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00:02: The two trained derailment in India has killed more than 280 people and injured more than 900.
00:08: Rescuers spent all day sorting through the wreckage.
00:11: We'll have the latest details.
00:13: I'm Aisha Roscoe.
00:14: And I'm Scott Simon and this is up first from NPR News.
00:19: President Biden will soon sign a bill to raise the dead ceiling.
00:22: In a speech from the Oval Office yesterday, he praised the deal as a feat of bipartisanship.
00:28: No one got everything they wanted, but the American people got what they needed.
00:32: We've heard an economic crisis, an economic collapse.
00:36: Also the U.S. tests the waters quite literally between China and Taiwan as the Secretary of Defense
00:42: outlines a renewed military interest in the Asian Pacific region.
00:45: Stay with us, we've got the news you need to start your weekend.
00:55: There is a day of mourning in India following one of the deadliest trained disasters there in decades.
01:01: Rescuers climbed atop the trains to break open doors and ripped through metal with cutting torches.
01:07: Journalist Shalu Yadav joins us now from Delhi.
01:10: Thank you so much for being with us.
01:12: Good morning, Scott.
01:14: Can you tell us what happened?
01:15: Well, the horrific accident happened late on Friday evening in the eastern state of Odisha.
01:21: baller-sour district that's about 140 miles from Kolkata when multiple
01:26: coaches of a passenger train derailed before being struck by another passenger
01:30: train which interunded derailed as well. Now there's a third train, a freight
01:34: train that's believed to be involved in the accident as well. Visuals on the
01:38: television and social media show the coaches and the wreckage still lying on the
01:42: railway tracks. Dead bodies being carried away from the spot even as the
01:46: scale of the strategy is still panning out. Now we have one of the survivors on
01:51: tape, though unfortunately we don't have his name. He said he woke up from the impact
01:59: once the train derailed and saw multiple people piled on top of one another. When he left
02:04: his carriage, he saw someone had locked their hand. Another person had locked their leg
02:09: and someone else's face was disfigured. Officials say the dress-tool is expected to rise further
02:16: as more bodies are found. The cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained.
02:21: A probe has been ordered and the Prime Minister held a high-level meeting to review the situation, his visiting the site today.
02:28: Hundreds of people have reported to be injured. How are the local authorities in
02:32: Odisha prepared to handle all the people who need help?
02:36: Well, Scott, the authorities as well as the hospitals are completely overwhelmed.
02:40: There have been more than 200 ambulances there taking the injured to the hospitals.
02:45: those who survive have been looking desperately for their loved ones.
02:49: And locals are rushing in large numbers to donate blood at the hospital.
02:53: In fact, they had been helping the rescue teams and provided them with supplies of food
02:58: and water overnight. The national disaster response force, along with the rapid action force
03:03: and police forces, had all been working against the clock as every minute is precious to save lives in such situations.
03:11: India's railway network is huge and dozens of accidents happen every year. Some of them deadly.
03:18: What kind of efforts are going on to try and improve safety?
03:21: Yes, that's right Scott. India's railway network is actually one of the oldest and largest in the world.
03:27: It's always a work in progress and yes, accidents are very common despite the government investing
03:33: hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the infrastructure. The latest accident is believed to be
03:38: the worst India has seen in the last two decades. Now such mishaps are mostly blame on human
03:44: error or outdated signaling equipment. And we have to ask if there are any political implications
03:50: from this disaster that might occur. Well, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been getting a flag
03:55: on social media for the negligence that often causes such tragedies. People are asking why the
04:00: government is spending more on high-speed trains when the older passenger trains remain outdated
04:05: and prone to disasters. But politically, such tragedies often bring all parties together
04:10: to look for solutions and immediate relief for victims. Even so, there are calls for the resignation
04:16: of the Railway Minister as many are saying that he should take responsibility for this tragedy.
04:22: Journalist Shalu Yadav in Delhi. Thanks so much for being with us.
04:26: Thank you, Scott.
04:32: President Biden bringing the debt ceiling drama to a close.
04:35: Today he's signing into law a deal to raise the debt limit and avoid economic catastrophe.
