Mountaineer Reinhold Messner, and the art of not getting killed

Mountaineer Reinhold
Updated 15 October 2017
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Mountaineer Reinhold Messner, and the art of not getting killed

FRANKFURT: Italian mountaineer Reinhold Messner is perhaps one of the world’s last great adventurers: He has conquered the planet’s highest peaks, crossed Antarctica and hunted for the elusive Yeti.
That he has lived to tell those tales, is mainly down to luck, he says.
Now 73 years old with an unruly mop of grey hair and a full beard, the man who counts German Chancellor Angela Merkel as a walking buddy says he is always in pursuit of the next challenge.
“Life is about daring to carry out your ideas,” he told AFP in an interview at this week’s Frankfurt book fair. “And for me, it always comes back to the wilderness, nature, mountains.”
One of the best-known living mountaineers, Messner became the first person to climb Mount Everest solo and without the help of bottled oxygen in 1980.
He also became, in 1986, the first the scale the world’s 14 summits over 8,000 meters (26,000 feet), again without supplemental oxygen.
Along the way, he has pioneered an extreme style of mountaineering known as alpinism, where climbers aim to reach the top with as little material and outside help as possible.
“We were the first generation to say: We do not need all that,” recalls Messner, who grew up in South Tyrol and started climbing at the age of five.
But it is an art that is increasingly getting lost, he says, dismissing today’s climbers who rely on sherpas and ready-made routes to reach the peak.
“The true alpinist does not want any infrastructure, he wants to go into the wild.
“And the odds of getting killed there are relatively high. And most people are sensible enough not to want that,” he laughs.
“But the art of not getting killed is only an art if there is a chance you could die,” he adds. “If I rule out the chance of getting killed in advance, the whole thing becomes a game, or tourism or consumerism.”


Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Updated 21 August 2018
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Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.