All right, through much of this week, we've been hearing from young Afghans on the future of their country after NATO troops withdraw in 2014. Yesterday, our colleague Renee Montagne met with the American general who commands coalition forces in Afghanistan. They traveled to a special forces base where young Afghan men - and a few women - are being trained.
Tuesday night, forward Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers became the latest star to go down with an injury. The Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Griffin's absence and beat the Clippers 103-93 to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
James Everett Dutschke faces charges of sending poisoned letters to President Obama and other officials. He's the second suspect federal authorities have arrested in the case. Another man was released from jail last week after a lack of physical evidence tying him to the ricin-tainted letters.
We've been hearing some really astonishing voices this week that have prompted a big reaction online - women who have served on the battlefield and on bases here at home. Women are no longer excluded from combat but their exact role is still to be fully decided.
People in Colorado are still trying to make sense of the shooting death of that state's respected head of the prison system. Tom Clements was gunned down Tuesday night as he answered the door at his home in the small, quiet town of Monument. Police are still searching for the killer. And this happened just hours before Colorado's governor signed strict new gun control measures into law.
Colorado Public Radio's Megan Verlee has been following this story. Good morning.
Lawmakers in Cyprus are trying to ease rage over a proposed tax on all bank deposits by exempting people who have relatively small accounts. It's part of a bailout plan for that Mediterranean country negotiated with the E.U. and IMF over the weekend, but the compromise on taxes may not be enough for Cyprus' parliament to pass the plan.
The death of Hugo Chavez could mean as much for Cuba as it will for Venezuela. As we just heard, Chavez looked to Fidel Castro for inspiration, and Castro has supplied Venezuela with thousands of Cuban doctors, health workers and security specialists. In return, Chavez sent a massive amount of Venezuelan oil to Cuba at cut-rate prices, and thus helped keep the Cuban economy afloat during years of crisis.
Joining us now is NPR's Tom Gjelten. Good morning.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Venezuela is in a state of mourning for its late president, Hugo Chavez. The outsized leader died yesterday in the capital, Caracas, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 58. Hugo Chavez was both a polarizing and charismatic figure, and during his long rule he became an icon, beloved by Venezuela's poor and others in the region who admired his defiant stance toward the U.S.
We're hearing this morning that Pope Benedict has left the Vatican. NPR's Sylvia Poggioli is covering the first papal retirement in 600 years, and she joins us now from Rome. And Sylvia, describe the scene for us there.