"Armed pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine said on Friday they were not bound by an international deal ordering them to disarm and were looking for more assurances about their security before leaving the public buildings they are holding," Reuters reports.
What's more, "the separatists' spokesman told the BBC that the Kiev government was 'illegal,' so they would not go until the Kiev government stepped down."
The Washington Post sums up the situation this way:
"The pro-Russian militants occupying the Donetsk government offices said they supported an accord signed Thursday in Geneva that seeks to calm the potential for violence in the restive region. But they said they would lay down their weapons and leave only if the new national government in Kiev steps down."
Thursday evening in Geneva, as we reported, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, emerged from meetings with foreign ministers from Ukraine and the European Union to say that the parties had agreed that all "illegal armed groups" in Ukraine should immediately lay down their weapons. Also, all "illegally seized buildings" in eastern Ukraine were to be returned to that nation's authorities.
The deal was seen as something of a breakthrough. But, as Kerry cautioned, would need to be followed by actions on the ground.
Now, the BBC notes, "a tense standoff continues in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists — many of them armed — are occupying official buildings in at least nine cities and towns."
On Morning Edition, NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson said it doesn't appear the protesters in eastern Ukraine will be leaving those locations anytime soon. Some of them have said, she pointed out, that they want to see the demonstrators in Kiev's Maidan Square — the people whose protests led to the February collapse of Ukraine's previous, pro-Russia government — dismantle their camps first.
First things first: It's hard to figure out exactly how to talk about the BBC America series Orphan Black in any way that's remotely meaningful without revealing at least the premise, which takes a couple of episodes to develop in the first season. So while we — including Petra Mayer of NPR Books — did our best not to spoil you on the season that's past, and while we say nothing at all about the opening of the second season (which we watched in preparation), understand that the basic What's Going On? question that arises in the pilot is the premise of our conversation. Not the twists and not the turns, but the general road we're on, if that makes sense. And as promised, we can tell you that BBC America is indeed marathoning that first season — it's underway as of 9:00 a.m. Eastern time Friday, and will begin again at Episode 1 at 8:00 p.m.
If you prefer to skip the Orphan Black discussion, you can skip to about the 19:30 mark, where you'll find our second topic this week: dream sequences. David Lynch! Buster Keaton! My So-Called Life! Emotional work and narrative work and another taxonomy courtesy of Glen! We talk about dream logic (as Glen calls it, "my teeth are falling out I gotta take a test I'm naked") and dream locales, and Buffy The Vampire Slayer gets its second mention of the week.
As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about a Buzzfeed longread that he's too modest to tell you should lead you to a classic A.V. Club longread. As many (many, many) of you knew he would be, Glen is happy about the release of a new record that echoes an idea Glen told you about long, long ago. Petra is happy about the noises that baby animals make, because sometimes, that's just what the heart needs. More substantively, she's also happy about some gaming news. And I'm happy about a movie and story that taught me a lot about adaptation.
Good morning, here are our early stories:
And here are more early headlines:
Despite Geneva Agreement, Ukrainian Separatists Won't Surrender. (VOA)
First Anniversary Of Boston Officer's Death In Bombing Case. (Boston Globe)
Texas Seizes Polygamist Ranch, Used In "Criminal Enterprise". (Salt Lake Tribune)
Missouri Police Arrest Suspect In Freeway Gunfire. (Kansas City Star)
A Year After Texas Fertilizer Plant Blast, Video Shows Its Destruction. (CNN)
China Reveals Nearly 20% Of Farmland Is Heavily Polluted. (Wall Street Journal)
New Card Data Breach At Michaels Art And Craft Stores. (CNET)
White House Website Explains Its Privacy And Sharing Rules. (AP)
Nik Wallenda Wants To Walk Between Chicago Skyscrapers. (Chicago Tribune)
At least 12 Sherpa guides died Friday on Nepal's side of Mount Everest when an avalanche buried them on the world's tallest mountain.
The death toll may go higher: The Himalayan Times reports that while 12 bodies have been recovered, an additional body "has been sighted buried in the snow," and that as the day ended another five Sherpas were still missing. CNN quotes a Nepalese Tourism Ministry official as saying at least four Sherpas were still unaccounted for. We will watch for updates.
