TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Human Waste on Mount Everest Creates an Environmental Issue

Nature's call maybe not be good for nature

Climbers are leaving more than just their footprints when they traverse Mount Everest, especially when they need to “use the bathroom.” People leave behind large amounts of fecal matter and urine every year.

Watch the Know Right Now above to find out more, and read more here.

TIME Asia

Seven Out of 10 Kids Across Five Asian Nations Experienced Violence at School

Indonesia reported the worst rate of school violence, with 84% of children having experienced it

Seven out of 10 children in Asia have experienced violence in school, a study of over 9,000 students across five countries revealed.

Conducted by children’s-rights group Plan under its Promoting Equality and Safety in Schools initiative, the study collected data from male and female students ages 12 to 17, as well as others involved in their education like parents, teachers and headmasters, in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Pakistan and Nepal.

The study has several disturbing implications, with emotional violence being the most prevalent form of school harassment, followed by physical violence. More boys reported facing physical violence than girls did, and regressive gender attitudes are a significant contributor to school violence overall.

Indonesia showed the highest rate of gender-based violence in schools out of the five countries surveyed, with 84% of students having experienced violence, while Pakistan had the lowest at 43%. “Even the bottom end of the scale — 43% in Pakistan — is unacceptable,” said Mark Pierce, Plan’s Asia regional director.

The prevalence of the problem in the Southeast Asian nation is illustrated by shocking videos uploaded to YouTube, like the one below that shows a girl at a primary school in West Sumatra’s Bukittinggi being kicked and beaten by her classmates.

Another video, uploaded as recently as last month, shows another girl being held in a choke hold by a male peer while another jumps in and out of the frame to punch her and make suggestive motions — culminating in an all-out brawl.

Several other causes and factors contributing to school violence — perpetrated by both peers and authority figures — exist even within the limited scope of the study, such as students’ lack of trust in existing reporting mechanisms, traditional and cultural norms, and a low rate of intervention by observers.

With reporting by Yenni Kwok

TIME Nepal

Nepal is Changing the Everest Climbing Route Because of Avalanche Fears

Everest Base Camp site on Khumbu Glacier
Whitworth Images—Getty Images/Moment RF Everest Base Camp site on Khumbu Glacier

Mountaineers must now avoid the notorious Khumbu Icefall

Increased fears of avalanches on Everest have prompted officials in Nepal to change the route mountaineers use to scale the world’s tallest mountain.

Starting from next month, the BBC reports, climbers will no longer be allowed on the daunting Khumbu Icefall – a treacherous stretch just above Base Camp, full of crevasses and ice towers, that was the site of the mountain’s deadliest disaster, when an avalanche last year killed 16.

Mountaineers will now climb a more central route after leaving Base Camp. It will bypass the Icefall but will be longer and more difficult.

“We think the risk of avalanche in the left part of the Khumbu Icefall is growing and we are moving the route to the center, where there is almost no such danger,” said Ang Dorji Sherpa, chairman of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee — a group originally set up to control waste management at Base Camp but which has since taken on a much wider role.

Last year’s fatal avalanche sparked a boycott by Sherpa climbers demanding better wages and working conditions. It has not been uncommon for a porter to climb through the Khumbu Icefall 30 to 40 times a season.

[BBC]

TIME Nepal

Nepalese Passports Are Going to Feature a Third Gender Option

NEPAL-POLITICS-ELECTION-HOMOSEXUALITY
Prakash Mathema — AFP/Getty Images Nepalese transgendered performers pose for photographs backstage in Kathmandu on November 2, 2013.

The long-awaited move follows a Supreme Court ruling in 2007 recognizing a third gender

Nepal announced plans this week to issue passports that will allow citizens of the Himalayan nation to identify as a member of a third gender on their travel documents if they wish.

“We have changed the passport regulations and will add a third category of gender for those people who do not want to be identified as male or female,” Lok Bahadur Thapa, chief of the government’s passport department, told Reuters.

The decision comes after a 2007 Supreme Court ruling in the country ordered authorities to amend legislation to include a third gender.

South Asia nations appear to be ahead of the curve regarding the right to identify as third gender on official documents. Court decisions in Pakistan in 2009 and India in 2014 both cleared the way for people who identify as being of indeterminate gender to do so formally.

