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Iran can sink U.S. warships with "secret weapons," military official saysIran can sink U.S. warships sent to the Gulf region using missiles and "secret weapons," a senior Iranian military official was quoted as saying by the semi-official news agency Mizan on Saturday. The United States on Friday announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, describing it as an effort to bolster defenses against Iran as it accused the country's Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for this month's tanker attacks.


5/25/2019 12:22:56 AM

India's Congress Party Seeks to Reorganize After Election RoutThe Congress Working Committee, the top decision-making body of the party, rejected Gandhi’s resignation offer “unanimously” and requested him to undertake “a complete overhaul and detailed restructuring at every level of the party,” its spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala told reporters in New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi clinched a second five-year term, with his Bharatiya Janata Party winning 303 of the 543 parliamentary seats to secure a single-party majority. The Congress won 52 seats, which was only a few more seats than it took in 2014.


5/25/2019 6:39:41 AM

US sanctions on Iran felt in Iraqi Shiite tourist districtsBAGHDAD (AP) — For years, Karar Hussein has sold sweets in his shop near the entrance to one of Shiite Islam's holiest shrines, accepting whatever currency was offered to him by his clients, many of them religious tourists from neighboring Iran. But lately, when Iranian pilgrims ask about prices, he tells them he can only sell if they pay in Iraqi currency. They often walk out, disappointed.


