Showing posts with label Live world news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Live world news. Show all posts

12 Sherpas killed, worst accident in the history of Everest mountaineering

2:05 AM
12 Sherpas killedin the worst accident in the history of Everest mountaineering occurred Friday morning at approximately 6:30 (Nepal time) on the south side of the world's highest peak. Thirteen Sherpas are reported dead, with at least three missing and several injured. The Sherpas were killed in the notorious Khumbu Icefall by an avalanche that fell from the hanging glaciers along the West Shoulder.


12 Sherpa killed, worst accident in the history of Everest mountaineering
12 Sherpa killed, worst accident in the history of Everest mountaineering

A high-altitude avalanche Friday killed 12 Sherpa guides and seriously wounded three in the single deadliest accident on Mount Everest, officials said.

Four others are missing, said Madhu Sudan Burlakoti of Nepal's Tourism Ministry, adding that six people were injured in total.

A group of about 50 people, mostly Nepali Sherpas, were hit by the avalanche at more than 20,000 feet, said Tilak Ram Pandey of the ministry's mountaineering department. The avalanche took place just above base camp in the Khumbu Ice Fall.

Every year, over 300 climbers attempt Everest by the standard Southeast Ridge route pioneered by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953. For every one climber, typically a client who has paid up to $50,000 to attempt Everest, there are at least two Sherpas carrying loads.

The Khumbu Icefall, stretching from 18,000 to 19,000 feet (5,500 to 5,800 meters), lies just above base camp on the Nepal side of 29,035-foot (8,850-meter) Mount Everest. Anyone who wants to climb Everest from the south side (the standard route up the north side, in China, is via the North Col route) must pass through the Khumbu Icefall.

Because the Khumbu is so dangerous, guides try to reduce the number of trips through this gauntlet for paying clients, which increases the number of times a working Sherpa, portaging tents, food, ropes, and most important, oxygen for the climbers, must pass through this danger zone.

Whereas a paying climber may pass through the Khumbu only six to eight times while climbing Everest—going up and down for acclimatization—a Sherpa can easily make the mortal trek 30-40 times in a season.

Crossing through the Khumbu is usually done at night via headlamp, between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. This is when the ice blocks and the hanging glaciers are most stable and avalanches least likely. During the day, as the sun warms the mountain, the hanging glaciers begin to avalanche, and the ice in the Khumbu starts to crumble.

"It's such a horrific tragedy," said Conrad Anker, world-renowned mountaineer and the leader of the North Face/National Geographic expedition that climbed Everest via the Southeast Ridge in 2012.

British government hikes ex-British Gurkhas' pension by 10.3%

11:19 PM
The British government has hiked the pension of ex-British Gurkha soldiers by 10.3 percent effective from April 1.


EX-British Gorkha soliders and Joanna Lumley
EX-British Gorkha soliders and Joanna Lumley
The Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom, had made the increment in pension of the ex-Gurkha soldiers public in a statement last week. 

“This is the regular increment in pension by the British government, said senior Gurkha rights activist and Gurkha veteran Gyan Raj Rai.

British government has raised the pension in view of the price-hike of the daily goods in Nepal which does not, however, do justice to the ex-Gurkha soldiers, said Rai.

The recent hike in pension does not address the inflation that has recently sought up in the country, Rai maintained. 

An ex-Gurkha soldier of the lowest rank draws Rs 27,000 pension while the official of the highest rank draws Rs 87,000. 

Source:myrepublica

Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion

11:24 PM
In a play to dominate messaging on phones and the Web, Facebook has acquired WhatsApp for $19 billion.

That's a stunning sum for the five-year old company. But WhatsApp has been able to hold its weight against messaging heavyweights like Twitter (TWTR), Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) and Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) Skype. WhatsApp has upwards of 450 million users, and it is adding an additional million users every day.

Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion
Facebook buys WhatsApp for $19 billion

Referring to WhatsApp's soaring growth, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on a conference call, "No one in the history of the world has done anything like that."
WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app for smartphones, according to OnDevice Research.

