Trump wants US to buy Greenland

Greenland has been melting faster in the last decade and this summer, it has seen two of the biggest melts on record since 2012. (AP)
Updated 17 August 2019

Trump wants US to buy Greenland

  • Donald Trump has been curious about the area’s natural resources and geopolitical relevance
  • Some Trump advisers say acquiring Greenland, which is northeast of Canada, could be good for the US

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump is asking advisers if it is possible for the US to buy Greenland, according to a report.
Trump has expressed interest in the self-governing part of Denmark — which is mostly covered in ice — asking advisers if it is possible for the US to acquire the territory, The Wall Street Journal said Thursday, citing people familiar with the discussions.
The president has been curious about the area’s natural resources and geopolitical relevance, the paper reported.
Greenland is a self-governing region of Denmark, which colonized the 772,000 square-mile (two-million square kilometer) island in the 18th century, and is home to nearly 57,000 people, most of whom belong to the indigenous Inuit community.
There was no official comment from the White House, and the Danish embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.
Some Trump advisers say acquiring Greenland, which is northeast of Canada, could be good for the US, while others called it only a “fleeting fascination” from the president, The Wall Street Journal said.
Others outside the White House say Trump’s interest could be a desire to secure a legacy achievement, the paper reported, and advisers wondered about the potential for research or greater military clout for the US.
The US’s northern-most military base, Thule Air Base, has been located on Greenland for decades.
But Greenland doesn’t quite live up to its lush name — 85 percent of the island is covered by a 1.9-mile-thick (three-kilometer) ice sheet that contains 10 percent of the world’s fresh water.
The world’s largest island has suffered from climate change, scientists say, becoming a giant melting icicle that threatens to submerge the world’s coastal areas one day.
July saw unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet, with 12 billion tons of ice flowing into the sea.
Trump, who in 2017 withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Agreement to cap global warming levels, is reportedly set to visit Copenhagen in September.
This isn’t the first time the president has expressed interest in foreign properties — he has said North Korea’s “great beaches” would make ideal locations for condos.


Nepali mountaineer set for final push in record 14-peak bid

Updated 17 September 2019

Nepali mountaineer set for final push in record 14-peak bid

  • Nirmal Purja arrived at the advance base camp of the 8,201-meter Cho Oyu on Monday
  • The mountaineer has set several speed climbing records this year

KATMANDU: The current record for climbing the world’s 14 tallest peaks is almost eight years. Nepali climber, Nirmal Purja, who served in the British special forces, has a target of seven months.
On Monday Purja arrived at the advance base camp of the 8,201-meter (26,906-feet) Cho Oyu, ready for the final phase of the last three peaks in his feat of astonishing endurance.
“Nobody believed I could do this when I first said it ... I’m so glad to be inspiring generations of all ages through this endeavor. This is what keeps me going,” Purja said by phone.
“This is not about me... it is to show what the human body can do. To establish a paradigm shift in perception of human potential,” Purja said.
Only a teenager when he joined the British Gurkhas, Purja or “Nims dai” climbed both the 8,848-meter Everest and Lhotse at 8,516 meters in a record 10 hours and 15 minutes in 2017.
This inspired the 36-year-old to start “Project Possible,” scaling the 14 peaks — all higher than 8,000 meters — in seven months.
But doing so is radically ambitious. In the 1980s, it took Polish climber Jerzy Kukuczka seven years, 11 months and 14 days.
South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho managed it in about a month less — although he did, unlike Kukuczka and Purja, do it without supplementary oxygen.
Before he set off on his first expedition, Purja had a detailed tattoo of the 14 mountains engraved on his back, with colorful prayer flags tracing his journey to the peaks.
Swapping his army boots for crampons, Purja quit the military after 16 years of service and re-mortgaged his house to begin his expedition and start raising funds.
Purja began his attempt in April with the 8,091-meter Annapurna, checking the illustrious “8,000ers” Dhaulagiri, Kanchenjunga, Everest, Lhotse and Makalu off his list in only a month to finish his first phase.
A month later, he was heading to Pakistan for the second part of his mission where he first tackled the notorious Nanga Parbat at 8,125 meters. Twenty-three days later he was standing atop Broad Peak, his fifth and final mountain of the second phase.
Battling sleep deprivation to meet his target, Purja said he was almost sprinting up and down five of Pakistan’s highest peaks including K2, the second tallest in the world.
“I felt like this is one down and next to go (with every summit). We still have another to climb,” Purja said.
On track to make climbing history, the phenomenal mountaineer has in the process also set several speed climbing records this year.
This included his summits of Everest, Lhotse and Mount Makalu, three of the world’s five highest mountains, in a record 48 hours — and despite the deadly overcrowding this season on the planet’s top peak.
Purja also made headlines with his miraculous rescue operation of a Malaysian climber from Mount Annapurna after two nights in the open above 7,000 meters.
“It is only a matter of time until he completes his project, he has already proven his amazing capability,” said Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summit Treks, Purja’s expedition operator.
Raised in a village in the northwest district of Chitwan, Purja said he did not even have flip-flops growing up.
“My life story tells anyone who doesn’t have privilege to dream about bigger things. Anything is possible if you put your heart and mind and give 100 percent to it,” he said.
He also hopes to lift the standing of Nepali climbers — Sherpas who often work as guides for foreign climbers in the Himalayas — as he feels they are not “given the right credit.”
But there is a potential spanner in the works.
The Chinese government’s decision to close Mount Shishapangma for the season could potentially stymie Purja’s plans.
But efforts are underway to seek a special permission for him.
“Dealing with all sorts from admin, logistics, fundings and politics; now my climbing mode is ON,” he said on Facebook on Monday.