Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne with a follow-up on the record for oldest person to scale Mount Everest. An 81-year-old Nepalese climber earned the title five years ago when he was 76. Last week, an 80-year-old Japanese climber took the crown. Now Min Bahadur Sherchan has given up his attempt to snatch it back but bad weather, due to the season, forced him to turn back. Disappointing. Still, it wasn't age that proved the ultimate barrier.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
On this Wednesday, we are following developments in Pakistan. A U.S. drone strike has killed four suspected militants, including - according to some reports - the Taliban's second-in-command in Pakistan. Now, we should say the militant group denies that he's dead. This is the first strike since President Obama's speech last Thursday, announcing that the use of drones would be scaled back to limit civilian casualties.
The Communist Party's new leadership has pledged to change China's slowing economy by putting a greater emphasis on private enterprise and reining in huge but far less profitable state-owned businesses. Economists say the party has no choice but to update if it wants to stay in power, but they doubt that a genuine overhaul is in the works.
On a Wednesday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne. You could call it a failing performance review. Recently uncovered correspondence from the North African branch of al-Qaida lays out - in bullet points - the shortcomings of one of its local leaders. In the letter, he is chastised by his bosses for sloppy expense reports, ignoring emails and failing to pull off, quote, "any single spectacular operation."
Pope Francis, shown here at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on Wednesday, has emphasized inclusiveness in many of his speeches. In recent remarks, he reached out to atheists.
Pope Francis has been in office for just over two months and has been making headlines for many remarks that emphasize inclusiveness, contrasting sharply with his predecessors' style and apparently even with centuries-old Catholic dogma.
The latest was a statement last week that all human beings, even atheists, can be redeemed.
The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.
That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.
A destroyed home in Tawargha, south of Misrata, on June 5, 2012. Residents have not returned home for fear of death.
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
Ali Arroz, a radiologist, left Tawargha with only the clothes he was wearing, under fire from Misrata militiamen.
Credit Leila Fadel / NPR
Residents of the Libyan town of Tawargha were driven from their homes in Libya's 2011 civil war. Girls from the town hold up a sign that says "we want our homeland, Tawargha" during a protest outside Libya's Parliament. Residents say they will return next month, which could lead to a showdown.
Little boys play soccer in the afternoon heat at a makeshift camp near Libya's capital Tripoli. Their homes, or what's left of them, are in Tawargha, a small town about 20 miles from the Mediterranean coast.
The town has been empty since August of 2011. Its residents fled in cars and on foot, under fire from rebel militiamen from the nearby town of Misrata.
The siege of Misrata was one of the bloodiest battles of the Libyan war. Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi shelled Misrata relentlessly, killing hundreds.
Sixteen millionmen and women served in uniform during World War II. Today, 1.2 million are still alive, but hundreds of those vets are dying every day. In honor of Memorial Day, NPR's All Things Consideredis remembering some of the veterans who have died this year.
"Tad Nagaki was a gentle, quiet farmer," says Mary Previte, a retired New Jersey legislator and former captive of the Japanese during World War II. That quiet farmer, who did extraordinary things, died in April at the age of 93 at his grandson's Colorado home.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block. The killing last week of a British soldier on a London street in broad daylight has raised questions for the police, the government and the British people at large. In a few minutes, we'll talk about reaction to the murder, including some anti-Muslim attacks. First, some of the latest developments.
Now, the repercussions of Lee Rigby's murder in British society, what damage did the gruesome public declaration of responsibility for the killing do to relations between Muslims and other Britains? Well, joining us now is John Burns, London bureau chief for the New York Times. Welcome to the program once again.
JOHN BURNS: It's a pleasure.
SIEGEL: There have been reports of increased attacks on British Muslims since last week. How bad has it been?
In Honduras today, the nation's two most powerful gangs announced a cease-fire. The Roman Catholic Church mediated the agreement. And the announcement took place inside a prison, in what's considered the world's deadliest city, San Pedro Sula. NPR's Carrie Kahn is there, and she joins me now. And, Carrie, describe the scene at the cease-fire announcement today in prison.
A Nov. 23, 2010, photo shows Michael Adebolajo (center, in dark T-shirt) with suspected Al-Shabab recruits who were arrested by Kenyan police. Adebolajo, one of the main suspects in the brutal murder of a soldier in London, was discharged from the hospital Tuesday.