Buying WhatsApp will only bolster Facebook's already strong position in the crowded messaging world. Messenger, Facebook's a standalone messaging app for mobile devices, is second only to WhatsApp in its share of the smartphone market.
Related: 5 key moments that changed Facebook

Similar to traditional text messaging, WhatsApp allows people to connect via their cellphone numbers. But instead of racking up texting fees, WhatsApp sends the actual messages over mobile broadband. That makes WhatsApp particularly cost effective for communicating with people overseas.

That kind of mobile messaging services have become wildly popular, with twice as many messages sent over the mobile Internet than via traditional texts, according to Deloitte. But most of the messaging industry's revenue is still driven by text messaging.

On the conference call, Facebook said it is not looking to drive revenue from WhatsApp in the near term, instead focusing on growth. Zuckerberg said he doesn't anticipate trying to aggressively grow WhatsApp's revenue until the service reaches "billions" of users.
WhatsApp currently charges a dollar a year after giving customers their first year of use for free. WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum said on the conference call that WhatsApp's business model is already successful.

That indicates Facebook bought WhatsApp to add value to its existing messaging services, as well as for the long-term potential of the company.
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 for similar reasons: As young social network users gravitated towards photo-sharing, Facebook wanted to scoop up what could have eventually become a big rival.

Like Instagram, WhatsApp will function as an autonomous unit within Facebook, with all the existing employees coming in as part of the deal.

Facebook (FB, Fortune 500) said it will pay WhatsApp $4 billion in cash and $12 billion in stock. WhatsApp's founders and staff will be eligible for for another $3 billion in stock grants to be paid out if they remain employed by Facebook for four years. Koum will also join Facebook's board of directors.

Source:money.cnn.com


Yeti, actually existed - Himalayas mystery solved

9:15 AM
One of the greatest mysteries of the Himalayas may have finally been solved.

Genetic testing has led scientists to believe that the abominable snowman - the Yeti, actually existed but it was actually a cross between an ancient polar bear and brown bear.

Hair samples from what is believed to be that of the Yeti have been found to genetically match that of an ancient polar bear dating back 120,000 years.

Bryan Sykes, professor of human genetics at Oxford University, conducted the research.

Dr Sykes has over many years assembled substantial physical evidence, which he has subjected to the most sophisticated DNA tests available, to answer scientifically the mystery of Bigfoot.

The professor said "This is an exciting and completely unexpected result".

Dr Sykes however said the finding does not mean ancient polar bears are still wandering around the Himalayas.

"But it could mean there is a sub species of brown bear in the high Himalayas which descended from the bear that was the ancestor of the polar bear. Or it could mean there has been more recent hybridisation between the brown bear and the descendent of the ancient polar bear," Dr Sykes said.

Bone chilling stories of the horrifying Yeti have been synonymous to the Himalayas for centuries with local people and some of the world's greatest mountaineers including legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner, who became the first man to climb Everest without oxygen, claiming to have had a terrifying encounter with a large hairy, ape-like creature.

Himalayan folk lore is rife with tales of an elusive beast that have hardly been photographed.

Professor Sykes has collected and tested hair samples of several animals found in the Himalayas.

He tested two ancient hair samples which locals of high Himalayan villages claimed were that of the Yeti. One of the samples was that of an animal found in Ladakh (India) and the other from Bhutan, 800 miles away.

The DNA tests then compared the results to other animals' genomes stored on the GenBank database. Professor Sykes to his amazement found a 100% match with a sample from an ancient polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway, that dates back at least 40,000 years - and probably around 120,000 years.

This has made professor Sykes believe that the most likely explanation is that the Yeti is actually a hybrid between polar bears and brown bears.

A Yeti footprint on the base of Mount Everest taken by British climber Eric Shipton sparked a global interest in the abominable snowman post 1951.

Sorce : timesofindia

Adobe Hacked 2.9 million customers financial information exposed

11:10 PM
Adobe Systems, which makes software such as Photoshop, Reader and Creative Cloud, on Friday said its security team has discovered “sophisticated attacks” on its network, exposing financial information of its 2.9 million customers.

