Top of the News
BILL WOLFF: This is NPR.
(Soundbite of music)
MARK GARRISON: Thank you, Mike. China's government says the official earthquake death toll is now more than 51,000, nearly 30,000 more is still missing, and almost 300,000 injured. The Olympic torch relay is back underway today after pausing for a period of national mourning for victims. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has more from Chengdu.
ANTHONY KUHN: The torch was originally due to pass through southwest China's Sichuan Province in mid-June, but the organizers pushed it back to August 3rd through 5th. The Games are due to start on August 8th. The torch is due to go through the city of Mianyang, where the quake killed more than 15,000 people.
With the official three-day mourning period over, China's government is planning the rebuilding of quake-hit areas. Premier Wen Jiabao announced on Wednesday that the government has set aside about 10 billion dollars this year for reconstruction efforts. Wen ordered the central government to cut its spending by five percent, and called on citizens to live frugally to support the reconstruction.
GARRISON: NPR's Anthony Kuhn reporting from Chengdu. In Myanmar, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon is trying to stay clear a path for increased aid to cyclone victims. So far, the military government in the state previously known as Burma has shut out most western aid crews. The BBC's Laura Trevelyan is with the secretary-general.
LAURA TREVELYAN: Mr. Ban hopes to be able to persuade the Burmese authorities to accept more international aid workers into the Irrawaddy Delta, to set up logistical hubs for the distribution of aid, and for the Burmese to let more ships and helicopters into the Delta to deliver that aid. The Burmese authorities are suspicious of foreigners, thinking the outside aid could be used to undermine their grip on power. Criticism for Mr. Ban in coming here is that the generals really don't intend to concede anything. They're just using him to deflect mounting international pressure.
GARRISON: The BBC's Laura Trevelyan reporting. High fuel prices are hurting airlines. Now American has found a new way to pass the cost on to you. American will charge 15 dollars each way to check a single piece of luggage. This comes on top of a 25-dollar fee major carriers now charge for checking a second bag. As you might imagine, the move is not a huge hit with fliers.
Mr. IRV SHERMAN (Passenger, American Airlines): I'm very unhappy with it, and obviously, the cost of everything is going up, and it's the service that you can come to expect to deflate. And obviously, now, it's just going to cost more like everything else.
GARRISON: That is American airline's passenger Irv Sherman (ph). A few passengers will escape the new fee. It does not apply to passengers who pay full price for tickets. Generally, those are business travels. Elite frequent flyer members and people on international trips won't pay it either.
To sports and NBA playoff action, and in the Western Conference Finals, the LA Lakers came from behind to beat the San Antonio Spurs. so the Lakers now lead one to nothing. That is your news, and that's your sports. If you need more, it's always online all the time at npr.org.
WOLFF: This is NPR.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.