One of the suspects in the murder last week of British soldier Lee Rigby has been released from the hospital and is in police custody. Michael Adebowale, 22, received treatment after being shot by police following the brutal attack on Rigby in Woolwich, London. The other main suspect, Michael Adebolajo, 28, remains in the hospital.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Today, we're going to spend some time on some important stories coming from overseas. In a few minutes, we'll hear what one young woman's charges of rap reveal about how Pakistan's system of justice works - or doesn't - when it comes to sexual violence.
This much is true: Many Canadians apparently think their government has embedded a maple-scented scratch-and-sniff patch in the nation's $100 bills.
According to CTV, "dozens of people" contacted the Bank of Canada after the polymer bills were introduced in 2011 to say they were sure there was something fishy ... or perhaps we should say sweet ... about the money.
A baby boy in China has been safely rescued from a sewage pipe after the abandoned newborn had become lodged in an apartment building's public toilet system. A resident heard the infant's cries, and firefighters cut out a portion of pipe containing the boy. That section was then rushed to the hospital, where the baby was carefully removed.
Authorities are treating the disturbing incident as an attempted homicide and were still looking for the baby's parents. As for his medical condition, the boy is reportedly stable, but with severe bruising and some cuts.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) and British Prime Minister David Cameron met earlier this month. Cameron said then that he was encouraged by Russia's willingness to take part in a peace conference on Syria. Now, Russia is said to be angry about the EU's decision to lift an embargo on arming the Syrian opposition.
The European Union's decision to end its embargo on arming the opposition in Syria has been followed by sharp criticism from Russia's foreign ministry and word that Russia will follow through on plans to deliver anti-aircraft missiles to President Bashar Assad's military.
The Ummayyid Mosque in Damascus has been a mosque for around 1,400 years. It sits in the center of a city where many people are struggling to live normal lives amid war.
Credit Steve Inskeep / NPR
A child plays in a dusty courtyard of half-finished apartment buildings, now housing refugees, in a suburb of Damascus. The complex is deemed safe because artillery has landed across the street but not yet here.
A portrait of Italian philosopher, writer and politician Niccolo Machiavelli (Florence, 1469-1527) by Antonio Maria Crespi. Half a millennium after he wrote <em>The Prince</em>, the slim volume continues to play an important role in political thought and evoke strong response.
Credit Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana / De Agostini/Getty Images
An exhibit in Rome marking the 500th anniversary of <em>The Prince</em> includes a display of T-shirts and teddy bears emblazoned with Machiavelli's face.
Credit Sylvia Poggoli / NPR
One of the first editions of <em>The Prince,</em> published in Florence in 1532 after Machiavelli's death.
The name Niccolo Machiavelli is synonymous with political deceit, cynicism and the ruthless use of power. The Italian Renaissance writer called his most famous work, The Prince, a handbook for statesmen.
An exhibit underway in Rome celebrates the 500th anniversary of what is still considered one of the most influential political essays in Western literature.
This past Friday in Afghanistan, a handful of Taliban militants paralyzed Kabul during an eight-hour standoff with Afghan security forces. This spring, the Taliban's attacks have been intensifying, and this year's fighting season is a major test of Afghan government forces. One month from now, they're supposed to be leading all security operations in the country, as NPR's Sean Carberry reports.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.
The Syrian town of Quseir sits just miles from the border with Lebanon and the fierce fighting there is evidence of how the war is reaching beyond Syria's borders. Lebanese militants from Hezbollah are now openly fighting alongside Syrian soldiers in Quseir. And this weekend, rockets were fired on Hezbollah areas inside Lebanon's capital Beirut. Here's NPR's Kelly McEvers.
Arizona Sen. John McCain spent his Memorial Day in Syria. As NPR's Jonathan Blakley reports from Beirut, McCain's spokesman says the senator crossed into northern Syria from Turkey to meet with rebels in the country, ripped apart by the 2-year conflict turned civil war.
Israeli prison officials invited reporters last month on a first-ever tour of the Ofer prison, a concrete-and-barbed wire compound on the northern edge of Jerusalem. More than 700 Palestinians are detained here for alleged security violations in connection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.
City officials in Paris are experimenting with an unconventional way to keep urban lawns trimmed.
Agnes Masson used to be simply the director of the Paris city archives. Now, she's also a shepherdess of sorts, responsible for four black sheep munching the lush grass surrounding the gray archives building at the eastern edge of the city.
Masson says the ewes are efficient and easy to care for.