04:41: Biden spoke about the compromise in a rare address from the Oval Office last night.
04:46: NPR White House correspondent Asma Hollett was watching.
04:50: She joins me now.
04:51: Welcome.
04:52: Great to be here.
04:53: Asma, this was the first time that this president has given a speech from behind the resolute desk in the Oval Office.
05:01: What was the point that he wanted to make last night?
05:04: Well he emphasized that this was a win for the country, that the U.S. avoided what could have become a financial catastrophe.
05:11: And really Ayesha, it was striking to me that he was rather effusive at moments in his
05:16: praise for the Republican Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, by an emphasized this notion of bipartisanship.
05:22: I know bipartisanship is hard and unity is hard, but we can never stop trying because
05:30: a moment like this one, the ones we just faced, where the American economy and the world
05:35: economies are at risk of collapsing, there's no other way.
05:39: You know Biden campaigned for president in 2020 as a consensus builder, someone who could
05:43: find compromise and that is in fact what he has done throughout this debt ceiling debate.
05:49: But I do think there was another message he was trying to send last night.
05:52: And that was more political.
05:54: He highlighted his own political democratic priorities.
05:56: He spoke about being able to protect things like Medicaid and Social Security and also
06:01: spoke about some of the things he still wants to achieve, like raising taxes on the wealthy.
06:06: We've heard a lot about the debt ceiling over the past few months and how important it
06:09: is to try to avoid default and what the impact would have been.
06:14: So why buy it in bother to make these remarks at all?
06:17: We already knew this wasn't born, right?
06:20: You know, I think part of this was just a matter of setting the record straight.
06:23: I mean, throughout the debates on the debt ceiling, the president was reluctant to talk to reporters about the negotiations.
06:30: And that was in stark contrast to Republicans who were constantly talking to the press.
06:35: The White House has often said that Biden does not like to negotiate in public.
06:40: This speech was, I think, an opportunity for him to, you know, look presidential seem above the fray.
06:46: And it also comes at a time when the 2024 presidential campaign is starting to heat up.
06:51: It allows the president to provide some contrast with the Republicans in the field who we saw
06:56: all last week were, you know, quibbling amongst themselves.
07:00: I also think it's a reminder of how he has said he intends to govern, to go back to this issue of bipartisanship.
07:06: And it was also, you know, an answer to some on the left who really wanted to see him
07:10: make a bigger case for his own priorities throughout these talks.
07:15: polling has shown that many people are worried about the economy and don't approve of the way Biden has handled it.
07:21: So does this debt ceiling deal help alleviate some of those concerns?
07:26: I mean, that's a great question.
07:28: The president said yesterday that because this deal is in place, the economy can continue to soar.
07:34: You know, if you look at economic data, you saw new jobs numbers yesterday, they continue to be rather robust.
07:41: inflation has been coming down for 10 consecutive months.
07:44: A prices are dropping.
07:46: But at the same time, this debt drama has created questions
07:50: about whether the country is totally in the clear.
07:52: You saw Fitch Rating Service warn yesterday
07:55: that it could still downgrade the US credit rating.
07:58: And I spoke with the Democratic pollster yesterday,
08:00: Selinda Lake, who said that voters seem to be beginning
08:03: to feel a bit more positive about the economy,
08:06: but they're still anxious, particularly around prices and inflation.
08:09: and they're nervous about whether or not the stability is in fact here to stay.
08:14: She told me that voters need to see these positive economic trends continue
08:18: for a number of more months in order to really feel confident
08:22: and ultimately for Biden to ultimately get
08:24: the kind of political credit that he is seeking.
08:27: MPR White House correspondent Asma Hallett, thank you so much for this.
08:31: My pleasure.
08:40: Military leaders from around the world are meeting this weekend in Singapore.
08:44: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was there.
08:46: He challenged China to re-open lives of communication between the two countries' militaries.
08:52: For responsible defense leaders, the right time to talk is anytime.
08:57: The right time to talk is every time.
09:00: The right time to talk is now.
09:03: The brightest he was talking, the US took a step that suggested it isn't just going to play Mr. Nysky.