Adobe Hacked
Adobe Hacked 

“Adobe's security team discovered suspicious activity during regular security monitoring. Our investigation to date indicates that the cyber attackers removed certain customer information between September 11 and September 17, 2013,” an Adobe spokesperson said in an emailed response to The Hindu.

The US-based company said investigations indicate that the attackers accessed Adobe customer IDs and encrypted passwords on their systems.

“We also believe the attackers removed from our systems certain information relating to 2.9 million Adobe customers. This includes customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates and other information relating to customer orders," the spokesperson added.

Adobe said at this time, it does not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from their systems. However, the spokesperson added, “Based on our findings to date, we are not aware of any specific increased risk to customers as a result of this incident.”

The company said it is working internally as well as with external partners and law enforcement, to address the incident.

The company said it is notifying customers whose credit or debit card information it believes to be involved in the incident and is resetting relevant customer passwords to prevent unauthorized access to Adobe ID accounts. It has also notified the banks processing customer payments for Adobe

Nepalese migrant labourers died in Qatar, thousands enduring labour abuses

11:33 PM
Qatar's World Cup 'slaves' : Dozens of Nepalese migrant labourers have died in Qatar in recent weeks and thousands more are enduring appalling labour abuses, a Guardian investigation has found, raising serious questions about Qatar's preparations to host the 2022 World Cup.


Nepalese died while working as migrants in Malaysia and Qatar
Dalli Kahtri and her husband, Lil Man, hold photos of their sons, both of whom died while working as migrants in Malaysia and Qatar.
This summer, Nepalese workers died at a rate of almost one a day in Qatar, many of them young men who had sudden heart attacks. The investigation found evidence to suggest that thousands of Nepalese, who make up the single largest group of labourers in Qatar, face exploitation and abuses that amount to modern-day slavery, as defined by the International Labour Organisation, during a building binge paving the way for 2022.

According to documents obtained from the Nepalese embassy in Doha, at least 44 workers died between 4 June and 8 August. More than half died of heart attacks, heart failure or workplace accidents.

The investigation also reveals:

• Evidence of forced labour on a huge World Cup infrastructure project.

• Some Nepalese men have alleged that they have not been paid for months and have had their salaries retained to stop them running away.

• Some workers on other sites say employers routinely confiscate passports and refuse to issue ID cards, in effect reducing them to the status of illegal aliens.

• Some labourers say they have been denied access to free drinking water in the desert heat.

• About 30 Nepalese sought refuge at their embassy in Doha to escape the brutal conditions of their employment.

The allegations suggest a chain of exploitation leading from poor Nepalese villages to Qatari leaders. The overall picture is of one of the richest nations exploiting one of the poorest to get ready for the world's most popular sporting tournament.

"We'd like to leave, but the company won't let us," said one Nepalese migrant employed at Lusail City development, a $45bn (£28bn) city being built from scratch which will include the 90,000-seater stadium that will host the World Cup final. "I'm angry about how this company is treating us, but we're helpless. I regret coming here, but what to do? We were compelled to come just to make a living, but we've had no luck."

The body tasked with organising the World Cup, the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, told the Guardian that work had yet to begin on projects directly related to the World Cup. However, it said it was "deeply concerned with the allegations that have been made against certain contractors/sub-contractors working on Lusail City's construction site and considers this issue to be of the utmost seriousness". It added: "We have been informed that the relevant government authorities are conducting an investigation into the allegations."

The Guardian's investigation also found men throughout the wider Qatari construction industry sleeping 12 to a room in places and getting sick through repulsive conditions in filthy hostels. Some say they have been forced to work without pay and left begging for food.

"We were working on an empty stomach for 24 hours; 12 hours' work and then no food all night," said Ram Kumar Mahara, 27. "When I complained, my manager assaulted me, kicked me out of the labour camp I lived in and refused to pay me anything. I had to beg for food from other workers."

