Nepali guide rescues climber from Everest death zone

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In this picture taken on June 2, 2023, Nepali guide Gelje Sherpa speaks during an interview with AFP in Kathmandu. (AFP)
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Light illuminates Mount Everest, during sunset in Solukhumbu District also known as the Everest region, November 30, 2015. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 June 2023
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Nepali guide rescues climber from Everest death zone

Katmandu: A Nepali guide abandoned his client’s Everest summit bid to rescue a Malaysian climber in a deadly mountaineering season that has seen at least twelve deaths.
Gelje Sherpa was guiding a Chinese client to the 8,849-meter (29,032-feet) peak and planned to assist him to paraglide down.
Instead, only a few hundred meters from the summit, they came across a lone man clinging to a rope and shivering in the area known as the “death zone.”
The area above 8,000 meters has earned its name because of its thin air, freezing temperatures and low oxygen levels that heighten the risk of altitude sickness. It is also notorious for its difficult terrain.
“When I found him in that state, my heart did not let me leave him there,” Sherpa told AFP.
Many other climbers had walked past the man that day, but he declined to criticize them.
“It is a place where you have to think of your survival first,” he said.
Sherpa told his client — who will have paid at least $45,000 to attempt Everest, including a permit fee of $11,000 — to return without a summit.
“When I decided to go down, my client did not agree at first. Of course, he was there after spending a lot of money, it must have been his dream for years and he had to find time to come here to climb.
“He got angry and said he wanted to go to the summit.
“I had to scold him and tell him that he has to descend because he was my responsibility and I couldn’t send him to the summit on his own. He got upset.”
He explained that he wanted to take the sick man down the mountain.
“Then he realized that by ‘rescue’ I meant that I wanted to save him. He understood and then he apologized later.”
Sherpa, 30, fitted the ailing climber with his supplemental oxygen supply, improving some of his symptoms, but he was still unable to walk.
The rocky uneven terrain meant that Sherpa, who is about 1.6 meters tall (five feet and three inches) and weighs 55 kilograms, had to carry the Malaysian in some sections.
“It is a very difficult task to carry someone and bring them down from there. But some sections are very rocky, I couldn’t drag him,” said Sherpa.
“If I did that, he could have broken his bones, he was already not doing well.”
Sherpa hauled the man down nearly 700 meters for almost six hours to Camp 4 by himself.
“I’ve been a part of many search and rescue missions, but this was very challenging,” he said.
Joined by another guide, the pair wrapped the climber in sleeping mats and secured him with ropes, dragging him on snowy slopes and carrying him on their backs when necessary.
Finally, they arrived at Camp 3 at 7,162 meters (23,500 feet) and a helicopter using a long line lifted the stricken climber down to the base camp.
Sherpa was not able to meet the Malaysian climber again but received a message thanking him.
“He wrote me ‘You saved my life, you are god to me’,” Sherpa said.
Nepali guides, usually ethnic Sherpas from the valleys around Everest, are considered the backbone of the climbing industry and bear huge risks to carry equipment and food, fix ropes and repair ladders.
Sherpa’s video of the rescue two weeks ago has been liked on his Instagram more than 35,000 times and shared widely over social media, many applauding his selfless decision.
“As a guide you feel a sense of responsibility for others on the mountain and you have to make tough decisions,” said Ang Norbu Sherpa, president of Nepal National Mountain Guide Association.
“What he has done is commendable.”
Nepal issued a record 478 permits for Everest to foreign climbers this season and about 600 climbers and guides reached the top.
Twelve climbers have been confirmed dead, and five more are still missing.
Gelje Sherpa has reached the world’s highest point six times and did not regret his decision to turn back that day.
“People just focus on the summit, but everyone can do that,” he said. “To bring someone from higher than 8,000 meters is a lot more difficult than to summit.”


