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Russian climber dies on the 4th highest mountain

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KATHMANDU: A Russian climber died just below the summit of Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak, in at least the third fatality of the spring climbing season in the Nepali Himalaya, officials said today.

Rustem Amirov was alone on the 8,516 meter (27,940 feet) mountain, which neighbors Mount Everest when he died of altitude related complications on Thursday.

He was climbing solo without any guides with him. The body has not been brought down to the base camp yet,” Gyanendra Shrestha, a government liaison officer at Everest base camp, told AFP. Climbers attempting Lhotse use the same base camp as those aiming for Everest’s summit.

They follow the same route up the mountain, scaling the sheer Lhotse Face – a 1,125-meter wall of ice – before the path to the neighboring summits divides.

Amirov, an experienced climber who had previously led an expedition on the 8,201 meter Cho Oyu peak – also in the Nepali Himalaya – only arrived at Everest base camp in early May, according to his Facebook page.

Most climbers arrive in April and spend at least a month acclimatizing to the harsh, low oxygen environment. Altitudes above 8,000 meters are known as the “death zone” among climbers.

The air contains less than a third of the oxygen at sea level and humans cannot survive at those heights for long.

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Sports

Tennis: Major Davis Cup shake-up approved!

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ORLANDO: World tennis chiefs on Thursday approved a radical Davis Cup revamp that will overhaul the 118-year-old competition, condensing the annual worldwide showpiece into an 18-team, week-long event.
The shake-up for the men’s team tournament received 71.43 percent support from about 120 delegates at the International Tennis Federation annual meeting in Orlando, well ahead of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.
ITF president David Haggerty supported the revamp proposed by Kosmos, a group led by Barcelona football star Gerard Pique – who flew in from Spain for the vote – and backed by Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Mikitani, that has vowed $3 billion over 25 years to support the new event.
Haggerty called the reform plan “key to ensuring that the ITF and its member nations will guarantee a bright future for the sport.”
Also backing the reconstituted event is US billionaire Larry Ellison, who hopes his Indian Wells tennis facility would host the 2021 edition of the finals after the first two were played in Europe.
The current Davis Cup format is a knockout event played February, July, September, and November at home and away venues around the globe, best-of-five match ties following Grand Slam events until the final round.
Many top players have skipped it in recent years to ease their schedule load.
The reform plan will create a November final with 18 teams: 12 winners from 24-team home and away qualifying in February, the prior year’s four semi-finalists and two wild-card nations.
Round-robin groups of three would send six group winners and two runners-up into knockout round playoffs.
The finals would feature two singles matches and one doubles match each day, all cut to best-of-three sets.
Haggerty said the arrangement would provide about $25 million annually for national tennis associations to invest in grassroots level support, with the United States, France, and Spain among those thought to support the move.
Opponents of the plan include Tennis Australia and Britain’s Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), with Aussie Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt calling it a “money grab” and too great a departure from the current format.
“Unfortunately their plan is a recipe for the death of the Davis Cup as we know it,” Aussie legend John Newcombe said.
The LTA cited concern over holding the event in November, stretching the schedule after the ATP season-finale into an already-thin off-season, risking top player attendance, fan support, and telecaster interest. The LTA also wanted more clarity on financial issues and a plan with greater unity among the membership.
Complicating the landscape is the revived ATP World Team Cup set for January 2020 with 24 teams, prize money and rankings point to be played in Australia ahead of the Australian Open.
It would be staged just six weeks after the Davis Cup event, scheduling that ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode described as “insane.”

 

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Asia

Asian Games: Can Koreas form joint teams in more sports?

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Asian Games: Can Koreas form joint teams in more sports?

JAKARTA: North Korea’s vice sports minister said Thursday that the Koreas should form joint teams in more sports if they can.
Won Kil-u made the remarks after the team welcoming ceremony at the athletes’ village for North Koreans competing at the Asian Games in Jakarta. Won is also the chef de mission for the North Korean team.
The two Koreas will compete together as one team in women’s basketball, dragon boat racing in canoeing and rowing at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, but Won said that they should assemble many more united teams in other sports.
“Isn’t it good to have a joint team?” Won said in reply to a question on women’s basketball. “I think we should have more unified teams in other sports.”
Won added that he talked with an official from the South’s Korean Olympic & Sports Committee Thursday morning about having unified Korea teams in other sports.
One North Korean official later added that the two Koreas are currently discussing sending a joint handball team to the world championships.
Won said the Koreas should display “united power” at the Asian Games. “I hope our Korean people can have a big achievement at the Asian Games,” he said. “Let’s show the united power of the North and the South.”