Almost all migrant workers have huge debts from Nepal, accrued in order to pay recruitment agents for their jobs. The obligation to repay these debts, combined with the non-payment of wages, confiscation of documents and inability of workers to leave their place of work, constitute forced labour, a form of modern-day slavery estimated to affect up to 21 million people across the globe. So entrenched is this exploitation that the Nepalese ambassador to Qatar, Maya Kumari Sharma, recently described the emirate as an "open jail".
Record of deaths in July 2013, from all causes, held by the Nepalese embassy in Doha. Photograph: /guardian.co.uk
Record of deaths in July 2013, from all causes, held by the Nepalese embassy in Doha. Photograph: /guardian.co.uk

"The evidence uncovered by the Guardian is clear proof of the use of systematic forced labour in Qatar," said Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International, which was founded in 1839. "In fact, these working conditions and the astonishing number of deaths of vulnerable workers go beyond forced labour to the slavery of old where human beings were treated as objects. There is no longer a risk that the World Cup might be built on forced labour. It is already happening."

Qatar has the highest ratio of migrant workers to domestic population in the world: more than 90% of the workforce are immigrants and the country is expected to recruit up to 1.5 million more labourers to build the stadiums, roads, ports and hotels needed for the tournament. Nepalese account for about 40% of migrant labourers in Qatar. More than 100,000 Nepalese left for the emirate last year.

The murky system of recruitment brokers in Asia and labour contractors in Qatar leaves them vulnerable to exploitation. The supreme committee has insisted that decent labour standards will be set for all World Cup contracts, but underneath it a complex web of project managers, construction firms and labour suppliers, employment contractors and recruitment agents operate.

According to some estimates, Qatar will spend $100bn on infrastructure projects to support the World Cup. As well as nine state-of-the-art stadiums, the country has committed to build an airport, $20bn worth of new roads, $4bn for a causeway connecting Qatar to Bahrain, $24bn for a high-speed rail network, and 55,000 hotel rooms to accommodate visiting fans.

The World Cup is part of an even bigger programme of construction in Qatar designed to remake the tiny desert kingdom over the next two decades. Qatar has yet to start building stadiums for 2022, but has embarked on the big infrastructure projects likesuch as Lusail City that, according to the US project managers, Parsons, "will play a major role during the 2022 Fifa World Cup". The British engineering company Halcrow, part of the CH2M Hill group, is a lead consultant on the Lusail project responsible for "infrastructure design and construction supervision". CH2M Hill was recently appointed the official programme management consultant to the supreme committee. It says it has a "zero tolerance policy for the use of forced labour and other human trafficking practices".

Halcrow said: "Our supervision role of specific construction packages ensures adherence to site contract regulation for health, safety and environment. The terms of employment of a contractor's labour force is not under our direct purview."

Some Nepalese working at Lusail City tell desperate stories. They are saddled with huge debts they are paying back at interest rates of up to 36%, yet say they are forced to work without pay.

"The company has kept two months' salary from each of us to stop us running away," said one man who gave his name as SBD and who works at the Lusail City marina. SBD said he was employed by a subcontractor that supplies labourers for the project. Some workers say their subcontrator has confiscated their passports and refused to issue the ID cards they are entitled to under Qatari law. "Our manager always promises he'll issue [our cards] 'next week'," added a scaffolder who said he had worked in Qatar for two years without being given an ID card.

Without official documentation, migrant workers are in effect reduced to the status of illegal aliens, often unable to leave their place of work without fear of arrest and not entitled to any legal protection. Under the state-run kafala sponsorship system, workers are also unable to change jobs or leave the country without their sponsor company's permission.

A third worker, who was equally reluctant to give his name for fear of reprisal, added: "We'd like to leave, but the company won't let us. If we run away, we become illegal and that makes it hard to find another job. The police could catch us at any time and send us back home. We can't get a resident permit if we leave."

Other workers said they were forced to work long hours in temperatures of up to 50C (122F) without access to drinking water.

The Qatari labour ministry said it had strict rules governing working in the heat, the provision of labour and the prompt payment of salaries.

"The ministry enforces this law through periodic inspections to ensure that workers have in fact received their wages in time. If a company does not comply with the law, the ministry applies penalties and refers the case to the judicial authorities."

Lusail Real Estate Company said: "Lusail City will not tolerate breaches of labour or health and safety law. We continually instruct our contractors and their subcontractors of our expectations and their contractual obligations to both us and individual employees. The Guardian have highlighted potentially illegal activities employed by one subcontractor. We take these allegations very seriously and have referred the allegations to the appropriate authorities for investigation. Based on this investigation, we will take appropriate action against any individual or company who has found to have broken the law or contract with us."

