons."
Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made a brief appearance in federal court yesterday. He pleaded not guilty to 30 counts in connection with the attack. The charges include using a weapon of mass destruction in an attack that killed three people and injured more than 260. The 19-year-old faces the possibility of the death penalty. NPR's Tovia Smith was in the courtroom.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Good morning. Pork was on the menu on Capitol Hill yesterday, but not the kind Congress produces. Lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture Committee were focused on the takeover of Smithfield Foods by a big Chinese company.
Police in the Canadian province of Quebec say as many as 50 people are feared dead after a massive train explosion on Saturday. That growing death toll is another painful blow to residents still stunned after that blast flattened the heart of their small rural town. North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann went to the community.
BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: I'm walking down the railroad tracks here in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. These are the tracks that the train rolled down Saturday, carrying its deadly cargo into the heart of the village.
Let's go to Brazil now, where protests that began last month have transformed the political landscape. Today, there is a national strike supported by several unions. Before all these demonstrations began, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff seemed a sure bet to win reelection next year. Now her popularity has plummeted, and polls show she will probably face a runoff against another woman. Her name is Marina Silva. And as NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports, she has a compelling rags-to-political-power story.
There's a very different kind of rebellion going on in northern Nigeria. It involves a movement that's been dubbed Boko Haram, which translates to: Western education is a sin. And it's often waged a deadly war against schools. Last weekend, gunmen attacked a bordering school. In a predawn raid, they doused a dormitory with fuel, set it on fire and shot students trying to flee. Forty-two students and teachers died. Authorities blame that and other attacks on the radical Islamists of Boko Haram.
Many of you, as you're listening, are on your commute to work, perhaps dealing with traffic, maybe waiting for a late train. But imagine for a moment a different commute, one on foot, where to get to work you have to pass through armed security checkpoints, all the while dodging sniper fire. That is the reality for many people in the Syrian city of Aleppo.