Dhaka Courier

Difficult weather conditions

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Difficult weather conditions, a lack of experienced climbers and the growing commercialization of expeditions are all said to have been contributing factors in an unusually high number of deaths on World

Difficult weather conditions, a lack of experienced climbers and the growing commercialization of expeditions are all said to have been contributing factors in an unusually high number of deaths on Mt Everest during the 2019 climbing season. Over the past two decades, the average annual death rate of climbers on Mt Everest had remained at about six. But this spring, at least 11 people have already been reported dead or missing on the world's highest peak. This is also the season that saw a record 381 climbing permits issued by the Nepalese government.

British climber Robin Haynes Fisher was one of a number who had warned of the dangers of overcrowding, before seeming to fall victim to it himself on May 25. He died after suffering from what appeared to be altitude sickness at 8,600 meters (28,215 feet), while returning from the summit.

 

Pro-EU forces took nearly two-thirds of seats in the European Parliament, countering a populist surge in most countries. Nevertheless, euroskeptics fared well in France and Brexit-ridden Britain, among others.

The two biggest voting blocs lost their majority. The centre-right European People's Party (EPP) and the centre-left Socialists and Democrats (S&D) are set to remain the two largest blocs, but have lost seats to the centre, left and nationalist right. The biggest, most pleasant surprise for EU leaders was the high voter turnout. Nearly 51% of the 400 million eligible voters cast their ballots, 8 percentage points more than the previous election in 2014. Protests against climate policy, school-striking teenagers and the urge to defend the EU against euroskeptic, right-wing populist parties appear to have mobilized voters.

 

Condemnation poured in as it emerged that Myanmar granted early release to seven soldiers jailed for the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys during a 2017 military crackdown in the western state of Rakhine. The soldiers were freed in November last year, meaning they served less than one year of their 10-year prison terms for the killings at Inn Din village.

They also served less jail time than two Reuters reporters who uncovered the killings, but got arrested for doing so. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo spent more than 16 months behind bars on charges of obtaining state secrets. The two were finally released in an amnesty on May 6. The seven soldiers had been the only security personnel the military had apparently punished over the 2017 operation in Rakhine, which drove more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh.

 

US President Donald Trump sounded as dovish as he ever has on Iran, saying during  a visit to Japan, "We're not looking for regime change, I just want to make that clear, we're looking for no nuclear weapons." Trump added that he was "not looking to hurt" Tehran and believes the two sides could come to a deal.

The US president also voiced support for the Japanese prime minister's interest in using his country's good relations with Iran to help broker a possible dialogue between Washington and Tehran. Trump, whose favoured tactic is to deal with nations 1-on-1 across a negotiating table, has said he's open to having a dialogue with Iran, and finally sought to downplay fears of military conflict. But the Iranians have said they have no interest in communicating with the White House, after Trump withdrew the US from a deal entered into by the Obama administration.

  • DhakaCourier
  • Vol 35
  • World this week
  • Issue 47 - 48

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