The workers' plight makes a mockery of concerns for the 2022 footballers.

"Everyone is talking about the effect of Qatar's extreme heat on a few hundred footballers," said Umesh Upadhyaya, general secretary of the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions. "But they are ignoring the hardships, blood and sweat of thousands of migrant workers, who will be building the World Cup stadiums in shifts that can last eight times the length of a football match."

Source : theguardian.com

Samsung pays 30 trucks 5-cent coins, $1 billion dollars, to Apple

3:08 PM
This morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this way.

Samsung pays Apple $1 Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins
The funny part is that the signed document does not specify a single payment method, so Samsung is entitled to send the creators of the iPhone their billion dollars in the way they deem best.

This dirty but genius geek troll play is a new headache to Apple executives as they will need to put in long hours counting all that money, to check if it is all there and to try to deposit it crossing fingers to hope a bank will accept all the coins.

Lee Kun-hee, Chairman of Samsung Electronics, told the media that his company is not going to be intimidated by a group of “geeks with style” and that if they want to play dirty, they also know how to do it.

You can use your coins to buy refreshments at the little machine for life or melt the coins to make computers, that’s not my problem, I already paid them and fulfilled the law.

A total of 20 billion coins, delivery hope to finish this week.

Let’s see how Apple will respond to this.

Source: hound.net

7.7-magnitude earthquake in Pakistan, hundreds dead

12:37 PM
BBC News Pakistan : The 7.7-magnitude quake struck on Tuesday afternoon at a depth of 20km (13 miles) north-east of Awaran, the US Geological Survey said.


 Hundreds dead in Balochistan earth quake
Entire villages in the Balochistan district of Awaran are reported to have been flattened in the 7.7 earthquake

Many houses were flattened and thousands of people have spent the night in the open.

After the quake, a small island appeared off the coast near the port of Gwadar, witnesses reported.

Map locator
People gathered on the beach to see the new island, which is about 9m (30ft) high and 100m long, Gwadar Police Chief Pervez Umrani said.

Balochistan is Pakistan's largest but least populated province.

The region is prone to earthquakes, with at least 35 people killed in a 7.8-magnitude tremor that was centred in south-eastern Iran in April.

Mud houses
The latest quake was so powerful it was felt as far away as Karachi, Hyderabad, and India's capital, Delhi.

Entire villages are reported to have been flattened in the impoverished and sparsely-populated district of Awaran.


7.7-magnitude quake earthquake in Pakistan
Most of the homes in the area are made from mud brick and easily collapsed when the tremors struck on Tuesday.

Balochistan government spokesman Jan Buledi put the death toll at 238, more than 200 of the fatalities in Awaran town and the surrounding villages. He has warned that it could rise. At least 340 people have been injured.

"We are seriously lacking medical facilities and there is no space to treat injured people in the local hospitals," Mr Buledi said.

He said helicopters were airlifting the most seriously injured to Karachi while others were being cared for in neighbouring districts.

The army has sent more than 200 soldiers, medical teams and tents from the regional capital Quetta, but the mountainous terrain is said to be hampering the rescue operation.

Awaran local government official Abdul Rasheed Baluch said around 90% of houses in the district had been destroyed.


 earthquake in Pakistan
Many people spent the night in the open air, awaiting emergency relief supplies the army says it is sending from the regional capital Quetta.


"Almost all the mud houses have collapsed. We have been busy in rescue efforts for the whole night and fear we will recover more dead bodies from under the rubble during daylight," he said.

Many of the casualties are said to be from Labach, on the northern outskirts of Awaran town.

Houses are also reported to have caved in in the district of Khuzdar.

People in the region mostly live in mud houses as opposed to multi-storey concrete structures, says the BBC's Shahzeb Jillani.

The few concrete buildings in the area mostly house government offices, he adds.

An emergency has been declared in Awaran and another earthquake-affected district, Chagai.
 
Copyright © Indian Gorkhas. Designed by Darjeeling Web Solutions