Outrage as 2 Swiss mountaineers land plane on Mont Blanc

Magnificent Mont Blanc glacier with Lac Blanc viewpoint. (Shutterstock)
Updated 19 June 2019
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Outrage as 2 Swiss mountaineers land plane on Mont Blanc

  • Police intercepted the two Swiss mountaineers to get their identity and asked them to turn back
  • Mont Blanc is crawling with thousands of climbers during the summer months, aiming to reach the 4,809 meter summit

ANNECY, France: Two Swiss mountaineers landed a small plane less than 400 meters from the summit of Mont Blanc on Tuesday before heading for the top of Europe’s tallest peak with police in pursuit, the French gendarme said.
The pair landed the aircraft at 4,450 meters (14,600-feet) on the famous mountain in the French Alps in an incident described as a “provocation” by the mayor of the nearby Chamonix resort, Eric Fournier.
“It constitutes an intolerable attack on the high mountain environment and on all existing protective measures,” Fournier said, describing the behavior as “unprecedented.”
Police saw the plane on the east face of Mont Blanc, Lt. Col. Stephane Bozon, who heads the gendarmerie’s mountain rescue service in Chamonix, told AFP.
The area, officials said, is not an authorized landing zone.
Police intercepted the two Swiss mountaineers to get their identity and asked them to turn back.
The pair were allowed to take off.
Bozon said they were reflecting on what offense had been committed.
Mont Blanc is crawling with thousands of climbers during the summer months, aiming to reach the 4,809 meter summit.
Officials have been grappling with a surge in adventure-seeking tourists — some without sufficient equipment or experience — hoping to scale the mountain during the summer season.
The increase in numbers has led to some people camping illegally and concerns over sanitary risks such as water availability and problems with waste disposal.


Cambodian women face surrogacy charges after Vietnam births

A woman rides a motor-cart loaded with bananas in Phnom Penh on July 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 55 min 46 sec ago
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Cambodian women face surrogacy charges after Vietnam births

  • The surrogacy business boomed in Cambodia after it was put under tight restrictions in neighboring Thailand. There also were crackdowns in India and Nepal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Three Cambodian women have been charged with violating surrogacy and human trafficking laws after they gave birth to babies they delivered to Chinese nationals in Vietnam, a court official said Friday.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ei Rin said the women, aged 31 and 32, are being detained pending further investigation after being charged on Thursday.
Chhiv Phally, the director of the Interior Ministry’s Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, said the three women were detained by Vietnamese police and returned to Cambodia after they illegally crossed into the country to deliver their children to Chinese nationals for $8,000 per child, reported the English-language Phnom Penh Post newspaper.
Cambodia’s anti-surrogacy law carries a penalty of one to six months in prison, while the human trafficking charge, involving crossing borders, is punishable by 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The anti-surrogacy law was intended to target intermediaries between parents and surrogates, but in the absence of a more appropriate law, has also been applied against women who carry surrogate pregnancies and give birth. The government has said it is drafting a new law to cover surrogacy, but it is not known when it will be ready.
Cambodia hurriedly passed its first law specifically targeting surrogacy in 2016 as the country was becoming a popular destination for foreign would-be parents seeking women to give birth to their children.
Developing countries are popular for surrogacy because costs are much lower than in countries such as the United States and Australia, where surrogate services can cost around $150,000. The surrogacy business boomed in Cambodia after it was put under tight restrictions in neighboring Thailand. There also were crackdowns in India and Nepal.
After Cambodia’s crackdown, would-be parents shifted to seek out surrogates in neighboring Laos.
In December, 32 Cambodian women who were charged with human trafficking for serving as surrogate mothers were released from detention after agreeing to keep the babies rather than giving them up as originally planned.