5/26/2019 3:53:43 AM

British climber who died in Everest 'death zone' had feared overcrowding on summit's slopesA British climber, who became the latest person to die on Mount Everest this season, admitted before setting off that he feared the dangers of overcrowding in the "death zone". Robin Haynes Fisher, 44, died on his descent after reaching the 8,850-metre (29,035 feet) summit of the world's highest mountain. He passed away in the "death zone", the area named for the low levels of oxygen on descent from the summit. Mr Fisher, who lived in Birmingham, is one of at least eight climbers to die on the treacherous slopes in the current climbing season that ends this month. Hiking officials attributed most of the deaths to weakness, exhaustion and delays on the crowded route to the summit. In his last social media post on Tuesday, Mr Fisher wrote how he had changed his climbing plans in order to avoid the crowds. View this post on Instagram Climbed up to camp 3, 7500m but the jet stream had returned closing the summit after only 2 days so I descended to basecamp. Around 100 climbers did summit in those 2 days with sadly 2 deaths, an Indian man found dead in his tent at camp 4 and an Irish climber lost, assumed fallen, on his descent. A go fund me page has been set up for a rescue bid for the Irish climber but it is a well meaning but futile gesture. Condolences to both their friends and families. Both deaths happened above 8000m in the so called death zone where the majority of deaths of foreign climbers happen. Around 700 more people will be looking to summit from Tuesday the 21st onwards. My revised plan, subject to weather that at the moment looks promising, is to return up the mountain leaving basecamp Tuesday the 21st 0230 and, all being well and a lot of luck, arriving on the summit the morning of Saturday the 25th. I will be climbing with my Sherpa, Jangbu who is third on the all time list with an incredible 19 summits. The other 4 members of our team decided to remain on the mountain and are looking to summit on the 21st. My cough had started to return at altitude so I couldn’t wait with them at altitude for the window to open without the risk of physically deteriorating too much. Furthermore as I had missed due to sickness the earlier camp 3 rotation best practice was for me to descend to allow my body to recover from the new altitude high so I could come back stronger. This was not an easy decision as the 13 hours climbing from basecamp to camp 2 in a day was the hardest physical and mental challenge I had ever done, now I have it all to do again. Finally I am hopeful to avoid the crowds on summit day and it seems like a number of teams are pushing to summit on the 21st. With a single route to the summit delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal so I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people. Unless of course everyone else plays the same waiting game. everest everest2019 lhotseface A post shared by Robin (@1c0n0clast22) on May 19, 2019 at 1:15am PDT "With a single route to the summit delays caused by overcrowding could prove fatal so I am hopeful my decision to go for the 25th will mean fewer people. Unless of course everyone else plays the same waiting game," he added.  He also described how the altitude had already taken its toll on his health.  "My cough had started to return at altitude so I couldn’t wait with them at altitude for the window to open without the risk of physically deteriorating too much. "Furthermore as I had missed due to sickness the earlier camp 3 rotation best practice was for me to descend to allow my body to recover from the new altitude high so I could come back stronger.  Robin Haynes Fisher on his way to climb Mount Everest Credit: PA "This was not an easy decision as the 13 hours climbing from basecamp to camp 2 in a day was the hardest physical and mental challenge I had ever done, now I have it all to do again." Mr Fisher has been described by his family as an “aspirational adventurer”. Mr Fisher’s family said: “He achieved so much in his short life, climbing Mont Blanc, Aconcagua and Everest. "He was a 'tough guy', triathlete, and marathoner. A champion for vegetarianism, published author, and a cultured theatre-goer, lover of Shakespeare.” Now Nepal is facing scrutiny for issuing a record 381 permits — at £8,600 each — for this year’s spring season. View this post on Instagram Completed oxygen training which we will use in the so called death zone, above 8000m. I have 8 bottles, each weighing 4kg when full that the Sherpas have thankfully already shipped up the mountain to our advanced camps. Tomorrow we head up the mountain, leaving at 3am. We are going to bypass camp 1 and go all the way to camp 2. I can expect a 13 or 14 hour day of climbing. From camp 2 the plan is to go up to c3 for an acclimatisation climb and then return to c2. Depending on how the summit window looks, what the other teams are doing and how I feel I may then descend to basecamp to complete acclimatisation and return up the mountain later or may go for my summit push. A summit push will mean a return to c3, spending the night, proceeding to c4 and either spending the night or pushing for the summit that evening. It depends on how we feel, the weather and what the other 380 climbers are doing. As most expeditions average 1 to 1.5 Sherpas per climber we need to pick a day when there are not a few hundred other people heading for the summit. Due to their being one set of ropes their are a number of bottlenecks at tricky points. Standing around in a queue of a hundred people when with the windchill can be -40C is a recipe for frostbite or worse. When I was waiting to see the doctor in base camp yesterday to get the all clear to go up the patient before me had just come down the mountain. He had, at altitude, taken his summit mitts off to change the batteries in his headtorch. These 2.5 minutes had caused him stage 3 frostbite in his fingers and the prognosis was that he may lose the tips of his fingers. A timely reminder to keep my gloves on at all times. everest everest2019 A post shared by Robin (@1c0n0clast22) on May 14, 2019 at 12:34am PDT This week, a climber shared a photograph of the lengthy tailbacks on the mountain. Hundreds found themselves stuck for hours in the notoriously dangerous death zone, having used the window of good weather to push for the 8,848m (29,030ft) summit. Murari Sharma, of the Everest Parivar Treks company that arranged Mr Fisher’s logistics, told Reuters: “He died because of weakness after a long ascent and difficult descent. “He was descending with his sherpa guides from the summit when he suddenly fainted.” Fellow guides changed Mr Fisher’s oxygen bottle and offered him water, but could not save him. This handout photo taken on May 22, 2019 and released by climber Nirmal Purja's Project Possible expedition shows heavy traffic of mountain climbers lining up to stand at the summit of Mount Everest Credit:  AFP At least four other deaths have been linked to the human traffic jam. A Nepali guide is also believed to have died. Irish climber Kevin Hynes, 56, died in his tent at 7,000 metres on the early hours of Friday morning, after turning back before reaching the summit. With each climber normally accompanied by at least one Sherpa, the mountain could see more than 750 people trekking to the summit this season. Garrett Madison of the U.S. based Madison Mountaineering company that sponsors climbers to Mount Everest said many were not well qualified or prepared climbers and lacked  the support necessary to ascend and descend safely. Mr Madison told Reuters: “If they were with a strong and experienced team they would have likely been fine, but with minimal support, once something goes wrong it’s tough to get back on course.”