09:09: The US sailed a Navy ship through the Taiwan Strait.
09:13: And here's Emily Fang.
09:14: Is in Singapore?
09:15: She's covering the meeting.
09:17: You'll tell from all the background noise.
09:19: Emily, thanks so much for being with us.
09:21: Thanks for having me.
09:22: And tell us more please about Secretary Austin's speech.
09:26: to be laid out as U.S. priorities in the Asia-Pacific area.
09:29: Well, much of this speech was to show how the U.S. military is reorienting itself back
09:34: to being a maritime power in the Pacific.
09:36: Because remember, the last two decades, the U.S. military is primarily in the Middle East,
09:40: but now they're pivoting back to the Asia-Pacific, which means it's expanding its military drills
09:45: with Asian partners and allies, Austin talked about sharing new technology with Australia and Japan.
09:51: And one of the big questions is where the US-China military relationship is headed.
09:56: Because earlier this week, China rejected an invitation from the US for their two defense
10:01: chiefs to speak and China has cut off direct communication channels between the two military since last summer.
10:07: Now, last night, the British think tank that organizes this summit called the Shangri-La
10:11: dialogue, they conveniently seated Secretary Austin next to China's defense minister, Lee
10:15: Shang-Fu at this dinner we were all at.
10:17: And the two did shake hands.
10:19: They said, hi to each other, but that's about it.
10:21: And as you just heard in the intro, Austin said the US is ready to talk to China more substantially.
10:27: But at the same time that he was speaking, the US Navy and the Canadian Navy, by the way,
10:32: sailed a worship each through the Taiwan Strait near Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.
10:37: And how did China respond anyway in particular?
10:41: Well, China's defense minister has yet to speak, so we will hear more from him tomorrow.
10:45: But I managed to interview Lieutenant General Huley.
10:48: He helps head the Chinese military academy in Beijing.
10:51: He dismissed Austin's speech as a gesture for public show only.
10:55: He says, if the two defense chiefs were to meet, we need to first get rid of unilateral sanctions.
11:03: The U.S. keeps trying to push back on China's bottom line and threaten its core interests,
11:07: so the conditions were just not there for a meeting.
11:10: And Lieutenant-General Hu is referring to the fact that back in 2018, the U.S. actually
11:14: sanctioned the man who just this year became China's new defense chief, Li Shangfu.
11:19: So China wants those sanctions dropped first before they agreed to any meeting and they
11:23: want the US to back off militarily in the Asia Pacific, stop those close exchanges with
11:28: Taiwan.
11:29: That's the island trying to claims it's territory, but the US has a strong interest to protect.
11:33: And Emily, are those conditions the US could possibly meet?
11:37: I mean, it sounds like they're creating circumstances for more disagreement.
11:41: You're right.
11:42: Because Secretary Austin just laid out the significant investments the US military is making
11:47: to buy new weapons, develop new weapons, share those with partners in the Asia Pacific.
11:52: In his speech, he made clear the US is not trying to create an alliance like NATO and the
11:56: Pacific, but China doesn't believe him.
11:58: They're genuinely afraid this is happening.
12:01: And China just doesn't believe the promises or gestures the US has made.
12:04: It's demanding things the US has committed to as critical defense strategy and it's not going to back away from.
12:09: And here's Emily Fang in Singapore.
12:11: Thanks so much.
12:12: Scott. And that's up first for Saturday June 3rd, 2023. I'm Scott Simon. And I'm Aisha
12:22: Roscoe. Tomorrow on this podcast, an investigation into how conspiracy theories led to the dismantling
12:29: of an elections tool that helped clean up voter databases and catch frog. Today's episode
12:36: of up first was edited by Roberta Rampton, Don Clyde, Hideo O'Chelchi, and Matthew Sherman.
12:41: was produced by Andrew Craig and Danny Hensel and directed by Michael Radcliffe with engineering support from Hannah Globna.
12:49: EV Stunners are senior supervisor and editor.
12:51: Our executive producer is Sarah Lucy Oliver and our deputy manager is Jerry Holmes.
12:56: And for more news and interviews, books and music, turn on that radio every Saturday and
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