Regardless of the final toll, it's the single deadliest day ever on Everest — surpassing the eight deaths in May 1996 when a storm struck. That tragedy was the basis for the best-selling book Into Thin Air.
According to Reuters, the avalanche "hit the most popular route to the mountain's peak ... between base camp and camp 1." CNN says the site of the disaster is about 20,000 feet above sea level. Everest's peak is an estimated 29,035 feet above sea level.
This is the climbing season on Everest, which more than 4,000 people have successfully climbed. About 250 have died on the mountain that borders Nepal and Tibet, Reuters notes. The Sherpas who were killed Friday and some climbers had in recent days been setting ropes, preparing camps and acclimating to the altitude, CNN reports.
While dangerous, Everest is not the world's "deadliest" mountain, according to various analyses. As The Daily Beast has noted, Nepal's Annapurna has a "death rate" of nearly 38 percent — or, as The Telegraph has put it, Annapurna has "the highest fatality-to-summit ratio of any mountain over 8,000 meters [26,247 feet]." While about 160 people have reached the top of Annapurna and returned, at least 60 have died trying.
Everest's death rate stands at about 6 percent. Other mountains with higher death rates than Everest, according to The Daily Beast's calculations, include:
— K2, which straddles China and Pakistan (23 percent)
— Nanga Parbat, in Pakistan (22 percent).
— Kangchenjunga, on the border of India and Nepal (19 percent).
The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
- The instantly recognizable man with the immaculate white moustache was a novelist, but he was also a journalist, a political agitator and a celebrity with a reach unlike any writer since Mark Twain. When Gabriel Garcia Marquez died Thursday at the age of 87, presidents, authors, actors and pop stars made public statements. Colombia, his native country, declared three days of mourning. Marquez often said that he disliked his fame, but he used it to promote political and social change, using, for example, his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in 1982 as a platform to talk about the "oppression, plundering and abandonment" of Latin America. He called for a "new and sweeping utopia of life, where no one will be able to decide for others how they die, where love will prove true and happiness be possible, and where the races condemned to one hundred years of solitude will have, at last and forever, a second opportunity on earth." That same year, he told The New York Times that "the problems of our societies are mainly political. And the commitment of a writer is with the reality of all of society, not just with a small part of it. If not, he is as bad as the politicians who disregard a large part of our reality."
- Romanian poet Nina Cassian died this week in New York City, where she has lived in exile since secret police under the Stalinist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu found her poems mocking the regime. She was 89. "She had always been fragile, one way or another — yet it was hard to think of her as anything short of immortal," her friend the documentary maker Mona Nicoara told The Associated Press. Cassian's poem "The Orchestra," which appeared in The New Yorker in 1990, ends with these lines:
"The orchestra is still. The score is blank.
Cold as a slide rule the brasses, strings, and flute.
Sonorous love, when will you return?
The orchestra is mute."
- The title of Hillary Clinton's forthcoming memoir will be Hard Choices — and not, as she joked, The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It's Still All About My Hair, a title submitted to a Washington Post contest to name the book. It is set to be published on June 10 by Simon & Schuster.
- Promiscuous book blurber Gary Shteyngart has announced his retirement from blurbing: "It is with deep sadness that I announce that the volume of requests has exceeded my abilities, and I will be throwing my 'blurbing pen' into the Hudson River during a future ceremony, time and place to be determined. However, I will continue to blurb the following individuals: all former, present, and future students of mine at Columbia University; authors of my Random House editor, David Ebershoff; authors of my agent, Denise Shannon; my B.F.F.s; authors who can prove they own a long-haired dachshund and are taking good care of same."
- Guernica's Jonathan Lee interviews Fiona McCrae, publisher of the independent press Graywolf. She says, "There are dozens of obstacles to any given book succeeding. If a book succeeds it always does so against the odds. The odds in one generation might relate to the fact that people would rather be watching television than reading your book. The odds in the next generation might be that they'd rather be on their computer than reading your book. Once it was that people would rather be riding a bicycle than reading your book. It doesn't do any good to be talking, as an author or publisher, about the obstacles."