[Reuters]

TIME Nepal

The World’s Largest Animal Slaughter Festival Has Begun in Nepal

A herder sits inside an enclosure for buffalos awaiting sacrifice on the eve of the sacrificial ceremony for the "Gadhimai Mela" festival in Bariyapur
Navesh Chitrakar—Reuters A herder sits inside an enclosure for buffalos awaiting sacrifice on the eve of the sacrificial ceremony for the "Gadhimai Mela" festival in Bariyapur Nov. 27, 2014

The animal sacrifices are part of a festival for Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess

The largest mass animal sacrifice in the world commenced in Nepal on Friday despite pressure from activists.

“It is very festive here, everyone is excited,” said Mangal Chaudhary, the head priest at the slaughter site at a small village near the border with India, according to Al-Jazeera.

The Gadhimai festival, named after the Hindu goddess to whom the sacrifice is made, features the slitting of animals’ throats ranging from buffalo to rats over two days. Chicken and goat meat are then distributed to the masses, while buffalo hides are auctioned after dumping their heads in a large pit.

The previous festival in 2009 reportedly saw about 300,000 animals slaughtered, while Indian news channel CNN-IBN reports that this year that number is up to 500,000.

TIME India

Indian PM Modi Announces New Business Visas for SAARC Nations

NEPAL-SAARC
PRAKASH MATHEMA—AFP/Getty Images Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) walks on his arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport to attend the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu on November 25, 2014.

Business visas for the eight member states will be granted for three to five years

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a step towards boosting regional trade across South Asia on Wednesday, announcing a provision for business visas of three to five years for all South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries.

During his speech at the SAARC Summit in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, Modi lamented that trade between the eight member countries of the international grouping comprises less than 5% of the region’s global trade.

“How much have we done in SAARC to turn our natural wealth into shared prosperity, or our borders into bridgeheads to a shared future?” Modi asked those in attendance.

Other major issues referred to by Modi included a SAARC satellite to be launched in 2016 as well as greater coordination in fields like health care and higher education.

The SAARC was formed in 1985 by India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, with Afghanistan granted membership in 2007. The regional grouping has been criticized for its lack of direction and failure to achieve concrete results, and Modi acknowledged this while urging his counterparts to move beyond mere lip service.

“When we speak of SAARC, we usually hear two reactions — cynicism and skepticism,” he said. “This, sadly, is in a region throbbing with the optimism of our youth.”

The two-day summit has also been abuzz with discussion about the contentious relationship between India and Pakistan, whose bilateral dialogue has stalled amid conflicts on their border. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the only leader who Modi will not meet one-on-one during the two-day gathering, Indian newspaper The Hindu reported.

Both leaders spoke about the need for peace and security in their respective speeches, which happened to fall on the sixth anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks that India accuses Pakistan of engineering.

“Let us work together to fulfill the pledge we have taken to combat terrorism and trans-national crimes,” said Modi; Sharif said Pakistan was “committed to a dispute-Free South Asia.”

But soon after the speeches concluded, Pakistan reportedly vetoed three agreements for increased road, rail and energy links put forth by India, making it apparent that regional integration remains an uphill task.

TIME fun

Feel Good Friday: 15 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

From flying off mountains to backflipping in Palestine, here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right

TIME Nepal

Death Toll in Nepal Blizzards Rises to 40 as Authorities Wind Down Search

The body of a victim is moved from an ambulance to the morgue after it was brought back from Annapurna Region in Kathmandu
Navesh Chitrakar—Reuters The body of a victim is moved from an ambulance to the morgue after it was brought back from Annapurna Region in Kathmandu October 17, 2014.

More than 600 people have been rescued, but a few locals are still reportedly missing

Nepalese authorities are being thwarted in their hunt for more survivors of the Himalayan snowstorms that have killed at least 40 people over the past week.

After minor avalanches hampered the search for stranded climbers Monday, Keshav Pandey, of the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, admitted, “After this we can only hope that those who are missing will establish contact with us or their families,” Reuters reports.

Some 600 people have been rescued so far by the Nepalese army and other groups. Pandey believes it unlikely any more tourists are missing but said that some local porters and guides had not yet been traced.

Casualties from the blizzards, which took place unexpectedly during peak trekking season and are said to have been triggered by a cyclone that hit eastern India the previous week, included trekkers from Israel, Japan, Canada, Poland and Slovakia along with several locals.

