On Friday, April 18, a wall of snow and ice crushed 16 Sherpas who were preparing a path on Mt. Everest for their clients. Thirteen of the bodies were recovered, but three remain entombed in the ice. The avalanche caused Everest's largest loss of life in a single day.
For these elite climbers, who guide people up the world's highest mountain, death has been an occupational hazard since the first ascent of Everest in 1922. But this month's tragedy sent a shockwave through the peaceful community. Sherpas, who make from $3,000 to $6,000 each three-month season, are threatening to strike unless they receive better compensation and improved safety conditions.
In the meantime, a group of 10 photographers who have worked extensively with the Sherpa people have banded together to help their friends. The photographers of The Sherpa Fund are selling prints of the mountain and its people, and 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Sherpa community.
By purchasing a print today, you are helping provide relief to Sherpa families in crisis, as well as long-term support that transcends this single incident. Together, we will build a more comprehensive safety net for the high-altitude workers who help so many Westerners realize their dreams of the summit. [The Sherpa Fund]
This diverse selection of photos, chosen by National Geographic editors, is a gorgeous and productive tribute to the people who have been so dedicated to this natural wonder. To buy a print or learn more about the Sherpa Fund, click on this link or the image below. --Lauren Hansen
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) lashed out at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday for criticizing President-elect Donald Trump's choice of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for secretary of Housing and Urban Development:
Ben Carson is first HUD Sec to have actually lived in gov't housing. Fancy Nancy Pelosi says he's not qualified; is she racist or just dumb?
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) December 5, 2016
Pelosi wasn't the only Democrat to suggest Carson — who has himself admitted he may not be qualified to lead a government agency — lacks the experience to oversee a Cabinet department with a budget of $47 billion. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said Monday that Trump's selection of someone "woefully unqualified" in Carson to head the department suggests he "has no interest in protecting American homeowners from Wall Street abuses." "Mr. Trump said during the campaign he would support working-class Americans, but his appointments make it clear he intends nothing of the sort," Cummings said.
Though Carson has no prior government experience, The New York Times reported he has said he is "prepared to lead the agency because he grew up 'in the inner city' and because as a physician in Baltimore he has 'dealt with a lot of patients from that area.'" Becca Stanek
Time magazine has announced the finalists for its 2016 Person of the Year, and the short list includes a 19-year-old gymnast, a group of whistleblowers, a Super Bowl halftime performer, and a handful of politicians.
Time annually aims to select the person or idea that has had the greatest impact on the news and world in the past year, a tradition it has followed since 1927. This year, the magazine's 11 finalists are made up of Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles; Hillary Clinton; President-elect Donald Trump; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; U.K. Independence Party head Nigel Farage; Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi; Russian President Vladimir Putin; Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg; the whistleblowers about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan; musician Beyoncé Knowles; and the CRISPR scientists, who developed technology that can edit DNA.
If Putin were to win the 2016 Person of the Year — for what Time describes as "[making] headlines … with his country's intervention in Syria and evidence showing that Russian operatives were responsible for the hack of Democratic National Committee servers" — it would be his second time with the designation, after being named Person of the Year in 2007. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was Time's Person of the Year in 2015 due to her leadership in the Syrian refugee crisis and the Europe debt crisis; Ebola fighters were the 2014 "person" of the year.
The 2016 Person of the Year will be announced Wednesday morning on the Today show and on Time's website. Learn more about the finalists and the justification for why they are nominated here. Jeva Lange
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest admitted Monday that President-elect Donald Trump's unexpected Friday phone call with the president of Taiwan has left multiple U.S. officials scrambling to do damage control. "I can confirm that U.S. officials, including senior officials of the National Security Council, have been in touch with their Chinese counterparts to reiterate our country's continued commitment to One-China policy," Earnest said, discussing the longstanding American policy against formally recognizing Taiwan as a nation independent of China. Beijing considers Taiwan to be a province of the mainland.
When Trump picked up the phone Friday, he did what no other U.S. leader has done in nearly 40 years by communicating directly with Taiwan's leader. Aside from a disruption of the status quo, Earnest suggested Trump's actions also could have jeopardized an agreement that has proved crucial to "promoting and preserving peace and stability in the Strait." "The adherence to and commitment to this policy has advanced the ability of the United States to make progress in our relationship with China," Earnest said, noting that the set-up is also beneficial to Taiwan. Earnest later added, "If the president-elect's team has a different aim, I'll leave it to them to describe." Becca Stanek
Ivanka Trump wasn't the only Trump that Al Gore met with Monday during his visit to Trump Tower. Despite initial reports indicating the former Democratic vice president would only be sitting down with Ivanka to discuss climate issues, Gore emerged from the Manhattan skyscraper with news he had actually spent the "bulk of the time" with her father, President-elect Donald Trump. "I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect. It was a sincere search for areas of common ground," Gore said, noting the conversation was "extremely interesting."
While the president-elect has repeatedly brushed off environmental concerns, once even claiming climate change was a "hoax" that was "created" by the Chinese, Gore's biggest post-office claim to fame is his work combating climate change. Since his election however, President-elect Trump has said he sees "some connectivity" between the fossil fuels produced by human activity and climate change. Becca Stanek
Late-night TV comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the 89th Academy Awards, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. It will be Kimmel's first time hosting the awards show, although he has hosted the Emmys twice. The Emmys suffered their lowest ratings ever after the Jimmy Kimmel Live! star hosted this past September.
Late-night comedians have swept this season's award show positions, with James Corden tapped to host the Grammy Awards and the Tony Awards and Jimmy Fallon to host the Golden Globes.
The Oscars will air on ABC on Feb. 26, 2017. Jeva Lange
Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, plan to follow President-elect Donald Trump from New York City to Washington, D.C., CNN reports. The couple is reportedly looking for houses in the area, where they plan to take up residence with their three children.
Kushner is poised to be a top adviser to Trump and has already played a significant role in Trump's presidential campaign. Kushner leaves behind business interests in New York, including real estate and the New York Observer, of which he is the publisher. Ivanka is also expected to assume an advisory role in the incoming administration, although Trump has claimed his children will run his business while he is in the White House.
Unlike his daughter and his son-in-law, Trump's wife Melania and their young son Barron plan to continue living in Trump Tower in New York City through at least the spring, until Barron finishes his school year. Jeva Lange
North Carolina's Republican Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the gubernatorial race to his Democratic challenger, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, ending weeks of contention after the close election. "Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper," McCrory said in a video statement.
It has been 27 days since the North Carolina election. Jeva Lange