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Julie McCarthy

Can tigers and tourists coexist? The debate is rumbling through India, where the Supreme Court has temporarily banned tourism in core areas of the country's 41 tiger reserves. The unexpected and controversial ruling is aimed at protecting the last of India's 1,700 tigers.

Up until the late 1960s, big game hunters trod the forests of Rajasthan's Ranthambore National Park, part of a sprawling tiger reserve southwest of Delhi. Under the court's recent ban, spotting one of India's big cats — a tiger or the more elusive leopard — inside the park is forbidden.

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The blackout that recently disrupted electricity across northern India is said to have affected more people than any previous power outage ever. It covered an area that's home to some 670 million people; that would be roughly 10 percent of the world's population. Still, large numbers of Indians living in the blackout zone barely noticed it happened. From New Delhi, NPR's Julie McCarthy explains.

India's parliament was adjourned briefly today as the opposition called for the resignation of the prime minister, saying he was complicit in what has become known as "coal-gate."

The uproar stems from an official audit issued last week accusing the government of selling coal mining rights for too low a price.

Pakistan's National Assembly has been summoned to elect a new prime minister for the fragile coalition of President Asif Ali Zardari. A consensus candidate, current Textile Industry Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin, emerged soon after the Supreme Court's dramatic firing of outgoing Premier Yusuf Reza Gilani.

The court disqualified Gilani from office this week for defying court orders to pursue dormant corruption charges against President Zardari.

In the chill of the world's highest combat zone lies the prospect of warmer relations. Pakistan's army chief said Wednesday that there's a need to resolve the conflict that has Indian and Pakistani troops facing off at frigid altitudes of up to 20,000 feet in the Himalayan Mountains. An estimated 3,000 Pakistani soldiers have died from the atrocious weather conditions since deployments on the Siachen glacier began in 1984.

Extending the political crisis that has churned up a media frenzy and put the nation on edge, Pakistan's Supreme Court has given the Prime Minister ten more days to answer contempt of court charges

Prime Minister Yusef Reza Gilani drove himself to the imposing Supreme Court building framed by stormy skies this morning. Facing contempt charges, he stood in the well of the packed court and defended his refusal to re-open a graft case against his boss, President Zardari.

In Pakistan, transit routes for NATO supply trucks heading to Afghanistan remain shut. The CIA drone missile program has gone quiet in Pakistan's tribal area. Pakistan's government has called for a re-negotiation of its troubled relationship with the U.S.

All of this is fallout from an attack on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border last month in which NATO fire from helicopter gunships killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

After 15 years on the fringes of Pakistani national politics, Imran Khan is at the epicenter.

He first rose to prominence decades ago as the rakish star of Pakistan's cricket team, the country's national passion. He's now trying to reshape Pakistan's political game, outmaneuvering old-time political pros with his Tareek-e-Insaf (Justice Party).

In Pakistan, several high-profile kidnappings reveal the cunning of the captors and confusion among police.

American aid expert Warren Weinstein was seized from his home in Lahore in mid-August. Two weeks later, publishing scion Shahbaz Taseer was snatched from his Mercedes at gunpoint, also in an upscale neighborhood of the Punjab capital.

The trail is leading investigators to Pakistan's militant-dominated tribal areas. North Waziristan, on the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border, is now believed to be a destination of choice for militant kidnappers.

The news today that Pakistan's cabinet has moved to normalize trade with India — giving its neighbor "Most Favored Nation" status — is being viewed as a positive first step toward the possible normalization of diplomatic relations between the two nuclear rivals.

Crowds protested in Pakistan's major cities Friday, against the death sentence handed down last week to the self-confessed killer of Punjab province's Gov. Salman Taseer. One of the governor's bodyguards, Mumtaz Qadri, shot him in cold blood outside a café in Islamabad in January.

Religious parties supporting Qadri rallied in solidarity one day after Qadri filed an appeal challenging the death sentence handed down by an anti-terror court.

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