Baburam Bhandari, chief of Nepal’s Mustang district on the Annapurna mountain circuit where the blizzards hit, told Reuters that army rescuers dug out the body of another Israeli tourist on Monday.

This is the second major disaster this year in Nepal, which is home to eight of the world’s 10 highest mountains. (Annapurna ranks in 10th place.) Sixteen local guides lost their lives this April in an avalanche on the world’s tallest peak, Mount Everest.

Nepalese Tourism Minister Dipak Amatya said he would do everything possible to ensure that the country never again encountered a tragedy of this nature. “There is no point blaming the hostile weather for the disaster,” Amatya said.

[Reuters]

TIME the backstory

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 17, 2014

Photojournalism Links is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Jehad Nga’s gloomy work from the conflict-ravaged Central African Republic, shot on assignment for The New Yorker. The photographs of the warring parties and the plight of civilians capture a bleak portrait of a country at its worst hour.


Jehad Nga: Central African Republic (The New Yorker Photo Booth)

Nadav Kander: Dust (Wired Raw File) The work on the ruins of the Soviet era’s secret cities is worth viewing again.

Aaron Huey: Sherpa Pride and Sacrifice (National Geographic) Series on Nepal’s brave Sherpa.

Joseph Sywenkyj Wins W. Eugene Smith Grant (TIME LightBox) The American photographer won the prestigious grant for his work documenting the lives of families affected by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Davide Monteleone (British Journal of Photography) The photographer talks about his Chechnya work.

Diana Markosian (Open Society Foundations) Markosian speaks about documenting Chechen women.


Photojournalism Links is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen, Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.


TIME Nepal

More Than 20 Dead, Dozens Remain Missing as Blizzards Batter Himalayas

Nepal Avalanche
AP In this photo provided by the Nepalese army, soldiers carry an avalanche victim before he is airlifted in Thorong La pass area, in Nepal, on Oct. 15, 2014

Four Canadians, three Israelis reportedly among the deceased, authorities still searching for some 85 missing persons

The effects of Cyclone Hudhud, which battered India’s east coast over the weekend, are being felt further north, as resultant blizzards in neighboring Nepal’s Annapurna region killed at least 20 people on Wednesday.

Officials said that nine locals, three Polish nationals, three Israelis and one Vietnamese were killed in the region’s Mustang district, according to the Indian Express. Four Canadians and an Indian also lost their lives in the neighboring district of Manang, and the search for nearly 85 others reported missing is being focused on the Thorang pass that connects the two areas.

Reuters reported that the Nepalis killed were a group of yak herders and that the search for hikers, which was called off Wednesday night local time owing to bad light and weather, resumed on Thursday morning. “One army helicopter has already left for the site and more helicopters will be pressed into service later,” said Mustang district Governor Baburam Bhandari.

This week’s disaster, which took place during Nepal’s peak trekking season, marks a bad year for the country’s tourism industry. Several Sherpa guides lost their lives in an avalanche at the base of Mount Everest in April, the worst accident in the history of the world’s tallest mountain. CNN reports that many Sherpas refused to go back up Everest after the incident, and as many as six trekking companies canceled their 2014 expeditions.

Kathmandu-based Adventure Mountain Explore Treks and Expedition are still heading out while exercising a great deal of caution and restraint in all situations.

Tika Regmi, who heads the company’s trekking and mountaineering department, says all his guides are advised to stay put during a natural disaster, or immediately descent if safe. “But some guides and Sherpas feel they need to listen to the customers’ wishes,” he tells TIME. According to Regmi, there are foreign trekkers who feel getting their money’s worth is most important and will press on despite adverse conditions. “But no amount of money is more valuable than their lives,” he says.

Three Adventure Mountain guides are currently at a guesthouse with their clients, and Regmi says it was their reading of the situation that saved their lives. Another company, whom he did not wish to name, pressed on and now has several groups missing. “It’s a natural disaster so no one can control,” he says. “We can only control our people and our guides.”

Regmi has already started receiving emails with requests for cancellations. He says the danger should pass within a week as the weather improves, but does worry about the long-term impact of these incidents.

“I’m sure it’s not a good message for people who are coming from all over the world,” he says.

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