Four tombs discovered in Roman necropolis in Gaza

Updated 24 September 2023
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Four tombs discovered in Roman necropolis in Gaza

  • Archaeologist Fadel Al-Otol: Discovery marks the first complete Roman necropolis, or cemetery, fully unearthed in Gaza
  • Total number of tombs dating back 2,000 years now stand at 134 since the necropolis was discovered last year

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: Four Roman tombs dating back 2,000 years have been discovered in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian archaeologist said Saturday, bemoaning a lack of resources that has delayed excavations in the besieged territory.

“With the discovery of these four tombs, the total number of tombs in this Roman cemetery, dating from the period between the first century BC and the second century AD, now stands at 134 tombs,” said archaeologist Fadel Al-Otol.
The discovery marks the first complete Roman necropolis, or cemetery, fully unearthed in Gaza, he told AFP.
“Fragments of pottery and metal pieces used in funeral rituals” have been found in the resting places, added Otol.
The cemetery is notable for its pyramid-shaped tombs. Inside them, a team of technicians, working under the direction of Otol, undertake restoration work using rudimentary tools.
“Two lead coffins, one adorned with clusters of grapes and the other with dolphins swimming in water, were recently discovered on the site,” noted the Palestinian archaeologist, who lamented a lack of financial resources.
The funding for the excavation and restoration work comes from the British Council’s Fund for the Protection of Culture.
Impoverished Gaza, home to around 2.3 million Palestinians, is under a tight land, air and sea blockade imposed by Israel, whose defense ministry controls all crossings except Rafah, which is controlled by Egypt.
The territory has been ruled by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas since 2007.
 


Nigerians protest mysterious death of Afrobeat star as police exhumes body for autopsy

Updated 22 September 2023
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Nigerians protest mysterious death of Afrobeat star as police exhumes body for autopsy

  • Ilerioluwa Aloba, one of Nigeria’s fastest-rising young pop stars, died last week in a Lagos hospital at the age of 27 after being admitted for an unknown illness

ABUJA, Nigeria: Thousands marched across Nigeria on Thursday over the mysterious death last week of an Afrobeat star whose body has been exhumed for an autopsy as authorities investigate the cause of his demise.
Lagos police said the body of the late Ilerioluwa Aloba, better known as MohBad, was exhumed Thursday afternoon in response to complaints about the unclear circumstances surrounding his death.
Aloba, widely known as one of Nigeria’s fastest-rising young pop stars, died last week in a Lagos hospital at the age of 27 after being admitted for an unknown illness.
Young Nigerians on Tuesday took to the streets in Lagos to demand justice for Aloba, but the protests swelled across the country amid an outpouring of grief – and questions about what caused his death.
The police in Lagos said it received complaints about the singer’s death, leading them to set up a criminal investigations team to “aggregate all allegations, suspicions and insinuations from various sources on the death of the singer.”
Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said Tuesday he had “instructed that all those who may have played any role whatsoever in any event leading to the death of MohBad be made to face the law after a thorough investigation.”
“I also appeal to all friends and fans of the deceased to stay calm and refrain from making inflammatory utterances and reaching prejudicial conclusions on this matter,” Sanwo-Olu said. “Staying calm and following the process will be our most solemn tribute to the memory of the departed talent.”
The death of the young artist has drawn people — and numbers — to his music.
In one of his songs titled “Sorry”, the late star spoke about coming from a poor background and his struggles to earn a living through music. In another, “Peace”, he spoke of himself as a “survivor... money chaser — faster than a bullet.”


King Charles, France’s Macron hope to build on personal bond

Updated 18 September 2023
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King Charles, France’s Macron hope to build on personal bond

  • Charles had meant to make France his first royal visit after his coronation, but the March trip was abruptly cancelled by violent French protests over pension reforms, much to Macron’s embarrassment

