annapurna

The villages affected lie within an 80-mile radius of the popular Annapurna trekking route.     Photo: Matt Zimmerman/Flickr

At Least 30 Dead in Nepal Landslides

Near Annapurna trekking route

Heavy rains triggered landslides in western Nepal on Thursday, killing at least 30 and burying large portions of several villages, Reuters reports

The affected areas lie within an 80-mile radius of the popular Annapurna Circuit, which the government had reopened for trekking just last week. In the village of Lumle and those near Pokhara, soldiers and police continue to search for missing people in heavy rains, digging with shovels and food bowls. Additional rescue teams have been held up by landslide material blocking the Pokhara-Baglung Highway, according to Reuters. 

The two earthquakes that devastated Nepal in April increased the risk of landslides, but landslides are not uncommon in Nepal during the summer monsoon season. This time last year—nearly to the day—thousands were affected and hundreds left missing or dead in a landslide near Ramche.

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Pete Kostelnick Wins Badwater

The 2015 Badwater 135 ultramarathon started at the lowest point in North America.     Photo: Rick Cooper/Flickr

Pete Kostelnick Wins Badwater

Race returned to Death Valley

Pete Kostelnick, a 27-year-old ultrarunner from Lincoln, Nebraska, won the 2015 Nutrimatix Badwater 135 ultramarathon on Wednesday night. He completed the 135-mile course in 23 hours, 27 minutes, and 10 seconds, more than seven hours faster than he ran the course in 2014, according to the results.

The self-billed “world’s toughest foot race” climbs more than 14,600 feet in searing heat, starting at Badwater, Death Valley, which, at 280 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in North America. It finishes at the portal to Mount Whitney at 8,300 feet, according to the race website.

This year marked the race’s return to Badwater after a year in exile, during which time the race was held on an alternate course. New safety regulations put in place by Death Valley National Park in 2014 threatened the future of the race, but it was reinstated after race officials agreed on increased safety measures, including a night start.

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Tejay van Garderen Will Race Vuelta

A teammate helps Tejay van Garderen of the U.S., left, after he fell ill during the seventeenth stage of the Tour de France.     Photo: AP

Tejay van Garderen Will Race Vuelta

Following disappointing Tour de France

American stage race specialist Tejay van Garderen will rebound from a difficult Tour de France by competing in the Vuelta in August, the BMC Racing Team announced in a press release.

The American dropped out of the Tour during Stage 17 because of illness. He was in third place before dropping and had been riding well. 

Adding the three-week Spanish race to his schedule means van Garderen will be unable to defend his title at the USA Pro Challenge, the Colorado stage race he’s won in the past two years, since the races happen at the same time. 

“This is 100 percent my decision. It would be nice to go out and try to win the USA Pro Challenge again,” van Garderen said in the press release. “But after what happened at the Tour, I need to prove myself on a bigger scale.”

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Northern White Rhino Dies

The female northern white rhino lived in the Dvur Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic.     Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Northern White Rhino Dies

Population dwindles to four

One of the last northern white rhinos left on earth died Monday at the Dvur Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Nabiré, a 31-year-old female, suffered complications from a ruptured uterine cyst, according to a statement from the zoo.

Nabiré’s death means that only four northern white rhinos remain alive, down from the 2,000 that roamed central Africa in 1960, National Geographic reports. Poaching, driven by demand for their horns, and habitat loss were the two main causes of the decline. The remaining rhinos are all in captivity. One of them is a male, but at 42 years old, he is past his breeding age. 

Right after Nabiré died, scientists removed her healthy left ovary and took it to a lab in Italy for research and reproductive work. The zoo officials hope to preserve her eggs for in vitro fertilization. “It is our moral obligation to try to save them,” Premysl Rabas, director of the Dvur Králové Zoo, said in the statement. “We are the only ones, perhaps with the San Diego Zoo, who have enough collected biological material to do so. We are aware that the chances are slim, but the hopes are still alive.”

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Man Carries Bathtub up Kilimanjaro

Robbie Dowling summited Mount Kilimanjaro to support health facilities along the Amazon River.     Photo: ninara/Flickr

Man Carries Bathtub up Kilimanjaro

To raise money for charity

Fifty-seven-year-old Irishman Robbie Dowling summited Mount Kilimanjaro with an 88-pound bathtub, dubbed Sheila, strapped to his back, according to a report on Thursday from Red Bull. Dowling completed the 30-mile trek to the 18,652-foot-high summit to raise money and awareness for his charity, Amazon Children, which he started to support health facilities along the Amazon River.

“The final shove was climbing a 90-degree slope on moving silt,” Dowling told Red Bull. “I had a 3 a.m. start, no sleep, and was finding it hard to keep down food at high altitude after days of pushing myself beyond endurance. I was on this slope for five hours. Each step was a miracle. My eyesight in my left eye was going, and my lungs were unable to get oxygen. I was stopping every five minutes for water.”

Dowling floated down the Amazon River with Sheila in 2007. He’s planning to pull the tub across the salt flats of Bolivia this October to continue raising money for his charity. His ultimate goal is to build a new medical center for children on the Amazon.

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