5/25/2019 7:33:53 PM

Violence and disruption against abortion clinics at highest rates since 1999Violence and disruption against abortion clinics in the US increased to its highest levels since the 1990s last year, a report by the National Abortion Federation has found.The increase in violence was attributed, at least in part, to president Donald Trump and his administration’s rhetoric.The report noted a significant increase in obstruction, vandalism, and trespassing, with 1,135 incidents of trespassing recorded in 2018 - the most since the NAF began tracking the crime in 1999.There were also 3,038 instances of obstruction, a 78 per cent increase compared to the previous year, and nearly 100,000 instances of picketing.“Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of president Trump, vice president Pence, and other elected officials and we are seeing this play out in more instances of activities meant to intimidate abortion providers and disrupt patient services,” said Dr Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, who serves as interim president and CEO of NAF.She added: “Demonising health care providers and women who rely on them for abortion care has become one of the go-to tactics for anti-choice politicians. Those lies have consequences and it is not the anti-choice politicians who are facing those consequences; it is those who are denied abortion care and the providers targeted by threats, harassment, and violence who are. It is time for the demonizing of abortion providers and their patients to end.“Given the political climate and the increase in hate incidents throughout the country, it is more important than ever that law enforcement and prosecutors appropriately respond to anti-abortion criminal activity.”The study did note a decrease in stalking, burglary, assault, and battery against abortion providers.It comes during a fresh wave of anti-abortion legislation such as the Alabama abortion ban, which is currently being contested in a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, and “heartbeat bills” which ban elective abortion after a foetal heartbeat is detectable.As a foetal heartbeat is first detectable at six weeks - a point where many pregnant people may not even know they are pregnant - these initiatives are seen as a back-door abortion ban and are also being contested in court. Politicians in support of banning abortion hope these cases will rise to the Supreme Court of the United States and lead to an overturning of Roe V Wade, which set the precedent for elective abortion until the end of the second trimester in the US.


5/25/2019 10:16:00 AM

51 attorneys general call on Betsy DeVos to cancel up to 42,000 disabled veterans' student debts"As a nation, we have a moral obligation to assist those who have put their lives on the line to defend us,"  the attorneys general wrote.


5/25/2019 12:58:13 PM

Eating Way Too Much Rice Almost Doomed Japan's Imperial NavyAfter the war, the Emergency Beriberi Investigative Committee investigated the disease’s devastation of Japanese ranks. Worried about the composition of the committee and fully aware of Takaki’s success, the emperor stepped in. “The army’s beriberi problem can be effectively prevented if the army provides a staple of barley and rice,” the emperor stated.In August 1882 in Incheon Bay near Seoul, four Japanese warships were locked in a tense stand-off with two Chinese warships that had brought troops to quell a revolt on the Korean peninsula.On paper, the Japanese flotilla outnumbered the Chinese, but the hulls of the Japanese ships hid a deadly secret. Less than half of their crews could man their stations.The Korean peninsula erupted into conflict on July 23. A soldiers’ protest against ill treatment, unpaid wages and poor provisions turned into widespread mutiny. Ousted from power, the former regent of the king set the mutineers upon the government—and against the Japanese advisers working to modernize the Korean army.


5/25/2019 10:30:00 PM

Rescuers search for survivors after Oklahoma tornado kills at least twoThe tornado that hit El Reno on Saturday night was the latest in a barrage of violent weather that is expected to continue after pounding the Central Plains states last week with deadly tornadoes, high winds, drenching thunderstorms and widespread flooding. In addition to the two fatalities, 29 people suffered minor to critical injuries in the El Reno twister and hundreds more were displaced, the city's mayor said. People have absolutely lost everything." Rescue workers searched the debris field that had been a mobile home park and an Americas Best Value Inn motor lodge where the tornado did its worst damage in the community about 25 miles (40 km) west of Oklahoma City.


5/26/2019 2:01:38 PM

Five key takeaways from the EU electionsThe EU elections have been marked by successes for the far right, a surge by the Greens and setbacks for traditional parties across the continent. The first results and projections suggested France's eurosceptic far-right National Rally party led by Marine Le Pen was set to finish top in France, narrowly ahead of the ruling faction of President Emmanuel Macron. In Italy, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini's far-right League was set to win the most votes, and Germany's far-right AfD was set to improve on their 2014 score of 7.1 percent, with exit polls seeing it coming in at 10.5 percent.


5/26/2019 4:37:30 PM

Venezuela's opposition leader Guaido plays down prospects for Oslo mediationVenezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido on Sunday played down the prospects for success at a new round of mediation with the government to be hosted by Norway next week, saying protests would continue until President Nicolas Maduro resigned. Norway said on Saturday that representatives of Venezuela's government and opposition will return to Oslo next week following an initial round of preliminary talks about how to address a long-running political crisis. Norway has a tradition of conflict mediation, including assistance with Colombia's 2016 peace deal between the government and leftist FARC rebels.


5/26/2019 4:37:35 PM

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