KETR

Lauren Frayer

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The first thing you notice, approaching the Ghazipur landfill, is a pack of emaciated feral dogs. Some of them are coughing.

That, and the stench — a putrid mix of rot, burning plastic and a dead animal somewhere close.

From afar, it looks like an arid plateau on the outskirts of India's capital. But this mountain isn't made of earth. It's made of trash.

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The rains were late in parts of India this year, but the monsoon has finally arrived. It's bringing welcome relief from the heat but also some dangers. NPR's Lauren Frayer reports from Mumbai where they got more than a foot of rain in 24 hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order early Friday prohibiting U.S. airlines from flying through a specific part of Iranian airspace, citing an "inadvertent risk" to civilian airplanes after Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone.

Elizabeth Taylor's jewels sparkled, but a collection of Indian gems might outshine them.

When the group of Indian jewelry and artifacts goes on auction today in New York, it's expected to fetch more than $115 million — breaking the record set by the late Hollywood star's jewelry collection.

Pakistani TV shows a bloodied Indian fighter pilot in captivity, sipping tea while being interrogated. He addresses his captor as "sir." But he refuses to divulge any information.

Bindu Sampath listens over and over to a voicemail of the giggling granddaughter she's never met. She wonders if she ever will.

Sampath's daughter Nimisha, the child's mother, abruptly left their native India three years ago. She'd gone to dental school a few hundred miles north of their hometown in the southwestern state of Kerala. It was there that she met her future husband. She converted to Islam from Hinduism, and he from Christianity. Authorities say they both joined ISIS.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been reelected and his party is poised to take more seats than the 2014 election, signaling India's support of the strongman leader and his Hindu nationalist ideology.

The voting lasted almost six weeks to accommodate nearly 900 million people who were eligible to cast their votes.

On Thursday, the ballots were counted and results showed Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, winning more seats than any other party.

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It looks like a landslide victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India. Votes are still being counted today after elections that lasted six weeks. NPR's Lauren Frayer has been following all of it, and she joins us live from Mumbai.

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Early vote results show a landslide victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India. Votes are being counted today after elections that lasted six weeks. NPR's Lauren Frayer has been following it and joins us from Mumbai.

In a dusty lot between farm fields, an Indian Cabinet minister wades into a crowd of supporters chanting his name. Local men climb a tree to catch a glimpse of the famous politician. Women in colorful saris fan their babies in 100-degree heat, and applaud.

Rural communities like this one in India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, are where Indian elections are hard fought and won. Two-thirds of Indians live in the countryside, and they vote at a higher rate than their urban counterparts.

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Tobiron Nessa has lived in the same impoverished village in northeast India all her life. So has her husband. They married young and raised five children, and now, at age 45, Nessa is about to become a grandmother.

But she has suddenly found herself in an unexpected predicament: Nessa is now the only one in her immediate family whom the Indian government recognizes as a citizen. Her husband and five children have all been left off the National Register of Citizens.

Before dawn, men gather in a suburban Mumbai park to play team-building games, meditate, chant Sanskrit mantras from Hindu scripture and salute a saffron-orange flag — the color, sacred to Hindus, of robes worn by Hindu monks.

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Outside a barn in a jungle north of Mumbai, dozens of cows roam in the shade of mango trees and palm fronds. They're doted on by the farm's caretaker, a Hindu monk draped in white robes.

Cows are sacred to Hindus. Saved from slaughter, they live out their days in tranquility at shelters like this across India, courtesy of donations made by worshipers at temples.

At 80, Syed Ikhlaq Latifi's face is lined and leathery, with a stark white beard. But he's still able to scramble up three flights of stairs to his roof to describe what he watched from there, in horror, nearly 30 years ago.

On Dec. 6, 1992, a mob broke through barricades around the Babri Masjid, a 16th century mosque in Latifi's hometown of Ayodhya in northern India. He points to where the mosque's three massive stone domes used to be. It's now an open, dusty lot, as wide as a football field, lined with barbed wire.

A husband and wife. A pair of brothers from a wealthy, upper-class family. A man with a law degree. Another who studied in the United Kingdom and did postgraduate work in Australia, before coming home to settle down in his native Sri Lanka.

Those are the profiles emerging Wednesday, according to Sri Lankan officials and local media, of the suicide bombers who killed more than 350 people in sophisticated, coordinated attacks on churches and hotels there on Easter Sunday. If the Islamic State's claim of responsibility is true, it would be the group's deadliest terror attack.

Tens of millions of Hindus took a ritual dip in the Ganges River this winter as part of the largest religious festival in the world — the Kumbh Mela. For centuries, the festival has been held in various cities in northern India, including Allahabad.

But when pilgrims arrived this year for the Kumbh Mela, Allahabad had a different name.

Updated at 2:15 a.m. ET Tuesday

Police in Sri Lanka have arrested 40 suspects since a wave of deadly suicide attacks Sunday killed more than 300 people and wounded hundreds more. President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday granted the military sweeping powers to arrest and detain suspects.

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Indian elections are often called the world's largest exercise in democracy. This month, nearly 900 million voters are eligible to cast ballots in national elections that started Thursday and will continue for more than five weeks.

They are deciding whether or not to re-elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi and members of his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP.

Their votes will also make clear the country's level of support for a growing trend in India's politics: Hindu nationalism.

An hour after sunrise in India on Thursday, the world's largest exercise of democracy got underway. That's when polls opened on the first day of voting in Indian elections.

A nationwide election in India is a massive undertaking — with a population of 1.3 billion and nearly 900 million eligible voters. This year, there are 543 parliamentary seats up for grabs, including that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who's running for a second term.

In a Himalayan valley surrounded by military barracks, blasts of artillery fire often reverberate across the icy mountain peaks. This is one of the world's longest-running conflict zones. It's near where India and Pakistan recently traded airstrikes. So it's not unusual to see helicopters buzzing overhead.

But on a morning in early February, one particular chopper was not part of the conflict.

An Indian fighter pilot shot down and captured by Pakistan has been released in a goodwill gesture that could defuse the gravest crisis in the disputed India-Pakistan border region in years.

Updated at 4:53 p.m. ET

In a dramatic escalation of violence over their shared Himalayan border, India and Pakistan both claimed Wednesday to have shot down each other's fighter jets, and video emerged of a bloodied, blindfolded Indian pilot in Pakistani custody.

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