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April 25, 2014

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

8:19 a.m. ET

North Korea is pretty keen on the idea of a Donald Trump presidency. So much so that North Korean state media DPRK Today published an editorial recently singing the presumptive GOP nominee's praises. Trump, DPRK Today says, is a "wise politician" and a "far-sighted candidate." "There are many positive aspects to Trump's 'inflammatory policies,'" Han Yong-mook, a Chinese North Korean scholar, wrote in the editorial. "Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North, isn't this fortunate from North Korea's perspective?"

The editorial also welcomed Trump's request to hold direct talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. "The president that U.S. citizens must vote for is not that dull Hillary — who claimed to adapt the Iranian model to resolve nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula — but Trump, who spoke of holding direct conversation with North Korea," the editorial said.

While this isn't necessarily Pyongyang talking, The Guardian reports that experts contend the editorial is still likely reflective of the regime's take on Trump. "[Trump]'s the Dennis Rodman of American politics — quirky, flamboyant, risk-taking," John Feffer, director of Foreign Policy in Focus, said. "At the moment he's also an outsider. But Pyongyang is hoping that either he'll be elected [and follow through on his pledges] or that his pronouncements will change the political game in the U.S. and influence how the Democratic Party and mainstream Republicans view Korean issues." Becca Stanek

8:07 a.m. ET
Mario Tama/Getty Images

The Global Slavery Index reported their annual findings on Tuesday, putting the total number of enslaved people around the world at an estimated 45.8 million, up from an estimated 35.8 million in 2014. Fifty-eight percent of those living in slavery are in India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Uzbekistan, the report found. Proportionally, North Korea, Uzbekistan, Cambodia, India, and Qatar have the highest populations of people in modern slavery, with one in every 20 people in North Korea being a slave.

"In North Korea, there is pervasive evidence that government-sanctioned forced labor occurs in an extensive system of prison labor camps while North Korean women are subjected to forced marriage and commercial sexual exploitation in China and other neighboring states. In Uzbekistan, the government continues to subject its citizens to forced labor in the annual cotton harvest," the report said.

The United States and Canada have among the lowest estimated prevalence of modern slavery by proportion to their population, along with the Luxembourg, Ireland, Norway, and Denmark. However, instances of slavery were found in all 167 countries included in the index, which was informed by 42,000 interviews by Gallup in 53 languages and across 25 countries.

"We need to make it clear we're not going to tolerate slavery and when there is slavery in a regime we should not trade with them," the foundation's founder, Andrew Forrest, told CNBC. "This is not AIDS or malaria. We have caused slavery and because it's a human condition we can fix it." Jeva Lange

8:01 a.m. ET
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Previous economic research has suggested that a family's economic advantages (or disadvantages) usually dissipate within a few generations. New research by Italian economists Guglielmo Barone and Sauro Moretti begs to differ. The Bank of Italy economists used a unique tool, a 1427 census of Florence, to compare the wealth and occupation of Florentine families 600 years ago to those same families in 2011. "The top earners among the current taxpayers were found to have already been at the top of the socioeconomic ladder six centuries ago," Barone and Moretti explain in an essay on their findings at the Center for Economic Policy Research's Vox site.

If you're looking to see how the Medici family has fared, you're out of luck — the researchers replaced family last names with letters to maintain confidentiality. But Barone and Moretti did find "evidence of dynasties in certain (elite) professions," they write, noting that there's a higher probability a Florentine today will be a lawyers, banker (like the Medici family), medical doctor, pharmacist, or goldsmith if he or she has the last name of a family that was intensely involved in the same profession in Renaissance Florence. They also report finding "some evidence of the existence of a glass floor that protects the descendants of the upper class from falling down the economic ladder."

Barone and Moretti say they can't universalize their findings, noting in their working paper, "Intergenerational mobility in the very long run: Florence 1427-2011," that "Florence in the 15th century was already an advanced and complex society, characterized by a significant level of inequality and by a rich variety of professions and occupational stratification." But Quartz's Aamna Mohdin says that the new findings are "further evidence on how the rich remain rich," including research in England that a family's socioeconomic status can persist for more than 800 years. You can read more about Florence's lack of economic mobility, including Barone and Moretti's methodology and caveats, at Vox or in their research paper. Peter Weber

7:38 a.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by just two points nationally, a new NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday reveals. Clinton leads the presumptive Republican nominee just 47 percent to 45 percent — a narrow edge just barely outside the poll's 1.2-point margin of error. Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) boasts a 12-point lead over Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, 52 percent to 40 percent.

The poll surveyed 12,969 registered voters online between May 23 and May 29. Becca Stanek

7:37 a.m. ET
John Phillips/Getty Images

Actor Kit Harrington slammed the film industry for "sexism towards men" in an interview with The Sunday Times, accusing the system of "a double standard."

"If you said to a girl, 'Do you like being called a babe?' and she said, 'No, not really,' she'd be absolutely right," Harrington said. "I like to think of myself as more than a head of hair or a set of looks."

Some thought the Game of Thrones actor's comments came across as tone-deaf. "I think what he is actually describing is feeling objectified, which certainly isn't a phenomenon belonging to a single gender," Aimée Lutkin observed for Jezebel.

Still, "it's demeaning," Harrington said. "Yes, in some ways you could argue I've been employed for a look I have. But there's a sexism that happens towards men. There's definitely a sexism in our industry that happens towards women, and there is towards men as well ... At some points during photoshoots when I'm asked to strip down, I felt that." Jeva Lange

7:15 a.m. ET
Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Journalist Katie Couric admitted to deceptively editing an exchange with gun rights activists in Under the Gun, a documentary she produced and narrated about gun violence. "I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League," she said in a statement Monday evening.

The edit made the activists appear stumped and ashamed by her question about felons and terrorists purchasing guns if there are no background checks, when in fact they responded quickly to the criticism and had candid answers. The discrepancy was exposed by The Washington Free Beacon last week. Jeva Lange

6:22 a.m. ET
Sabah Arar/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, Iraqi counterterrorism forces, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, started to push into Islamic State–held Fallujah, capturing about 85 percent of the city's southern Nuaimiya area. At dawn on Tuesday, ISIS launched a counterattack, two officers with the special forces told The Associated Press, and Iraqi forces repelled the four-hour assault. ISIS used tunnels and snipers to attack Iraqi forces, and sent out six car bombs, the officers said, but the explosives-laden vehicles were destroyed before they reached Iraqi troops.

There are an estimated 50,000 civilians trapped in Fallujah, and on Tuesday the Norwegian Refugee Council aid group warned that "a human catastrophe is unfolding in Fallujah." Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the group, said that the "warring parties must guarantee civilians safe exit now, before it's too late and more lives are lost." Peter Weber

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