PARIS: After flames engulfed France’s Notre-Dame cathedral in 2019, Britain’s future King Charles III sat down to write to President Emmanuel Macron, describing his heartbreak and offering his help and advice on the restoration.
This week, more than four years on, the monarch will tour France on a royal visit and inspect the site of the inferno that stirred memories of the blaze that swept through his own family’s home of Windsor Castle in 1992.
The trip that starts on Wednesday will be filled with many such personal touches and moments of symbolism as Britain and France seek to rebuild ties tested by the bitter and chaotic years of Brexit.
Charles had meant to make France his first royal visit after his coronation, but the March trip was abruptly cancelled by violent French protests over pension reforms, much to Macron’s embarrassment.
On their second attempt, the 74-year-old king and the 45-year-old president will set out to build on a relationship already bolstered by their communications over Notre-Dame and their shared interest in climate and heritage, royal aides said.
Charles and his wife Queen Camilla are scheduled to visit Paris before heading southwest to the vineyards of Bordeaux.
The king, a fluent French speaker like his mother, is keen to walk in the late Queen Elizabeth’s footsteps and is likely to refer to his mother’s deep affection for France, officials said.

 


BBC is ‘urgently looking’ into issues raised by Brand report

Updated 18 September 2023
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BBC is ‘urgently looking’ into issues raised by Brand report

  • Brand, accused of sexual assault, denied all allegations
  • Incidents allegedly took place while the British comedian and actor worked at BBC between 2006 and 2008

LONDON: Britain’s BBC said on Sunday it was “urgently looking into the issues” raised by allegations of sexual assault made against the broadcaster’s former employee, British comedian and actor Russell Brand, who denies the accusations.
Brand, 48, the former husband of US singer Katy Perry, worked on BBC radio programs between 2006 and 2008.
He issued a denial on Saturday to unspecified “very serious criminal allegations” hours before the accusations of sexual assaults, including rape, were published online by the Sunday Times newspaper and later aired on Channel 4 television.
The Times and documentary show Dispatches reported that the alleged incidents had taken place between 2006 and 2013 and said one woman had made an allegation of rape, while another said Brand assaulted her when she was 16 and still at school.
Two of the accusers reported that the incidents occurred in Los Angeles, the paper said.
A BBC spokesperson said in a statement: “The documentary and associated reports contained serious allegations, spanning a number of years. Russell Brand worked on BBC radio programs between 2006 and 2008 and we are urgently looking into the          issues raised.”
Banijay UK, the production company behind a television show once hosted by Brand, said it had launched “an urgent internal investigation.”
“In light of the very serious allegations raised by Dispatches and The Times/Sunday Times investigation relating to the alleged serious          misconduct of Russell Brand while presenting shows produced by Endemol in 2004 and 2005, Banijay UK has launched an urgent internal  investigation,” it said.
Women’s charity Trevi, which helps women affected by violence and abuse, said it had ended its association with Brand, and Tavistock        Wood, a talent agency, said in a statement it “has terminated all professional ties to Brand.”
“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” it      said.
London’s Metropolitan Police said it had not received any reports in relation to the allegations.
“If anyone believes they have been the victim of a sexual assault, no matter how long ago it happened, we would encourage them to contact the police,” the police said in a statement.


Dinosaur known as ‘Barry’ goes on sale in rare Paris auction

Updated 18 September 2023
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Dinosaur known as ‘Barry’ goes on sale in rare Paris auction

  • Camptosaurus known as Barry that dates from the late Jurassic period some 150 million years ago, will go under the hammer in Paris next month

PARIS: An unusually well-preserved dinosaur skeleton, a Camptosaurus known as Barry that dates from the late Jurassic period some 150 million years ago, will go under the hammer in Paris next month.
The dinosaur, which was first discovered in the 1990s in the US state of Wyoming, was initially restored in 2000 by palaeontologist Barry James, from whom it got its name.
Italian laboratory Zoic, which acquired Barry last year, has done further restoration work on the skeleton, which is 2.10 meters tall and 5 meters long.
“It is an extremely well-preserved specimen, which is quite rare,” said Alexandre Giquello, from Paris auction house Hotel Drouot where the sale will take place.
“To take the example of its skull, the skull is complete at 90 percent and the rest of the dinosaur (skeleton) is complete at 80 percent,” he said.
Dinosaur specimens on the art market remain rare, with no more than a couple of sales a year worldwide, Giquello said.
The skeleton, which will be shown to the public in mid-October before the sale, is expected to fetch up to $1.28 million.