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
Researchers in Japan say that children living near the Fukushima nuclear plant have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer at a rate 20 to 50 times that of children in other places.
— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) October 9, 2015
"This is more than expected and emerging faster than expected," lead author Toshihide Tsuda told The Associated Press. Since the nuclear meltdowns in 2011, most of the 370,000 children living in the Fukushima prefecture have had ultrasound checkups, with the most recent statistics released in August showing 137 children have confirmed or suspected thyroid cancer, up 25 from last year. In other areas, an estimated one or two of every million children are diagnosed with thyroid cancer annually.
Because of the Chernobyl disaster, scientists have been able to definitively link thyroid cancer in children to radiation, AP reports, and the authors dispute the government's stance that a high number of cases have been found because of constant monitoring. Scott Davis, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Seattle-based School of Public Health, said the study has a lack of individual-level data to estimate actual radiation doses. While that data is needed, David J. Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center says, the higher thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima is "not due to screening. It's real."
When treated, thyroid cancer is rarely fatal in children, but they will always have to take medication. The study will be published in the November issue of Epidemiology. Catherine Garcia
An explosion Thursday injured six employees at the Priest Rapids Dam in central Washington.
— M. Alex Johnson (@MAlexJohnson) October 9, 2015
All of the injured workers are employed by Grant County Public Utility District, and their conditions are unknown. Authorities said the explosion was related to a malfunction at the dam, but the investigation is ongoing, KREM reports. The Priest Rapids Dam is on the Columbia River, and the structure is stable, a utility district spokesman said. Catherine Garcia
Donald Trump received loud cheers when he told a crowd in Las Vegas Thursday that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl "should have been executed" for leaving his post in southeastern Afghanistan.
"We're tired of Sgt. Bergdahl, who's a traitor, a no-good traitor," he told an audience of more than 1,500 people at the Treasure Island hotel-casino. "Thirty years ago, he would have been shot."
Bergdahl has been accused of leaving his post in Afghanistan in July 2009, and was charged in March with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy; he was a prisoner of the Taliban for five years, and was ultimately released in an exchange for five Taliban commanders in U.S. custody. A hearing was held in his case earlier this month, and Bergdahl's attorney, Eugene Fidell, said in a statement Trump "has become a broken record on this subject. If he took the time to study what actually emerged at the preliminary hearing he would be singing a different tune."
During his hour-long speech, Trump also took credit for Kevin McCarthy dropping out of the House speaker's race and brought a woman onstage who said she was a legal Colombian immigrant who planned to vote for Trump, her "No. 1 person in the United States." Catherine Garcia
He served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999, and Newt Gingrich said he's willing to do it again — if begged.
"If you were to say to me 218 have called you up and given you their pledge, obviously no citizen could ever turn down that kind of challenge," he said Thursday on Sean Hannity's radio show, after Hannity pressed the issue of a potential return. He also likened himself to a modern-day version of our first president: "This is why George Washington came out of retirement," he said. "Because there are moments you can't avoid."
Gingrich, who resigned from his speaker post following an ethics violation, made his remarks hours after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced he was dropping his bid to replace outgoing Speaker John Boehner. Gingrich said it's more likely he will instead offer guidance to the Republican conference as a consultant. "It would be more practical" to meet with GOP members "and try to help them think this through," he said. "I think this is a conference-wide problem." There's a Clinton running for president and a Bush running for president, so why not bring Gingrich back for a complete '90s takeover. Catherine Garcia
The city of North Charleston, South Carolina, has reached a $6.5 million settlement with the family of Walter Scott, a black man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in April.
— News 19 WLTX (@WLTX) October 9, 2015
The settlement was approved Thursday by the city council, USA Today reports. A bystander captured on video Officer Michael Slager shooting Scott, 50, in the back as he ran away after being pulled over in his car. Scott died at the scene, and Slager was arrested and charged with murder after the footage was released. North Charleston Mayor R. Keith Summey said that since the shooting, police officers have been outfitted with body cameras. "As a result of this tragedy, important issues have been discussed not only in North Charleston, but around the country," Summey said. "Citizens have become engaged in the process and government officials are listening." Catherine Garcia
You may think you know why Kevin McCarthy dropped his bid to become House speaker, but Donald Trump is here to tell you it's all because of him.
During a campaign event in Las Vegas on Thursday, Trump announced: "They're giving me a lot of credit for that because I said you really need someone very, very tough and very smart. You know, smart goes with tough. I know tough people that aren't smart. That's the worst. We need smart, we need tough, we need the whole package."
Last week during an appearance on Morning Joe, the Republican presidential candidate said he didn't know if McCarthy was "someone that's very tough and that can negotiate with the Democrats." The position, he added, needs to go to somebody "that's a very, very tough, smart, cunning person." Catherine Garcia
Officials with the Oklahoma Corrections Department used bottles labeled potassium acetate during an execution in January, violating protocol, state records show.
Convicted killer Charles Frederick Warner was given a lethal injection on Jan. 15, and officials were supposed to use potassium chloride to stop his heart, The Oklahoman reports. On Sept. 30, officials received the same incorrect drug ahead of convicted murderer Richard Glossip's scheduled lethal injection, and a stay was granted by Gov. Mary Fallin (R) after the mix-up was discovered.
An investigation was launched by Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R) into Glossip's scheduled execution, and he confirmed on Wednesday it will also look into drug mistakes. "I want to assure the public that our investigation will be full, fair, and complete and includes not only actions on Sept. 30, but any and all actions prior, relevant to the use of potassium acetate and potassium chloride," he said. Fallin said Wednesday that "until we have complete confidence in the system, we will delay any further executions." Catherine Garcia