A relevant piece published earlier:

Asian Games: S. Korea defeats N. Korea in women’s handball

South Korea defeated North Korea 39-22 in women’s handball on Tuesday in the first inter-Korean showdown at the 18th Asian Games.

Jung Yu-ra led a balanced South Korean attack with a game-high 12 goals in the breezy Group A victory at GOR Popki Cibubur in Jakarta.

The opening ceremony for the Asian Games is Saturday in Jakarta, but preliminary matches in handball, football and basketball will be played beforehand to accommodate long schedules. The closing ceremony is Sept. 2.

South Korea will next face India on Thursday at the same venue. South Korea is the defending champion in women’s handball, and the country has won six of the seven gold medals since the event was added to the Asian Games in 1990. North Korea won silver behind South Korea in 1998 but hasn’t reached the podium since.

South Korea led 12-5 early and closed the first half up 17-12. North Korea never really threatened the rest of the way, with Han Chun-yon leading its offense with five goals.

South Korean players said afterward that it was a unique experience to face North Koreans. “We were a bit nervous because we didn’t know anything about North Korean players,” said Jung, the top scorer. “When I fell down during the game, North Koreans came to me and asked if I was OK. I was really grateful.”

South Korean captain Yoo Hyun-Ji said she had never taken a pre-game group photo with players from the two teams all mixed in with one another like the Koreans did before Tuesday’s contest. “I spoke to a few North Korean players before the start, and it felt different,” Yoo added.

There are two groups of five nations at this year’s Asian Games. The two Koreas are in Group A along with Kazakhstan, China, and India. The Group B nations are Indonesia, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Malaysia. The top two countries from each group after round-robin play will advance to the semifinals.

The Koreas will field unified teams in women’s 5-on-5 basketball, dragon boat racing in canoeing and three events in rowing. They will also march together behind the Korean Unification Flag at Saturday’s opening ceremony.

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Crime

Avenfield verdict: Nawaz Sharif’s counsel concludes arguments

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Nawaz Sharif and Jahangir Tareen, Supreme Court, Nawaz Sharif's disqualification

ISLAMABAD: Khawaja Harris, counsel for former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Wednesday concluded his arguments before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) in a petition for suspension of the accountability court’s verdict against his client in the Avenfield property reference.
A two-member IHC bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb resumed hearing of Nawaz’s petition.
At the outset, NAB’s Deputy Prosecutor General Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi requested the court to adjourn the hearing for two days so that he could submit the paragraph-wise reply in line with the request of Nawaz’s counsel as he did not receive the court order in time.
Justice Minallah, however, observed that hearing could not be adjourned on those grounds.
The NAB counsel said he was not in the town, but the court rejected his plea.
Justice Minallah asked Khwaja Harris that according to him, there was no record of Nawaz’s property.
To this, Harris responded that NAB witnesses had admitted that there was no evidence against Nawaz.
Abbasi informed the court that NAB had brought forth the record of known sources of income of Nawaz and his children.
Justice Minallah asked as to how known sources of income were brought on record. “This is not a case of money laundering,” he said.
Abbasi replied that he would explain it to the court.
Justice Minallah, however, observed that what was the contradiction as the worth of assets was not known. Harris then informed the bench that the prosecution’s main witness Wajid Zia, head of the Panama papers case Joint Investigation Team (JIT), presented a chart of assets. The chart was made by the JIT, but it was presented by Zia, he added.
Reservations raised in the JIT report on the chart were on record, Nawaz’s counsel said. During the course of the hearing, Justice Minallah observed, “The registrar’s office has informed that incorrect statements attributed to judges were aired on August 13 and we have taken serious notice of this. We are also forwarding the matter to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).”
He said if the judgments were given on one’s wishes then there would be no justice.
He observed, “We value the media but those who are indulging in this are involved in contempt of court.”
Justice Minallah remarked, “For a fair trial, it is essential to have trust in the legal system and if trials start taking place outside courts then that is contempt of court.”
Later, the IHC adjourned case till Thursday.

 

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