85-year-old dies on Everest during world record bid

In this photograph taken on February 10, 2017, Nepalese mountaineer Min Bahadur Sherchan speaks during an interview with AFP in Katmandu. (AFP / Prakash Mathema)
Updated 06 May 2017
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85-year-old dies on Everest during world record bid

KATMANDU: An 85-year-old ex-Gurkha who was attempting to reclaim his title as the world’s oldest person to summit Mount Everest died at base camp on Saturday.
Min Bahadur Sherchan was on a bid to reclaim a title that he lost to Japanese mountaineer Yuichiro Miura in 2013.
“He passed away at the base camp today at 5:14pm,” Gyanendra Shrestha, an official with the tourism ministry who is at the 5,380 meters (17,600 feet) camp, told AFP.
The former soldier became the world’s oldest climber to summit Everest in 2008 when he was 76, but he lost the record five years later when Miura summited the 8,848-meter peak at the age of 80.
Speaking to AFP this year before returning to Everest, the slightly hard of hearing grandfather said he just wanted to prove to himself that he could still make it to the top of the world.
“My aim is not to break anybody’s record, this is not a personal competition between individuals. I wish to break my own record,” Sherchan told AFP from Katmandu in February.
Sherchan’s death is the second fatality of the spring climbing season on Everest, which runs from late April to the end of May.
Experienced Swiss climber Ueli Steck died last month when he fell from a steep ridge during an acclimatization climb.
Nearly 750 people will be attempting to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak during the narrow window of good weather that usually falls in mid-May.
Hundreds of climbers have been on Everest for weeks to acclimatize before making a bid for the top.
This year is particularly crowded as it is the last chance for climbers who were forced off the mountain by the devastating 2015 earthquake to use their extended permits. This has rasied concerns about dangerous traffic jams on the mountain.
Mountaineering is a major revenue earner for impoverished Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 meters.


Cambodian women face surrogacy charges after Vietnam births

A woman rides a motor-cart loaded with bananas in Phnom Penh on July 18, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 49 min 25 sec ago
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Cambodian women face surrogacy charges after Vietnam births

  • The surrogacy business boomed in Cambodia after it was put under tight restrictions in neighboring Thailand. There also were crackdowns in India and Nepal

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia: Three Cambodian women have been charged with violating surrogacy and human trafficking laws after they gave birth to babies they delivered to Chinese nationals in Vietnam, a court official said Friday.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court spokesman Ei Rin said the women, aged 31 and 32, are being detained pending further investigation after being charged on Thursday.
Chhiv Phally, the director of the Interior Ministry’s Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department, said the three women were detained by Vietnamese police and returned to Cambodia after they illegally crossed into the country to deliver their children to Chinese nationals for $8,000 per child, reported the English-language Phnom Penh Post newspaper.
Cambodia’s anti-surrogacy law carries a penalty of one to six months in prison, while the human trafficking charge, involving crossing borders, is punishable by 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment.
The anti-surrogacy law was intended to target intermediaries between parents and surrogates, but in the absence of a more appropriate law, has also been applied against women who carry surrogate pregnancies and give birth. The government has said it is drafting a new law to cover surrogacy, but it is not known when it will be ready.
Cambodia hurriedly passed its first law specifically targeting surrogacy in 2016 as the country was becoming a popular destination for foreign would-be parents seeking women to give birth to their children.
Developing countries are popular for surrogacy because costs are much lower than in countries such as the United States and Australia, where surrogate services can cost around $150,000. The surrogacy business boomed in Cambodia after it was put under tight restrictions in neighboring Thailand. There also were crackdowns in India and Nepal.
After Cambodia’s crackdown, would-be parents shifted to seek out surrogates in neighboring Laos.
In December, 32 Cambodian women who were charged with human trafficking for serving as surrogate mothers were released from detention after agreeing to keep the babies rather than giving them up as originally planned.