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News Wrap: Kathmandu overwhelmed by rubble after earthquake

In our news wrap Monday, the death toll in Nepal’s earthquake zone topped 4,000, with more than 6,500 injured after Saturday’s earthquake. The situation for survivors grew dire and thousands fled the ravaged capital as food and water ran out. Also, it was widely reported that President Obama has secretly allowed the CIA greater leeway in launching drone strikes in Pakistan.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The death toll in Nepal's earthquake zone topped 4,000 today, with at least another 6,500 injured, and the situation for survivors grew increasingly dire.

    Thousands of people fled the ravaged capital, Kathmandu, as food and water ran out and aftershocks continued. Others kept looking for those still alive.

    We begin with this report from Mark Austin of Independent Television News.

  • MARK AUSTIN, ITN:

    It is, or, rather, was, a place of ancient beauty, a place of tourists, tea shops and wondrous temples. But, today, it is a place where they dig for family and neighbors with their bare hands.

    Shia Laxmi dug out her daughter alive soon after the earthquake. But says there are dozens more bodies buried here. Nearby, 24-year-old Sanjiv shows me what's left of his house. Two of his family are missing.

  • MAN:

    It's my brothers. It's my younger brother and my brother's wife, my elder brother's wife.

  • MARK AUSTIN:

    And they're missing under there?

  • MAN:

    They're missing, yes. We're helpless. So, if you can help us, sir, please. It was just a nightmare, sir. It's a nightmare. I just need to find their bodies.

  • MARK AUSTIN:

    While we're there, the local police turn up, but they are overwhelmed and without the wherewithal to help.

    All around us in Bhaktapur, there is despair and hopelessness. The local police and the army are here, but, quite frankly, pickaxes, shovels and bare hands are not going to find too many people under this mountain of rubble. They need help. They need international help. They need rubble-moving equipment urgently. And at the moment, they're not seeing it here.

    So regular are the aftershocks here, and so frightened the people, that at Bhaktapur's hospital, they are being treated outside under tents. These people feel betrayed by nature and must wonder what on earth has happened to them and their city. This place has stood for centuries as the pride of this great city. Now Bhaktapur stands only as a shattered testimony to nature's indiscriminate power.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    U.S. officials said today at least four Americans are among the dead in Nepal. We will have a report from near the quake epicenter and much more after the news summary.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The issue of drone strikes on militants in Pakistan took a new turn today. It was widely reported that President Obama has secretly allowed the CIA greater leeway in launching strikes in Pakistan. Rules governing drone attacks elsewhere were tightened in 2013 to cut down on civilian casualties. The president announced last week that a strike in January killed two hostages, one American and one Italian.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Loretta Lynch was sworn in today as U.S. attorney general. She's the first black woman to hold the office. Vice President Biden administered the oath of office at the Justice Department. In her remarks, Lynch didn't mention police killings of minorities directly, but she made clear it's a main challenge.

  • LORETTA LYNCH, Attorney General:

    We can imbue our criminal justice system with both strength and fairness for the protection of both the needs of victims and the rights of all. We can restore trust and faith both in our laws and in those of us who enforce them.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Lynch succeeds Eric Holder, who served as attorney general for six years.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Lawyers for the convicted Boston Marathon bomber urged a jury today to spare his life. In its opening statement, the defense said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was led astray by his older brother. Attorney David Bruck argued against imposing the death penalty, saying there is no evening the scales. Instead, he called for a sentence of life without parole.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Another labor dispute has hit the nation's busiest port complex. Hundreds of truck drivers walked off the job at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in Southern California. Their trucks sat idle as they walked a picket line demanding better pay.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    President Obama warned today against moves in Congress to rein in free trade. He told The Wall Street Journal that China will step into the vacuum if Congress fails to approve a trade deal with Asia.

    Later, the President welcomed Japanese Prime Minister Abe and took him on a tour of the Lincoln Memorial.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And Wall Street started the week on a down note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 40 points to close below 18040. The Nasdaq fell 30, and the S&P 500 slid eight.

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